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Introduction to Afghan Persian (Dari) – Part 1: General remarks and phonology

Posted  27 Oct 2020

Persian (referred to as ‘Dari’) is one of the two official languages of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, alongside Pashto. The modern territory of Afghanistan constitutes what is often referred to as ‘Greater Khorasan’ by some scholars and cultural activists and was the centre of Persian literary and cultural activities and Perso-Islamic learning right from …

Sufi Themes and Imagery through Mawlānā’s Naynāma: Part 3

Posted  19 Oct 2020

Picking up where we left off a few weeks ago, Iskandar returns to guide us through the Naynama, dealing with various themes and images as we go, from fish in water, to infinity.   در غم ما روزها بی‌گاه شد روزها با سوزها همراه شد روزها گر رفت گو رو باک نیست تو بمان ای …

A Short Introduction to the Persian Metre (ʿarūż) – part 3

Posted  23 Sep 2020

After two weeks of initiation to ʿarūż, we are ready for some practice. This week, we will read some of the most famous lines from classical Persian poetry and determine their metres.   In any classical Persian poem, the metre (وزن vazn, which literally means ‘weight’ in Arabic) remains consistent throughout. The first tip, therefore, …

A Short Introduction to the Persian Metre (عروض ʿarūż) – part 2

Posted  23 Sep 2020

Last week I talked about how the Persian metre is based on syllable length, and what short, long, and extra-long syllables are. Analysing a line of poetry down to syllables, and a syllable down to its consonant(s) and vowel, however, is a western methodology that has also been embraced by modern Iranians and Turks. Before …

A Short Introduction to the Persian Metre (عروض ʿarūż) – part 1

Posted  23 Sep 2020

Before the birth of blank verse with modernism, poetry across the world was written according to fixed rhythmic structures, referred to as ‘metres’ in English, from the Greek word μέτρον (métron) ‘measure’. The concept consists of measuring the number of syllables per line and the length (when it applies) of each syllable, so as to …

Sufi Themes and Imagery through Mawlānā’s Naynāma: Part 2

Posted  23 Sep 2020

Picking up where we left off a couple of weeks ago, Iskandar takes us through the next lines of Mawlana’s Masnavi, with a close line by line reading interspersed with discussion of the wider themes and imagery that run through the text.   آتش است این بانگ نای و نیست باد هر که این آتش …

Sufi Themes and Imagery through Mawlānā’s Naynāma: Part 1

Posted  02 Jul 2020

This week, let us get away from grammar points and read some real classical poetry. Classical Persian poetry, although written in a language far more accessible to speakers of Modern Persian than Middle English texts are to speakers of Modern English, can be difficult, not only due to the grammar, but also because of the …

Introduction to Tajik Persian 4 – Differences in Grammar

Posted  26 Jun 2020

The Persian language, at its core, represents a continuum of regional dialects standardised in history through convergence and literary prestige, and in modern times through nation building. Although Iranian Persian, Afghan Persian, and Tajik Persian came from one and same literary standard moulded through a long history of common usage, the three Persian-speaking nation states …

Tips for reading classical poetry 3 – the little things to watch out for

Posted  18 Jun 2020

I have named this week’s post such, for what I am going to talk about is a collection of miscellaneous differences between Classical and Modern Persian usages which are hard to categorise. The words and grammatical points addressed in this post can sometimes be confusing to learners of Persian, who do not necessarily learn them …

Iskandar Ding: Introduction to Tajik Persian 3 – Differences in Vocabulary

Posted  12 Jun 2020

Although formal Tajik and formal Iranian are largely identical in terms of vocabulary, many differences exist in everyday words. To go through every difference would be out of the scope of this blog post, so this week we will learn about some of the most basic and interesting differences which will help you communicate more …