How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

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Dtmont
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How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby Dtmont » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:41 am

I am wondering just how similar Tajik and Iranian Persian are. Could a Persian speaker with no experience hearing a Tajik accent be able to understand them? Would it even be worth learning Tajik if I also would want to speak to people from Iran? Comparing the languages to English would it be more like British English or something like Scots?
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Re: How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby Speakeasy » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:09 am

Although I have never studied either of these languages, some time ago, and for reasons which I can no longer recall, it seems that I bookmarked the following discussion on Quora :

What is the difference between Farsi, Tajik and Dari? Are they mutually intelligible?
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-Farsi-Tajik-and-Dari-Are-they-mutually-intelligible

Moreover, it seems that I’ve done this more than once! Actually, there are some valuable comments in the linked discussion threads which pertain to your question.

Dari vs Farsi - LLORG - August 2017
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6499

Persian, and why you can’t learn to speak it - LLORG - March 2016
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&p=27465&sid=c539eb05cb4e452efd0c3586f0f6732d#p27465


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Re: How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby sherbert » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:38 am

I am a non-native Persian (Farsi) speaker, and in response to your question I decided to watch Tajik footballer Nura Davronov's press conference from Serbia and I understood about 90%, never having studied the Tajik language myself.

I suspect that Davronov is a Russian speaker, so that would have some bearing as well, so it's kind of like Persian being squeezed through a Russian funnel.

However, the pronunciation deviates from the standard "Persian". For example, the Tajik word for "athlete" is "varzeshgaar", but the Farsi pronunciation is "varzeshkaar". Also the pronunciation of the Tajik verb "to be gathered" is markedly different from the Persian.

I have also at times been able to understand the Dari language from TV programs about Afghanistan. The Dari example on "Wikitongues" I found quite easy to understand.

So, superfically, at least Tajik and Farsi are mutually intelligible, hoverer Tajik sounds more Central Asian than Iranian. Tajik is also spoken in the Chinese province of Taxkorgan and I would be curious myself to know if that dialect sounds similar.
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Re: How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby Saim » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:38 am

sherbert wrote:So, superfically, at least Tajik and Farsi are mutually intelligible, hoverer Tajik sounds more Central Asian than Iranian. Tajik is also spoken in the Chinese province of Taxkorgan and I would be curious myself to know if that dialect sounds similar.


The languages of the Chinese Tajiks (Sarikoli and Wakhi) don’t even belong to the same branch of Iranian as Persian. They don’t have anything to do with the Tajiks of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan other than the name. I doubt their languages are more mutually intelligble with Persian than Pashto is.
Last edited by Saim on Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby nooj » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:26 am

You can try for yourself here:



The Pamir languages are definitely not intelligible for a Persian speaker.

As for Tajik, Dari and Iranian Persian, see this entirely non-scientific but fun comparison. Really, they should have talked in Persian all the way through and given English subtitles, because the three standard varieties are very comprehensible when spoken. The mutual intelligibility increases once speakers actually talk to each other. Iran has quite a lot of Afghan immigrants, so at least some Iranians have exposure to Dari.

The Tajik lady is a native speaker of a closely related language to Sarikoli, Shugni and usefully gives examples for her language alongside Persian.

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Re: How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby Gordafarin2 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:17 am

My personal experience - not a native speaker, studied Iranian Persian formally for 4 years, and spent 2 months studying in Tajikistan while I was at a relatively low level.

The formal registers are very close, and it's mainly the vowels that differ. What's interesting is that Tajik (and I think Dari/Afghan Persian as well) retains a long i vs long e vowel difference that have merged in Iranian Persian. So in Persian, shir means both lion and milk. In Tajik, sher is lion and shir is milk.

A lot of everyday words in Tajik are different from Iranian Persian. Sometimes these are words that sound old-fashioned/literary in Persian but still used in Tajik, and a native speaker would be able to figure it out - khurok/khoraak for food, kalon/kalaan for big, hechgoh/hichgaah for never. Others come from Uzbek or Russian or other places.

It was a big shock for me visiting Tajikistan with the purpose of studying Persian, and find the people around me had a different word for hello, goodbye, thank you, food, family, big, small... nearly every common word was different, unless they specifically tried to speak 'adabi' with me. But I caught on quickly :)

People from both countries can appreciate the classic poetry of Ferdowsi, Rudaki, Moulana etc, and an Iranian and a Tajik should have no problem communicating if they speak a little formally. But I think if you dropped someone from Tehran into the zaboni kucha of Dushanbe, they would have some trouble at first!
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Re: How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby IronMike » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:17 pm

Many years ago I was helping someone read a "Russian" note on a piece of paper they found. (The page was filled with "Cyrillic" which is why they thought it was Russian.) It wasn't any Russian I'd ever heard, but as I was reading it, another friend, who is a native Farsi speaker, came over and said "I didn't know you knew Farsi, Mike!" Turned out I was reading Tajik.
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Re: How similar are Tajik and Iranian Persian(Farsi)?

Postby nooj » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:06 am

Another video, this time by a learner that comes to the same conclusions.

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