Sunday, January 03, 2010
This is an update to a thread I started on Unilang a few days ago, on the subject of etymologically pure (i.e. with as few loanwords as possible) Persian and whether it can really be written without the vast amount of loanwords it has acquired over the centuries. Persian is lucky in that it has a long written history before the Muslim conquest of Persia showing how the language was written without Arabic loanwords, and many of these ancient terms (and others from after the conquest as well because all the loanwords didn't come in overnight) can be used as references in making new terms.
That thread includes the following two links that I really like provided by alijsh (who runs this site), which are:
This one (all in English) on how new astronomical terms are coined in Persian. The article makes a very good point on the length of new words, which must be relatively short in order to compete with existing English terminology. French courriel (e-mail) followed by pourriel (spam) is a good example of a successful new term; once those two were created there really was no need to use the English term anymore. Double the length of a word though and it becomes easier to simply stick with the existing English term.
The other one is here, a great site written in Persian minus foreign loanwords. I haven't taken a close enough look at it to see if they have been completely purged and also have no idea whether it looks awkward to a native speaker or not, but it's easy enough to read even for a student of the language. When I started the thread on Unilang I was really hoping that a site like that would exist, and it turns out that it does. I wonder if it feels to a native speaker like The Anglish Moot does to a native speaker of English.