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It is written in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script, which itself evolved from the Aramaic alphabet.

The Persian language is classified as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenid Empire.

Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality in around 401 BC, which is at a time when Old Persian was the only form of Persian used.

Following the collapse of the Sassanid state, Parsik came to be applied exclusively to (either Middle or New) Persian that was written in the Arabic script.

From about the 9th century onward, as Middle Persian was on the threshold of becoming New Persian, the older form of the language came to be erroneously called Pahlavi, which was actually but one of the writing systems used to render both Middle Persian as well as various other Middle Iranian languages.

Some of the famous works of Persian literature are the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, the works of Rumi, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Panj Ganj of Nizami Ganjavi, the Divān of Hafez and the two miscellanea of prose and verse by Saadi Shirazi, the Gulistan and the Bustan.

Persian is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-European family.

Currently, Voice of America, BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty use "Persian Service" for their broadcasts in the language.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty also includes a Tajik service and an Afghan (Dari) service.Moreover, as a literary language, Middle Persian is not attested until much later, to the 6th or 7th century.And from the 8th century onward, Middle Persian gradually began yielding to New Persian, with the middle-period form only continuing in the texts of Zoroastrianism.Although the "middle period" of the Iranian languages formally begins with the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, the transition from Old to Middle Persian had probably already begun before the 4th century.However, Middle Persian is not actually attested until 600 years later when it appears in the Sassanid era (224–651) inscriptions, so any form of the language before this date cannot be described with any degree of certainty.There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, with the language holding official status in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.