chapter  9
Social causes and cultural consequences of replacing Persian with Farsi: what’s in a name?
ByKAMRAN TALATTOF
Pages 12

As many historians and philologists have stated, the origin of the word Persian is the word Pars or Parsi, referring to the language of the Aryan tribes who migrated to the Perses land. The word is also associated with different forms of the language, including Old (spoken until the third century bc), Middle (until the ninth century ad), and New Persian. The word Parsi was, however, changed to Farsi after the arrival of the Arab Muslims because their alphabet lacks the letter “p” and it is common practice for Arabs to replace p with f. Thus Farsi arose as the standard pronunciation. Iranians accepted the Arabized form of the name of their language. The p and the word Pars, Pers, or other variations of it, were, however, present as the language was named in different European languages. In French it is persan, the German it is Persisch, the Spanish is pérsico, and the Italian is persiano, and so on. And of course, as mentioned, Persian has been the name of the language in English since the beginning.