In English, is the language spoken in Iran called Farsi or Persian?

My Iranian friend claims that his language is called Farsi, not Persian, but my argument is that even though it’s known as Farsi in the language itself, in English, it would be called Persian. After all, you wouldn’t say to a Mexican, "Hey, do you speak Espanol?"

Any ideas?


  1. The term Persian seems to have been first used in English in the mid-16th century. Native Persian speakers call it "Pârsi" (local name) or Fârsi.[ Fârsi is the arabicized form of Pârsi, due to a lack of the ‘p’ phoneme in Standard Arabic. In English, this language is historically known as "Persian", though some Persian-speakers migrating to the West continued to use "Farsi" to identify their language in English and the word gained some currency in English-speaking countries

  2. It is Farsi. Iran was called Persia until 1935. Before 1935 the people were Persian. In English, the Persian language is historically known as Persian but today (Pârsi) Farsi is the language spoken.

    Diane T

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