Day 6 - Persian (Classical and Modern) and its relatives

Day one of the second week is dedicated to the most widespread, and one might add, the most important Iranian language spoken today, Persian (Farsi), and its close relatives, Dari and Tajiki. Questions of the history of this language/s, its grammatical characteristics, and modern usage are going to be discussed in the class.

Part One (50 min.) - In the first half of the class, we are going to talk about the development of Classical New Persian out of Middle Persian, the Early Judeo-Persian language, and the main characteristics of the Classical Persian language. Attention is going to be paid also to the phonetic peculiarities of CP and its borrowings from local Iranian languages and Arabic.

Break (15 min.)

Part Two (50 min.) - In the second part of the class, our attention will be focused on the modern period of New Persian as it is spoken in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. The main characteristics of these varieties and their political and cultural role in their respective countries will be overviewed. A major part of the discussion will consist of exploring the modern colloquial version of the Tehrani dialect and its dynamics of change and cultural role in modern Iran.

[5-min. break]

Discussion (30 min.) - At the end of the class, a discussion will take place between the students and instructor, where participants will share their own knowledge about other colloquial dialects (desirably Iranian) and ask questions concerning particular interesting points.


Lazard, G. (1963). La langue des plus anciens monuments de la prose persane, Paris.

Paul, L. (2013). A Grammar of Early Judaeo-Persian. Wiesbaden.

Lambton, A. K. S. 2003 (1st ed. 1953). Persian Grammar, Cambridge University Press.

Farhadi, R. & Perry, J. R. (2009). Kāboli, in Encyclopaedia Iranica.

Perry, J. R. (2009) Tajik ii, ‘Tajik Persian’, in Encyclopaedia Iranica.