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"FARSI" or "PERSIAN"? What Is the English Name of Our Language?

By Pejman Akbarzadeh
Member of ARTISTS WITHOUT FRONTIERS (Tehran Chapter)
Some days ago an article was published in (in English) where the writer used the word "Farsi" instead of "Persian" for the official language of our country. I sent an e-mail to the writer and asked him to kindly change "Farsi" into its proper and historical equivalent; "Persian". He did not do that and wrote another article which was published on December 8 in Payvand:
I would like to bring all Payvand's readers' attention to this very important subject.
FARSI  (Arabic form of PARSI) is the native name of our language and PERSIAN is its English equivalent; as the native name of German language is 'Deutsch', but we never use 'Deutsch' in place of 'German' in English; or native term of Greek Language is "Ellinika" and always in English we say 'Greek' language, not 'Ellinika' language.

If you notice the title of dictionaries that have been written by several great Persian scholars (eg. Prof. Moein, Prof. Aryanpour, Prof. Baateni, etc.) The title of all of them is "English-Persian Dictionary" not "English-Farsi Dictionary". Meanwhile the official institution "Farhangestan" (the Academy of Persian language and literature, in Tehran) in an announcement has rejected the use of the word 'Farsi' instead of 'Persian' in English. (I have attached it).

According to Dr. Hossein Sameie (visiting linguistics professor of Emory University in Atlanta), "PERSIAN, alongside the name of a language, may be used, as an adjective, for the other aspects of our history and culture. For example, we can speak about 'Persian Literature', 'Persian Gulf', 'Persian Carpet', 'Persian Food'; this way, 'Persian' may be a common concept and function as a link between all aspects of Iranian [Persian] life, including language. 'Farsi' does not have such a characteristic€¦"

And finally, of course you are aware that all international brocasting centres (eg. BBC, VOA, DW, etc.) have "Persian Service" not "Farsi Service" ;
Radio Free Europe:  
More information on this matter can be found in my bilingual (English/Persian) article which was published last year in "Persian Heritage Quarterly" in New Jersey (USA);
I hope all countrymen pay more attention to this very important issue and to protect our national interests use the proper English name for our language; PERSIAN (or its variants in other Western languages; Persane, Persisch, Persiska, etc.) not FARSI.

Pejman Akbarzadeh
Member of ARTISTS WITHOUT FRONTIERS (Tehran Chapter)

P.S.--- The Announcement of the Persian Academy:
The Language of the nation of Iran [Persia] in English is called "Persian" [or in other European languages: Persane, Persisch, Persa, Persiska, etc.] and is known worldwide as PERSIAN. Recently some Iranians [Persians] have been trying to use "Farsi" instead of Persian, the trend which has also been followed by some non-Iranians. This has occurred to the extent that it has raised the question "Which is the correct word, in English, for the language of Iran's people, Persian or Farsi?!..."
This question was put to the official institution FARHANGESTAN (Persian Language and Literature Academy in Tehran) by the Commerce Department for Australia, at Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In their 34th meeting on 7th of December 1992, the Persian Academy unanimously passed the resolution that this language must be called PERSIAN and the reasons given were:

1- PERSIAN has been used in a variety of publications including cultural, scientific and diplomatic documents for centuries and, therefore, it connotes a very significant historical and cultural meaning. Hence, changing PERSIAN to FARSI is to negate this established important precedence.

2- Changing PERSIAN to FARSI may give the impression that it is a new language, and this may well be the intention of some Farsi users.

3- It may also give the impression that FARSI is a dialect of some parts of Iran and not the predominant (official) language of this country.

4- Fortunately, FARSI has never been used in any research paper or university document in any Western language and the proposal of its usage will create doubt and ambiguity about the name of the official language of our country.

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