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. Ethnologue estimates that there are 86 Iranian languages, the largest among them being Persian, Pashto, and the Kurdish dialect continuum.
|West Asia, Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia|
|ISO 639-2 / 5||ira|
Countries and areas where an Iranian language has official status or is spoken by a majority
This use of the term for the Iranian language family was introduced in 1836 by Christian Lassen. Robert Needham Cust used the term Irano-Aryan in 1878, 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.
The Iranian languages are divided into the following branches:
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: 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.
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. 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".
Conventionally, Iranian languages are grouped in "western" and "eastern" branches. 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:
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:
A division of Iranian languages in at least three groups during the Old Iranian period is thus implied:
It is possible that other distinct dialect groups were already in existence during this period. Good candidates are the hypothetical 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).
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.
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.
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. 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.
|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|
|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)
|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||bə||dar, gelo, darwāzag||dar, loş||dar||dar||dar, bar||duvara-||dvara-||dwar|
|donkey||here||ker||ker||xər||astar, xar||hə, hər||har, her, kar||xar||xar||xar||xæræg|
|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,
|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|
|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|
|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||xî||xūk||xūk||hū||xwy|
|place||ca||je(jega), ga||cîh, geh||d͡zāi||yâga||vira||ja, jaygah, hend||jâ||jâh/gâh||gâh||gâh||gâθu-||gâtu-, gâtav-||ran|
|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,
|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)
|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||sā||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|
|three||hirê, hiri, hirı||sê||sê||drē||so, se||se, he||sey||se||se||sê||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|
|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||vâ||vo||gwáth||vâ||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||zí||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|
(..) Indeed, it is now accepted that the Sarmatians merged in with pre-Slavic populations.
(..) 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.
(..) 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.
(..) 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.
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, with the successors of the Scythians, namely the Sarmatians.Gorani language
Gorani (also Gurani) is a 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 (Sinhala) 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 TimesJudeo-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.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 a pluricentric language 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 related Iranian 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.Zaza language
Zaza language, also called Zazaki, Kirmanjki and Dimli, is an Indo-European language spoken primarily in eastern Turkey by the Zazas. The language is a part of the northwestern group of the Iranian section of the Indo-European family, and belongs to the Zaza–Gorani and Caspian dialect group. Zaza shares many features, structures, and vocabulary with Gorani (Hawrami), Shabaki, Bajelani and Sarli, because all these languages belongs to the subgroup Zaza-Gorani. Zaza also has some similarities with Talyshi and other Caspian languages. According to Ethnologue (which cites [Paul 1998]), the number of speakers is between 1.5 and 2.5 million (including all dialects). According to Nevins, the number of Zaza speakers is between 2 and 4 million.
Italics indicate extinct languages.