Saturday, July 29, 2006

Iran's Ahmadinejad: rid Persian of foreign words

The Washington Post:
Iranians should call helicopters "rotating wings" and pizzas "elastic loaves," according to a decree from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that seeks to rid Persian of European loan words.

The presidential decree carried in Saturday's newspapers said official documents, schoolbooks and newspapers should follow the rulings of the Farhangestan, Iran's linguistic policeman -- equivalent of the Academie Francaise.

"All the institutions named above should use the words created and agreed by the academy as a replacement to alien words," the decree said. READ MORE

The words created by the Farhangestan as replacements to European loan words often sound cumbersome or comic to Iranians.

Although Iranians use many English and French words, the lion's share of foreign borrowings come from Arabic. The Farhangestan takes a far easier line on Arabic imports.