AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 6:51:00 AM ----- BODY: Iranians ought to be among the least sensitive people on earth when it comes to the issue of languages. I guess it is an unconscious response to being acquinted with a very rich and old literature from an early age. Whatever it is, it comes up most obviously when Iranians learn foreign languages, or try to do so. I know of many who cannot still speak the language of the countries they live in properly. They speak the language well enough to get by, but not to actually be able to carry out a discussion on any serious subject. It gets even worse in a society that itself is notorious for not caring about language, namely that of the USA.

Among the worst outcomes of this, is the virtual replacement of the term "Persian" (when refering to language of Iran) by the term Farsi. They both come from the same source, Pars/Fars, the name of the tribe that spoke an ancient form of the language. However, each language has its own rules and regulations. In English for example, the name of the official language of Iran has always been Persian (in French that would be Persan, Persisch in German, and etc.). So, using the term "Farsi" when speaking English, is like saying "I speak Eliniki" instead of saying "I speak Greek"! The term Farsi has now become common in English (and even in some other European languages) and in the minds of many, has disassociated itself from the term "Persian". People tend to think that Persian was the language of the Persian Empire, while Farsi is the language of "modern" Iran, when in fact, both refer to the one and the same language, the same one that Rumi, Hafez, and Hedayat used to communicate their ideas. Let's respect the host languages, be more language conscious and care about this basic means of human communication.