Persian/Farsi: A correct English name of the language

Bienvenidos

Senior Member
USA
Afghanistan/USA
Split from here.

PS - I feel like it's my duty as a native speaker to tell everyone to stop calling Persian Farsi, because it's really Persian. Sorry to be a bother. :) Persian, Persian, Persian. :) I have written "Persian/Farsi" before just in case some people don't recognize the word PERSIAN but from now on I'm starting my campaign...my quest for correctness, shall I say. Sorry to be a bother. :)
 
  • Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    PS - I feel like it's my duty as a native speaker to tell everyone to stop calling Persian Farsi, because it's really Persian. Sorry to be a bother. :) Persian, Persian, Persian. :) I have written "Persian/Farsi" before just in case some people don't recognize the word PERSIAN but from now on I'm starting my campaign...my quest for correctness, shall I say. Sorry to be a bother. :)
    Is "Iranian" O.K.?
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    Bien, I am tad confused. What are the uses of the word Farsi then?
    None, in English. If we were talking in PERSIAN, I would say, " Šomâ Fârsi balat astin?" which means, "Do you speak Persian?"

    The equivalent is, ¿Habla español? which translates as, "Do you speak Spanish?"

    Farsi is nothing more than the name of the Persian language in the Persian language. It should play no role in the international use of the language. Even if the most trusted American newspaper says otherwise, it's wrong, because the organization that regulates the language (similar to the Real Academia Española) states that Farsi is wrong and Persian is the correct term for international use in the English language.

    I'm not aware of any other language that has had this problem with it's name in English. It's just that Persian and Farsi are such different names that Persian speakers who don't know the correct term in English assume(d) that Farsi was the correct term, which it isn't. So somehow it streamed into the English vernacular, but it's not correct.
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    Interesting. I have heard numerous times how Iranis themselves called their language Farsi in their conversations.
    I know, there are varieties though.
    Most of the time that is because they do not know that Farsi is actually translated as, "Persian" into English. And if they do know that, they probably don't know that the correct term, as dictated by the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, is Persian. The Academy has published a report about this subject and they, along with world scholars, acknowledge "Persian" as the correct term.

    It's not an issue of "correctness" but an issue of stubbornness, I believe. Unfortunately, it gets taught the wrong way. That's why everyone thinks it's okay to say Farsi, and it's really nobody's fault, it's just that somehow the word, "Farsi" became acceptable to use and it's really not. Most people only know one name or the other, so it will take some time to get everyone back on track (hopefully we will see that day soon).

    It's just that the name Persian carries so much legacy that it's foolish to call the language by the name of the language itself. We won't be going around saying, "Do you speak español/italiano/čeština."

    I'm really sorry for this "tirade" everyone, but I keep getting asked so I feel that I am obliged to answer. Although nobody asked me this time. I'll keep quiet. :) Thanks for putting up with me (I know it's hard to do.) :)
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I'm not aware of any other language that has had this problem with it's name in English.
    I can think of a few, and not just in English. For example, Basque/Euskera. Some purists, or politically correct people, will insist on using the original word, claiming it's "the correct one" (even though they are often unable to pronounce it correctly in the original).
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    I have been corrected against its usage in the past. I'll make a point about however in the future.

    I similar idea would be how do you pronounce foreign concepts in other languages. Do you say enchilada the gringo way or according to Spanish phonetics?
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    As for Persian/Farsi the Oxford BE and Webster AE give this:
    Farsi

    /faarsee/
    noun the modern form of the Persian language, spoken in Iran. — ORIGIN from the Persian word for ‘Persia’.
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    The Iranian and Afghanistan varients of Pesrian use the Persoarabic alphabet, Tadjik uses the Cyrilic. As for Persian/Farsi the Oxford BE and Webster AE give this:
    Farsi

    /faarsee/
    noun the modern form of the Persian language, spoken in Iran. — ORIGIN from the Persian word for ‘Persia’.
    They're wrong. :) Farsi is not a word in the English language. Oxford and Webster are wrong; this isn't a matter of what word the dictionaries want to use, it's a matter of what's the correct word. This jurisdiction falls upon the Academy of Persian Language and Literature.

    See these:
    http://www.anvari.org/fun/Farsi/Persian_Not_Farsi.html
    http://www.iranian.com/July96/Articles/Farsi/Farsi.html
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    I have been corrected against its usage in the past. I'll make a point about however in the future.
    You guys here in OL have always been good with using the correct name, it's the rest of the world that I'm worried about. :) :p I get kind of passionate when I talk about it because there's just no excuse for saying it the wrong way, and there's no excuse for educators to call it Farsi. Farsi is not a word in the English language, I don't care what any dictionary says! The jurisdiction lies with the APLL, and yes, although English is not their language, "Persian" is the one word they own in English. :p)

    I similar idea would be how do you pronounce foreign concepts in other languages. Do you say enchilada the gringo way or according to Spanish phonetics?
    This would be a great Cultural Discussions question. :) My answer for Persian: the pronunciation of vowel sounds is very close to the Persian; it seems that English is one of the few languages that uses flat vowel sounds (predominantly, that's where the GRINGOISM comes from :) )
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    I can think of a few, and not just in English. For example, Basque/Euskera. Some purists, or politically correct people, will insist on using the original word, claiming it's "the correct one" (even though they are often unable to pronounce it correctly in the original).
    I think the problem with Persian is much more widspread than that. Not to offend anyone who is from that region of Spain, but most people don't know about Basque, and if they do, unless they're a member of WR :), they probably don't know that there are two words for it. The problem with Persian is huge because of all of the speakers; what I meant to say is that in the top 20 most spoken languages of the world, the one's that are usually recognized the most, there is no problem with their international name/correspondence in English. But with Persian there is for some reason.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Bienvenidos, I think that in the end people just want to avoid offending anyone. You've said that Afghanis do not like to have their language called "Iranian". Since the word "Persia" is sometimes used as a synonym of "Iran", I guess some people must have figured it was best to avoid "Persian", too, and use the term that the natives use (Farsi).
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Bienvenidos, I think that in the end people just want to avoid offending anyone. You've said that Afghanis do not like to have their language called "Iranian". Since the word "Persia" is sometimes used as a synonym of "Iran", I guess some people must have figured it was best to avoid "Persian", too, and use the term that the natives use (Farsi).

    My thoughts exactly. I have always considered the terms Persia and Iran interchangeable. For this reason I have never used Persian to refer to the common language.
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    But if Oxford and Webster have accepted Farsi as an acceptable usage, why can't we proceed using it?
    Because Oxford and Webster are only companies, nothing more. The jurisdiction falls within the actual Academy that regulates the language. We don't necessarily have one of those in English. In the end, if this trend keeps up I guess we can't fight it but...it's hard to explain. Just because Oxford or Webster accepts it doesn't mean it's right. They're dictionary companies. That's all.
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    Bienvenidos, I think that in the end people just want to avoid offending anyone. You've said that Afghanis do not like to have their language called "Iranian". Since the word "Persia" is sometimes used as a synonym of "Iran", I guess some people must have figured it was best to avoid "Persian", too, and use the term that the natives use (Farsi).
    I understand this viewpoint but one must remember that the essence of Persian is the Persian empire which extended far beyond Iran.
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    Bien, If we were to ever meet I would be glad to say Persian to you.
    Unfortunately Farsi is a fait accompli. The dictionaries record current usage although some may argue that they create it. Persia as you stated historically extendent well beyond Iran, just as not all Iranians speak Persian as their native language.The two sites you posted show opinions not current usage. I am sure they will not have any influence in the way the English speaking world refers to your language.
    French Dict.
    > Farsi(nom masculin)</B>
    Le persan (langue).
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm confused as well, because to me as an outsider this seems like much ado about nothing (with all due respect).

    Fact: The word Farsi is accepted in the English language.
    Fact: The words Farsi and Persian (referring to the language) are synonyms.

    The fact that to refer to most languages in English we use an "English-looking" word and not a transliteration of the word in the original language is not an argument. I don't know why the word Farsi made its way into the English language, but since it's a direct translation of Persian I don't see why its usage should be so controversial. I would have no problem, for example, with the use of "Arabi" to refer to Arabic in English.

    Furthermore, as has been pointed out, there are other languages for which English houses both a "native" name and a more "Anglicized" name: Filipino/Tagalog for example. I have also come across the use of Ivrit to refer to Hebrew (although I don't know if this is officially accepted as English). In Palestinian Arabic, we can say both ispaani and spanyooli for Spanish, iTaali and Tilyaani for Italian, and faransi and fransaawi for French - the latter name in each pair being a more "native" rendition, albeit subtly.

    It would be one thing if the claim were made that Iranian or Afghan should be used to refer to the language, but Farsi is nothing more and nothing less than the Persian equivalent of the word Persian. On the same token, I would accept "Arabi" but I wouldn't accept Saudi or Yemeni to refer to Arabic.

    Others have already pointed out that dictionaries reflect usage: we do not accept the word Farsi because it is in the dictionary; it is in the dictionary because it has been accepted into English.

    The Academy of Persian Language and Literature is free to announce its preference, but considering Farsi wrong is exaggerated and unjustifiable.
     

    jester.

    Senior Member
    Germany -> German
    Most of the time that is because they do not know that Farsi is actually translated as, "Persian" into English. And if they do know that, they probably don't know that the correct term, as dictated by the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, is Persian. The Academy has published a report about this subject and they, along with world scholars, acknowledge "Persian" as the correct term.
    This is where I have to disagree with you. The Academy of Persian (not of English) Language and Literature cannot dictate anything regarding the English language.
     

    MOST-WANTED

    Member
    Afghanistan
    A question for those who believe that persian is the right word for Farsi.Can you guys tell me what is the word for Persian in Persian/Farsi.


    Can you Say:
    Persian Shakar hast ?
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    Unfortunately, there are people who are just as dead-set against using the term "Persian" for the language and insist on "Farsi", and for some of the very same (irrelevant) reasons: Persian cats and Persian carpets, etc. What is an English-speaker to do, besides avoid mentioning this language altogether? xxx xxx
     

    Binapesi

    Member
    Türkçe
    As to results when i search google in Turkish, it's said:

    "%35 Peştu, %50 Dari Farsçası, %11 Özbek Türkçesi .."

    means:

    "35% Peshtu, 50% Dari Farsi, 11% Ozbec Turkish .."

    They are the languages that are used in Afganistan. In turkish we call them almost same. If somebody says Persian, I understand Farsi, or Farsi then Persian. They are same things, same consepts in Turkish.
    And you say, its wrong. We must use Persian ..

    Ok. I'll remember it ..
     

    Abbassupreme

    Senior Member
    United States, English, Persian
    Farsi is an Arabic term picked up by the Persians following the Islamic conquest of the ancient Sassanid Persian Empire. The CORRECT way to say it in NATIVE Persian is Paarsi. However, Arabs do not have the "p" sound in their alphabet, so they changed it to Faarsi (Farsi). The name just kind of caught on, after that point. Also, the name was derived from the province of Fars (the ancestral homeland of the Persian people), which was originally Pars, and the name of the language is derived from that.
    I totally agree, though. Persian is how the language should be addressed in English.
     

    Nikola

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I think that whatever our opinions are it matters little. Both Persian and Farsi are used in English and other languages, so what can a handful of people do? Like anything else, we can have a preference but that is all.
    Even the fact that the original name is Parsi is oly useful for linguistic discussions it does not effect the names in English unless refering to the Parsi religion in India.
     

    Abbassupreme

    Senior Member
    United States, English, Persian
    What can be done is that people start addressing Persian as Persian and not as Farsi once they're aware that calling the language Farsi in English is wrong.
     
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