FARHANG-E ZABĀN-E TĀJĪKĪ (Farhangi zaboni tojikī, Tajik Language Dictionary), a descriptive dictionary of classical Persian in two volumes (1,900 pages). It was compiled at the Rudaki Institute of Language and Literature of the Tajik Academy of Sciences and published in 33,000 copies by the Sovetskaya Īntsiklopediya Press (Moscow, 1969). Its compilation started in 1953, and two sample fascicles came out in 1959-60 for public examination. A comprehensive introduction, in both Tajik-Cyrillic and Perso-Arabic scripts, explains the methodology used in the Farhang. There are approximately 45,000 entry terms arranged according to the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet, each followed by an etymological label. Both typical and occasional meanings of words are cited. Of idiomatic expressions only those seldom used are cited. The derivatives and compound and affixed words are listed as entries only if they express a distinct shade of meaning. The most frequent phonological variant, as testified by the classical dictionaries, is taken as the headword, and is accompanied by its orthography in the Persian script. Central Asian pronunciation is generally preferred to that used currently in Persia proper.

To overcome the difficulty of orthographic, and especially homonymic, correspondence between the Persian and Cyrillic writing systems (see H. Borjian, “Sāḵtemān-e ḵaṭṭ-e Tājīkī,” Nāma-ye farhangestān, forthcoming) a key-list (meftāhá) is appended at the end of the second volume, rearranging the entry terms in the Persian alphabetic order (approximately twenty-six thousands words), which face the Cyrillic forms with all their spelling variants. Often two, and occasionally three, specimen sentences from works of classical Persian poetry and prose are cited for each word. The examples, written down on some half-a-million index cards in the course of compilation, are extracted from literary sources ranging from the 10th to the early 20th century.

The list of sources includes unpublished manuscripts. Earlier sources are preferred over later ones. Moreover, the Farhang contains words used by Transoxianian authors since the 15th century and therefore not found in classical dictionaries. The most important sources for the examples of difficult Arabic words are Rawżat al-ṣafā and the works of Aḥmad Dāneš (q.v.). Citation from older dictionaries is less common. Classical farhangs (see DICTIONARIES) used most frequently are Loḡat-e fors, Borhān-e qāṭeʿ (q.v.), Bahār-e ʿajam (particularly for examples), and Ḡīāṯò al-loḡāt (particularly for phonologic variants). The modern Persian dictionaries utilized are those of Dehḵodā, Nafīsī, and the volumes of Moʿīn which had been published by then. Ṣadr-al-Dīn ʿAynī’s (q.v.) Luḡati nimtafsilī baroi zaboni adabii tojik (Loḡat-e nīm-tafṣīlī barā-ye zabān-e adabī-e tājīk; compiled in the late 1930s), however, was apparently not available to the compilers; its publication was long delayed, until 1976.

The Farhang is a practical tool for the general user, more balanced and methodical and better exemplified than dictionaries compiled in modern Persia. It also shows the usefulness of a Roman-based script in Persian lexicography (for lexicography in Tajikistan, see H. Borjian, “Farhang-nevīsī dar Tājīkestān,” Irān-æenāsī, forthcoming).


Bibliography: Given in the text.

(Habib Borjian)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999