Iranian languages

The Iranian or Iranic languages[2][3] are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples.

The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BC), Middle Iranian (400 BC – 900 AD), and New Iranian (since 900 AD). The two directly attested Old Iranian languages are Old Persian (from the Achaemenid Empire) and Old Avestan (the language of the Avesta). Of the Middle Iranian languages, the better understood and recorded ones are Middle Persian (from the Sasanian Empire), Parthian (from the Parthian Empire), and Bactrian (from the Kushan and Hephthalite empires).

As of 2008, there were an estimated 150–200 million native speakers of the Iranian languages.[4] Ethnologue estimates that there are 86 Iranian languages,[5][6] the largest among them being Persian, Pashto, and the Kurdish dialect continuum.[7]

Iranian
Iranic
EthnicityIranian peoples
Geographic
distribution
West Asia, Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Proto-languageProto-Iranian
Subdivisions
ISO 639-2 / 5ira
Linguasphere58= (phylozone)
Glottologiran1269[1]
Map-IranianLanguages

Countries and areas where an Iranian language has official status or is spoken by a majority

Term

The term Iranian is applied to any language which descends from the ancestral Proto-Iranian language.[8]

This use of the term for the Iranian language family was introduced in 1836 by Christian Lassen.[9] Robert Needham Cust used the term Irano-Aryan in 1878,[10] and Orientalists such as George Abraham Grierson and Max Müller contrasted Irano-Aryan (Iranian) and Indo-Aryan (Indic). Some recent scholarship, primarily in German, has revived this convention.[11][12][13][14]

The Iranian languages are divided into the following branches:

Proto-Iranian

Genetic division of Iranic languages
Genetic division of Iranic languages
Scythia-Parthia 100 BC
Historical distribution in 100 BC: shown are Sarmatia, Scythia, Bactria (Eastern Iranian, in orange); and the Parthian Empire (Western Iranian, in red)

The Iranian languages all descend from a common ancestor: the so-called Proto-Iranian which itself evolved from Proto-Indo-Iranian. This ancestor language is speculated to have origins in Central Asia, and the Andronovo Culture is suggested as a candidate for the common Indo-Iranian culture around 2000 BC.

It was situated precisely in the western part of Central Asia that borders present-day Russia (and present-day Kazakhstan). It was in relative proximity to the other satem ethno-linguistic groups of the Indo-European family, like Thracian, Balto-Slavic and others, and to common Indo-European's original homeland (more precisely, the steppes of southern Russia to the north of the Caucasus), according to the reconstructed linguistic relationships of common Indo-European.

Proto-Iranian thus dates to some time after Proto-Indo-Iranian break-up, or the early second millennium BCE, as the Old Iranian languages began to break off and evolve separately as the various Iranian tribes migrated and settled in vast areas of southeastern Europe, the Iranian plateau, and Central Asia.

Proto-Iranian innovations compared to Proto-Indo-Iranian include:[15] the turning of sibilant fricative *s into non-sibilant fricative glottal *h; the voiced aspirated plosives *bʰ, *dʰ, *gʰ yielding to the voiced unaspirated plosives *b, *d, *g resp.; the voiceless unaspirated stops *p, *t, *k before another consonant changing into fricatives *f, *θ, *x resp.; voiceless aspirated stops *pʰ, *tʰ, *kʰ turning into fricatives *f, *θ, *x, resp.

Old Iranian

The multitude of Middle Iranian languages and peoples indicate that great linguistic diversity must have existed among the ancient speakers of Iranian languages. Of that variety of languages/dialects, direct evidence of only two have survived. These are:

Indirectly attested Old Iranian languages are discussed below.

Old Persian is the Old Iranian dialect as it was spoken in south-western Iran by the inhabitants of Parsa, who also gave their name to their region and language. Genuine Old Persian is best attested in one of the three languages of the Behistun inscription, composed circa 520 BC, and which is the last inscription (and only inscription of significant length) in which Old Persian is still grammatically correct. Later inscriptions are comparatively brief, and typically simply copies of words and phrases from earlier ones, often with grammatical errors, which suggests that by the 4th century BC the transition from Old Persian to Middle Persian was already far advanced, but efforts were still being made to retain an "old" quality for official proclamations.

The other directly attested Old Iranian dialects are the two forms of Avestan, which take their name from their use in the Avesta, the liturgical texts of indigenous Iranian religion that now goes by the name of Zoroastrianism but in the Avesta itself is simply known as vohu daena (later: behdin). The language of the Avesta is subdivided into two dialects, conventionally known as "Old (or 'Gathic') Avestan", and "Younger Avestan". These terms, which date to the 19th century, are slightly misleading since 'Younger Avestan' is not only much younger than 'Old Avestan', but also from a different geographic region. The Old Avestan dialect is very archaic, and at roughly the same stage of development as Rigvedic Sanskrit. On the other hand, Younger Avestan is at about the same linguistic stage as Old Persian, but by virtue of its use as a sacred language retained its "old" characteristics long after the Old Iranian languages had yielded to their Middle Iranian stage. Unlike Old Persian, which has Middle Persian as its known successor, Avestan has no clearly identifiable Middle Iranian stage (the effect of Middle Iranian is indistinguishable from effects due to other causes).

In addition to Old Persian and Avestan, which are the only directly attested Old Iranian languages, all Middle Iranian languages must have had a predecessor "Old Iranian" form of that language, and thus can all be said to have had an (at least hypothetical) "Old" form. Such hypothetical Old Iranian languages include Carduchian (the hypothetical predecessor to Kurdish) and Old Parthian. Additionally, the existence of unattested languages can sometimes be inferred from the impact they had on neighbouring languages. Such transfer is known to have occurred for Old Persian, which has (what is called) a "Median" substrate in some of its vocabulary.[17] Also, foreign references to languages can also provide a hint to the existence of otherwise unattested languages, for example through toponyms/ethnonyms or in the recording of vocabulary, as Herodotus did for what he called "Scythian".

Isoglosses

Conventionally, Iranian languages are grouped in "western" and "eastern" branches.[18] These terms have little meaning with respect to Old Avestan as that stage of the language may predate the settling of the Iranian peoples into western and eastern groups. The geographic terms also have little meaning when applied to Younger Avestan since it isn't known where that dialect (or dialects) was spoken either. Certain is only that Avestan (all forms) and Old Persian are distinct, and since Old Persian is "western", and Avestan was not Old Persian, Avestan acquired a default assignment to "eastern". Confusing the issue is the introduction of a western Iranian substrate in later Avestan compositions and redactions undertaken at the centers of imperial power in western Iran (either in the south-west in Persia, or in the north-west in Nisa/Parthia and Ecbatana/Media).

Two of the earliest dialectal divisions among Iranian indeed happen to not follow the later division into Western and Eastern blocks. These concern the fate of the Proto-Indo-Iranian first-series palatal consonants, *ć and *dź:[19]

  • Avestan and most other Iranian languages have deaffricated and depalatalized these consonants, and have *ć > s, *dź > z.
  • Old Persian, however, has fronted these consonants further: *ć > θ, *dź > *ð > d.

As a common intermediate stage, it is possible to reconstruct depalatalized affricates: *c, *dz. (This coincides with the state of affairs in the neighboring Nuristani languages.) A further complication however concerns the consonant clusters *ćw and *dźw:

  • Avestan and most other Iranian languages have shifted these clusters to sp, zb.
  • In Old Persian, these clusters yield s, z, with loss of the glide *w, but without further fronting.
  • The Saka language, attested in the Middle Iranian period, and its modern relative Wakhi fail to fit into either group: in these, palatalization remains, and similar glide loss as in Old Persian occurs: *ćw > š, *dźw > ž.

A division of Iranian languages in at least three groups during the Old Iranian period is thus implied:

  • Persid (Old Persian and its descendants)
  • Sakan (Saka, Wakhi, and their Old Iranian ancestor)
  • Central Iranian (all other Iranian languages)

It is possible that other distinct dialect groups were already in existence during this period. Good candidates are the hypothethical ancestor languages of Alanian/Scytho-Sarmatian subgroup of Scythian in the far northwest; and the hypothetical "Old Parthian" (the Old Iranian ancestor of Parthian) in the near northwest, where original *dw > *b (paralleling the development of *ćw).

Middle Iranian languages

What is known in Iranian linguistic history as the "Middle Iranian" era is thought to begin around the 4th century BCE lasting through the 9th century. Linguistically the Middle Iranian languages are conventionally classified into two main groups, Western and Eastern.

The Western family includes Parthian (Arsacid Pahlavi) and Middle Persian, while Bactrian, Sogdian, Khwarezmian, Saka, and Old Ossetic (Scytho-Sarmatian) fall under the Eastern category. The two languages of the Western group were linguistically very close to each other, but quite distinct from their eastern counterparts. On the other hand, the Eastern group was an areal entity whose languages retained some similarity to Avestan. They were inscribed in various Aramaic-derived alphabets which had ultimately evolved from the Achaemenid Imperial Aramaic script, though Bactrian was written using an adapted Greek script.

Middle Persian (Pahlavi) was the official language under the Sasanian dynasty in Iran. It was in use from the 3rd century CE until the beginning of the 10th century. The script used for Middle Persian in this era underwent significant maturity. Middle Persian, Parthian and Sogdian were also used as literary languages by the Manichaeans, whose texts also survive in various non-Iranian languages, from Latin to Chinese. Manichaean texts were written in a script closely akin to the Syriac script.[20]

New Iranian languages

Iranian Language Status
Dark green: countries where Iranian languages are official.
Teal: regional co-official/de facto status.

Following the Islamic Conquest of Persia (Iran), there were important changes in the role of the different dialects within the Persian Empire. The old prestige form of Middle Iranian, also known as Pahlavi, was replaced by a new standard dialect called Dari as the official language of the court. The name Dari comes from the word darbâr (دربار), which refers to the royal court, where many of the poets, protagonists, and patrons of the literature flourished. The Saffarid dynasty in particular was the first in a line of many dynasties to officially adopt the new language in 875 CE. Dari may have been heavily influenced by regional dialects of eastern Iran, whereas the earlier Pahlavi standard was based more on western dialects. This new prestige dialect became the basis of Standard New Persian. Medieval Iranian scholars such as Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa (8th century) and Ibn al-Nadim (10th century) associated the term "Dari" with the eastern province of Khorasan, while they used the term "Pahlavi" to describe the dialects of the northwestern areas between Isfahan and Azerbaijan, and "Pârsi" ("Persian" proper) to describe the Dialects of Fars. They also noted that the unofficial language of the royalty itself was yet another dialect, "Khuzi", associated with the western province of Khuzestan.

Moderniranianlanguagesmap
Geographic distribution of modern Iranian languages

The Islamic conquest also brought with it the adoption of Arabic script for writing Persian and much later, Kurdish, Pashto and Balochi. All three were adapted to the writing by the addition of a few letters. This development probably occurred some time during the second half of the 8th century, when the old middle Persian script began dwindling in usage. The Arabic script remains in use in contemporary modern Persian. Tajik script, used to write the Tajik language, was first Latinised in the 1920s under the then Soviet nationality policy. The script was however subsequently Cyrillicized in the 1930s by the Soviet government.

The geographical regions in which Iranian languages were spoken were pushed back in several areas by newly neighbouring languages. Arabic spread into some parts of Western Iran (Khuzestan), and Turkic languages spread through much of Central Asia, displacing various Iranian languages such as Sogdian and Bactrian in parts of what is today Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In Eastern Europe, mostly comprising the territory of modern-day Ukraine, southern European Russia, and parts of the Balkans, the core region of the native Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans had been decisively taken over as a result of absorption and assimilation (e.g. Slavicisation) by the various Proto-Slavic population of the region, by the 6th century AD.[21][22][23][24] This resulted in the displacement and extinction of the once predominant Scythian languages of the region. Sogdian's close relative Yaghnobi barely survives in a small area of the Zarafshan valley east of Samarkand, and Saka as Ossetic in the Caucasus, which is the sole remnant of the once predominant Scythian languages in Eastern Europe proper and large parts of the North Caucasus. Various small Iranian languages in the Pamir Mountains survive that are derived from Eastern Iranian.

Comparison table

English Zaza Sorani Kurdish Kurmanji Pashto Tati Talyshi Balochi Mazanderani Persian Middle Persian Parthian Old Persian Avestan Ossetian
beautiful rınd, xasek nayab, cwan rind, delal, bedew, xweşik x̌kūlay, x̌āista xojir ghašang dorr, soherâ, mah rang, sharr, juwān xoşgel, xojir zibā/xuš-čehr(e)/xoşgel(ak)/ghashanq/najib hučihr, hužihr hužihr naiba vahu-, srîra ræsughd
blood goyni xwên xwîn, xwûn wīna xevn xun hon xun xūn xōn gōxan vohuni- tug
bread nan, non nan nan ḍoḍəi, məṛəi nun nun nān, nagan nun nān nān nān dzul
bring ardene /weranîn, hawirdin anîn, hînan (rā)wṛəl vârden, biyordon varde âurten, yārag, ārag biyârden āwurdan, biyār ("(you) bring!") āwurdan, āwāy-, āwar-, bar- āwāy-, āwar-, bar- bara- bara, bar- xæssyn
brother bıra brader, bira bra, brarg, brang, brat wror bərâr bira, boli brāt, brās birâr barādar brād, brâdar brād, brādar brātar brātar- æfsymær
come ameyene hatin, were hatin, atin, were, rā tləl biyâmiyan ome āhag, āyag, hatin biyamona, enen, biyâmuen āmadan āmadan, awar awar, čām āy-, āgam āgam- cæwyn
cry bermayene girîn, giryan grîn, griyan žəṛəl bərma berame, bame greewag, grehten birme gerīstan/gerīye griy-, bram- barmâdan kæwyn
dark tari tarî/tarîk tarî skəṇ, skaṇ, tyara ul, gur, târica, târek toki tār sîyo, sîyu tārīk tārīg/k tārīg, tārēn sâmahe, sâma tar
daughter keyne, çêneke kîj, kiç, kenişk, düet (pehlewanî) dot (daughter)

keç(girl)

lūr titiye, dətar kinə, kila dohtir, duttag kîjâ, deter doxtar duxtar duxt, duxtar duxδar čyzg (Iron), kizgæ (Digor)
day roce/roje/roze řoj roj wrəd͡z (rwəd͡z) revj, ruz ruj roç ruz, ruj rūz rōz raucah- raocah- bon
do kerdene kirdin kirin kawəl kardan, kordan karde kanag, kurtin hâkerden kardan kardan kartan kạrta- kәrәta- kænyn
door ber, keyber, çêber derge/derke, derga derî wər darvâca dar, gelo, darwāzag dar, loş dar dar dar, bar duvara- dvara- dwar
die merdene mirdin mirin mrəl bamarden marde mireg, murten bamerden murdan murdan mạriya- mar- mælyn
donkey here ker ker xər astar, xar hə, hər har, her, kar xar xar xar xæræg
eat werdene xwardin xwarin, xwartin,

xartin

xwāṛə, xurāk / xwaṛəl harden harde warag, warâk, wārten xerâk / baxârden xordan / xurāk parwarz / xwâr, xwardīg parwarz / xwâr hareθra / ad-, at- xærinag
egg hak, akk hêk/hêlke, tuxm hêk hagəi merqâna, karxâ morqana, uyə heyg, heyk, ā morg merqâne, tîm, balî toxm, xāya ("testicle") toxmag, xâyag taoxmag, xâyag taoxma- ajk
earth erd zemîn, zewî, ʿerz, erd erd, zevî d͡zməka (md͡zəka) zemin zamin zemin, degār zamîn, bene zamīn zamīg zamīg zam- zãm, zam, zem zæxx
evening şan êware êvar māx̌ām (māš̥ām) nomâzyar, nomâšon shav begáh nemâşun begáh ēvārag êbêrag izær
eye çım çaw/çaş çav stərga coš čaş,gelgan cham, chem çəş, bəj čashm čašm čašm čaša- čašman- cæst
father pi, pêr bawk, ba bav, bab plār piyar, piya, dada piya, lala, po pet, pes pîyer, per pedar, baba pidar pid pitar pitar fyd
fear ters tirs tirs wēra (yara), bēra târs tars turs, terseg taşe-vaşe tars tars tars tạrsa- tares- tas
fiancé waşti dezgîran dergîstî, xwestî čənghol [masculine], čənghəla [feminine] numzâ nomja nāmzād numze nāmzād - - usag
fine weş, hewl xoş xwaş, xweş,

xaş,

x̌a (š̥a), səm,
ṭik (Urdu origin)
xojir, xar xoş wash, hosh xâr, xeş, xojir xoš, xūb, beh dārmag srîra xorz, dzæbæx
finger engışte, gışte, bêçıke engust, pence tilî, pêçî gwəta anquš anqiştə changol, mordâneg, lenkutk angus angošt angust dišti- ængwyldz
fire adır, adfır agir/awir, ahir agir wōr (ōr) taš otaş âch, atesh, âs taş, âtar ātaš, āzar âdur, âtaxsh ādur âç- âtre-/aêsma- art
fish mase masî masî kəb mâyi moy māhi, māhig mâhî māhi māhig māsyāg masya kæsag
go şo (şiyayış) çûn, řoştin, řoyiştin çûn tləl šiyen, bišiyan şe shoten şunen / burden ro/şo şow/row ay- ai- ay-, fra-vaz cæwyn
god homa, huma, oma, heq Yezdan, xwedê, xuda, xodê, xwa(y) xwedê, xweda, xwadê, xudê xwədāi xədâ Xıdo xoda,hwdâ xedâ xodā/izad xudā/yazdān baga- baya- xwycaw
good hewl, rınd, weş baş, çak baş, rind x̌ə (š̥ə) xâr, xojir çok zabr, sharr, jowain xâr, xeş, xojir xub, nīkū, beh xūb, nêkog, beh vahu- vohu, vaŋhu- xorz
grass vaş giya/gya gîya, çêre wāx̌ə (wāš̥ə) vâš alaf rem, sabzag vâş sabzeh, giyāh giyâ giya viş urvarâ kærdæg
great gırd, gırs, pil gewre mezin, gir lōy, stər pilla yol, yal, vaz, dıjd mastar, mazan,tuh gat, pilla bozorg wuzurg, pīl, yal vazraka- uta-, avañt styr
hand dest dest, des dest lās bâl dast dast das, bāl dast dast dast dasta- zasta- k'ux / arm
head ser ser ser sər kalla sə, sər sar, sarag, saghar kalle, sar sar sar kalli sairi sær
heart zerri, zerre dil/dił/dir(Erbil)/zil dil zṛə dəl dıl dil, hatyr del, zel, zil del dil dil aηhuš zærdæ
horse estor, (ostor/astor) asp/hesp/esp, hês(t)ir esp, hesp ās [male], aspa [female] asb, astar asp asp asp, as asb asp, stōr asp, stōr aspa aspa- bæx
house keye, ban mał, xanu, xang mal, xanî kor kiya ka ges, dawâr, log sere, xene, kime xāne xânag demâna-, nmâna- xædzar
hungry veyşan birsî birçî lwəga vašnâ, vešir, gesnâ vahşian shudig, shud veşnâ gorosne, goşne gursag, shuy veşnâg
language (also tongue) zıwan, zon, zuan, zuon, juan, jüan ziman, ziwan ziman žəba zobun, zəvân zivon zewān, zobān zivun, zebun zabān zuwān izβān hazâna- hizvā- ævzag
laugh huyayene kenîn/pêkenîn, kenîn kenîn xandəl/xənda xurəsen, xandastan sıre hendag, xandag rîk, baxendesten xande xande, xand karta Syaoθnâvareza- xudyn
life cu/cuye, cewiyayış jiyan jiyan žwəndūn, žwənd zindәgi jimon zendegih, zind zindegî, jan zendegi, jan zīndagīh, zīwišnīh žīwahr, žīw- gaêm, gaya- card
man merdêk, camêrd, cuamêrd merd, pîyaw mêr səṛay, mēṛə mardak, miarda merd merd mard(î) mard mard mard martiya- mašîm, mašya adæjmag
moon aşme, menge (for month) mang meh, heyv spūgməi (spōẓ̌məi) mâng mang, owşum máh ma, munek mâh māh māh mâh- måŋha- mæj
mother maye, marde, maya dayek dayik, mak mōr mâr, mâya, nana moa, ma, ina mât, mâs mâr mâdar mâdar dayek mâtar mâtar- mad
mouth fek dem dev xūla (xʷəla) duxun, dâ:ân gəv dap dâhun, lâmîze dahân dahân, rumb åŋhânô, âh, åñh dzyx
name name naw, nêw nav nūm num nom nâm num nâm nâm nâman nãman nom
night şewe şew şev špa šö, šav şav šap, shaw şow shab shab xšap- xšap- æxsæv
open (v) a-kerdene kirdinewe vekirin prānistəl vâz-kardan okarde pāch, pabozag vâ-hekârden bâz-kardan, va-kardan abâz-kardan, višādag būxtaka- būxta- gom kænyn
peace pêameyış, werêameyış aştî, aramî aştî, aramî rōɣa, t͡sōkāləi dinj aşiş ârâm âştî âshti, ârâmeš, ârâmî âštih, râmīšn râm, râmīšn šiyâti- râma- fidyddzinad
pig xoz, xonz beraz, beraz, soḍər, xənd͡zir (Arabic) xu, xuyi, xug xug khug, huk xūk xūk xwy
place ca je(jega), ga cîh, geh d͡zāi yâga vira ja, jaygah, hend jâh/gâh gâh gâh gâθu- gâtu-, gâtav- ran
read wendene xwendin/xwêndin xwandin, xwendin,

xandin

lwastəl, kōtəl baxânden hande, xwande wánag, wānten baxinden, baxundesten xândan xwândan kæsyn
say vatene gutin, witin gotin, bêtin wayəl vâten, baguten vote gushag, guashten baowten goftan, gap(-zadan) guftan, gōw-, wâxtan gōw- gaub- mrû- dzuryn
sister waye xweh, xweşk, xoşk, xuşk, xoyşk xwîşk, xwarg, xwang,

xang

xōr (xʷōr) xâke, xâv, xâxor, xuâr hova gwhâr xâxer xâhar/xwâhar xwahar x ̌aŋhar- "sister" xo
small qıc, qıyt, qıj, qıçkek, qıtek, werdi giçke, qicik, hûr biçûk, hûr kūčnay, waṛ(ū)kay qijel, ruk hırd gwand, hurd peçik, biçuk, xurd kuchak, kam, xurd, rîz kam, rangas kam kamna- kamna- chysyl
son lac, laj, kaz, pısa law/kuř kur (son)

law (boy)

d͡zoy (zoy) pur, zâ zoə, zurə possag, baç piser/rîkâ pesar, baça pur, pusar puhr puça pūθra- fyrt
soul roh, gan jan, giyan, rewan, revan can rəvân con rawân ravân, jân rūwân, jyân rūwân, jyân urvan- ud
spring wesar, usar behar, wehar behar spərlay vâ:âr əvəsor, bahar bārgāh vehâr bahâr wahâr vâhara- θūravâhara-
tall berz bilind/berz bilind/berz lwəṛ, ǰəg pilla barz, bılınd borz, bwrz bilen(d) boland / bârez buland, borz bârež barez- bærzond
ten des deh/de deh ləs da da dah da dah dah datha dasa dæs
three hirê, hiri, hirı drē so, se se, he sey se se hrē çi- θri- ærtæ
village dewe gund, dêhat, dê gund kəlay döh, da di dehāt, helk, kallag, dê dih, male, kola deh, wis wiž dahyu- vîs-, dahyu- vîs qæw
want waştene xwastin, wîstin xwastin,

xastin

ɣ(ʷ)ux̌təl begovastan, jovastan piye loath, loteten bexâsten xâstan xwâstan fændyn
water awe, owe, ou aw av obə/ūbə âv, ö ov, wat(orandian dialect) âp ow âb âb/aw aw âpi avô- don
when key, çı wext key kengê, kîngê kəla key keyna kadi, ked ke key kay ka čim- kæd
wind va ba, wa (pehlewanî) ba siləi vo gwáth bâd wâd wa vâta- dymgæ / wad
wolf verg gurg, wurg gur lewə, šarmux̌ (šarmuš̥) varg varg gurk verg gorg gurg varka- vehrka birægh
woman cêniye, cênıke jin jin x̌əd͡za (š̥əd͡za) zeyniye, zenak jen, jiyan jan, jinik zan zan zan žan gǝnā, γnā, ǰaini-, sylgojmag / us
year serre sal/sał sal kāl sâl sor, sal sâl sâl sâl sâl θard ýâre, sarәd az
yes / no ya, heya, ê / nê, ney, ni bełê, a / na, ne erê, arê, belê, a / na, no, ne Hao, ao, wō / na, ya ahan / na ha / ne, na ere, hān / na are / nâ baleh, ârē, hā / na, née ōhāy / ne hâ / ney yâ / nay, mâ yâ / noit, mâ o / næ
yesterday vizêri dwênê, duêke duho parūn azira, zira, diru zir, zinə dîruz diruz dêrûž diya(ka) zyō znon
English Zaza Sorani Kurdish Kurmanji Pashto Tati Talyshi Balochi Mazandarani Persian Middle Persian Parthian Old Persian Avestan Ossetian

See also

References

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Iranian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Johannes Bechert; Giuliano Bernini; Claude Buridant (1990). Toward a Typology of European Languages. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-012108-7.
  3. ^ Gernot Windfuhr (1979). Persian Grammar: History and State of Its Study. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-90-279-7774-8.
  4. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot. The Iranian languages. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
  5. ^ "Ethnologue report for Iranian". Ethnologue.com.
  6. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). "Report for Iranian languages". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (Fifteenth ed.). Dallas: SIL International.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Cardona, George. "Indo-Iranian languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  8. ^ (Skjærvø 2006)
  9. ^ Lassen, Christian. 1936. Die altpersischen Keil-Inschriften von Persepolis. Entzifferung des Alphabets und Erklärung des Inhalts. Bonn: Weber. S. 182.
    This was followed by Wilhelm Geiger in his Grundriss der Iranischen Philologie (1895). Friedrich von Spiegel (1859), Avesta, Engelmann (p. vii) used the spelling Eranian.
  10. ^ Cust, Robert Needham. 1878. A sketch of the modern languages of the East Indies. London: Trübner.
  11. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hasan. 1989. History of northern areas of Pakistan. Historical studies (Pakistan) series. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research.
    "We distinguish between the Aryan languages of Iran, or Irano-Aryan, and the Aryan languages of India, or Indo-Aryan. For the sake of brevity, Iranian is commonly used instead of Irano-Aryan".
  12. ^ Lazard, Gilbert. 1977. Preface in: Oranskij, Iosif M. Les langues iraniennes. Traduit par Joyce Blau.
  13. ^ Schmitt, Rüdiger. 1994. Sprachzeugnisse alt- und mitteliranischer Sprachen in Afghanistan in: Indogermanica et Caucasica. Festschrift für Karl Horst Schmidt zum 65. Geburtstag. Bielmeier, Robert und Reinhard Stempel (Hrg.). De Gruyter. S. 168–196.
  14. ^ Lazard, Gilbert. 1998. Actancy. Empirical approaches to language typology. Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-015670-9, ISBN 978-3-11-015670-6
  15. ^ Michael Witzel (2001): Autochthonous Aryans? The evidence from Old Indian and Iranian texts. Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 7(3): 1–115.
  16. ^ Roland G. Kent: "Old Persion: Grammar Texts Lexicon". Part I, Chapter I: The Linguistic Setting of Old Persian. American Oriental Society, 1953.
  17. ^ (Skjaervo 2006) vi(2). Documentation.
  18. ^ Nicholas Sims-Williams, Iranica, under entry: Eastern Iranian languages
  19. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot (2009). "Dialectology and Topics". The Iranian Languages. Routledge. pp. 18–21.
  20. ^ Mary Boyce. 1975. A Reader in Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian, p. 14.
  21. ^ Brzezinski, Richard; Mielczarek, Mariusz (2002). The Sarmatians, 600 BC-AD 450. Osprey Publishing. p. 39. (..) Indeed, it is now accepted that the Sarmatians merged in with pre-Slavic populations.
  22. ^ Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 523. (..) In their Ukrainian and Polish homeland the Slavs were intermixed and at times overlain by Germanic speakers (the Goths) and by Iranian speakers (Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans) in a shifting array of tribal and national configurations.
  23. ^ Atkinson, Dorothy; et al. (1977). Women in Russia. Stanford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780804709101. (..) Ancient accounts link the Amazons with the Scythians and the Sarmatians, who successively dominated the south of Russia for a millennium extending back to the seventh century B.C. The descendants of these peoples were absorbed by the Slavs who came to be known as Russians.
  24. ^ Slovene Studies. 9–11. Society for Slovene Studies. 1987. p. 36. (..) For example, the ancient Scythians, Sarmatians (amongst others), and many other attested but now extinct peoples were assimilated in the course of history by Proto-Slavs.

Bibliography

  • Bailey, H. W. (1979). Dictionary of Khotan Saka. Cambridge University Press. 1979. 1st Paperback edition 2010. ISBN 978-0-521-14250-2.
  • Schmitt, Rüdiger (ed.) (1989). Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum (in German). Wiesbaden: Reichert. ISBN 978-3-88226-413-5.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Sims-Williams, Nicholas (1996). "Iranian languages". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda. pp. 238–245.
  • Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.) (1996). "Iran". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Frye, Richard N. (1996). "Peoples of Iran". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda.
  • Windfuhr, Gernot L. (1995). "Cases in Iranian languages and dialects". Encyclopedia Iranica. 5. Costa Mesa: Mazda. pp. 25–37.
  • Lazard, Gilbert (1996). "Dari". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda.
  • Henning, Walter B. (1954). "The Ancient language of Azarbaijan". Transactions of the Philological Society. 53 (1): 157–177. doi:10.1111/j.1467-968X.1954.tb00282.x.
  • Rezakhani, Khodadad (2001). "The Iranian Language Family". Archived from the original on 2004-10-09.
  • Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (2006). "Encyclopædia Iranica". 13. |contribution= ignored (help)
  • Delshad, Farshid (2010). Georgica et Irano-Semitica (PDF). Ars Poetica. Deutscher Wissenschaftsverlag DWV. ISBN 978-3-86888-004-5.
  • Mallory, J. P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (2006). The Oxford introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European world. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-929668-2
  • Toroghdar, Zia (2018). "From Astara to Fuman: Comparison words from dialects of different languages Talysh and Tatic". Farhang-e Ilia. pp. 38–172.

External links

Avestan

Avestan , also known historically as Zend, refers to two languages: Old Avestan (spoken in the 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (spoken in the 1st millennium BCE). The languages are known only from their use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture (the Avesta), from which they derive their name. Both are early Iranian languages, a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages within the Indo-European family. Its immediate ancestor was the Proto-Iranian language, a sister language to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, with both having developed from the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian. As such, Old Avestan is quite close in grammar and lexicon with Vedic Sanskrit, the oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language.

The Avestan text corpus was composed in ancient Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, and Margiana, corresponding to the entirety of present-day Afghanistan, and parts of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Yaz culture of Bactria-Margiana has been regarded as a likely archaeological reflection of the early "Eastern Iranian" culture described in the Avesta.

Avestan's status as a sacred language has ensured its continuing use for new compositions long after the language ceased to be a living language.

Eastern Iranian languages

The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages emerging in Middle Iranian times (from c. the 4th century BC). The Avestan language is often classified as early Eastern Iranian. The largest living Eastern Iranian language is Pashto, with some 50–60 million speakers between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan. As opposed to the Middle Western Iranian dialects, the Middle Eastern Iranian preserves word-final syllables.

Most living Eastern Iranian languages are spoken in a contiguous area, in eastern Afghanistan as well as the adjacent parts of western Pakistan, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province of eastern Tajikistan, and the far west of Xinjiang region of China. There are also two living members in widely separated areas: the Yaghnobi language of northwestern Tajikistan (descended from Sogdian), and the Ossetic language of the Caucasus (descended from Scytho-Sarmatian). These are remnants of a vast ethno-linguistic continuum that stretched over most of Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and parts of the Caucasus, and West Asia in the 1st millennium BC, otherwise known as Scythia. The large Eastern Iranian continuum in Eastern Europe would continue up to including the 4th century AD by the successors of the Scythians, namely the Sarmatians.

Gorani language

Gorani (also Gurani) is a the traditional literary language of Kurdish speakers in Zagros Mountains. Some researchers consider Gorani a dialect of Kurdish. However, since the beginning of 20th century some researchers have identified Gorani as a member of the Zaza-Gorani subgroup of the Northwestern Iranian languages.Hawrami (or Hewrami) is an alternate name of Gorani. It has similarities with other languages of the Zaza-Gorani subgroup of the Northwestern Iranian languages. Gorani is most similar to languages like Zazaki, Shabaki, Bajelani and Sarli.

Gorani or Hawrami is spoken in the southwestern corner of province of Kurdistan and northwestern corner of province of Kermanshah in Iran, and in parts of the Halabja region in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Hawraman mountains between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan.The oldest literary documents in these related languages, or dialects, are written in Gorani.

Many Gorani speakers belong to the religious grouping Yarsanism, with a large number of religious documents written in Gorani.

Gorani was once an important literary language in the parts of Western Iran but has since been replaced by Sorani. In the 19th century, Gorani as a language was slowly replaced by Sorani in several cities, both in Iran and Iraq. Today, Sorani is the primary language spoken in cities including Kirkuk, Meriwan, and Halabja, which are still considered part of the greater Goran region.

Kurds and Gorani speakers themselves tend to consider Gorani as a dialect of Kurdish group of languages, which diverged off from Kurmanji speakers, Badhini and Sorani alike, at around 100 BCE. The differences between the Zaza–Gorani languages and the Kurdish languages are too many, and are therefore far too great by any standard linguistic criteria to warrant classification as dialects of the same languages.

Indo-Iranian languages

The Indo-Iranian languages, Indo-Iranic languages, or Aryan languages constitute the largest and southeasternmost extant branch of the Indo-European language family. It has more than 1.5 billion speakers, stretching from Europe (Romani), Turkey (Kurdish and Zaza–Gorani) and the Caucasus (Ossetian) eastward to Xinjiang (Sarikoli) and Assam (Assamese), and south to Sri Lanka (Sinhalese) and the Maldives (Maldivian). Furthermore, there are large communities of Indo-Iranian speakers in northwestern Europe (the United Kingdom), North America and Australia.

The common ancestor of all of the languages in this family is called Proto-Indo-Iranian—also known as Common Aryan—which was spoken in approximately the late 3rd millennium BC. The three branches of the modern Indo-Iranian languages are Indo-Aryan, Iranian, and Nuristani. Additionally, sometimes a fourth independent branch, Dardic, is posited, but recent scholarship in general places Dardic languages as archaic members of the Indo-Aryan branch.

Iranian

Iranian may refer to:

Iran, a sovereign state

Iranian diaspora, Iranian people living outside Iran

Iranian peoples, the speakers of the Iranian languages. The term Iranic peoples is also used for this term to distinguish the pan ethnic term from Iranian, used for the people of Iran

Iranian languages, a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages

Iranian.com, also known as The Iranian and The Iranian Times

Judeo-Iranian languages

The Judeo-Iranian languages (or dialects) are a number of related Jewish variants of Iranian languages spoken throughout the formerly extensive realm of the Persian Empire. Judeo-Iranian dialects are generally conservative in comparison with those of their Muslim neighbours. Judeo-Shirazi, for example, remains close to the language of Hafez.

Like most Jewish languages, all the Judeo-Iranian languages contain great numbers of Hebrew loanwords, and are written using variations of the Hebrew alphabet. Another name used for some Judeo-Iranian dialects is Latorayi, sometimes interpreted by folk etymology as "not [the language] of the Torah". This refers to a form of the language in which the number of Hebrew and Aramaic loanwords is deliberately maximised to allow it to function as a secret code. In general, however, the number of such loanwords is small compared with that in other Jewish languages such as Yiddish or Judaeo-Spanish.

Dzhidi (literary Judeo-Persian)

Luterā'i (Pronounced "looteraiee," a secret language combining an Aramaic and Hebrew vocabulary with Persian conjunctions and grammatical morphemes)

Bukhori (Judeo-Bukharic, Judeo-Tajik, the Jewish language of the distinctive Jewish community centered in Bukhara)

Judeo-Golpaygani (the Judeo-Persian language traditionally spoken in the environs of Gulpaigan and western Isfahan Province, Iran)

Judeo-Yazdi (spoken in the environs of Yazd and elsewhere in Yazd Province, in central Iran)

Judeo-Kermani (spoken in Kerman and elsewhere in Kerman Province, in south-central Iran)

Judeo-Shirazi (spoken in Shiraz and elsewhere in Fars Province, in southwestern Iran)

Judeo-Esfahani (spoken in Isfahan and environs, as well as elsewhere in central and southern Isfahan Province, Iran)

Judeo-Hamedani (spoken in Hamadan and elsewhere in Hamadan Province, in western Iran)

Judeo-Kashani (spoken in Kashan, Abyaneh, and elsewhere in northern Isfahan Province, in western Iran)

Luflā'i (Pronounced "looflaiee," a Kashani variation of Luterā'i)

Judeo-Borujerdi (spoken in Borujerd and elsewhere in Lorestan Province, in western Iran)

Judeo-Khorramabadi (spoken in Khorramabad and elsewhere in Lorestan Province, in western Iran)

Judeo-Nehevandi (spoken in Nahavand and elsewhere in northern Hamadan Province, in western Iran)

Judeo-Khunsari (spoken in Khansar and elsewhere in far-western Isfahan Province, in western Iran)

Juhuri (Judæo-Tat) (A Jewish-Azari dialect spoken in the Republic of Azerbaijan, Dagestan (North Caucasus) and previous Jewish diaspora in Iranian Azerbaijan.

Judeo-Aramaic (not to be confused with several Jewish Neo-Aramaic languages.

Judeo-Pathani Jewish languages that resemblance the Herat Jewish community and local society mixed at that time period at Herat's synagogue and language.

Judeo-North West Punjabi and North West Frontier area at Pakistan ancient Jewish populations mixed with local population came from Iran, to Peshawar area, Islamabad, Rawalpindi shares the culture of synagogue of Peshawar and language.

Kurdish languages

Kurdish (Kurdî, کوردی; pronounced [ˈkuɾdiː]) is a continuum of Northwestern Iranian languages spoken by the Kurds in Western Asia. Kurdish forms three dialect groups known as Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji), Central Kurdish (Sorani), and Southern Kurdish (Palewani or Kirmashani). A separate group of non-Kurdish Northwestern Iranian languages, the Zaza–Gorani languages, are also spoken by several million Kurds. Studies as of 2009 estimate between 8 and 20 million native Kurdish speakers in Turkey. The majority of the Kurds speak Northern Kurdish ("Kurmanji").The literary output in Kurdish was mostly confined to poetry until the early 20th century, when more general literature began to be developed. Today, there are two principal written Kurdish dialects, namely Northern Kurdish in the northern parts of the geographical region of Kurdistan and Central Kurdish further east and south. Central Kurdish is, along with Arabic, one of the two official languages of Iraq and is in political documents simply referred to as "Kurdish".

Median language

The Median language (also Medean or Medic) was the language of the Medes. It is an Old Iranian language and classified as belonging to the Northwestern Iranian subfamily, which includes many other languages such as Azari, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Zaza–Gorani, Kurdish (Kurmanji, Sorani, Palewani), and Baluchi.

Pamir languages

The Pamir languages are an areal group of the Eastern Iranian languages, spoken by numerous people in the Pamir Mountains, primarily along the Panj River and its tributaries.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Pamir language family was sometimes referred to as the Ghalchah languages by western scholars. The term Ghalchah is no longer used to refer to the Pamir languages or the native speakers of these languages.

One of the most prolific researchers of the Pamir languages was Soviet linguist Ivan Ivanovich Zarubin.

Parthian language

The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlawānīg, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Iran. Parthian was the language of state of the Arsacid Parthian Empire (248 BC – 224 AD), as well as of its eponymous branches of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, and the Arsacid dynasty of Caucasian Albania.

This language had a huge impact on Armenian, a large part of whose vocabulary was formed primarily from borrowings from Parthian. Many ancient Parthian words were preserved, and now can be seen only in Armenian.

Persian language

Persian (), also known by its endonym Farsi (فارسی fārsi [fɒːɾˈsiː] (listen)), is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (officially known as Dari since 1958), and Tajikistan (officially known as Tajiki since the Soviet era), Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

The Persian language is classified as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenid Empire. Its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. A Persian-speaking person may be referred to as Persophone.There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, with the language holding official status in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. For centuries, Persian has also been a prestigious cultural language in other regions of Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia by the various empires based in the regions.Persian has had a considerable (mainly lexical) influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Armenian, Georgian, and Indo-Aryan languages, especially Urdu (a register of Hindustani). It also exerted some influence on Arabic, particularly Bahrani Arabic, while borrowing much vocabulary from it after the Arab conquest of Iran.With a long history of literature in the form of Middle Persian before Islam, Persian was the first language in the Muslim world to break through Arabic's monopoly on writing, and the writing of poetry in Persian was established as a court tradition in many eastern courts. Some of the famous works of Persian literature are the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, the works of Rumi, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Panj Ganj of Nizami Ganjavi, the Divān of Hafez and the two miscellanea of prose and verse by Saadi Shirazi, the Gulistan and the Bustan.

Proto-Iranian language

Proto-Iranian, or Proto-Iranic, is the reconstructed proto-language of the Iranian languages branch of Indo-European language family and thus the ancestor of the Iranian languages such as Pashto, Persian, Sogdian, Zazaki, Ossetian, Mazandarani, Kurdish, Talysh and others. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the early 2nd millennium BC, and they are usually connected with the Proto-Indo-Iranians and early Andronovo archaeological horizon.

Proto-Iranian was a satem language descended from the Proto-Indo-Iranian language, which in turn, came from the Proto-Indo-European language. It was likely removed less than a millennium from the Avestan language, and less than two millennia from Proto-Indo-European.

Saka language

(Eastern) Saka or Sakan was a variety of Eastern Iranian languages, attested from the ancient Buddhist kingdoms of Khotan, Kashgar and Tumshuq in the Tarim Basin, in what is now southern Xinjiang, China. It is a Middle Iranian language. The two kingdoms differed in dialect, their speech known as Khotanese and Tumshuqese.

Documents on wood and paper were written in modified Brahmi script with the addition of extra characters over time and unusual conjuncts such as ys for z. The documents date from the fourth to the eleventh century. Tumshuqese was more archaic than Khotanese, but it is much less understood because it appears in fewer manuscripts compared to Khotanese. Both dialects share features with modern Pashto and Wakhi. The language was known as "Hvatanai" in contemporary documents. Many Prakrit terms were borrowed from Khotanese into the Tocharian languages.

Sarikoli language

The Sarikoli language (also Sariqoli, Selekur, Sarikul, Sariqul, Sariköli) is a member of the Pamir subgroup of the Southeastern Iranian languages spoken by Tajiks in China. It is officially referred to in China as the "Tajik language", although it is different from the language spoken in Tajikistan.

Shughni language

Shughni or Khughni is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan.Shughni tends towards SOV word order, distinguishes a masculine and a feminine gender in nouns and some adjectives as well as the 3rd person singular of verbs. Shughni distinguishes between an absolutive and an oblique case in its system of pronouns. The Rushani dialect is noted for a typologically unusual 'double-oblique' construction, also called a 'transitive case', in the past tense.

Sogdian language

The Sogdian language was an Eastern Iranian language spoken in the Central Asian region of Sogdia, located in modern-day Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan (capital: Samarkand; other chief cities: Panjakent, Fergana, Khujand, and Bukhara), as well as some Sogdian immigrant communities in ancient China. Sogdian is one of the most important Middle Iranian languages, along with Bactrian, Khotanese Saka, Middle Persian, and Parthian. It possesses a large literary corpus.

The Sogdian language is usually assigned to a Northeastern group of the Iranian languages. No direct evidence of an earlier version of the language ("Old Sogdian") has been found, although mention of the area in the Old Persian inscriptions means that a separate and recognisable Sogdia existed at least since the Achaemenid Empire (559–323 BCE).

Like Khotanese, Sogdian possesses a more conservative grammar and morphology than Middle Persian. The modern Eastern Iranian language Yaghnobi is the descendant of a dialect of Sogdian spoken around the 8th century in Osrushana, a region to the south of Sogdia.

Wakhi language

Wakhi is an Indo-European language in the Eastern Iranian branch of the language family spoken today in Wakhan District, Afghanistan and also in Northern Pakistan, China, and Tajikistan.

Western Iranian languages

The Western Iranian languages are a branch of the Iranian languages, attested from the time of Old Persian (6th century BC) and Median.

Yazghulami language

The Yazgulyam language (also Yazgulyami, Iazgulem, Yazgulam; Tajik: yazgulomi) is a member of the Southeastern subgroup of the Iranian languages, spoken by around 9,000 people along the Yazgulyam River in Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan. Together with Shugni, it is classified in a Shugni-Yazgulami subgroup of the areal group of Pamir languages. Virtually all speakers are bilingual in the Tajik language.

The Yazgulyam people are an exception among the speakers of Pamir languages in that they do not adhere to Ismailism.

Ethnic groups
Ancient peoples
Origin
Languages
Iranian religions

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