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Farsi (also referred to as "Persian") is an Indo-European language derived from the ancient language of the Persian people, and is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian language family. It is spoken by approximately 62 million people as their native language in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Farsi has had a great influence in the Islamic world as a medium for science and literature, as well as influencing neighboring languages, such as the Turkic languages of Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia. Prior to British colonial rule, Farsi was widely taught as a second language throughout the Indian subcontinent, taking on the role of the language of culture and education in numerous Muslim courts in India.
Since the 19th century, Farsi technical vocabulary has been greatly influenced by Russian, French, and English. The Iranian National Academy of Persian Language and Literature is responsible for monitoring and evaluating these new words.
Farsi and Dari (the form of Persian spoken in Afghanistan) are written with a variant of the Arabic script, with different pronunciation and additional letters. Before Persia was converted to Islam, the Avestan alphabet was used.
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