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Languages of Iran: Overview and Critical Assessment

  • Sanan MoradiEmail author
Reference work entry

Abstract

Iran is a linguistically diverse country. Persian (Farsi) is the language of the majority and the official language of the state. Other than Persian, and in order of the estimated number of speakers, the languages of Iran include Azeri, Kurdish, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Luri, Arabic, Balochi, and Turkmen; smaller languages such as Qashqai, Taleshi, Baadi, and numerous other local languages. Moreover, various dialects and subbranches of different languages add further diversity to Iran’s linguistic geography. Deeply rooted in history, different languages in Iran play crucial roles in various regional and ethno-national identities in the country. Since its formation, however, the modern state in Iran has attempted to change the country’s linguistic landscape in favor of Persian. In its efforts to build a homogenized “nation-state,” the Iranian state has deployed various mechanisms such as standardized universal education in Persian, monopolizing the media, and demographic change through internal migration. These efforts have in turn led to the augmentation of linguistic minorities’ sense of identity, and therefore, intensifying their struggles for preserving their languages.

Keywords

Iran Language State Minorities 

Notes

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA

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