Forever Under Construction

Persian, Not Farsi

Posted in Iran, Persian by homeyra on November 13, 2006

Some Iranians – especially when abroad, have an identity problem. Watching what is usually represented on foreign TV, I do not wonder why. One way of dealing with the dreaded question “Where are you from?” is to say “I am Persian”. There is a big chance that the enquirer has heard that word … but … somehow can’t remember exactly where it is … thereafter he proceeds to change the subject. :)

According to Professor Yarshater, the well known literary figure and an authority on these terminologies: [“Persian language” has a newly acquired name of “Farsi” … we unfortunately witness yet another usage of “Farsi” instead of “Persian” in English writings ... This happens mostly by the Iranians living in The USA … If only they knew by using the word “Farsi”; which has no background in English language and its relationship to the identity of Iranian Civilisation and Culture that is reflected in phrases such as “ Persian Literature” and “Persian art” and “Persian Poetry”, is not clear at all, they would find themselves damaging irreparably the fame and cultural status of Iran. The damaging contribution of “The Voice Of America”, and some of the American Universities` planners have not been ineffective in this trend. We should ... strictly avoid using the word “ Farsi” and instead use the same old and well-known word of “Persian” and to realise that usage of “Farsi” instead of” Persian” is the negligence of our national interests.] More in Persian language

Now the country, Iran or Persia? Long long time ago […Āryānā and Persis were used to describe the region which is today known as the Iranian plateau…During the Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE), the Persian people called their provincial homeland Pārsa …However, the country as a whole was called Aryanam. The word Ariya, noble/spiritual/elevated, is attested in the Inscriptions of Darius the Great "I am Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage"… ] later […Aryanam was modified to Aryan…then evolved to Ērān… On 21 March 1935, the ruler of the country, Reza Shah Pahlavi, issued a decree asking foreign delegates to use the term Iran in formal correspondence in accordance with the fact that "Persia" was a term used for a country called "Iran" in Persian.] Wikipedia

So, until further notice, Iranians speak Persian seems correct!

I must Email this Post to Firoozeh Dumas :)

I just found this link : Me e Parsi Speaker?

[edited] See also: “Farsi” or “Persian”

Update:

Call for papers: Persian literature as (a) world literature, Feb 2007

Controlling Question: The usage(s) of and relationship(s) between the terms “Persian” and “Iranian” in current discourse—literary, cultural, political and otherwise—is a complex one, with each term simultaneously concealing and revealing highly contested and politicized positions regarding the nature of cultural, national and personal identities … read more

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67 Responses

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  1. Bluebear2 said, on November 13, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    It is amazing the power that can be held in one word.

  2. kamangir said, on November 13, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    This was amazing. Thanks.

  3. homeyra said, on November 13, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    Yes Bluebear, sometimes in a zero or two …
    Thx K:)

  4. Naj said, on November 14, 2006 at 3:43 am

    May I add you a a favorite blogger to my blog?

  5. homeyra said, on November 14, 2006 at 6:25 am

    Hi Naj :) thanks for you interest! sure, and I’ll do the same
    Btw, I tried to write a comment on your blog, didn’t succeed, possible to open comments for those without a google account?

  6. Naj said, on November 14, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Sorry about that, Homeyra. :) I don’t have a google account myself!
    It should be okey now.

  7. shirin said, on November 15, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    I actually got told off by some guy once who had got his knickers in a twist because I had referred to our language as Farsi instead of Persian in my blog! He was so annoyed that he even removed my link from his blog! I don’t want to upset anyone but the thing is I seriously don’t know what to call our language anymore. And now as if two names weren’t enough, they’ve brought in a third one too, Parsi! God help us all ;-)
    By the way sorry for taking so long to reply to your comment; haven’t been around much for the past few days. I loved Babajoon’s story though :-) It was great, thanks.

  8. homeyra said, on November 15, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Dear Shirin
    Thx for dropping by, I understand… as a mildly “collaterally damaged” – side-effected people we have to figure out all from the basic by ourselves!

  9. peoplesgeography said, on November 16, 2006 at 10:27 am

    Persian it is then! ‘Persian’ sounds so so much nicer, more authentic than ‘Farsi’. An interesting post.

  10. homeyra said, on November 16, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Thx ppgg! (how’s that?)
    The question seemed too obvious, but I had to look it up :)

  11. peoplesgeography said, on November 16, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Perfect, Homeyra! I’ll consider than PPGG stands for Persianised Peoples Geography Globale ;)

  12. homeyra said, on November 16, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    :)

  13. Rochonf said, on November 19, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Hello, greetings to Homeyra and also to Peoplesgeography [Hello again!], here in Spain we say “the World is (as small as) a handkerchief”. And, well, hello to everybody.

    Homeyra, I can now understand better the Farsi-Parsi and Persian-Iranian mess.

    I want to say my humble opinion.

    Since my viewpoint, non Iranian people don’t know what to say, Farsi or Parsi. This is mainly due to two reasons. The first one, it seems that the new term Farsi is mainly used by people interested in breaking with the past of Iran by reinforcing the hard Muslim theocracy, and by people that wants an approach movement towards Arab countries. Also by traditionalist men (rather than women) that support all that. Me and many people like me don’t support that sort of extremism.

    And the term Parsi is like a link to the past. A link to Persia. Persia means nothing to some ignorant civilizations (selfconsidered being the Police of the World). They have no idea about History, about Social issues, about Literature, Legends, traditions coming from centuries ago. They only mind petrol, economic affaires and are victims of a deep pragmatism that drives them to a full ignorance. In my country, we know about Iran, but is Persia the Great Place, the mythical lapse in Time, the Ancient treasure of Culture, the fountain of Knowledge, the place that attracts our hearts.

    As you see, Farsi and Parsi mean more than you thought. But I could be wrong, how I wish I could learn more on it!.

  14. homeyra said, on November 19, 2006 at 10:55 am

    Hola Rochonf! I am not an expert in terminologies. “Parsi” is totally alien to us, we have never used it. The choice is among Farsi and Persian. In Iran we say Farsi, but in the West it has always been Persian. Why change it? Specially if the respected professor Yarshater is against 

  15. peoplesgeography said, on November 19, 2006 at 11:40 am

    Hola!! Nice to encounter you again Rochonf here at Homeyra’s place, and we just proved the world is as small as a handkerchief, didn’t we? ;) Here we are, in Spain, Iran, Australia, and other countries besides, conversing on this interesting topic.

    I really liked your appreciation of Persian culture and civilisation, Rochonf, and I’m sure the good Iranian people here did too. I particularly took what you say here:

    “Persia means nothing to some ignorant civilizations (selfconsidered being the Police of the World). They have no idea about History, about Social issues, about Literature, Legends, traditions coming from centuries ago. They only mind petrol, economic affaires and are victims of a deep pragmatism that drives them to a full ignorance. In my country, we know about Iran, but is Persia the Great Place, the mythical lapse in Time, the Ancient treasure of Culture, the fountain of Knowledge, the place that attracts our hearts.”

    Spot on! Spain leads the way in Europe in cross-cultural appreciation I feel. As a non-Iranian myself, I feel privileged to be slowly discovering some of this wonderful heritage.

    In homage to this, its probably why my personal preference is for ‘Persian’.

    Good to read everyone’s comments and learn from you all. :)

  16. homeyra said, on November 19, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    Rochonf how do you say Persian in Spanish? Parsi? maybe I “dismisunderstood” you :)

  17. peoplesgeography said, on November 19, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    :D Homeyra, are you putting into service a Bushism, that idiot comes out with the most mangled phrases ;) Thanks very much for the link , it was funny seeing Blair dance and the one where you insert a word to be “dismisunderstood” by Bush. Here’s the link again that you kindly gave me so others can enjoy, if they haven’t already come across it ;)

    Instructions from Homeyra:
    Have a look at “Wordify” in amusements
    http://www.andyfoulds.co.uk/flash_design.html

  18. Rochonf said, on November 21, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    Homeyra, the Spanish name for your ancient country is “Persia”, and a citizen from Persia is called a “Persa”, and the language is called “Persa” too. As many other countries, we have some Persian words in our daily vocabulary.

    Somewhere, I read that the old name for your language was Parsi, but after the arabization of the characters, it was named Farsi, because there is no P phoneme in the Arabic alphabet. That’s why I used the term Parsi. But I will correct my notes according to your kind tips.

    PGie ;-) we love all the ancient cultures, we do respect them alot, and we are very proud of those places that gave us a little bit (or a big amount) of personality along the centuries. But unfortunately not all the modern are in that way…

  19. Rochonf said, on November 21, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    I know that what I’m going to say is very silly, but last week I bought some very very very beautiful tea glasses with true color and true glass… The drawings are simple but beautiful, arabic motives, made of glass, not just color transfers. They are not ancient glasses, but are very nice to my eyes, and I like drinking tea with them (somebody tought me how to hang them :-).

  20. homeyra said, on November 21, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    Thanx for the information Rochonf, and cheers … for the tea :)

  21. Cyrus said, on November 22, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Yes. Let’s make a campaign and ask people to pronounce it this way (Persian).

  22. Kiumars said, on December 24, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Persian or Iranian! Iran is not the only country facing this issue. UK (Britain) is another good example; Britain is made of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. People of these states are collectively called British (nationality wise) but Scots and Welsh and Irish are not English and they even have their own languages (Welsh and Gaelic). Iran also is made of different ethnic groups namely; Pars/Fars, Azeri, Kurd, Turkmen, Gillac, Bluch, etc. We are collectively Iranians (nationality wise) but we are not all Pars/Fars (or Persians). Persians moved into Iran about 3000 years ago and mixed with the indigenous people who used to live in the west of Iran, and although in the modern history of Iran people moved and mixed all over Iran we still can see distinct physical (facial features and skin colour) differences between the people of the west Iran with those of the east Iran (like Baluch and Tukmen). In short, we are all Iranians but we are not all Persians. Iran is a beautiful garden with many different beautiful flowers, living side by side and in an amazing harmony for several thousand of years. Where else can you find a country like Iran? God bless Iran and Iranians.

  23. Kiumars said, on December 24, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    Rochonf // Nov 21st 2006 at 6:43 pm
    You are right about “F” and “P” in Farsi and Parsi. Farsi is the Arabic spelling of Parsi. Arabs even write “Pepsi” as “Bepsi” in Arabic.
    Opps! That should be “Bebsi”

  24. homeyra said, on December 24, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Kiumars
    You are right to draw attention to different ethnicities. One can argue that Azeris speak Azeri, kurds speak kurdish… etc. all iranians by nationality.
    See Yarshater’s full article in the above link, also the last link: “Farsi or Persian” by The Center of Persian Studies.

  25. Bijan said, on December 26, 2006 at 3:29 am

    Okay, can someone now explain and clarify, Dutch, Holland, & the Netherlands too?

  26. homeyra said, on December 26, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    Hi Bijan, I propose you have a look it up in wikipedia. Since today it is blocked again over here.

  27. Antibush said, on February 13, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? How does that work in a democracy again? How does being more threatening make us more likeable?Isn’t the country with
    the most weapons the biggest threat to the rest of the world? When one country is the biggest threat to the rest of the world, isn’t that likely to be the most hated country?
    What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

  28. Monte said, on February 15, 2007 at 5:37 am

    So, PPGG and Ronchof – do you think Spain leads the way in European cross-cultural understanding has to do with its multi-ethnic past? It does appear that muslim/christian/jewish Spain was centuries in advance of many parts of the world.

    What a heritage Iranians have! Fairly few in my country – other than native Americans – know much about their roots before 1800 – possibly the same for PPGG. We make a big deal of “century” farms (100 yrs old) here, but when Mexicans come here for work, they have had to leave the village where their families lived for a thousand years. I can’t imagine it.

  29. Rochonf said, on February 17, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Monte, Spain has a multiethnic past, although there are many other countries where coexistence is even tighter. In Muslim countries of Africa, or in Iran, and in many other places you can find Christians, Jews, Muslims and other congreagations living together in peace with respect.

    During centuries, Muslim African peoples lived here in peace among us, and in peace with Jew people too. About it, the history of Granada city is exciting.

    It’s always the same: moderation, and tolerance. Avoiding extrems of any fence.

    Although many crimes were commited in the name of God, in the name of the Santa Inquisición and in the name of the Corona Española some centuries ago, I think nowadays we keep some sort of good Christian legacy and viewpoint. Fortunately far from the Aglosaxon way of understanding the world (I am sorry for being so sincere).

    About Jews, there are many theories, but it seems that their main occupation was being usurers and moneylenders, and they became very unpopular very fastly. I also think they still are the same nowadays, people obsessed with the money, controlling governments, strategic positions and companies from the darkness. Finally Jews were expeled from Spain in XV and XVI centuries.They were also expeled from many other European countries, but in Spain they were a big population. Nowadays, I think that the USA cityzens are prisoners of them without realizing of it. I have no problem with them, although I do think they are acting as criminals in Israel and in Lebanon.

    Also African Muslims were fighted and expeled. They came to our country, but they did not adopted our way of living. Furthermore, the Catholic Church couldn’t bear that they do not profess the Christian religion, nor adopt our habits, nor get married with us. And the power of the Church was big in that time. So Muslim people made Christians fell uncomfortable, and the governors ordered their expulsion.

    We, the Spaniards, see ourselves like this: we say welcome to everybody, but you have to accept our habits and culture, and, as a host, you have to respect us. But many foreign people come just to take profit of our advantages, and the FIRST thing they do when they step our floor is demanding rights, forgetting their responsabilities. Advantages that are ONLY fruit of us, of the efforts of my parents, and grandparents, and great grandfathers.

    I think that, compared with the extermination and ultra-pragmatism of the Anglosaxon World, we seem to be a tolerant and multiethnic people, even the Devil would seem that.

    That’s my sincere opinion.

  30. neoresistance said, on February 17, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Jews were “never” expelled from Iran. Yes they always carried the stigma of money-loving, but that stigma they shared with people of say Isfahan. Iranian Jews neither separated themselves nor were excluded (as far as my schooling experience with jewish classmates goes). We also envied them for being excused to attend our Koran or Islamic learning classes (but they were supposed to pass an exam in judaism or Christianity or whatever religious minority they belonged to–other than Bahai–in their own community so they will receive a grade for the “religious teaching” class!
    Iran is an INCLUSIVE society, as long as one adheres to norms of Persian living: modesty, politeness, generousity, empathy for the poor, the fool, the weak; respect for the old … so behaving Iranian is not really hard for any new-comer to adapt to; and perhaps this is why the country housed 4.5 million Afghan and then Iraqi and the Kwaiti refugees during the years that iran itself was just recovering from the war and revolution.

  31. homeyra said, on February 17, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    I cannot reply to all that right now, will do it later. Just an intense reaction: “money-loving”
    Naj, one of the most awful characterization of the Iranian society right now is exactly this “money loving” aspect.
    Friends, families betray each other about money issues.
    Does it come from a deep feeling of insecurity? I don’ know. This would be one of my main grudge against the actual Iranian society.

  32. neoresistance said, on February 17, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Iranian society is turning into a capitalist one; it is parting way with its feudalist past and so, I do expect to see difference in practice regarding money.
    Iran is also bouncing back into being a consumer society, and given the economic oppression of the war-reconstruction years, the zeal with which people are connected to “material” is quite understandable.
    I remember that in the years after the war, “spiritualism” was fashionable. Now the trend is materialism. I find nothing wrong with democratic experimentations with market-driven cultural practices. As long as there are intellectual watchful eyes, which keep a critical perspective an all this and engage with these issues discursively …
    (I don’t know why this keeps me logged to my new blog but I am thinking of diversifying my blogsphericity and building a home in wordpress too)

  33. Monte said, on February 20, 2007 at 4:02 am

    Ronchof – La historia de Granada, y de las otras ciudades de España, estudiamos en los E.U., y los admiramos mucho. Mi hijo de 16 años quieren viajar allí. Tenemos un mapa de España en la mesa dónde comimos nuestro desayunos.
    Respecto a los judíos, es verdad que muchos son comerciantes, en los E.U., también. Pero, antes del siglo XX, muchas naciónes no permitieron ser dueño de fincas. No tuverion una esperanza de prevenir por sus familias por cultivo, como muchos. Debieron trabajar a otras modos de ocupaciónes a ganar dinero suficiente.

  34. homeyra said, on February 20, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Ok Monte, I got the message:
    No Farsi, No Persian … only Spanish!
    This is absolutely fine with me :)

  35. peoplesgeography said, on February 20, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Olé! :)

  36. [...] been motivated to write about this by way of Homeyra’s discussion on choosing between Persian of Farsi as the label to our language. I feel there’s a bigger question that Homeyra has begun to [...]

  37. yaz said, on March 26, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    awesome article

    Yaz:
    Thanks for visiting

  38. AJAF said, on July 22, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Interesting discussion, though Persian as a nationality was officially used as late as 1960. After which APOC (Anglo-Persian Oil Company) was changed to AIOC and then BP (British Petroleum)

  39. homeyra said, on July 22, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Hi AJAF, I didn’t know about the APOC period. We have a set of AIOC cutlery.
    And NIOC!

  40. Richard Jeffrey Newman said, on July 25, 2007 at 2:48 am

    Hi Homeyra–

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I am very interested to read what you have to say about the ArteNews issue I edited. Regarding the question of whether one should say Persian or Farsi when speaking English: it seems to me that the answer is self-evident: you use the term for the lanuage you are speaking about in the language you are speaking. In other words, in English, one should always use Persian. (My own sense is that Farsi happens to sound like it could be an English word, and so it does not sound odd to English-speaking ears when someone says, “I speak Farsi.” Ask an English-speaker if they could tolerate, “I speak Espanol” or “I speak Deutsche” and you’ll get a sense of what I mean.)

  41. homeyra said, on July 25, 2007 at 6:02 am

    Hi Richard
    I am glad to have found your blog, and I have to spend some more time there as well as in ArteNews – and I will certainly post about it.
    So we’ll stick to “I speak Persian” :)
    Thanks for your visit and comment.

  42. Amirali said, on July 27, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Homeyar

    I have not read all the comments so hope what I write is not a re-run for many. Farsi or Persian? I remember the time before 1979 Iranians abroad (North America) used to refer to themselves as indeed “Iranians” because at the time it meant I have a lot of money, a Shah, we’re buddy with U.S.(West) and so on . And now we distance ourselves from word “Iran” because of the current political situation and hide behind words derived from “Persia”. So, I guess it comes down to what our political believes may be. In this line I also wonder if Italians should call themselves Romans? What is the language? Italian or Roman.

  43. homeyra said, on July 27, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Amirali
    I realize the reasons why some became “Persians” :) but why they speak “Farsi”?

  44. Amirali said, on July 27, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Guss our vocabulary is rich enough to have a separate word for our language, not many languages have that. Just a thought…

  45. homeyra said, on July 27, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    I suggest that you have a look at Yarshater’s article.
    In short Farsi is a “Persian” word while “Persian” is the English word.
    In another category, we haven’t decided how to spell nowruz in English.
    Not only we have Norouz, Norooz, Nawruz, Newroz, Nauruz, Nawroz, Noruz, Novruz, Nauroz, Navroz, Naw-Rúz, and Nowrouz, but other countries which also celebrate the new year call it Nevruz, Sultan Nevruz, Navruz, Navrez etc…!
    The encyclopaedia Iranica writes Nowruz.
    We loose a lot of google’s hit!

  46. Amirali said, on July 27, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Co-incidently that was one of the comments I had read before entering mine! We cannot prevent change or evolution.

    We both know why we have so many different Nowruzes, perhaps we should not worry about English Google (can’t do much about it). There may be a long way to go till The Encyclopaedia Iranica’s Nowruz appears in English text books of those learning English with Nowruz having the same meaning to them.

  47. aMmAr said, on July 28, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    The language i speak ie urdu is a mixture of farsi, arabic and turkish. I celebrate nauroz as well but the point that i cant figure out is why this is an issue as it duzin really matter hw u spell it in english when u are not writing it in its original form.

  48. homeyra said, on July 28, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    True aMmAr.
    Yarshater, a respected academic, and the father of the Encyclopædia Iranica is very precise in his choices of words and I was curious to see what is the “correct” name.
    As this is one of the most popular posts of this blog, it seems that I was not the only one wondering about this issue :)

  49. Shahram said, on July 31, 2007 at 3:36 am

    In response to Homeyra’s Farsi or Parsi.

    The reason that the latter is not used (alienation) in modern day language goes back to Islam invasion of Persian empire and the merger of Persian lanaguge with Arabic.

    In Arabic language there is no letter “p” hence the “P” in Persian words was changed to “F” ( escpecialy in names) to accommodate Arabic pronunciation.

    The correct pronunciation of Persian (Iranian) lanaguge is indeed Parsi . In Arabic became Farsi and came back to Iran and since been used as the ;latter form.

    They are other names like Parvadin (name of a month) became Fravardin, Poolad (steel) beacme Foolad,

    The same thing as the Sirius or Ciroce king.

    There is no king in Persian history by that name, the name is Koroush, which was translated to Greek “Cirrish” went to Spanish became Cirris, came back to Iran and ” Sirius” now is a common name.

    =============
    Thanks Homeyra
    For posting the interview …

    Regards
    Shahram Vahdany

  50. homeyra said, on July 31, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Hi Shahram, thank you for visiting and adding the alphabetical story of F vs P.
    Congratulations for your very interesting and informative website and belated happy third birthday :)
    I wish you all the success.

    P.S. I took the liberty to rectify the mentioned “confusion” :)

  51. Shahram said, on August 1, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you Homyra

    Contact me if you need any assistance from us, my e-mail is added here and Ben also knows how to find me.

    I like the title of your blog. That certainly I can relate to.

  52. Rochonf said, on August 1, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Hello everybody, I find this discussion very interesting.

    I wanted to point something about what kind Shahram said. In Spanish, we name Ciro I (in English would be Cyrus The First) to Koroush, and as far as we know, he was named Κύρος by ancient Greeks, but we do not call him Cirris. At least in Spain, cultivated people calls him Ciro I (Ciro Primero). I mean Ciro Primero (Cyrus the First) , the Grandfather of Ciro El Grande (Cyrus The Great).

    I also wanted to say that I am amazed about why and how the arabization was so fast in the Persian lands. I wonder if anybody could tell it short, I am really curious about it, and I am not a n expert in history.

    Recently I got a scanned book, it was published in English language in year 1919 in Calcutta. It’s name is: Higher Persian Grammar for the use of Calcutta University showing differences between Afghan and Modern Persian with notes on rethoric”, written by Lieut-Colonel D. C. Phillot, more than 900 pages. I love this book because I feel like being able to touch old and true Farsi, coming from a time where internet couldn’t alienate it… If anybody is interested, I could send a digital copy through internet or via postal mail in a CD-ROM (it is a pdf file with a size of 62 Mb), or perhaps through emule. I downloaded it from Google books some months ago, but it seems is not available anymore.

    Greetings.

  53. Shahram said, on August 1, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Rochonf

    You are most probably correct about the Spanish words. I relied on my unreliable memory.

    However, Persian still do not have any ” Ciro Primero (Cyrus the First) , or Cyrus The Great”
    In their history.

    In regard to Arabicization , I don’t think that it happened fast. I must add that after the invasion, all books was burned by occupying forces and people were forced to speak Arabic. And remember they had more then 500 years (at least partially) control of Persia.

    Having said that, Iran (Persia) was the only country in Middle East which, did not completely replaced its language with Arabic. The rest did.

    I can argue that Persians they kept not only most their costumes and cultures but also had a significant effect on Islamic cultural and religion by and large.

    Some say (and I agree) Shiite is indeed the Persian version of Islam.

  54. Rochonf said, on August 2, 2007 at 7:36 am

    Thanks Shahram. Ciro I or Ciro Primero (these are Spanish words) is the way we name Kourosh کوروش, King of Ansham. We also name Ciro el Grande (also our Spanish words) his Grandson king of . In our culture, we “nationalize” some proper names, and that doesn’t mean we do not respect that person. I am not sure about what you mean when you say that Persian people has no Cyrus The First in their history. Perhaps you mean that Persians don’t use Spanish names (of course!), or perhaps you mean that Persians do not name their kings with the adjective “Great” nor “First”. Those adjectives were created by ancient Greeks authors, and we still keep them.

    It’s curious, recently I was talking with my Farsi teacher about the occidental damned habit of burning books all along the times, but it seems that burning is unfortunately more universal than we should like… It’s a pity!, how much knowledge, how much spirit and beauty of ideas disappeared when books and writings were burnt.

    Greetings.

  55. homeyra said, on August 2, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Thanks Shahram, I really appreciate it.
    Hi Rochonf! glad to see you back in the blogosphere.
    There is a very interesting publication about your question and you would be greatly surprised as it has something to do with your side of the world.
    For now all my books are packed and I don’t want to misquote it, sometimes nex week I’ll add this chapter here or email it to you.

  56. Rochonf said, on August 2, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Hi Homeyra, how are you?.

    In my country we have the saying : “Bad grass never dies”, so here I am yet, hahahaaa…

    Homeyra, I am wondering about which part of my coment are you going to talk about next week. Anyway, anything will be interesting, sure!. Please, give me that information, thankyou!.

  57. Shahram said, on August 2, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Rochonf .

    ” I am not sure about what you mean when you say that Persian people has no Cyrus The First in their history.”

    What I meant was that there was no “Cyrus The King” in Persian history, it was “Kourosh”.

    In west the Cyrus has been substituted for Kourosh, but as I mentioned in my first comment this has caused confusion even among Iranian people themseleves. It use to be an street in Tehran named “Cyrus”. (for no apparent reason) because some came to believe it was also a king named “Cyrus”.

    This becomes significant if one notes that in Persian “Cyrus and Kourosh” are two different unrelated names, hence two separate characters.

    I think in west also these confusion exit to some degree. (either people never heard of Kourosh, or if they have they do not make the connection between the two)

    In final,

    I was trying to express, my frustration with Iranian educator and also the system by and large , and did not mean to insinuate that others are disrespectful of Persian history.

  58. Rochonf said, on August 2, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Understood, Shahram.

    Unfortunately, we have many ancient written sources of knowledge, but no idea about the pronunciation. Furthermore, civilizations interchanged them and added some personal taste in every subsequent transmission. We lost the pronunciation, but also the real meaning submerged in an context that we can only outline. Think of Babel and the confusion of tongues…

    A little example I talked about recently in other place. Many renowned sources of knowledge about Asia are English (why only English?). Main sources about Egyptology are English. English speakers don’t have the Arabic or Persian sound خ , although the Spaniards have it represented by the “j”.

    So English decided to represent that sound with “kh”. Those books with Egypt knowledge arrived to Spain, and educators talked about Tutankhamon, Kheops, and so on. As we the Spaniards do not pronounce the “h”, those names became Tutankamon, Keops and so on. The sound of the letter “k” has no relation with the Arabic خ and, when you try to pronounce it correctly (with our Spanish “j”), people would laugh at you. Only very very very cultivated people know the correct pronunciation of those names. You see, it’s so easy to fall in mistake…

  59. homeyra said, on August 3, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Just a note to say that The Fanonite has posted:
    300 and the Foundational Myths of the ‘West’”
    Hamid Dabashi writes a demystification of received historical wisdom, he also talks about the mutation of “Iranian” into “Persian” and “Persian” language into “Farsi” as a reaction of the Iranians living in the United States ….

  60. Rochonf said, on August 20, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    On the Persian versus Farsi dilemma, I found another interesting article where Persian language term reaches a wider scope than Farsi.

    Homeyra: Thanks Rochonf :)

  61. Nader said, on August 24, 2007 at 8:27 am

    It is interesting to see, after our blogger has precisely expalined why those who speak English must use the word “Persian” instead of “Farsi” (because it is simply correct English, it is not a matter of your choice or what you think it should be), yet those reader swho have left comments still say “Farsi”. I have been living in the US for a few decades now and this very simple topic has been the most frustrating; to hear it incorrectly used by Iranians or Iranian Americans and to be questioned about it by non Iranians, how many time shave you been asked by an American friend “So tell me, is it Farsi or Persian?”.
    My answer often is in a from of a question; “Is it Spanish or Spanol ?”. well, when you are speaking English and if you would like to speak correct English, you must say “Spanish”. For Example, “She speaks Spanish”. If you say :”She speaks Spanol”, well we kind of understand what you are saying but IT IS NOT A CORRECT ENGLISH SENTENCE.
    So, since in the good old English language, there exists a word for the language spoken by the people of the country of Iran, therefore one must use that word to refer to it, if one wants to speak English correctly. And if you don’t care, well say whatever you want.
    You can only say “Farsi” and be correct, when you are acctually speaking Persian!

  62. baklawa baklawa said, on August 25, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    this is all irrelevant, since we arabs call you furs, or farsis, so that’s what you’ll be for ever and ever.

  63. homeyra said, on August 26, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Nader
    welcome to the blog and thank you for summing up the issue.

    Baklawa, I can only wish that you grow into someone who makes good use of his (and other s) time and share your thoughts in a civil way.

  64. Late Night Final « oldephartteintraining said, on December 8, 2007 at 7:51 am

    [...] Persian, not Farsi [...]

  65. Tea Glasses « Forever Under Construction said, on February 14, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    [...] while ago, Rochonf wrote a comment in a previous post: Persian or Farsi, about the beautiful tea glasses he had bought! This post is still among the top ones, now I know [...]

  66. Morrison said, on September 26, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I’m A Persian.Yes My Nationality is Persian And Also My Language.But Not My Ethnic Group. Because I’m Hazara.I Believe Every Person Who Live In Iran And Have IRANIAN Indentity Card He/She is Persian Nevertheless Maybe He/She To Be Kurd,Azerbaijani,Arab,Balouch,Hazara,Turkmen or Turk

  67. [...] & A was the top post of the month, followed by Xmas in England, thanks Shirin! Persian or Farsi, again and Camila were [...]


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