Persian vs Farsi (half-OT)

Roozbeh Pournader roozbeh at
Sat Dec 6 03:56:42 CET 2008

Doug Ewell wrote:
> What all of this tells me is that the question of "Persian" versus 
> "Farsi" is indeed controversial,

I don't agree. "Persian" vs "Farsi" is not really controversial, 
"Farsi" is controversial.

I have not seen people have a major objection to the use of "Persian" 
in English. I have only seen people object to use of "Farsi" in 
English (sometimes very loudly).

> As far as the Registry is concerned, we basically have two choices:
> 1.  Stick with only the names ISO 639 gives us, and add or change 
> Description fields to mirror ISO 639 exactly.
> 2.  Add the "Persian" names alongside the "Farsi" names within the 
> Registry.  (Again, we cannot do this until the language subtags in 
> question are actually in the Registry, that is, until RFC 4646bis and 
> 4645bis are approved.  Trying to slip this sort of decision into 
> draft-4645bis would be a supremely bad idea.)
> I favor choice 2.
> What we must NOT do IMHO is:
> 3.  Add the "Persian" names and delete the "Farsi" names within the 
> Registry, thereby making a partisan statement about right names/wrong 
> names.

I agree that with the Registry we only have two choices, and I also 
prefer 2.

Still, be prepared for the herd of people who do not like to see 
"Farsi" in English (if we can't get 639-3 to change it). I seem to be 
a proponent of "Persian", but believe me, I am mostly trying to fend 
off future loud protesters, of whom I'm a victim myself. (That, and 


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