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Persian Language and Culture

Why do English speakers use 'Farsi' instead of the English word 'Persian' when referring to the language spoken by Iranians?


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May 21, 2015 11:05AM

"Persian" is derived through Latin, from Old Persian "Parsa". The Persians referred to their language first as "Parsig", modern "Parsi". In a very large percent of dialects, this became "Farsi" under possible Arab influence. (Arabic has no 'P', often turning the 'P' in Persian words into 'F'.) While "Farsi" originally (and in many cases still does) refer to all the dialects of Persian, names such as "Farsi-ye dari" for the dialect spoken in Afghanistan were shortened giving "Dari", and "Farsi" came to often refer specifically to the Iranian dialects rather than the standard forms found in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Referring to the modern language as "Farsi" is thus part of the small movement to attempt to refer to languages as their native speakers do, such as "Deutsch" instead of "German".