Persian or Farsi, Persia or Iran

izabella

Member
Languageless in EU
This is a funny one, happened this morning.

My friend, a native Spanish speaker, is taking beginner Persian lessons at a local university, so we always switch between English and Spanish and Persian...we were going out for brunch this morning and I told her to "¡Dáte prisa!" aka "Hurry up!" She looked at me and said, in Persian, "Yug baka!"

What's so funny?

In Persian,

Yug baka means one frog and
Yug daka means one minute.
I guess she was trying to say wait a minute, but what she ended up saying was "a frog." Either way, it got my attention!

Persian is the same thing as Farsi, no?
I never understand why they call that country "Persia" when it's currently called "Iran" and the same thing with the language Farsi (calling it Persian). Also some of the people would say "I'm Persian!"

Is there something wrong with just saying "Iranian" or "Farsi"?
I mean to me, that's just like some one saying "I'm from USSR!"

USSR is history! And so is Persia!

(P.S. I don't mean to offend anyone! I have a cousin who is married to an Iranian.)
 
  • Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    Hi Izabella!

    This is a question that I have been asked at least a million times, and I am always happy to explain it.

    Persian is the name of the language in English. The name of the language in the language itself is Farsi, just like Spanish is español in Spanish. Spanish speakers don't walk around saying, "I speak español." They say, "I speak Spanish," because Spanish is the translation of the word español into English. So it makes sense to say, "I speak Persian," although the term Farsi is slowly starting to infiltrate into mainstream usage; however, scholars insist that Persian is the correct term.

    Persian is an ethnicity, as in the name given to a group of peoples--it is not a nationality. It's like saying I am Hispanic. Hispanic refers to an entire group of people, not a specific country. Persians are Iranians but not all Iranians are Persian. There are other ethnic groups, as well. So saying, "I am Iranian" is perfectly fine, but that's not the same as, "I am Persian."
     

    Nikola

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I would say Farsi is currently overtaking Persian in the English language.
    The ethnic group is the largest minority in Iran, in 1935 the country became Iran. Afghanistan and Tadjikistan have Farsi speaking populations.
     

    roh3x2n

    Senior Member
    Fars
    So Afghanis aren't considered Persian, are they?
    As far as I know first of all Afghanis stand for the currency of Afghanistan. And Afghan is for someone who live in Afghanistan.
    If you call someone Afghani it would be wrong.

    Afghan is the other name for Pashtons, but it doesn't mean that all Afghans who are living in Afghanistan are Pashton. There are some who speak Farsi or other languages.

    As Northern Afghanistan was the center of Fars Empire, therefore they are speaking Farsi or Persian.
    They are speaking really old Persian.
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    As far as I know first of all Afghanis stand for the currency of Afghanistan. And Afghan is for someone who live in Afghanistan.
    If you call someone Afghani it would be wrong.

    Afghan is the other name for Pashtons, but it doesn't mean that all Afghans who are living in Afghanistan are Pashton. There are some who speak Farsi or other languages.

    As Northern Afghanistan was the center of Fars Empire, therefore they are speaking Farsi or Persian.
    They are speaking really old Persian.
    Pashtons speak Pashto, the official language of Afghanistan. But remember, Pashton speakers are Farsi speakers too, 99% of the time. We speak Pashto and Farsi.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I read that in 1935 Persia (stupidly, Persia is much better) changed it's name to Iran in order to attract support from the Nazis as Iran means "land of the Aryans", a view which is somewhat backed up by this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_naming_dispute#Re-introducing_the_name_.22Iran.22

    On the language, I though Farsi was the Arabic name for Persian which was originally derived from the Greek Pérsis but as Arabic has no p they changed it to an f and Persian followed suit?
     

    roh3x2n

    Senior Member
    Fars
    It topic is turning to polites now.
    Well Farsi easier than other langauges in Afghanistan.There it is widely speard in afghanistan.
    There is a proverb that "Farsi Shakar e".

    I read that in 1935 Persia (stupidly, Persia is much better) changed it's name to Iran in order to attract support from the Nazis as Iran means "land of the Aryans", a view which is somewhat backed up by this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_naming_dispute#Re-introducing_the_name_.22Iran.22

    On the language, I though Farsi was the Arabic name for Persian which was originally derived from the Greek Pérsis but as Arabic has no p they changed it to an f and Persian followed suit?


    Yeah Iran means the land of Aryan,but Hitler was searching the race who were above 180cm tall und with blonde hairs.
    But Iranian are brunnets.

    In my opinion Iran is the new name for Aryan or khorasaan, which the other name for Pesian.


    I wonder why Alijsh deleted his post.
    I know he knows about this alot.
    Hope he can share his ideas.
     

    Alijsh

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    We have always called our land Iran and not Pârs (Persia). The oldest document we have is Avesta where Zoroaster mentions airyanam-vaejah. It became Ērān early at Sassanid dynasty (224–651 CE) and finally Irān.

    At the time of the Achaemenian dynasty (550-330 BCE), the Greeks called the country Persis which is the Greek name for Pars (Fars), the provincal region where the Achaemenian dynasty was founded and Achaemenian kings came from; this passed into Latin and became Persia. BUT we ourselves called the country Aryanam at the time of Achaemenians.

    In the twentieth century, a dispute arose over whether Iran or Persia is the correct name for the country; because this name could cause confusion as Persia is actually Pârs (Fârs) province. Do you get it? Name of a province was used to refer to the whole country. On 21 March 1935, Reza Shah, the king of Iran issued a decree asking foreign delegates to use the term Iran in formal correspondence. However, this decision has always had pros and cons. I don't see any relation between this renaming and Nazis.

    For further info you can refter to
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran#Etymology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airyanem_Vaejah

    ***
    As for the name of the language, native speakers call it "Fârsi" which is equal to English "Persian". This name has entered into English by native speakers who didn't know what their langauge is called in English. And as you see it's now in use. Personally, I don't see any reason to say "Farsi" while we have "Persian" in English. However, you can use whichever you like.

    ***
    Dear roh3x2n

    Khorâsân means "the place of sunrise". It's and old Persian name for that part of our land. They named it so because it is the first region of the land which meets sun.

    As a side note, I mean no rudeness but can't I call you Iranian? Although you're Afghan but we are culturally connected. As you know, Iran comprises of many different ethnic groups and all people are not Persian.
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    I have translated documents originally in the language in question, but translated into English by officially recognized colleagues. They invariably add a paragraph like, "Translated from the original in Persian". That is good enough for me, reinforced by the Swedish professor of Iranian languages, who gives an assortment of courses on Persian ("persiska" in Swedish).
     

    roh3x2n

    Senior Member
    Fars
    ***
    Dear roh3x2n

    Khorâsân means "the place of sunrise". It's and old Persian name for that part of our land. They named it so because it is the first region of the land which meets sun.

    As a side note, I mean no rudeness but can't I call you Iranian? Although you're Afghan but we are culturally connected. As you know, Iran comprises of many different ethnic groups and all people are not Persian.
    Thanks for sharing.
    There is a misunderstanding.
    I am not afghan
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    On 21 March 1935, Reza Shah, the king of Iran issued a decree asking foreign delegates to use the term Iran in formal correspondence. However, this decision has always had pros and cons. I don't see any relation between this renaming and Nazis.
    Obviously, you being Iranian, know more however Wikipedia gives this insight.

    After Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, the Nazi Economics minister, commented on the Aryan origin of Persians, Reza Shah's ambassador in Germany encouraged him to issue the above mentioned decree asking all foreign delegates to use the word "Iran" (meaning "Land of the Aryans") instead of "Persia" in formal correspondence.(The History of Iran, Elton Daniel, p.3)

    As The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country. In its decision it was influenced by the Nazi revival of interest in the so-called Aryan races, cradled in ancient Persia. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set forth in its memorandum on the subject, 'Perse,' the French designation of Persia, connoted the weakness and tottering independence of the country in the nineteenth century, when it was the chessboard of European imperialistic rivalry. 'Iran,' by contrast, conjured up memories of the vigor and splendor of its historic past."


    Anyway, I think they should keep the name Persia in English, it's far nicer!


     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    I have translated documents originally in the language in question, but translated into English by officially recognized colleagues. They invariably add a paragraph like, "Translated from the original in Persian". That is good enough for me, reinforced by the Swedish professor of Iranian languages, who gives an assortment of courses on Persian ("persiska" in Swedish).
    Please, please, please, please, PLEASE always note it as, "Translated from Persian." Saying, "Translated from Farsi" simply doesn't cut it, and it's a bit embarassing since the name "Persian" carries such prestige and legacy. I always use Persian in spoken and formal context. Here, since some people know the language as Farsi, I usually write Persian/Farsi.
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    And one last thing (I'm writing these in separate posts so each can be read individually since these are important) the word Aryan has been used for centuries as the name for Proto-Indo-Iranians. This has nothing to do with Hitler at all, and I think it is offensive to say that it does.
     

    izabella

    Member
    Languageless in EU
    We have always called our land Iran and not Pârs (Persia). The oldest document we have is Avesta where Zoroaster mentions airyanam-vaejah. It became Ērān early at Sassanid dynasty (224–651 CE) and finally Irān.

    At the time of the Achaemenian dynasty (550-330 BCE), the Greeks called the country Persis which is the Greek name for Pars (Fars), the provincal region where the Achaemenian dynasty was founded and Achaemenian kings came from; this passed into Latin and became Persia. BUT we ourselves called the country Aryanam at the time of Achaemenians.

    In the twentieth century, a dispute arose over whether Iran or Persia is the correct name for the country; because this name could cause confusion as Persia is actually Pârs (Fârs) province. Do you get it? Name of a province was used to refer to the whole country. On 21 March 1935, Reza Shah, the king of Iran issued a decree asking foreign delegates to use the term Iran in formal correspondence. However, this decision has always had pros and cons. I don't see any relation between this renaming and Nazis.

    I understood this before, but perhaps I didn’t make my question clear enough.

    I‘m seeing “Persian” being used more and more. Not because it is more recognized, but as a way to break free of the “Iranian” stereotype. Through my reasoning, this has definitely got something to do with Iran’s current status, as being one of the least favored countries in the general western opinion. (To some extent due to media manipulation for political motives)

    So in other words I’m getting the impression that “Iranian” is not used because “Persian” is supposed to sound much better.(less biassed)

    Again I don’t mean any disrespect, I would simply like to understand the Iranian point of view in this issue.
     

    Abbassupreme

    Senior Member
    United States, English, Persian
    Anyway, I think they should keep the name Persia in English, it's far nicer!


    That is a matter of opinion, but history begs to differ. Anyway, I see Persia as encompassing "Greater Iran" (Afghanistan, at least the Persian part, Tajikistan, a whole buttload of countries in Central Asia whose names elude me for the time being, and, in ancient times, Iraq). Persia would pertain far more to the ethnicity than it would to the language, culture, which is what we should be focusing on, anyway. The "Aryan" people were the people who spoke Old Persian, not actual Persians. All these classifications are mainly made by language, anyway, which I think is a marvellous thing. Using the term Iranian is so much more inclusive, because one doesn't necessarily need to be Persian to be Iranian. A Turk who speaks Persian and lives in Iran is Iranian, as far as I'm concerned, even IF he/she isn't Persian. I mean, I KNOW that I have some Arab (from my mother hailing from Khuzestan, the "Arab" part of Iran, and with her line of the family being Seyyeds, or descendants of Muhammed) and at least 1/16 Turk in me (from my dad's side of the family) I'm still proud to call myself an Iranian.
     

    Chazzwozzer

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    A Turk who speaks Persian and lives in Iran is Iranian, as far as I'm concerned, even IF he/she isn't Persian. I mean, I KNOW that I have some Arab (from my mother hailing from Khuzestan, the "Arab" part of Iran, and with her line of the family being Seyyeds, or descendants of Muhammed) and at least 1/16 Turk in me (from my dad's side of the family) I'm still proud to call myself an Iranian.
    Just out of curiosity, by "Turk" do you actually mean "Azeri" / "Turkmen"?
     

    Abbassupreme

    Senior Member
    United States, English, Persian
    Probably Azeri. Sorry for not being more clear. Could be Turkish Turk, though. Dunno. But, knowing Iran, and how her demographics work, I'm most likely part Azeri. I like to use that as an excuse so that I may learn Azerbaijani some time in the future, but for now, Turkce is too much for me.
     

    Tisia

    Senior Member
    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    .....I see Persia as encompassing "Greater Iran" (Afghanistan, at least the Persian part, Tajikistan, a whole buttload of countries in Central Asia whose names elude me for the time being, and, in ancient times, Iraq). .....Using the term Iranian is so much more inclusive, because one doesn't necessarily need to be Persian to be Iranian........
    I agree with you, Abbassupreme. For me Iran implies a land for all the nationalities living in it.
    By the way is it correct for an Iranian Kurd or Azeri to say 'I am a Persian' in today's definition of the word Persian?

    Some of my friends tell me that I should use the word Persia rather than Iran when pointing to my country, because Persia implies a great culture and history. But they are wrong. People have to go further than this and need to see the real reasons behind what they are made to hear not just read the exact lines from the manipulated media.

    Regards
    Tisia
     
    Hi Izabella!

    Persian is an ethnicity, as in the name given to a group of peoples--it is not a nationality.... Persians are Iranians but not all Iranians are Persian.
    Okay, I've been wading through this very interesting thread, so i just wanted to ask, considering the above, then it is correct to add:
    "...and not all Persians are Iranian"?

    Probably a stupid question, but...
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top