Persian or Farsi: Blogalization, the multilingual blog, answers the question I’ve been meaning to ask: Is it Persian or Farsi?
I was convinced that Persian is the proper way of refering to the official language of Iran (there are a lot of Azeri/Turkish speaking Iranians but it is not the official language.) Persian has its own historical connotation in Greek/Western culture. There is no point to change the word to Farsi and lose all that connection to the history, which goes back to Persian/Greek interaction.
History: Farsi is a relatively new word. The word refering by Iranians to the language is/was Parsi, but after Arab invasion at 7 AD it was turned to Farsi because Arabic doesn’t have the letter P. Even though Arab ruling Iran lasted only two centuries, since lots of Arabic word entered Persian and also script changed to Arabic, some Iranians kept refering to their language Farsi. However, most of the poets still refer to it as Parsi.
Persian is really a weird language because its structure is Indo-European. It’s basic words are Indo-European like: Father(Pedar), Door(Dar), Mother(Maadar), … but at the same time has been enriched by words and story telling constructs of semitic languages(Arabic/Hebrew). It has lots borrowed words from Arabic, French and recently English. The irregularity of the grammar is as bad as English, not something like Russian or Arabic.
I was going to say “I am conviced” in my first sentenced. The moral of story is that Persian is more appropriate reference.
“… language is a social construct. It is fluid. Defining of and yet defined by the very individuals who use it.”
Has anyone told the language police in Paris of this sentiment?
Yeah, but “Farsi” is a cooler name. “Persian” sounds like a cat or a rug.
Now if Iran were called “Persia” it would make more sense. But I’ve never understood why it stopped being called that in the first place. Iran either sounds like a punchline of a joke, or a Flock of Seagulls song.
Persia was later named Iran through the Shah’s attempt to gain favor from the Nazi’s. The root of Iran is Aryan, and the Shah wished to emphasize the “aryaness” of the Persians by changing the name to Iran. This of course was all based on the advice of Iran’s ambassador to Germany at the time. Ironically, Iranian diaspora who wish to associate themselves with the monarchy call themselves “Persians.” Nevertheless I agree with Mehdi. The correct lexicon for the language is “Persian”. Saying Iranians speak Farsi is like saying Mexicans speak Mexican.
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