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Language InterruptedSigns of Non-Native Acquisition in Standard Language Grammars$
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John McWhorter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309805

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309805.001.0001

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“The Most Atypical Iranian Language”

(p.138) 6 Persian
Language Interrupted

John McWhorter

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares Old and Modern Persian languages, and addresses the question: when did Persian become ‘marvelously simple’? The differences between Persian and its sister languages, historical events that contributed to changes in the Persian language, and genetic evidence are discussed. It is argued that Persian is uniquely abbreviated morphologically amid a vast array of sister languages, to a degree that strongly suggests that something irregular affected its development. The linguistic, historical, and perhaps even genetic evidence combine to indicate that what happened to Persian was a moderate abbreviation similar to language learners' diligent but imperfect renditions of foreign languages practiced in the classroom or abroad.

Keywords:   Persian language, Pashton, Iranian languages, Old Persian, Modern Persian

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