Wednesday, January 31

My mother tongue, Persian (Farsi)

I am a bilingual blogger. As a contributing author of a famous Iranian blog, I write in my mother tongue, Farsi, the language spoken in Iran, the country located in the Middle East. Farsi, as you may know, is not an Arabic language. Farsi is an Indo-Iranian Language that which is a member of Indo-European family. According to Thomas Pyles, “the term Indo-European has no racial connotations; it refers only to a group of people who lived in a relatively small area in early times, and who spoke a more or less unified language out of which many languages have developed over thousands of years”(The background of English, 57).

Now, Persian language or Farsi, is an Iranic language, which branches out into two ancient languages of Avestan, and Old Persian. The Indo-Iranian group is one of oldest language for which we have historical records. For example, the Vedic hymns, “written in an early form of Sanskrit, date from at least 1000 B.C.”(The Background of English, 64). Sanskrit, as I trust you know, is still a practicing language of Indian Scholars; it is not only dead, but also “its status is roughly comparable to that of Latin in medieval and Renaissance Europe” (64).

Now, those Indo-Europeans who settled in the Iranian Plateau helped developed a sacred language, Avestan, which is preserved in the religious books of Zoroastrians. And Zoroastrian faith was built upon the teaching of the sage Zarathustra—Zoroaster to the Greeks. During the Muslim conquest of Iran, in the eight century, many of the followers of Zarathustra were forced into exile, and respectively fled to Bombay. They are “the ancestors of the modern Parsis (that is, Persians) of Bombay.
The Old Persian is a different language from Avestan. Old Persian was the language of the inhabitants of Iran, under the leadership of Cyrus the Great in the sixth-century (B.C.). And during centuries, it has been modified to what we now call Modern Persian, or Farsi.


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