Persian And Arabic Romanization Differences and aacr2 rules a short History of Development



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Persian And Arabic Romanization Differences and AACR2 rules

A short History of Development
When in 1955 Orientalia Processing Committee the (OPC), of the Library of Congress decided to develop a transliteration scheme for Persian Language Materials, they commissioned Dr. Nasser Sharify who was working at the time in Library of Congress Cataloguing Division. His initial draft was presented to OPC and approved in 1956. Immediately after LC informed ALA’s Special Committee on Near Eastern Materials of its ongoing work. This Committee was deeply split between treating Persian sui generic and treating it according to the established transliteration system for Arabic.
In 1957 The Social Science Research Council’s Committee (SSRC) on the Near and Middle East developed its own proposal for the transliteration of Persian, one which treated Persian consonants correctly but treated short vowels and diphthongs as though the language were Arabic. The rationales for such a mixed system were extremely difficult to understand but it appeared to be perfectly logical to the SSRC at the time.
In 1961, all parties convened at a meeting in New York on June 26th with ALA’s authoritative Committee on Descriptive Cataloging as convener. At the conclusion of this meeting the Chairman of the LC Orientalia Processing Committee (C. Sumner Spalding) surrendered in favoring the SSRC proposal. Why, after so many years did LC give up? In 1987 in his letter to the author of this paper he wrote:
“As the LC Officer at that time, who consistently supported correct Persian transliteration but had at the end, to bite the bullet of accepting an inferior system” and surrendered to the clear majority favoring the SSRC proposal. He added: I appeal for your leadership out of this morass.”
The question is why was ALA unwilling to follow LC’s leadership in the transliteration of Persian, the answer is clear: those librarians who would have a say in the formulation of ALA’s position would almost all be librarians in universities with faculties in Middle Eastern studies and languages. And clearly were far more heavily staffed in the Arabic area than in the Persian Language.
The relationship between the Persian Language and the Arabic language is founded on religious grounds. Quran was written in Arabic, therefore, religious Iranians had to learn Arabic in order to be able to read the Quran. But the majority of Iranians read the Quran without much knowledge of Arabic and memorize its passages without understanding their meaning.
Early in the Islamic period some Iranian authors wrote in both languages. And for religious reasons, many Iranians adopted names of Imams, Saints, etc., but modified them to suit their own name structures and pronunciations. Many Arabic words were introduced into the Persian language were modified by Iranians to suit the structures, grammar and pronunciation of their own language. After this transformation, these words of Arabic origin became an integral part of the Persian vocabulary. Just as words of Romance origins are found in the English language.


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