Talking Class in Tehroon

by Rasmus Christian Elling , Khodadad Rezakhani
published in MER277

Persian, like any other language, is laced with references to class, both blatant and subtle. With idioms and metaphors, Iranians can identify and situate others, and thus themselves, within hierarchies of social status and privilege, both real and imagined. Some class-related terms can be traced back to medieval times, whereas others are of modern vintage, the linguistic legacy of television shows, pop songs, social media memes or street vernacular. Every day, it seems, an infectious set of phrases appears that make yesterday’s seem embarrassingly antiquated.

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