1. The main advantages for adopting a phonemic
Latin-based (or Roman-based) alphabet such as
UniPers for the Persian language are:
a. A scientific, phonemically structured new script
based on the Alphabetic Principle. Mastering reading
and writing would become straightforward and simplified.
Children and beginners would be able to read any
Persian book after only a few months of practice.
Educated people would be able to master reading
and writing in a very short time. Therefore, a
phonemic script like UniPers would help boost
interest among Persian speakers in their own literature,
culture, and history. On the other hand, the old
Perso-Arabic writing system is an obsolete script
that completely violates the Alphabetic Principle.
b. Being based on the Latin alphabet would take
advantage of its universality. It would make the
Persian language much more accessible not only
to our children and those who have obtained their
secondary and higher education outside the Persian-speaking
countries, but also to the non-Persian speaking
people who have an interest in studying the Persian
culture and history. Thus, Persian culture and
language would become readily available to all
without the hindrance of a complex, unfamiliar,
and cumbersome writing system like Perso-Arabic.
|2. A new Latin-based alphabet for Persian can
help the language and enrich it. The weak argument
that the Persian literary heritage would be lost
is completely false. One can print and read the
great literary works of Hafez, Sa'di and Ferdowsi
even more easily in a phonemic Latin-based alphabet
than in the Perso-Arabic. The Perso-Arabic alphabet
has turned many Iranians off from reading literary
and historical books. This means that unlike what
the proponents of the old alphabet say about UniPers
severing our contacts with our culture, Perso-Arabic
has done more to achieve this break.
3. It is hard to comprehend why some people think
not using the Arabic (or Perso-Arabic) alphabet
will harm the Persian language. The Arabic alphabet
has harmed this language and literature so much
so, that the earlier we switch to an appropriate
alphabet the better.
Looking at many different manuscripts especially
the old ones, one notices that some consonants
that are distinguished with dots or lines are
often mixed and cannot be differentiated. Furthermore,
pronunciation of many words have been mistakenly
altered, e.g., Faravahr has become
Foruhar, mozdvar has become
mozdur, ranjvar has turned into
ranjur, chashm can be pronounced
cheshm, shash has become shesh,
kond has turned into gond, and so
on ad infinitum.
A phonemic alphabet is a scientific tool for
taking the guess work out of pronunciation. Reading,
writing, and correct pronunciation of words ought
not become a separate field of study for those
who would like to spend their whole life contemplating
such matters. They ought to be mere practicable
tools to ease communication for the public at
large. An alphabet like UniPers is designed to
be such an instrument.
4. Today's advances in Information Technology
and Internet communication demand that we adopt
a Latin-based alphabet so as not to fall behind
rest of the civilized world. Embracing UniPers
would support the Persian language and its communication
technology infrastructure, in at least the following
a. Dramatic simplification of the digitization,
database storage, and electronic presentation
of Persian text. No need for, an inaccurate and
inefficient tool such as the Perso-Arabic Optical
Character Recognition (OCR) software, hard to
find and unwieldy word processors and text editors,
complex methods of reconciling Perso-Arabic characters
with popular databases, several incompatible ways
of displaying characters online, etc. . Persian
in a Latin-based phonemic script can take advantage
of the existing software tools available for other
Latin-based alphabets. Such highly efficient tools
have been created and perfected for the Latin
alphabet by developers in many countries for decades.
b. Immense simplification of the search engine
technology. No need for a totally different search
engine configured specifically for sites in Perso-Arabic
type. A search engine developed for Perso-Arabic
characters has to be capable of differentiating
Persian text digitized in Unicode, Windows Arabic
encoding, and a multitude of incompatible Web
and Unix fonts. Further convoluting this already
complex system is the nagging problem of the lack
of a standard spelling. On the other hand, Persian
text stored in Latin characters is searchable
by any major search engine, and phonemic Latinized
Persian completely eliminates the need for devising
an artificial standard spelling. This makes utilization
of the UniPers alphabet ideal for search engines,
and thus contributes to ending the long isolation
of the Persian language.
c. Normalization and standardization of an already
popular means of online communication. Even today,
the online communications in Persian are mostly
accomplished in the Latin alphabet. This is due
to the obvious practicability of Latinized Persian.
The problem is the lack of a transcription standard.
Utilizing UniPers will help normalize Latinized
Persian online communications and as a result
facilitate the exchange of information.
d. A great deal of the computing and human resources
in Iran are being spent on "converting the computer
alphabet" into Perso-Arabic. And all that without
a set spelling standard. All web sites, in that
alphabet, can easily revert to mumbo jumbo characters
if the environment or the font are not correct.
To get the texts correctly in Perso-Arabic one
has to resort to acrobatics. UniPers will unequivocally
remove all these issues, freeing up human and
machine resources for far more productive and
|5. Existing Persian books, documents, manuscripts,
digitized texts etc., can be gradually converted
to the Latin script. In light of the astonishing
advancements in computer technology, a converter
software can easily be made to convert diverse types
of Perso-Arabic texts into a single UniPers type.
Hence, a major argument by the antagonists of UniPers
can be removed.
6. Those who may object to a change from Perso-Arabic
to Latin, based on concerns for the preservation
of Persian heritage, should be reminded that the
Perso-Arabic writing system is not part of the
Persian heritage. It is nothing more than a linguistic
tool, with only one purpose, i.e., to aid written
communication in Persian. Therefore, by using
a phonemic Latin-based alphabet like UniPers instead
of the Perso-Arabic, one is merely using a modern,
effective linguistic tool to achieve the same
purpose, i.e., written communication, in a far
more efficient way without challenging the heritage.
As a matter of fact, UniPers can greatly assist
in invigorating the Persian heritage by making
it accessible to a greater number of Persian and
non-Persian speaking people. An analog to this
case is an example of the construction of a house.
It is possible to build a new house using ancient
hand tools without taking advantage of modern
construction machinery such as bulldozers or even
electric drills. But why would one need to go
through such an inefficient, tortuous, and not
to mention, economically foolish exercise? Why
not instead utilize modern machinery and equipment
to expedite and streamline such task and end up
with a well constructed house? Written communication
in the Perso-Arabic script is analogous to using
ancient hand tools, as opposed to using modern
machinery, which is the analog of UniPers.
| 7. With the embracement of Latin alphabet, Persian
literature will stop being looked at as something
strange and alien by non-Persian speaking people.
This will make others more interested in the Persian
language and culture.
8. The idea of adopting a Latin-based alphabet
for Persian has a long history. It is a notion
that has been explored and investigated by many
learned figures. These include:
-M. A. Jamalzadeh
At the present many groups inside and outside
Iran are working on a new alphabet.
9. There are several examples of diverse languages
that already employ Latin as their primary or
secondary alphabets. These alphabets have been
created as facilitative tools for reading and
writing for both native and non-native users.
Examples of non-Indo-European languages that
have adopted modified Latin as their primary alphabet:
Examples of languages that employ standard Latin-based
secondary alphabets for transcription:
-Chinese (Pinyin: used for road signs,
maps, brand names, computer input, Chinese Braille,
telegrams, semaphore, etc.)
-Japanese (Romaji: used to write numbers,
abbreviations and computer input. It is also used
in dictionaries, text books and phrase books for
foreign learners of Japanese.)
There is therefore ample precedence for adoption
of the UniPers (or Universal Persian) alphabet
as secondary or primary alphabet for the Persian