In and around Washington, D.C., there exists a large community of individuals who left Iran during and immediately after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, most of them because they were closely associated with the regime of the deposed Shah. If you are smart, you will never, ever refer to these people as Iranians. They are Persian, damn proud to be Persian, and those of the older generation may pretend to not even know what an Iranian is.

Not all of the members of the Persian community are even still particularly attached to the legitimist cause, but they are still quite adamant about being Persian and not Iranian.

The Persian language, a quick guide. It is sometimes referred to in English as Farsi, but I can't see why: that's the Persian word for 'Persian', not the English. Anyway, you may call it Farsi if you prefer. It's a descendant of the ancient language in which the inscriptions of Xerxes and Darius were written, and which was closely related to the Avestan language of the Zoroastrian scriptures. What follows refers to modern Persian.

It is an Indo-European language of the Indo-Iranian branch, but has an enormous admixture of Arabic vocabulary. It is written in the Arabic script with a few extra letters (indicated by extra dots etc.) for the non-Arabic sounds p g zh ch.

Here are the Unicode numbers for the extra letters; see my Using Unicode on E2 for the Arabic alphabet in full.

پ  پ    p
چ  چ    ch
ژ  ژ    zh
گ  گ    g

In pronunciation an essential difference must be made between the two vowels a as in 'cat' and â somewhere between 'cart' and 'cot'.

The grammar of modern Persian is remarkably simple and regular, the only difficulty being that verbs have two stems, present and past, and in some cases the relationship to each other is not obviously predictable.

The demonstratives are in 'this', ân 'that'. There is no article as such, but there is an emphatically indefinite suffix -i (and see -râ just below):
ân mard = that man
in zan = this woman
zan ast = it is a woman
mardi = some man or other, any man

For prepositions, 'to' is be-, 'with' is , 'from' is az, 'in' is dar, and 'of' is -e-. A definite object is marked with -râ:
be-zan = to the woman
bâ in mard = with this man
dust-e-zan = the woman's friend
in mard ân zan-râ did = this man saw that woman
mard dust-e-zan-râ did = the man saw the woman's friend

The plural ends in -hâ, and animate nouns can also take -ân. The complicated 'broken plurals' of borrowed Arabic words do exist, but need not be used:
sib = apple, sibhâ = apples
zan = woman, zanhâ or zanân = women
manzel = house, manzelhâ or manâzel = houses

Adjectives are suffixed onto the noun with the 'of' marker -e-:
manzel-e-bozorg = 'a big house'
The comparative and superlative are formed as e.g. bozorgtar 'bigger', bozorgtarin 'biggest'. One of the few irregularities is that khub 'good' makes behtar 'better'.

Verbs come at the end of sentences. The present tense of a verb has the prefix mi- and personal endings.:
minevisam = I write
minevisad = s/he writes
minevisim = we write
minevisid = you write
minevisand = they write
The past tense has an ending of -t- or -d- but there may be other phonetic changes:
neveshtam = I wrote
nevesht = s/he wrote
neveshtim = we wrote
neveshtid = you wrote
neveshtand = they wrote
The negative is formed with a stressed na-: naneveshtam 'I did not write'.

The numerals one to ten are yek do se chahâr panj shesh haft hasht noh dah.

Persians are the most popular of the long haired, pedigree cats. They're considered charming and lovable by most owners. Aristocratic by nature and highly decorative in appearance, these cats are actually the most common among longhairs and they are thought to have been the first longhairs introduced to Europe. Their exact place and time of origin are unknown, however hieroglyphics dated at around 1684 B.C. give some insight as to their ancientness.

Persians, known also as Longhairs or Persian Longhairs, were developed in the UK, by breeding Angoras and longhaired gray cats from Persia together, in the 1800s. Although the first breeding standard called for these cats to be black with blue eyes, Persians are now bred in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns, with orange or copper eyes being the most favored. The original blue-eyed cats were susceptible to deafness and today there are cats with bi-colored eyes, blue and orange or copper. These are prone to being deaf in the ear on the blue-eyed side of the face.

The long hairs give persians a large appearance, which in fact is not at all deceiving. They are powerfully built and their body is positioned lower than usual on their comparatively short, stocky legs. Massive, sometimes tufted, paws support the legs. They have large rounded heads with proportionally small rounded ears and large, wide set eyes, which contribute to their relaxed beauty. At the other end, they have tails that are shorter than average but appear large because the hairs there are just as long as on the rest of the body.

The characteristically silky soft coat is what makes this cat highly prized and also high maintenance. Even the most self-conscious self-cleaning cats require daily care. Because their hair is so long it tangles easily so daily brushing and combing is a must. Also they tend to tear so the owner should wash its face daily.

Aside from routine cleaning, Persians are not that demanding. Although it is commonly recommended that they be kept indoors, Persians are adaptable to, and some favor, the outdoors. They are most naturally at home in a quiet and passive environment, however given a little time they will adapt to almost any home. They are usually loving to their owners, behave well with children, and are tolerable of other cats.

Informational Sources:
The Ultimate Guide To Cat Breeds - ISBN 0-7858-1459-0
The Reader's Digest Illustration Book of Cats - ISBN 0-888-50198-6

A type of raised donut cut into a spiral shape, with a little bit of cinnamon... sort of like a fried cinnamon roll. The most popular variety at the bakery where i work is white frosted with peanut topping, but there are other types available as well.

Per"sian (?), a. [From Persia: cf. It. Persiano. Cf. Parsee, Peach, Persic.]

Of or pertaining to Persia, to the Persians, or to their language.

Persian berry, the fruit of Rhamnus infectorius, a kind of buckthorn, used for dyeing yellow, and imported chiefly from Trebizond. -- Persian cat. Zool. Same as Angora cat, under Angora. -- Persian columns Arch., columns of which the shaft represents a Persian slave; -- called also Persians. See Atlantes. -- Persian drill Mech., a drill which is turned by pushing a nut back and forth along a spirally grooved drill holder. -- Persian fire Med., malignant pustule. -- Persian powder. See Insect powder, under Insect. -- Persian red. See Indian red (a), under Indian. -- Persian wheel, a noria; a tympanum. See Noria.


© Webster 1913.

Per"sian, n.


A native or inhabitant of Persia.


The language spoken in Persia.


A thin silk fabric, used formerly for linings.


4. pl. Arch.

See Persian columns, under Persian, a.


© Webster 1913.

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