By Brian Spooner, William L. Hanaway

Persian has been a written language because the 6th century B.C. in simple terms chinese language, Greek, and Latin have similar histories of literacy. even though Persian script changed—first from cuneiform to a changed Aramaic, then to Arabic—from the 9th to the 19th centuries it served a broader geographical zone than any language in global heritage. It was once the first language of management and belles lettres from the Balkans lower than the sooner Ottoman Empire to valuable China below the Mongols, and from the northern branches of the Silk highway in valuable Asia to southern India less than the Mughal Empire. Its heritage is as a result an important for knowing the functionality of writing in global history.

Each of the chapters of Literacy within the Persianate World opens a window onto a specific level of this background, ranging from the reemergence of Persian within the Arabic script after the Arab-Islamic conquest within the 7th century A.D., in the course of the institution of its administrative vocabulary, its literary culture, its growth because the language of exchange within the 13th century, and its adoption via the British imperial management in India, earlier than being diminished to the fashionable function of nationwide language in 3 international locations (Afghanistan, Iran, and Tajikistan) within the 20th century. concluding chapters evaluate the heritage of written Persian with the parallel histories of chinese language and Latin, with distinct awareness to the way in which its use was once limited and channeled through social practice.

This is the 1st comparative research of the ancient position of writing in 3 languages, together with in non-Roman scripts, over a interval of 2 and a part millennia, delivering a chance for reassessment of the paintings on literacy in English that has collected during the last part century. The editors take complete benefit of this chance of their introductory essay.

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Extra resources for Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order

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Affected facets of speech include grammatical forms, pronunciation, and vocabulary.

Persian in particular played a role in the cultural awareness of the eastern Islamic world that Arabic could not have played in the same way because Arabic did not have the same historical protocols. The academic discussion of Persian writing has been complicated by the distinctive cultural value of calligraphy. We have found it very difficult to engage native readers and writers in any objective, value-neutral discussion of writing, outside the value scheme of calligraphic appraisal. In this inquiry, therefore, we must also take account of the significance of this value scheme in the areas we are investigating.

We may assume in general that the organization of words on a page, and of whole documents, evolves among users in ways that amplify information and signal intentions (viz. the subject matter of the subfield of diplomatics in European medieval studies). Examples include conventional opening and closing formulae, or phrases such as va amma to signal a change of topic. There appear to have been cross-cultural influences in court behavior in relation to writing between (for example) the Safavids, the Ottomans, and the Tudors, and there are organizational parallels between Islamic documents and Western medieval documents.

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