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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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".



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