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Responding to an old post (see below) I was under the impression that there were several kinds of Persian: Farsi, Dari, etc. If we use the word Persian, how does someone know to which one we are referrring? I have seen it written as Persian (Farsi) to make that clear. Is there a cultural reason why Persian is preferable?

Khodadad Rezakhani Mar-19-03 3:28AM Something I want to ask you to bring into attention. English has its own names for other languages: Eliniki is called Greek, Deutsch is German, and so on. About the name of the language of Iran: the English name is Persian, a correct name based on the rules of English. However, there has been a wide use of the word Farsi in main stream media (and even the computer world). Farsi is the local name for the language, and as we don’t say “I speak Espanol” when conversing in English, we shan’t say Farsi either. Please point out this matter in your weblog.

  • April 7, 2006
  • Posted by manuia
  • Filed in Misc

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I do agree with Manuia and think this issue is all about cultural guilt. The renaming of places like Peking and Bombay is another example of this. Nobody expects the speakers of other languages to get their tongues round our place names, or our language (inglés, inglesa, anglais etc.) so why should we? Speakers of other languages call these things names that work for them. Is it really about showing the natives of these countries that we are not racist or culturally dominant. Who makes these decisions anyway? Keep to the English version and don't let the PC crowd play their game.

bwh Apr-13-2006

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I don't know much about why so many people have starting using "Farsi." Linguists, however, have been using it for years. That's because a distinction is made between older and more literary forms of the language, and the modern, common version. There's no poitical correctness involved; these same linguists, when speaking in English, refer to "German" rather than "Deutsch." And really, what would we gain by using "Persian," beyond people thinking that there still is a country called "Persia?"
As for "Beijing," that was pretty much how "Peking" was supposed to have been pronounced all along. "Peking" was a phonetic spelling using a method of Romanization in which letters with apostophes after them were voiceless, and ones without were voiced. Since [b] is a voiced [p], and [g] is a voiced [k], we should have been saying at least "Beging" all along. I'm not sure where the "j" sound came from, but we can hardly say that we should keep using a pronunciation that was always incorrect even in our own spelling system.

David_Fickett-Wilbar Apr-15-2006

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I truly believe that Cheney is the worst bastard we've ever had as vice-president and Rumsfeld is over and above the biggest damn fool and fascist we've ever had as Secy of Defense but the Idiot In The White House is beyond belief.

How long will it take for the American people to finally realize what a mendacious liar and poltroon they've elected? Gore who suffered from a stiffness and pomposity also was/is intelligent and moral. What a difference!

Can we impeach Karl Rove from the office we didn't elect him to?

BLUMMIS Apr-16-2006

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While I wholeheartedly agree with Barnegat, this is hardly the time or the place. OK, maybe it is the right time...but not the place. Regarding Persian/Farsi... I agree that the regular English term should be Persian, but I see no problem with using Farsi to distinguish between various forms of the language. Actually, there seems to be a trend towards using native words for countries, cities, and languages (for example, Iran instead of Persia), and this will probably continue. I see no reason to fight it. In fact, in a way it's more accurate than using our "English" terms, many of which were coined via mistakes in transliteration or pronunciation.

Scott_Livingston Apr-21-2006

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I think it is only logical to use the name of the specific dialect/language that you are trying to refer to if you want to be understood. Since there are multiple dialects/languages used in Iran, why not say Farsi just so people know which one you're talking about?

But it is strictly a cultural phenomenon related to the group of people you're most likely to interact with and your personal feelings. If I am around my family in the south, it would probably be easier to talk about speaking "Chinese" but I choose to differentiate between Mandarin and Cantonese (and other dialects if I knew any of them) because I want them to understand that they are vastly different languages. Even though the Chinese government chooses to call them dialects - but that is a whole other (political) story.

Jeremy2 Apr-27-2006

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I really agree with Jeremy about the cultural complications of the speakers and listeners involved in any instance of language usage. Years ago I lived in Los Angeles, which is home to many immigrants from Iran who migrated there about the time of the fall of the Shah.
My impression at the time was that these people, who formed a fairly tight community, presented themselves as 'Persian' rather than 'Iranian' and spoke 'Persian' rather than....(the word 'Farsi' was not so much in current use at the time, but I suspect for continuity sake they just used 'Persian'.) My suspicion continues to be that this community used these terms in order to distinguish themselves from the politics and connotations of the post-Shah era in Iran. Perhaps they felt embarrassed that their country had been taken over by religious extremists, and it is here that I have to say I sort of know what that feels like (by way of agreeing with our vociferous Barnegat). If only we 'Americans' had a similar method of distinguishing ourselves from the 'bible-thumpers' who contribute so much to the American image abroad.

On a side note, while traveling in Latin America I've found it necessary to never identify myself as 'American' (since they are sensitive to the idea that Americans refers to all inhabitants of the Americas) but rather as "estadounidense", or if feeling like being comically self-disparaging, "pinche gringo". Even Mexicans can rightfully claim to be "North American" although this term is most commonly used by Canadians to describe the culture of English speaking Canada and the U.S.

anti-hygienist Apr-30-2006

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Farsi or Persian ? (CHN) [in English]
By Pejman Akbarzadeh.

Persian or Farsi? (PersianDirect)
By Ali Moslehi Moslehabadi

"FARSI", recently appeared language! (CAIS-SOAS)
By Prof. Ehsan Yarshater.

Persian, not farsi (Iran Heritage)
By Fereshteh Davaran.

"FARSI" or "PERSIAN"? What Is the English Name of Our Language? (Payvand) [in English]
By Pejman Akbarzadeh.

IRAN or PERSIA? FARSI or PERSIAN? (Iran Heritage) [in English]
By Pejman Akbarzadeh.

"FARSI" or "PERSIAN"? (Payvand) [in English]
By Pejman Akbarzadeh.

The announcement of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature (Wikipedia) [in English]

Persian or Farsi? (Iranian)
By Kamran Talattof.

"FARSI", recently appeared language! (PersianDirect)
By Prof. Ehsan Yarshater.

Technical Terminology

Similar articles in Persian: [ in Persian] [in Persian] [in Persian] [in Persian]

Sassan May-25-2006

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hey i am persian ( iranian)
persian is the ancient word used for the language from a long time ago. recently the official name for was changed to farsi. people usually say "persian" cuz they are used to it and also it sounds nicer. Also, persian was the first name for it. but refering to as farsi is also fine. Persian comes from "Pars" which was the name of iran in ancient time which is refered to as " anicent persia'.

dorna May-05-2007

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would you please adwise.I am looking for a dictionary which showes the only non-arabic words can be used inorder to correspond and write letters in persian.I believe not too ling ago it was a site from someone from Belgium showing pesian words instead arbic words,and I lost the a way to find it.Would you be kind and to find me a list of words that can be used instead arabic.thank you very much.J.P

jpouladian Apr-28-2008

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searching for the name of girl baby the word start from g and p pls help me out in this matter
thank u
asgar ali

asgar4ali Dec-08-2008

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The reason we don't like the word "Farsi" I believe is: the actual word is Parsi and in Arabic language "p" doesn't exist so when Islamic Arabs attacked Iran and stayed for along time cuz they couldn't pronounce "P" they were saying Farsi instead of Parsi so after few hundred years of occupying Iran b4 they got kicked out, the word of Farsi stayed I hope the F word goes back to them to have fun with it

Shahram iravani Apr-23-2017

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