Persian in Yuan China

Haw, Stephen. 2014. The Persian language in Yuan-Dynasty China: A reappraisal. East Asian History 39. 5–32.

It has often been claimed that Persian was an important lingua franca in the Yuan empire. A recent article by Professor David Morgan has discussed this premise at some length, setting out what seems to be impressive evidence in its favour.[1] For some time, however, I have entertained doubts about the validity of some of this evidence. Although I have no doubt that there were a significant number of Persian speakers in the Yuan empire, of whom a number may have held important official positions, I believe that the Persian language was never a genuine lingua franca in China and Mongolia.