Tajik (Tajik: Забони тоҷикӣ, Zaboni tojikī, [z̪a̝ˈbɔ̝(ː)ni̞ t̞ʰɔ̝dʒiˈkʰiː]), also called Tajiki Persian (Tajik: форси́и тоҷикӣ́, forsii tojikī, [fɔ̝rˈs̪iji̞ t̞ʰɔ̝dʒiˈkʰiː]) or Tajiki, is the variety of Persian spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan by Tajiks. It is closely related to neighbouring Dari of Afghanistan with which it forms a continuum of mutually intelligible varieties of the Persian language. Several scholars consider Tajik as a dialectal variety of Persian rather than a language on its own. The popularity of this conception of Tajik as a variety of Persian was such that, during the period in which Tajik intellectuals were trying to establish Tajik as a language separate from Persian, prominent intellectual Sadriddin Ayni counterargued that Tajik was not a "bastardised dialect" of Persian. The issue of whether Tajik and Persian are to be considered two dialects of a single language or two discrete languages has political sides to it.
|Native to||Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran|
|8.1 million (6.4 million in Tajikistan, 2012 UNSD) (2012)|
|Cyrillic, Latin, Persian (historically), Hebrew (by Bukharan Jews), Tajik Braille|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Rudaki Institute of Language and Literature|
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|History and culture|
By way of Early New Persian, Tajik, like Iranian Persian and Dari Persian, is a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE), itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids (550–330 BC).
Tajik is one of the two official languages of Tajikistan, the other being Russian as the official interethnic language. In Afghanistan (where the Tajik minority forms the principal part of the wider Persophone population), this language is less influenced by Turkic languages, is regarded as a form of Dari, and as such, has co-official language status. The Tajik of Tajikistan has diverged from Persian as spoken in Afghanistan and Iran due to political borders, geographical isolation, the standardisation process and the influence of Russian and neighbouring Turkic languages. The standard language is based on the northwestern dialects of Tajik (region of the old major city of Samarqand), which have been somewhat influenced by the neighbouring Uzbek language as a result of geographical proximity. Tajik also retains numerous archaic elements in its vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar that have been lost elsewhere in the Persophone world, in part due to its relative isolation in the mountains of Central Asia.