Local Languages in Iran
The official language of Iran is Persian. Since all schools throughout the country use the Persian language, everybody in Iran can Speak Persian fluently with the exception of very few elderly who live in rural areas. The exact rate of literacy is not exactly clear, because of the difference in literacy definition but the rate of illiteracy is between 3.6% to 14% which are usually in the over 50 years old age group. In big cities this rate is lower.
Beside the official language of Iran, Persian, there are 5 other languages that are spoken throughout the country:
• Turkish/Azeri : This language is commonly spoken in the northwest provinces of Iran. Turkish itself has many dialects with in Iran also, it is spoken with different dialects based on location. Since many Turkish/Azeri speakers have migrated to Tehran, its not strange to hear people talking Turkish/Azeri in Tehran.
• Kurdish: Spoken in the west of Iran, is a Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Syria, Turkey, Armanestan and Turkmenistan.
• Baluchi: This language spoken in southeast Iran in Sistan and Baluchestan province has its own various dialects.
• Armanian: Indo-Europian language, spoken in Armenia. Christians in Iran speak this language.
• Arabic: Entered into Iran 1400 years ago with Islam. Main language in the south along the Persian gulf.
Besides these languages there are a great many dialects that are spoken all of the coutry.
English Language in Iran
Iran which is on the path of becoming a modern country, in the past few decades, English language education has been taken very seriously. The younger generation have relatively high English language abilities. Most tourist that visit Iran are surprised of the number of people who have English language abilities.
Until 1950’s the second official language of Iran was French. Many French words remain in the Persian everyday language. In Iran the months of the calendar are called with their French pronunciation. But for the last 50 years English is the second language of country.
Since in the last 35 years the number of foreigners visiting the country was very low, English translating was not necessary. There for its hard to find English translation on tickers or brochures. You may encounter very funny English translations especially in smaller towns.