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These correspond to three eras in Iranian history; Old era being the period from sometime before Achaemenids, the Achaemenid era and sometime after Achaemenids (that is to 400–300 BC), Middle era being the next period most officially Sassanid era and sometime in post-Sassanid era, and the New era being the period afterwards down to present day.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.This is the origin of the name Farsi as it is today used to signify New Persian.

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Middle Persian developed the ezāfe construction, expressed through ī (modern ye), to indicate some of the relations between words that have been lost with the simplification of the earlier grammatical system.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.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.There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, with the language holding official status in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty also includes a Tajik service and an Afghan (Dari) service.

This is also the case for the American Association of Teachers of Persian, The Centre for Promotion of Persian Language and Literature, and many of the leading scholars of the Persian language.Farsi is encountered in some linguistic literature as a name for the language, used both by Iranian and by foreign authors.In modern English the word Farsi refers to the language while Parsi (or Parsee) describes Zoroastrians, particularly in South Asia.Middle Persian), this distinction is not evident in Arab commentaries written after that date.Gernot Windfuhr considers new Persian as an evolution of the Old Persian language and the Middle Persian language With the decline of the Abbasids began the reestablishment of Persian national life and Persians laid the foundations for a renaissance in the realm of letters.The Academy of Persian Language and Literature has declared that the name Persian is more appropriate, as it has the longer tradition in western languages and better expresses the role of the language as a mark of cultural and national continuity.