Q & A
Can I read and understand Rumi's works solely by learning the Persian language as a Second language?
Did you know that modern Persian, also known as Farsi, is spoken by a whopping 110 million people worldwide? That's like having a secret language spoken by more people than the entire population of many countries!
But wait, there's more!
Out of those 110 million, around 70 million are native speakers of Farsi. These incredible individuals have mastered the language since childhood and can effortlessly weave its melodious words into their everyday conversations.
Farsi isn't just confined to Iran!
Farsi is an official language in Afghanistan (It's known as Dari), Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan (it goes by the name Tajik) and has a way of making itself understood in parts of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan. Imagine being able to communicate with a wide range of people across different regions and cultures, all thanks to the power of Farsi!✨
In 2021 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran published new statistics showing that over 4 millions of Iranians are currently living abroad. That means you can find Farsi communities and language enthusiasts in various corners of the world!
In summary, there are three standard varieties of modern Persian:
- Iranian Persian (Persian, Western Persian, or Farsi) is spoken in Iran, and by minorities in Iraq and the Persian Gulf states.
- Eastern Persian (Dari Persian, Afghan Persian, or Dari) is spoken in Afghanistan.
- Tajiki (Tajik Persian) is spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is written in the Cyrillic script.
These three standard varieties of modern Persian have some linguistic variations in terms of vocabulary, pronunciation, and usage, but they are mutually intelligible to a large extent.
Persian language, serving as both the intermediary  and official language, has played a crucial role in fostering national unity and cohesion within Iran.
Please note, in Iran, while Persian is the standard language* and widely spoken throughout the country, there are also several other languages and dialects spoken in different regions. These languages reflect the diverse cultural and linguistic heritage of Iran. (Please check the map of the main languages/Dialects spoken in Iran here)
👇Here I'm expressing my opinion. You could ignore it and go straight to the next topic.
There have been some challenges in language education and using language as a great resource to create value for a nation, especially given the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran. It's disheartening to see resources being used to censor art, expression, and culture. But hey, here's the exciting part: despite all of that, the historical significance and cultural beauty of the Persian language remain as vibrant as ever!
It's truly incredible how Persian writers and artists have managed to keep the flame alive, even in the face of adversity.
Sure, there may have been some hurdles along the way, but we won't let that overshadow the incredible richness that the Persian language brings to the world. But Persian Lovers acknowledge that together, they can support and promote Persian literature, poetry, and art, ensuring that its beauty continues to shine brightly.
What's the standard accent then?
I don't know if there's any better word choice than "standard" here. But let me clarify that by "Standard" I mean the dialect that is more widely understood and used in formal settings, such as education, media, and official communications.
The Tehrani (تهرانی) dialect, is considered the standard or prestige dialect of Iranian Persian. Additionally, the Tehrani dialect has a significant influence on pop music, film, and literature produced in Iran.
Iranian Persian encompasses various regional accents and dialects that coexist within the country. Some of the notable accents include Esfahani, Shirazi, Tehrani, Yazdi, and Mashhadi, among others. These accents may have distinct pronunciation patterns, vocabulary choices, and intonations, but they are generally mutually intelligible to Persian speakers.
It's fascinating how regional accents and dialects add richness and diversity to the Iranian Persian language, while still maintaining mutual intelligibility among speakers.
Persian was written in Pahlavi script until the introduction of Islam in Iran in 637 AD, when Arabic script was adopted (actually a modified version of the Arabic alphabet) , except in Zoroastrian sacred literature.[*]. Afterward, most of its structure and vocabulary survived, evolving into New Persian. However, Persian did incorporate a certain amount of Arabic vocabulary.
Although Farsi uses the Arabic system of writing and has borrowed a large amount of its vocabulary, Persian has no grammatical similarities to Arabic because it belongs to a different language family; the Indo-European family.
Now let's learn a couple of basic things about the Persian script.
1- Unlike the Latin script, it is written from the right.
3- It does not have capital letters. This means that both proper names and ordinary nouns are written with the same letter-forms.
4- The three short vowels a, e, o, are not written. In textbooks for beginners, you will have these sounds indicated by special signs placed above the letters.
Let me put it this way: If you consider each word as a Person, short vowels would be her stories. Once you're two introduced at a party, you'll need to remember how she is pronounced for the next meeting. For example, take this word: اَنار (anār) which means "pomegranate". Once you learn that اَ at the beginning of the word is "zebar", you'll always remember that this word is pronounced 'anār'; not 'enār' nor 'onār'!
Thus in most cases, you would only tell how to pronounce a word correctly only if you two have met earlier somewhere or by its context.
Direction and Word Order in Persian:
There are two keyboard layouts for the Persian language out there.
- Persian *
- Persian (Standard)1
If you are using Windows; your keyboard layout for Farsi would be the same that Microsoft designed for Windows. I have also used it for years. But, the default Persian keyboard layout is different from the Iranian national standard keyboard layout.
If you frequently write in Persian, I ould highly recommend you to switch to the standard keyboard. Why?
Differences between a standard Persian keyboard and a Microsoft Persian keyboard layout:
- You can write numbers correctly in Persian (۱۲۳۴۵۶۷۸۹۰).
- " ⇧ Shift and Space" is equal to ZWNJ (The zero-width non-joiner) or half distance (Example:میکند the space between می and کند).
- " ⇧ Shift and -" is different from Underscore or Underline and is the distance stretch (Example: لیوان خالی and لیـوان خـالـی).
- "ی" and "ک" are Persian (without two dots below "ی" and without a comma on "ک").
- "پ" is on the key M.
- "ژ" is on " ⇧ Shift and C".
- The comma (ویرگول) is on " ⇧ Shift and 7".
- and so on.(+)
Download the standard Persian keyboard from here and open the "zip" file and save it somewhere. Go to the save and double click on setup.exe and perform the installation steps. This is also the default layout foق Dari (Afghanistan)
name of the old non-standard Windows keyboard is "Persian" and the name of the new keyboard is "Iranian Standard Persian". It is recommended that you delete the non-standard keyboard and stop using it. You should also use Left Alt+ ⇧ Shift to convert keyboards between languages from now on. It is not easy for the first couple of days. I write both in English and Persian every single day. Forgetting where "پ" could be was time-consuming and annoying for me. But it was all worth it.The
Persian keyboard on Mac
- In the Apple menu, System Preferences, select the option.
- Select the option Language & Textmarked with the UN flag symbol from the first line.
- (Input Sources)Click the fourth tab .
- In the list of languages, there are several options for Persian that are marked with the role of the Iranian flag. Select the keyboard Persian ISIRI 2901marked with the Iranian flag.
- Show input menu in menubarClick on the option to the right of the list of languages . Persian language can now be selected through the menu at the top of the page (right).
In a nutshell, if you use the Persian keyboard frequently, say goodbye to the old one and get the Standard one right now.
Check Persian spelling by Chrome
Chrome browser can check Persian spelling after updating to version 51. To enable this feature, just follow these steps:
- chrome://help/Enter Chrome in the URL field and make sure you have version 51 or higher (if not, it will be updated automatically).
- By going to the address chrome://settings/languages, by selecting the spell check option for the Persian language, you can use the Chrome spell checking tool.
Is your typing speed low? Try Speech to text
If you do not have access to a suitable Persian keyboard or your typing speed is low, you can use software and text-to-speech plugins, one of which works well is VoiceNote II , which can be installed and used in Chrome browser.
2- I think using the term "intermediary language" could be a good idea. In persian "زبان میانجی" (pronounced "/zaban-e miyānjī/"). This term implies that Persian serves as a common language or bridge of communication among various ethnic and linguistic groups within Iran.
As a Persian Student, will I be able to read and understand Rumi's works solely by learning the Persian language?
Of course! Learning the Persian language is a significant step towards understanding Rumi's works.
You're on the right track!
Since Rumi's poetry is written in Persian, so by mastering the language, you'll definitely be able to read and understand his writings. It's like unlocking a treasure chest filled with poetic gems.
However, it's essential to keep in mind that Rumi's poetry can be quite intricate and profound. It often contains rich symbolism, metaphors, and spiritual themes that may require further exploration and study beyond language proficiency alone.
Don't worry, though! You don't have to embark on this journey alone. There are incredible resources out there, including scholarly works and discussions with experts, that can guide you through the enchanting world of Rumi's poetry. They can help you unravel the layers of his profound wisdom and discover the true essence of his writings.
So, keep learning the Persian language—it's your key to unlocking Rumi's poetic universe.