The Corner

Watch Your Language

… at least if you find yourself in Iran or Russia.

AP reports (h/t Iran Focus) that “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as ‘pizzas’ which will now be known as ‘elastic loaves,’ state media reported Saturday.”  The story continues: 

The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.

The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have become commonly used in Iran, mostly from Western languages. The government is less sensitive about Arabic words, because the Quran is written in Arabic.

Among other changes, a “chat” will become a “short talk” and a “cabin” will be renamed a “small room,” according to official Web site of the academy.

Meanwhile, in Putin’s fourishing democracy — where the Wall Street Journal reports that a law has just been enacted making criticism of government officials a crime punishable by imprisonment for three years and closure of a media outlet — “Russia’s Parliament is in the process of adopting a law that will fine ministers for saying ‘dollar’ when they could have used ‘ruble.’” 

And, the Journal continues, “On Friday, a government agency responsible for monitoring political and religious groups announced that media are forbidden from mentioning the name of a fringe political party, the National Bolshevik Party, headed by the anti-establishment novelist Eduard Limonov.  The agency said media shouldn’t mention the party, which lost its official registration in a court order last year, because it doesn’t officially exist.”  

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