Iranian languages

The Iranian or Iranic languages[1][2] are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples.

Iranian
Iranic
EthnicityIranian peoples
Geographic
distribution
Western Asia, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Proto-languageProto-Iranian
Subdivisions
ISO 639-2 / 5ira
Linguasphere58= (phylozone)
Glottologiran1269

Areas where an Iranian language is either the majority spoken language or has official recognition

The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BC), Middle Iranian (400 BC – 900 AD), and New Iranian (since 900 AD). The two directly attested Old Iranian languages are Old Persian (from the Achaemenid Empire) and Old Avestan (the language of the Avesta). Of the Middle Iranian languages, the better understood and recorded ones are Middle Persian (from the Sasanian Empire), Parthian (from the Parthian Empire), and Bactrian (from the Kushan and Hephthalite empires).

As of 2008, there were an estimated 150–200 million native speakers of the Iranian languages.[3] Ethnologue estimates that there are 86 Iranian languages,[4][5] the largest among them being Persian, Pashto, Kurdish, and the Balochi languages.[6]