Persian or Farsi is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of theIndo-European languages. It is widely spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and to some extent in Armenia and in Azerbaijan. The Persian language, whose native names are Farsi, Parsi, Dari or Parsi-ye-Dari (Dari Persian), is classified by some linguists as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanid Persia, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of Persian Empire in Achaemenidsera. Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. The Persian language has been a medium for literary and scientific contributions to the eastern half of the Muslim world.
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, Arabic and other languages. It has also exerted a strong influence on South Asian languages, especially Urdu, as well as Hindi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Saraiki, Sylheti, and Bengali.
Persian, until recent centuries, was culturally and historically one of the most prominent languages of the Middle East and regions beyond. For example, it was an important language during the reign of the Moguls in Indian where knowledge of Persian was cultivated and encouraged; its use in the courts of Mogul India ended in 1837, banned by officials of the East Indian Company (British Colonialism). Persian scholars were prominent in both Turkish and Indian courts during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries in composing dictionaries and grammatical works. A Persian Indian vernacular developed and many colonial British officers learned their Persian from Indian scribes.
Persian is the first language of about 55 percent of the population in Iran, and is the country's official language. It is the language of government, the media, and school instruction. Of the rest of Iran's population, 20 percent speak related Western Iranian languages and 25 percent speak Arabic, New Aramaic, Armenian, Georgian, Romany, and Turkic languages.