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OT: Persian or Farsi? (Re: Re: Learning languages)

From:Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>
Date:Thursday, March 11, 2004, 19:52
WITHOUT getting into a huge P.C. debate on what name a language should be

From: "Joe" <joe@...>

> >Danny Wier scripsit:
> >>I bought a "Teach Yourself" book once in Seattle; for Modern Persian
> >>called Farsi, morons!).
> >Calling Persian "Farsi" in English is like calling German "Deutsch". > >It isn't exactly *wrong*, just unidiomatic and unhistorical. In
> >saying "Farsi" implicitly excludes the Persian spoken by Afghans
> I disagree. I'd say Farsi is now the more common name. Unhistorical, > perhaps, but not analogous to calling German "Deutsch".
From what I can tell, Persian is more useful to describe the language in a broader/historical sense, especially Old and Middle Persian. Farsi is the best term for Persian after Islamic conversion, reflecting the Arabic pronunciation of the name. Western Farsi in Iran, Eastern Farsi in Afghanistan, and I guess Tajiki could be called Tajiki Farsi or Far Eastern Farsi too. My wife strongly prefers Farsi to Persian, saying the latter is a "colonial" term, like referring to Thai as Siamese. Of course it's different depending on which Iranian-American you talk to. But I will say that Micosoft XP refers to the language as Farsi, as does the Ethnologue. I think Persian as a name is being phased out, like Eskimo for Inuit/Inuktitut/Inupiaq/Yupik. The name Parsi is used on some websites; this is a nod to history and nationalism, and it happens to be the name of the Zoroastrian community of Mumbai (Bombay).