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Tajik or Tadjik (natively Тоҷикӣ, TojikÝ, تاجیکی) is a descendant of the Persian language spoken in Central Asia. It is an Indo-European language, more specifically part of the Iranian language group. Speakers of Tajik live mostly in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan (the "Tajik" language spoken by approximately 30,000 people near the Tajikistan border in China is in fact a quite different Pamir language also called Sarikoli .) Tajik is the official language of Tajikistan.
Tajik is an offspring of the Persian language, so close that some consider it a dialect of Persian. Historically, it was considered the local dialect of Persian spoken by the Tajik ethnic group in Central Asia; when the Soviet Union imposed the use of the Latin script in 1928, and later the Cyrillic script, it came to be considered a separate language in Tajikistan, partly for political reasons. (In Afghanistan, Tajiks continued to use the Arabic script.) The language has diverged somewhat from Persian as spoken in Afghanistan and Iran, because of political borders and the influence of Russian; however, a transcribed Tajik text can in general easily be read and understood by an Afghan or Iranian Persian speaker, and vice versa. The common origin of the two languages is underscored by the Tajiks' claim to such famous writers as Omar Khayyam, Firdausi, and Ali Shir Navai .
The most important Tajik-speaking cities of Central Asia, namely Samarkand and Bukhara, are in present-day Uzbekistan. There have been claims that the speakers of the language have been oppressed by the Uzbekistan's government, and were forced to speak in Uzbek in public, or otherwise would be fined.
In China, Tajik has no official written form. Most Chinese "Tajik" speakers actually speak the Sariqul (or Sarik÷li) language, which, though called "Tajik", is no more closely related to Tajik than the other Pamir languages, and use Uyghur and Chinese to communicate with people of other nationalities in the area.
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