Persian vs. Arabic

Bilbo Baggins

Senior Member
American English
Hello:
The Farsi and Arabic alphabets look similar to me. What differences and similarities do they have? I know that Farsi is an Indo-European language and Arabic is Semitic, but are there any similarities in syntax and grammar between the two, possibly by virtue of the geographic proximity of their respective cultures?

Thanks.
 
  • WadiH

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Hello:
    The Farsi and Arabic alphabets look similar to me. What differences and similarities do they have? I know that Farsi is an Indo-European language and Arabic is Semitic, but are there any similarities in syntax and grammar between the two, possibly by virtue of the geographic proximity of their respective cultures?

    Thanks.

    I think a language can affect another language's grammar or syntax when the two languages are overlaid upon each other in the same area (I suppose that's what linguists would call a substratum effect). I don't think it happens as often between languages that simply exist in neighboring regions. I don't think there's much grammatical influence by Farsi on Arabic or vice versa, but there's plenty of shared vocabulary between the two.
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    I agree with Wadi they both have shared vocabulary not grammar. Farsi and many other languages use a modified Arabic script as there are letters in Farsi that do not exist in standard Arabic. Gulf Arabic has more Farsi influence than Levantine or African Arabic, including some sounds, like P and Ch.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    I think a language can affect another language's grammar or syntax when the two languages are overlaid upon each other in the same area (I suppose that's what linguists would call a substratum effect).
    In the case of Persian, Arabic is certainly not a substratum, rather a superstarum, or even better, an adstratum.

    I don't think there's much grammatical influence by Farsi on Arabic or vice versa, but there's plenty of shared vocabulary between the two.
    Agreed, but Persian does have a lot of 'broken' plurals (Arabic plurals), even though some/most of them are in the (long long) process of being replaced by 'Persian' plurals.
    There are also efforts / have been efforts to 'clean' Persian from Arabic (lexical) influence by the Academy of Persian Language and Literature. No need to guess about the overall success :D.

    I'm nevertheless curious about one little phrase in Wikipedia:
    Persian began to borrow many words and structures from Arabic
    I hope somebody can tell a bit more about what is meant by 'stuctures'. I interpret this as grammatical structures (syntax? only syntax?), but I am not sure.

    What the writing is concerned: Persian has 4 extra letters: پ چ گ ژ and some other small differences: word final ی in Persian is never written with two dots under it, as in Arabic (if I understood well).
    There are also some (slight) differences what the numerals are concerned: see here and here, even though the 'Arabic' ones are often used in handwriting, the 'Persian' ones are mostly used in print.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    Flaminius

    hedomodo
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    No they aren't. And there are four of them.... ;)

    ژ — This has three dots above the main shape of the letter.
    گ — This has a long slanting line above the main shape of the letter.
    چ — This has three dots inside the main shape of the letter.
    پ — Three dots beneath.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    No, they are not Arabic letters, you don't see them in any Arabic words. They are regarded as addings to the Arabic letters, to express sounds that don't exist in Arabic.
    Check this Wiki entry.
     

    Bilbo Baggins

    Senior Member
    American English
    No they aren't. And there are four of them.... ;)

    ژ — This has three dots above the main shape of the letter.
    گ — This has a long slanting line above the main shape of the letter.
    چ — This has three dots inside the main shape of the letter.
    پ — Three dots beneath.

    Three dots! I only see one. Maybe I need glasses.......
     

    Alijsh

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    There are also efforts / have been efforts to 'clean' Persian from Arabic (lexical) influence by the Academy of Persian Language and Literature. No need to guess about the overall success :D.
    Do you mean Arabic words from "lexical"? If so, you're wrong Frank. Academy of Persian Language and Literature is not involved in de-Arabization of Persian i.e. replacing Arabic words with Persian ones. I don't have the links at hand but if you like I can send you the links to the PDF files of approved words by Persian Academy and you'll see that they deal with scientific, etc. words that are from European languages.

    are there any similarities in syntax and grammar between the two, possibly by virtue of the geographic proximity of their respective cultures?
    We have paid to it to some extent in this thread: Persian/Arabic/Turkish: Grammatical similarities but it's not a matter of influence. We have had these features even in Middle Persian.

    No, they are not Arabic letters, you don't see them in any Arabic words. They are regarded as addings to the Arabic letters, to express sounds that don't exist in Arabic.
    Check this Wiki entry.
    To complement your words, just as we have so-called "extended Latin", we have extended Arabic. extended Arabic that's used by Persian is called Perso-Arabic (from which Urdu, Ottoman, etc. scripts have been created)
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,

    Do you mean Arabic words from "lexical"? If so, you're wrong Frank. Academy of Persian Language and Literature is not involved in de-Arabization of Persian i.e. replacing Arabic words with Persian ones.
    I used the wrong tenses indeed. I should have written: "There were efforts to 'clean' Persian from Arabic (lexical) influence by the Academy of Persian Language and Literature."
    It was the original aim of the the Academy of Persian Language and Literature to 'clean' Persian and to oust Arabic words. At least if I may believe this and this.

    I don't have the links at hand but if you like I can send you the links to the PDF files of approved words by Persian Academy and you'll see that they deal with scientific, etc. words that are from European languages.
    If it doesn't take too much of your time, I'd really appreciate that!!

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    Alijsh

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    oops. sorry Frank. I'll keep in mind to write all my successive posts to different members in one post.

    At least if I may believe this and this.

    the first link is filtered by the government and the second doesn't give me access. Anyway, Academy doesn't deal with Arabic. Perhaps in the first Academy (pre-revolution) they had such a goal. Here you can read their aims and fields of activity in Persian.

    If it doesn't take too much of your time, I'd really appreciate that!!
    Here you are.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    the first link is filtered by the government
    Ah, okay. Any which way, I can quote up to four lines from it...
    Reza Shah's decision to get rid of Arabic vocabulary items was influenced by his visit to Turkey and meeting with Kemal Atatürk (...). Reza Shah ordered, unrealistically, to have Arabic vocabulary items thrown out of Persian (...).
    The second link leads to a similar explanation from the article "Language Reform in Turkey and Iran", by John R. Perry. Due to our 4 lines limit, I'll leave out references to the Turkish situation:
    ...one of the most controversial features of the programs fostered by (...) Rezah Shah (...) was that of state sponsored language reform characterized chiefly by attempts to "purify" (...) Persian of (its) centuries old accretion of Arabic loanwords.
    Here "Farsi versus Arabic" can be interpreted almost in the same way as "Muhammed Ali versus Frazier" :).
    Both "unrealistically" and "attempt" indicate that the Arabic vocabulary is so deeply embedded in the Persian language that there is no use in ousting it.
    Anyway, Academy doesn't deal with Arabic. Perhaps in the first Academy (pre-revolution) they had such a goal.
    Agreed :).
    I have no idea when Persian/Iranian officials realised that getting rid of Arabic words was rather a silly idea, to put it very mildly. But it would surprise me if it took 40 or so years (up to the Islamic Revolution) to realise that Persian simply cannot be 'purified' from Arabic words.
    Do you have an idea about how much time it took them?
    Here you can read their aims and fields of activity in Persian.
    Thanks for the link!

    One more question about this.
    I am not terribly sure, but as far as I understood, quite some words with Arabic origins do have an Arabic plural, I mean, also in (literary?) Persian. Nevertheless, I have the impression that some/many of those 'broken plurals' are being replaced / are replaced by a Persian plural form.
    If this is true, is it 'promoted' in schools to use 'Persian' plurals in stead of the Arabic plurals? If so, who promotes it?

    Thanks!!!

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     
    Top