I know that the Persian language family has three branches: Persian, Dari and Tajik-Persian.

Is the Persian of Iran mutually intelligible with Tajik?

And how does the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet differ from the Russian Cyrillic alphabet?

  • 4
    This are many questions in one post. Some of your questions are easily answered using wikipedia (e.g. the alphabet, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tajik_alphabet). It remains the question of similarity and mutual intelligibility of Tajik and Persian. Feb 15, 2016 at 13:00
  • 1
    The question "how similar are languages X and Y" is not answerable. There is no measure of absolute similarity for languages. Languages might have the same set of phonemes, but different grammars. Or similar grammars but very different lexicons, etc.
    – MGN
    Feb 15, 2016 at 18:32
  • 4
    Note that a writing system is not a fundamental property of a language. Within the last hundred years, Tajik has been written in three completely different alphabets.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 15, 2016 at 22:14
  • "Pari" should be "Dari".
    – fdb
    Feb 18, 2016 at 14:16
  • @ColinFine вритинк ис а нецесити фор аны вритен лангуаге ин интернатионал дискоурсе. 转录 ис фундаментали инадекват унлес девисед фор тхе експрес пурпос. You might say that reading is not fundamental, but that's definitely not true in the present context.
    – vectory
    Feb 6, 2022 at 8:29

2 Answers 2


Yes, the standard forms of the Persian of Iran, Afghan Persian, and Tajiki are mutually understandable. They are about as different as British and American English. But this does not mean that all dialects are likely to be understood in the other countries, or even in different regions of the same country.


Yes, modern standard Tajik, Dari and Iranian Persian are mutually intelligible.

All three descend from Middle Persian. In some cases the Tajiki variant is actually truer to older or more formal Persian.

The differences in language names and alphabets are largely political, or social, not linguistic, and has changed over time.

The variants do differ in phonology, grammar and vocabulary, especially in informal speech. Notably, each name covers dialects that also differ significantly. (For example, Tajik in China is better grouped among Pamiri languages.)

The Tajik Cyrillic alphabet is still the current standard de facto alphabet in Tajikistan and other post-Soviet Republics where Tajik Persian is used.

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There are now 5 letters not found in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.

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There are also a few letters found in Russian Cyrillic not used in Tajik Cyrillic.

Necessarily, the precise pronunciation of all the letters differs from Russian.

In the past there were other versions of the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet, and Tajik has also been written in Latin, Perso-Arabic and Hebrew script.

  • Your comment "the Tajiki variant is actually truer to older or more formal Persian" could use some specification; it is not clear what you mean by "truer". Feb 4, 2022 at 11:30
  • It means "more similar to". Feb 5, 2022 at 13:43

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