Language Policy: Iran Mariam Afrahi firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents • Persian Today & Its Status in middle east and central Asia • Brief History of language and Script • Role of NaEonalism in language policy • Revival of Persian • AGempts against inﬂuence of foreign languages on Persian • The results of revival • Loanwords in Persian • LinguisEc prescripEon: Devices through which Persian is maintained • Sources
Persian Today • Persian Belongs to Indo-‐Iranian branch of the Indo-‐European languages. • Oﬃcial language in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan • Persian is spoken primarily in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and parts of Uzbekistan. About 55% of Irans populaEon are Persian speakers; about 65% of Tajikistans populaEon are Tajik-‐Persian speakers: over 25% of the Afghanistans populaEon are Dari-‐Persian speakers; and about 1% of the populaEon of Pakistan are Dari-‐Persian speakers as well. • About 110 million speakers worldwide Three major dialects: 1. Farsi (spoken in Iran) 2. Dari (spoken in Afghanistan) 3. Tajik (spoken in Tajikistan and central Asia)
Language Map Diﬀerent varieEes of Persian is spoken in ciEes near the borders of Iran
Brief History • Parsi or Persian was the language of Parsa people (559 to 331 BC.) who ruled Iran between 550 – 330 BCE. Achaemenid dynasty. • Although the name of the language has been maintained, Persian has undergone great changes. • All varieEes represent languages spoken during diﬀerent eras. • Texts wriGen 700 years ago can sEll be understood by today’s speaker. 1. Old Persian (original Parsa tribe of the Hakahmaneshinian) 2. Middle Persian (Sasanian era also known as Pahlavi afer the collapse of Alexanders Empire ) 3. Classical Persian (roots in Old Persian, Pahlavi and Avesta.) 4. Modern Persian (spoken today). Texts wriGen 700 years ago can sEll be understood by today’s speaker.
Iranian Script Old Persian Cuneiform (Darius I [522 -‐ 486 BCE]) Parthian Script Avestan Alphabet Pahlavi Script
Persian Alphabet Arabic script • The Persian language has been wriGen with a number of diﬀerent scripts, including Old Persian Cuneiform, Pahlavi, Aramaic, and Avestan. Afer the Islamic conquest of the Persian Sassanid Empire in 642 CE, Arabic script has become t replace the older ones.
Many ethniciEes in Iran • Other languages which are close to language of the border country are also spoken in Iran (E.g. Azeri in Tabriz situated in Northern Iran, close to Turkish in Turkey) • There are a number of other naEonal and ethnic groups living in various parts of Iran. The most important of these groups with speciﬁc history, culture, customs, and language are the Turks, the Kurds, the Baluchis, the Arabs, the Turkmans and the Lurs.
Role of NaEonalism in LP : LinguisEc Purism Although Persia was both invader and invaded country, consEtuEng a mixture of naEons and culture, the Persian language has survived. Therefore, naEonalism emphasizes the role of language in shaping naEonal idenEty. Arabic Conquest: All notable Iranian scholars wrote in Arabic and the knowledge of Arabic was praised. However, at one point the quesEon about Need to preserve NaEonal IdenEty was raised. Because Iran is composed of various of diﬀerent ethniciEes about 150 years ago the government planned a strategy to make a common language between all these diﬀerent ethniciEes. In result Persian was made the oﬃcial language of Iran.
Revival of Persian RejecEon and neglect of foreign elements while simultaneously praising naEve ones By scholars (Avicenna, al-‐Biruni) rejecEng Arabic words and invenEng Persian equivalents. By Writers & Poets: Arabic-‐Free language. “Shahname” (The Epic of Kings) a poem of nearly 60,000 couplets by Ferdowsi. An important feature of this work is that during the period that Arabic language was known as the main language of science and literature, Ferdowsi used only Persian in his masterpiece. As Ferdowsi himself says "Persian language is revived by this work". Role of poetry: Poetry plays a very important role in Persian culture. Poems were memorized and recited in cafes and gatherings. One direct eﬀect of this was that persian language was also maintained by the illiterate.
Language Policy academies & State-‐Sponsored schools coin new words • Majlis-‐i Akadimi (1906-‐11) (language insEtute) and Farhangestan – Academy of Persian language. Both resulted in major transformaEons in Farsi • Journalism Boom (over 80 newspapers). Coining of new words by the scholarly biweekly newspaper: Asr-‐e Jadid. • WriDen language for everyone not only for elite. Spread of modern persian. • 1934 conference devoted to Ferdowsi where scholars exchanged opinions on Persian literature, language and culture. As a result professor Rezazadeh Shafaq announced the manifesto of the Persian language reform movement. • 1935 on Shahs (king) order Farhangestan-‐e Zabane Iran ‘The Academy of Iranian Language’ was established. The Aim was to compile a list of classical and dialect words, compile a Persian dicEonary, standardize the derivaEonal morphology, and, most importantly, coin and propose new Persian terms. Successful results. (3oo-‐400 words coined on ﬁrst year) E.g. ﻩ”/ﻓﺮوﻭدﺩﮔﺎairport” • Teacher Training collage -‐ during the eight years of its existence it created 3,000 words, 400 of which were used in everyday speech
CollecEon of Terms Approved These are, as the name suggests, words that are allowed to be used and, what is more, should be used by the speakers of Farsi.
The 6 rules Guidelines for how to maintain Persian language free from foreign inﬂuence 1. Avoid an Arabic word whenever there is a close Persian word. 2. When you have a common borrowing and an unknown Farsi equivalent, the laGer should be popularised. 3. If there is no equivalent in Persian, Farsi word should be created. 4. If there is no equivalent, use the borrowed unEl Persian equivalent is not created. 5. When there is no Persian equivalent and the concept expressed by a borrowing belongs to the material domain6, accept the loanword. 6. If there is a foreign word that belongs to the spiritual domain, then a Persian equivalent should be manufactured.
Reasons for liGle success • Ancient Persian words claimed to be arEﬁcial: nether useful in educaEon nor everyday interacEons • Persian has been assimilaEng Arabic words for long Eme • Arabic script facilitated retenEon of Arabic elements. • Afer Islamic RevoluEon of 1979: No more hosElity towards Arabic since it is the holy language of Islam. • Talebof: “Instead of purifying the languages Iranians should respect and preserve it.” • “Forooghi (The prime minister at the Eme) stated that he loved all those who love Arabic, as it was the language of theology and science.” • EducaEon > puriﬁcaEon (foreign scienEﬁc texts and literature) Ø As a result Arabic words were retained and European terminologies were adopted.
Loanwords in Persian Great majority of loan words from Arabic. Also early Turkish and Greek, French, German, English. 1. Loan words include: Technical terms in case where no exciEng Persian word for situaEon/product. 2. Non-‐technical load words: “Merci” (from French) alternaEve: “Tashakor”, “Sepas” (mainly used in wriGen texts.) Has become so established that is no longer perceived as borrowing. • Successful replacement of loan-‐word: “Automobile” à (replacement of foreign word) “Khordorw” • Less successful “Television” à “Sedah va Sima”
LinguisEc prescripEon Devices through which Persian is maintained Through EducaGon • Around the country all school use the exact same school books. This assures that everybody, regardless of locaEon, will “speak” and be “thought” the same way. Especially important for language subjects. Through Media (Seda-‐va-‐sima: state television) • growth of media -‐-‐> less dialects • Standardized language used on TV and Radio. The variety spoken in central Iran, where government funds are mostly concentrated in. This variety of Persian is Linked to modern lifestyle, higher living standard and presEge.
Literary Sources • Iran Chamber Society. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2013, from h3p://www.iranchamber.com/ • Marszaiek-‐Kowalewska, K. (2011). Iranian language policy: a case of linguisEc purism. INVESTIGATIONES LINGUITICAE VOL.XXII h3p://www.staﬀ.amu.edu.pl/~inveling/pdf/Marszalek-‐Kowalewska%20_22.pdf • Lazard, Gilbert 1975, "The Rise of the New Persian Language" in Frye, R. N., The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 4, pp. 595–632, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Ulrich Ammon, Norbert DiGmar, Klaus J. MaGheier, Peter Trudgill, "SociolinguisEcs Hsk 3/3 Series Volume 3 of SociolinguisEcs: An InternaEonal Handbook of the Science of Language and Society", Walter de Gruyter, 2006. 2nd ediEon. pg 1912.