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The Story of Language in Iran—10 Objects from Epic Iran at the V&A, Part 1

Persian Language Online is a flagship project of the Iran Heritage Foundation, which is proud to have co-organised Epic Iran, a major exhibition currently showing at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Open until September 2021, Epic Iran explores 5,000 years of Iranian art, design and culture, bringing together more than 300 objects from

An Introduction to Persian Calligraphy

On our blog this week we have invited Keramat Fathinia, a practising calligrapher, to give us a brief introduction to Persian calligraphy and its history. Born in Iran, Keramat has been teaching calligraphy for over 17 years and has received a distinguished certificate in both Nasta’liq and Shekasteh Nasta’liq styles from the Iranian Calligraphers Association

Introduction to Afghan Persian Part 3 – Grammar

Last week we had a brief overview of the main lexical differences between Afghan Persian and Iranian Persian. I forgot to mention one very important point – the names of months used in Afghanistan.The calendar most currently in use in Afghanistan is the Solar Hijri Calendar identical to the one used in Iran. The difference

Introduction to Afghan Persian (Dari) Part 2 – Vocabulary and Expressions

Having become acquainted with the phonology of Afghan Persian, it is time to learn some of the differences in vocabulary between it and Iranian Persian. Again, learners must always keep in mind the complex linguistic backgrounds of Afghan Persian speakers. While the official register of Persian in Afghanistan differs little from that in Iran, a

Introduction to Afghan Persian (Dari) – Part 1: General remarks and phonology

Persian (referred to as ‘Dari’) is one of the two official languages of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, alongside Pashto. The modern territory of Afghanistan constitutes what is often referred to as ‘Greater Khorasan’ by some scholars and cultural activists and was the centre of Persian literary and cultural activities and Perso-Islamic learning right from

Sufi Themes and Imagery through Mawlānā’s Naynāma: Part 3

Picking up where we left off a few weeks ago, Iskandar returns to guide us through the Naynama, dealing with various themes and images as we go, from fish in water, to infinity. در غم ما روزها بی‌گاه شد روزها با سوزها همراه شد روزها گر رفت گو رو باک نیست تو بمان ای آن

A Short Introduction to the Persian Metre (ʿarūż) – part 3

After two weeks of initiation toʿarūż, we are ready for some practice. This week, we will read some of the most famous lines from classical Persian poetry and determine their metres.   In any classical Persian poem, the metre (وزنvazn, which literally means ‘weight’ in Arabic) remains consistent throughout. The first tip, therefore, is that

A Short Introduction to the Persian Metre (عروض ʿarūż) – part 2

Last week I talked about how the Persian metre is based on syllable length, and what short, long, and extra-long syllables are. Analysing a line of poetry down to syllables, and a syllable down to its consonant(s) and vowel, however, is a western methodology that has also been embraced by modern Iranians and Turks. Before

A Short Introduction to the Persian Metre (عروض ʿarūż) – part 1

Before the birth of blank verse with modernism, poetry across the world was written according to fixed rhythmic structures, referred to as ‘metres’ in English, from the Greek word μέτρον (métron) ‘measure’. The concept consists of measuring the number of syllables per line and the length (when it applies) of each syllable, so as to

Sufi Themes and Imagery through Mawlānā’s Naynāma: Part 2

Picking up where we left off a couple of weeks ago, Iskandar takes us through the next lines of Mawlana’s Masnavi, with a close line by line reading interspersed with discussion of the wider themes and imagery that run through the text. آتش است این بانگ نای و نیست بادهر که این آتش ندارد نیست

Sufi Themes and Imagery through Mawlānā’s Naynāma: Part 1

This week, let us get away from grammar points and read some real classical poetry. Classical Persian poetry, although written in a language far more accessible to speakers of Modern Persian than Middle English texts are to speakers of Modern English, can be difficult, not only due to the grammar, but also because of the

Introduction to Tajik Persian 4 – Differences in Grammar

The Persian language, at its core, represents a continuum of regional dialects standardised in history through convergence and literary prestige, and in modern times through nation building. Although Iranian Persian, Afghan Persian, and Tajik Persian came from one and same literary standard moulded through a long history of common usage, the three Persian-speaking nation states