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Persian Languages

Farsi and Tajik

Persian is a language with an ancient history that is spoken by over 120 million people in the Middle East and Central Asia. There are three major dialects of Persian: Farsi (spoken primarily in Iran), Dari (spoken primarily in Afghanistan) and Tajik (spoken primarily in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). The first two dialects are written in Arabic script, but Tajik is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, a twentieth century modification conditioned by close ties to Russia during the Soviet period.

Persian has also been a prestigious cultural language in other regions of Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia by the various empires based in the regions.

Persian has had a considerable influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Armenian, and Indo-Aryan languages, especially Urdu.

With a long history of literature in the form of Middle Persian before Islam, Persian rivals Arabic’s monopoly on writing, and the writing of poetry in Persian was established as a court tradition in many eastern courts. Persian is notable for its rich literary heritage, with contributions from poets such as Rumi, Hafez and Omar Khayyam. Learning Persian will give you deeper insight into a region of the world too little known in the United States, and will open up career opportunities in a myriad of fields.


Elementary Farsi/Tajik FARS 110/TAJ 110 and  FARS 120/TAJ 120
Intermediate Farsi/Tajik  FARS 210/TAJ 210 and FARS 220/TAJ 220
Advanced Farsi/Tajik FARS 310/TAJ 310 and FARS 320/TAJ 320

KU has several great resources for those interested in learning about Persian language and culture. The KU Persian Club consists of Persian Language students as well as students from or interested in Iran and Persian cultural activities. Each year the KU Persian Club, in collaboration with the KU Middle East Studies Program, Center for Global & International Studies and other KU units hosts the "Persian Culture Festival." The Festival is a week-long series of cultural events that varies from year to year offering activities like film screenings, Persian music concerts, Persian Calligraphy workshops and other such events. These events are always free and open to all KU students, faculty and staff and the Lawrence and Kansas City Community.

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