With over 100 million speakers worldwide (13th in the world), Persian is an official language in Iran (where it is locally known as Farsi), Afghanistan (where it is locally known as Dari beside Pashto) and Tajikistan (where it is locally known as Tajiki and is written using the Cyrillic alphabet). Persian is also spoken by minorities in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Bahrain. Apart from these countries, the emigration of Persian speakers to the United States, Europe and Australia has caused the formation of considerable language minorities in these regions.

Persian is an Indo-European language, therefore structurally similar to languages like English, French, Russian, and Hindi. The Indo-European language family is the largest language family in the world. The most important branches of this family are: Indo-Iranian, Balto-Slavic, German and Romance. The two languages Arabic and Turkish, although historically in close contact with Persian, are not its relatives.

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