Iranian languages

Iranian Languages

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Iranian languages

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The Iranian languages (also called Iranic languages) form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples.

The Iranian languages are considered in three stages of Old (??-400 BCE), Middle (400 BCE - 900 CE), and New (afterwards) stages. From the Old Iranian languages the better understood and recorded ones are Old Persian (a language of Achaemenid Iran) and Avestan (the language of Zarathushtra). Middle Iranian languages included Middle Persian (a language of Sassanid Iran) but also Parthian language (a language of Arsacid Iran). New Iranian languages includes many languages including Persian and Kurdish.

Today, there are an estimated 150-200 million native speakers of Iranian languages.The Ethnologue lists 87 Iranian languages. Persian has about 65 million native speakers, Pashto about 50-60 million, Kurdish about 18 million, Lurish about 2.3 million, and Baluchi about 7 million.

The term

The term Iranian language is applied to any language which is "descended from a proto-Iranian parent language". As such these proto-languages were unattested and spoken first and presumably by people/tribes in Central Asia sometime in the late 3rd to early 2nd millennium BCE. The area in which Iranian languages, i.e. descendants of...
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