February 17, 2000
Khayli ham modeh
I was reading the Iranian newspapers published in Iran during the student
protests last July. It came to my attention that 20 years of clerical rule
has impacted many aspects of Iranian lives, the Persian language not excluded.
At first I thought that my Persian must have deteriorated after so many
years of being away from Iran. But reading the article ["Democracy or
Theocracy"] by Mr. Sadri reminded me of the proper Persian, and
drew a distinction between the true Persian grammar and the messy, Arabic
influenced version of Farsi, that is being used in Iran.
Reading the articles in Iranian papers, one can not miss the fact that
using verses from Quran, or other Arabic phrases without its translation,
has become very fashionable. Using Arabic words even though the Persian
versions of them exist, is an indication of one's knowledge of the religion
and consequently is a score for the author. The tune of writings very
much resembles molla-speech on the manbar.
Also Iranians who live abroad, like yours truly, are hard at work to
forget even the colloquial day to day Persian, never mind the proper version
of it. In my last visit to Iran, I had a discussion with one of the university
professors. During our discussion, I apologized for using too many English
terms in our Persian conversation. And the person's respond was "
Negaraan nabaash, khayli ham mode-h".