Iranian languages

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Related to Iranian languages: Farsi

Iranian languages,

group of languages belonging to the Indo-Iranian family of the Indo-European family of languages. See Indo-IranianIndo-Iranian,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by more than a billion people, chiefly in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (see The Indo-European Family of Languages, table).
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Iranian Languages


a group of genetically related languages belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Iranian languages are spoken not only in Iran but also in Afghanistan, in parts of Iraq, Pakistan and India, and, in the USSR, in Tadzhikistan and Ossetia and in parts of the Transcaucasian republics and Turkmenia.

The history of the Iranian languages since their separation from the common Indo-European stock may be divided provisionally into three periods: the ancient period (early second millennium B.C. to the fourth and third centuries B.C.), encompassing Median, Avestan, Old Persian, and various Scythian languages; the middle period (fourth and third centuries B.C. to the eighth and ninth centuries A.D.), with Middle Persian (Pahlavi), Parthian, Bactrian, Sogdian, Kliwarezmian, Sakian, and Middle Ossetic (Alan); and the modern period (from the eighth and ninth centuries to the present), with Persian, Ta-dzhik, Dari (Farsi-Kabuli), Pashto (Afghan), Baluchi, Kurdish, Ossetic, Tat, and a number of unwritten languages (Pamir, Yag-nobi, and Talish).

According to the existing classification, based mainly on phonetic indicators, all Iranian languages are divided into two large groups, the Western and Eastern. The basic differential indicators are the spirantization of Ancient Iranian stops b-, d-, and g- in Eastern Iranian (Pashto wror, “brother” < Ancient Iranian bratar-) and their retention in Western Iranian (Persian beradär, “brother”); the presence in Eastern Iranian and the absence in Western Iranian of the affricates c, 3 (compare Pashto color, “four” < Ancient Iranian čaθwār-, but Persian čähar); and the loss in Eastern Iranian and preservation in Western Iranian of h- (compare Pashto ova, “seven” < Ancient Iranian hapta, but Persian häft).

In turn, the Western Iranian group is subdivided into Northwestern and Southwestern groups according to the following indicators: (1) Ancient Iranian θr in Northwestern Iranian yields (h) r (compare Parthian puhr, “son”) while Southwestern Iranian yields i (compare Persian pesär, Tadzhik pisar, “son” <Ancient Iranian puθra-); (2) Ancient Iranian z in Southwestern Iranian is reflected as d (Persian dan-), while Northwestern Iranian yields z (Kurdish zan-, present tense root of the verb “to know”); and (3) Ancient Iranian ǰ before vowels in Northwestern Iranian yields ž/ǰ (compare Parthian žan, “woman”), while Southwestern Iranian yields z (compare Persian zän, “woman”

<Ancient Iranian ǰanay-).

The Eastern Iranian group is subdivided into Northeastern (Scythian) and Southeastern subgroups. There are several distinguishing indicators: (1) Ancient Iranian Or in Northeastern Iranian yields tr (compare Yagnobi tiray, “three”), while Southeastern Iranian yields r or c (compare Shugni aray, Yazghulami city, “three” < Ancient Iranian -θray); (2) the plural noun marker for Northeastern Iranian is -t < Ancient Iranian wa; and (3) the voicing of the Ancient Iranian -š- in Southeastern Iranian (compare Pashto ywaž/g, Shughni ẙũǰ “ear” < Ancient Iranian gauša-).


Abaev, V. I. Istoriko-etimologicheskii slovar’ osetinskogo iazyka, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Oranskii, I. M. Vvedenie v iranskuiu filologiiu. Moscow, 1960.
Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow, 1966.
Bartholomae, C. Altiranisches Wbrterbuch, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1961.
Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, vol. 1, parts 1–2. Strasbourg, 1895–1901.
Handbuch der Orientalistik. Leiden-Cologne, 1958.


References in periodicals archive ?
One of the poorly studied Iranian languages is Gurgani, the extinct language of Gurgan, the Persian province at the southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea.
1] There are certainly a number of orally transmitted Persian loans via Kurdish or other Iranian languages, notably pasa ([less than] P.
Derivatives from Iranian tarsa- "to be afraid" are never, to my knowledge, used in Iranian languages in the sense of "excellency, majesty" [less than] "something or somebody to be feared.
117, n n m: On the group of words denoting `so-and-so'in Iranian languages including Choresmian, see Sims-Williams, JRAS (1990): 10-12.
Like most other modern Iranian languages, Tat builds its verb system on a binary set of verb stems, conventionally known as the present stem and past stem.
It is interesting to note however, that Iranian languages are not limited to Iran - they are diverse in nature and are spoken by over 70 million people across southern and south western Asia.
He spoke fluent Persian, Russian, German, Arabic, Pashto, French, Uzbek and Turkish, and had extensive knowledge of Avestan, Pahlavi, Sogdian, and other Iranian languages and dialects, both extinct and current.
Here linguists from Europe, the US, and Iran look at historical and comparative Iranian syntax, the morpho-syntax of lesser-known Iranian languages, and the linguistics of Modern Persian.
Concerning the above-mentioned sound shift of dental stops to -l- both in Romani and in Dardic I assume that Romani words displaying it are all borrowings from the north-west because: (a) there is no evidence for a parallel development to this in the inner languages; (b) European Romani shows parallels with Dardic regarding this sound shift in case of medial dental stops (initial stops were not affected in European Romani and Dardic); (c) Armenian Romani shows parallels with some varieties of Nuristani and some East Iranian languages because initial dental stops also underwent this change there.
German, and Iranian languages at the Free University of Berlin and wrote
The present book goes a long way to putting the record straight on this and many other issues and is therefore of considerable import, for general linguists, scholars of Iranian languages, and all those interested in the minority languages of Turkey.
Eleven of them are on individual languages--namely, the extinct Bactrian and Sogdian and the living Persian, Talysh, Ossetian, and the Pamir group--while two draw on several Iranian languages.

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