Language, Education and Development: Case Studies from the Southern Contexts

George J. Sefa Dei and Alireza Asgharzadeh

Born into an Azerbaijani family in north-western Iran, Alireza Asgharzadeh completed his primary and secondary education in southern (Iranian) Azerbaijan during the Pahlavi monarchism. Since to read and write in Azeri language was prohibited in Iran, he was forced to complete his education in the dominant Persian language. Like millions of other non-Persian citizens of Iran, from the very beginning he learned the pain and agony of not being able to read and write in his own mother tongue. In essence, like the majority of Iran’s citizens, he became a ‘linguistic orphan’ (Baraheni, 1977), a speaker of an ‘orphan tongue’ (Anzaldua, 1987).

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