Persian words that can replace their Arabic equivalents
September 24, 2002
Upon the request of some readers, as an addition to my previous article entitled
our language dying", I would like to present a longer list of Persian words
that can replace their Arabic equivalents in colloquial Persian speech. I am a 21-year-old
engineering student who has grown up abroad throughout most of his life. Hence, I
am absolutely open to any sort of related criticism on my observation.
As a consequence of my personal analysis on the ways whereby the Persian language
could be more Iranianised by resurrecting some of our own words that are on the verge
of fading into oblivion due to seldom usage, I have prepared a list to demonstrate
the feasibility of protecting our language with our own words, an act which
has unfortunately been neglected, owing to the saga of turbulent incidents and cataclysms
Iran has been afflicted with in the past few centuries.
This turbulence and the consequent skirmishes for domination along with the repeated
intrusion of foreign forces, have prevented the growth of the Persian language by
making this issue a very petty and marginal one amidst a myriad of other more significant
political issues and incidents.
Finally, in the below list, I am not trying to prescribe the way one should speak
like the way most of the consecutive rulers of our country have determined our daily
life by meddling in the way our people dress, speak, or write. I am merely evincing
a very lucid way of protecting our affluent language, which is in dire need of a
resounding facelift on account of the intense Arabic element in our language.
Here is a more comprehensive list of my own observations denoting the way to protect
some Persian words that are in a precarious position. It is also timely to note that
in most cases, Persian words sound more melodic than their commonly-used Arabic equivalents
- 1) Peyvand: This word has been vanquished in its battle of prevalence by
the word Ettehaad, which is popularly deployed in formal documents.
- 2) Peyvasteh: By the same token, Peyvasteh, unfortunately sounds
highly bizarre in the presence of the more ubiquitous one, mottahed. However,
wouldn't it be nice to refer to, for instance, the United Nations as Melaleh Peyvasteh
rather than Melaleh Mottahed, which is 100% Arabic?
- 3) Hamegaani: How many times have you seen this word be used? Probably on
the cover of Telephone Directories printed for each city in Iran under the name Daftarcheyeh
Hamegaani. All the same, can anyone assert that this word is more widely used
than its Arabic equivalent, omoomi?
- 4) Dang: How many of you have come across this word? The usage of this word
is comparatively low as opposed to its Arabic equivalent, sedaa. On the other
hand, the word dang is still very widely used in Kurdish and other dialects
of Persian. However, I admit, I am more inclined to employ the word sedaa
since this Arabic word is one of my favourites. Nevertheless, the best solution would
be to encourage a tendency of familiarising our people with the word dang
while retaining sedaa
- 5) Penhaan: Meaning secret, recent indications evince an ever-decreasing
popularity of this word while its Arabic equivalent, serri, has grown more
- 6) Chehaar-Goosh: As you might have realised, the bulk of the mathematical-terms
in Persian are Arabic. There , sometimes, exist some less popular Persian words like
Chehaar-Goosh as an alternative to Morabbah.
- 7) Ashtee: Although the word Ashtee,
meaning peace, is evidently favoured more by colloquial speakers, there seems to
be a tendency of almost shying away from this word in formal documents, which are
more in tune with the Arabic Word Solh.
- 8) Pahnaavar: Despite sounding more eloquent than its Arabic equivalent,
Vasee, Pahnaavar, under current circumstances, is likely to suffer
from a state of oblivion if the current trends persist for a few more decades.
- 9 )Gozeedan: Do you realise how melodic this word sounds? In fact, this
word is a typical paradigm of the sweet nature of the Persian language. Yet, how
many of you would be inclined to use it ubiquitously in daily speech in lieu of its
Arabic equivalent, Entekhaab Kardaan (note that only entekhaab is Arabic)
rather then restricting the usage of this word just to poetry books? I think the
answer is an imponderable.
- 10) Gozeedeh: By the same token, entekhaab's derivative, montekhab
has more or less replaced Gozeedeh, which is one of the most glamourous Persian
- 11) Maanand: This is also one of my favourite words, but has unfortunately
been expelled from the tongues of its own speakers only to be replaced with the Arabic
- 12) Dorood: One of the auspicious trends these years has been marked with
the proliferating public demand to utilise Dorood, as a way of awakening and
as an alternative to the omni-present influence of Salaam
- 13) Sepaasgozaar: Wouldn't it be more pleasant
to hear this word more frequently than what we have been bequeathed (mamnoon),
from our rulers and leaders?
- 14) Daleer: Although Daleer and its Arabic Equivalent, Shojaa,
have a more or less an equal level of prevalence in Persian. Even so, the preference
made on Shojaa is lilkely to surge within the next few years.
- 15) Niroomand: This is one of the words that has, sadly, been unable to
culminate to its rightful position in Persian by virtue of the high prevalence of
the word Ghavee, which has caused Niroomand to feel alien in its own
- 16) Farang: How many of you have ever realised that the word foreign
in English could have derived from the Persian farang? Furthermore, would
it be accurate to conclude that farang has as much eminence in Iran as the
Arabic word Khaarejee? In fact, the new generation Iranians almost hardly
ever deploy the word farang due to having grown up to hear Khaarejee
- 17) Nou, Novin: Both of these words, having approximately similar meanings,
are amongst the oldest words of the family of Iranian languages. In fact, the English
new and the German neu is thought to have been derived from it. Yet,
what have we done with our word nou? We have put it straight into the dust
bin to replace it with Arabic jadid.
- 18) Ghaali: Hand-woven carpets, notably after the advent of silk worm to
Iran from China, have for centuries been amongst of the symbols of our land. Yet,
how felicitous is it to totally abolish the word Ghaali to be replaced with
Arabic Farsh? Why has the word Ghaali been belittledso much?
- 19 ) Del: The word Del, meaning heart, has only found refuge in love
songs and poems whereas the word Ghalb has a more comprehensive usage.
- 20) Andooh: A word meaning sorrow, anguish;
it has a relatively seldom level of usage amongst Iranians in the presence of more
well-rooted Arabic words such as gham and ghosseh, which are indubitably
more in the ascendant.
- 21) Chehreh: An old Persian word meaning face, in today's colloquial Persian
chehreh is less in vogue as opposed to the Arabic Word, Soorat, which has
dominated a wide array of contexts.
- 22) Raaz:This Persian Word carries the meaning of secret and is primarily
heard either in songs or in poems with a high literary value; it is not hard to remark
on the invincible domination of its Arabic equivalent ser.
- 23) Piroozi:(meaning victory) Not only in Persian, but also in various Iranian
Languages this Persian word has for centuries retained its popularity only until
recently to lose the combat of firstdom to its Arabic equivalent Zafar.
- 24) Khaaneh: Predictably, most of you must have got pretty flabbergasted
at my inclusion of the word Khaaneh in the list of the words facing oblivion.
You are probably right since the word Khaaneh is rather popular in our language.
Yet, why do we invariably, especially during phone calls, tend to ask the question
of Manzeleh aghaayeh/khaanoomeh...? ? Moreover, Khaaneh has never been
popular vis-a-vis Manzel in formal speeches.
- 25) Naamdaar: This is a true paradigm of what an obscure word is like. It
is so obscure and inconspicious that it is only sustained in surnames andstories
whereas it is scarcely heard in everyday conversation due to the intense influence
of the Arabic Word Ma'roof.
- 26) Yaadegaar: Although the word Yaadegaar
is less popular than its Arabic equvalent, Khaatereh, it is also correct to
note that Khaatereh is one of the Arabic Words with a great grandeur and is
for the most part favoured by most Iranians. All the same, Yaadegaar should
also be bestowed the eminence it deserves.
- 27) Jahaan: How many of you can affirm that you yourselves tend to use Jahaan
more often than Donyaa ? Probably very few!
Alternatively, there also exist a multitude of long-forgotten and previously very
popular Persian Words that are at present being barely used for even eloquence in
literature. While the list of those words could be extended to hundreds, it suffices
to provide several of them here to underscore the gravity of their inclusion in our
-1) Pardees: How many of you are aware of the meaning of this word? Pardees
means paradise. As many people discern, the English word Paradise comes from
the Persian Word Pardees. Even the concept of paradise is thought to have
first originated in Iran. However, we have grown so foreign to our word ,Pardees,
with which most speakers of the Persian Language are not acquainted today.
-2) Nik: This word is only seen in ancient texts. Nonetheless, it could be
a great synonym for another Persian word Khoob, which widely in use.
3) Derang: Meaning late, this is also one of
the melodic Persian words facing oblivion. Derang is still very often used
in Kurdish; yet its extent of usage is highly narrow in Persian. However, as in the
case articulated above, Derang can also be deployed as a synonym for the Persian
4) Barjasteh: A very old and meaningful Persian word meaning distinguished,
Barjasteh is one of the words that should be granted greater attention and
its usage should be proliferated.
The above examples, as I delineated formerly, are just a handful of the examples
expounding upon the neglected affluence of the Persian language, which, in some areas
is self-sufficient, whereas in others the inclusion of foreign words is required
to better the expressive capability of the language. Yet, if of centuries-old negligence
that has been demonstrated towards the Persian language persists, we will probably
forfeit a very significant portion of our vocabulary within the next few decades.