Afghanistan has two official languages - Pashto and Dari. Pashto is an entirely different language from Farsi, but Dari and Farsi are two accents of the same language.
The terms Farsi and Dari are sometimes used interchangeably, or the language is called Persian in the English language. In Afghanistan, Dari is commonly spoken in Kabul, the capital city, and it’s also the native language in the northern and western parts of the country.
Farsi or Persian is the only official language of Iran. This is despite the fact that Iran has a large population made up of many ethnicities. Persian is widely understood by the Iranian people, and the language belongs to the Indo-Iranian language family. In Iran, Persian is also the language used for formal communications and literary purposes.
When you search for what countries speak Farsi, Tajikistan is often mentioned. That’s because the country’s official language Tajik is considered a modern dialect of Farsi or Persian. The Tajik language contains grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation that’s similar to traditional Farsi.
However, Tajik evolved from the Farsi spoken in other countries, such as Iran and Afghanistan, due to geographical isolation, political borders, and the influence of neighboring countries.
Uzbekistan is a highly multicultural and multilingual country where Tajik is one of the commonly used languages. Tajik is a Farsi dialect that’s also the official language of Tajikistan, a neighboring country. Some people in Uzbekistan also speak another Farsi-based language called Bukhari or Bhukarian. This is a Jewish dialect that shares many similarities with the Tajik language.
Many Iranian communities in Russia speak Farsi or Persia. This is because Iranians have a long history of immigrating to Russia, and today these Persian communities can be divided into the Tats and the Mountain Jews. The Tat language is called Tat Persian, while the language of the Mountain Jews is called Judeo-Tat or Juhuri, another form of the Persian language.
The official language of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani, but most Azerbaijanis speak or understand Farsi. Some of these are Iranian Azerbaijanis, who are Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity who speak both the official language and Farsi.
Although the official language of the United Emirates is Arabic, it’s also included on the list of what countries speak Farsi. That’s because the country has a large expatriate community of Iranians, who are some of the first people to immigrate to the UAE. As a result, Farsi is a commonly spoken language in places where Iranian minority groups are found, such as Dubai.
Similar to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain uses Arabic as its official language, but there’s a population of Persian immigrants that speaks Farsi. The Bahrain Persian communities are referred to as the Ajam. The migration of Persians into Bahrain has been going on for hundreds of years, such that Bahrani Arabic, the indigenous language, contains many words borrowed from Farsi.
Farsi is now only a minority language in Pakistan, though it used to be the language of the Royals of the Muslim Mughal Empire. The British disturbed this status quo, and Farsi no longer serves as the cultural and official language. Instead, Farsi has now mainly been replaced by Urdu.
Eight countries officially speak some version of Farsi, including Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.