Modern Persian

Given the vast influence of the Persian language and Persian culture far beyond the borders of the modern nation state of Iran, the late historian of Islamic civilization Marshall G.S. Hodgson was moved to coin the term “Persianate.” In the words of Hodgson himself: “We may call all these cultural traditions, carried in Persian or reflecting Persian inspiration, 'Persianate' . . . .” (Venture of Islam, 1974). Indeed, today, Persian has official status in the modern nation states of Iran, Afghanistan amongst others in Central Asia. And, while Modern Persian continues to be written in the Arabic script, as it has been from the 9th century CE, the Tajik variant of Persian has been written in both the Latin and Cyrillic scripts. Persian-speaking minorities can be found in Uzbekistan, Iraq, Bahrain and Kuwait, not to mention the UK, United States and Canada. The Persian language has also added considerable numbers of terms to modern Turkish, Urdu and other neighbouring languages. Common loanwords from Persian in English include “balcony,” “bazaar,” “caravan,” “caviar,” “chess,” “divan,” “peach,” “pistachio,” “spinach” and “tulip.”

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