RFC 4645bis: making 'pes' and 'prs' extlangs

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Fri Dec 5 21:29:01 CET 2008

Randy Presuhn scripsit:

> I had only heard the term "Farsi" in conjunction with the language.
> This list is the first place where I've heard the modern language
> called "Persian".  

Wikipedia explains it all for you at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_language .

Pro-"Persian" article:

Pro-"Farsi" reply:

Pro-"Persian" rejoinder:

That should establish the existence of the controversy.

Here's what the Persian Academy (that's its name in English) has to say,
in unofficial translation:

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

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.

John Cowan    cowan at ccil.org    http://ccil.org/~cowan
The present impossibility of giving a scientific explanation is no proof
that there is no scientific explanation. The unexplained is not to be
identified with the unexplainable, and the strange and extraordinary
nature of a fact is not a justification for attributing it to powers
above nature.  --The Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "telepathy" (1913)

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