Language fact file: Farsi/Dari/Tajik

Spoken in: Iran (Farsi), Afghanistan (Dari), Tajikistan (Tajik)

Number of native speakers: 72 million  

Learn some: If you are introduced to someone, say it’s nice to meet them with ‘khoshvaghtam’! 

Fast facts:

  • While Farsi and Dari are dialects of the same language, they are only mutually intelligible when written. The spoken form of each dialect sound very different. By contrast, Farsi and Tajik are only mutually intelligible in their spoken forms but not their written forms!
  • Farsi is one of the oldest languages in the world that is still spoken. A Farsi reader can read poetry written around 300AD with little trouble compared to an English speaker reading something in English of that time. 
  • Farsi poetry plays an incredibly important role in everyday life. The language is so well known for its poetry that the walls of the UN building in New York City are inscribed with words from famous Farsi poet, Sa’adi. They read: “Human beings are members of a whole, since in their creation they are of one essence. When the conditions of the time bring a limb to pain, the other limbs will suffer from discomfort. You, who are indifferent to the misery of others, it is not fitting that they should call you a human being.”