Tag Archives: Iranian Languages

A (New) Old Iranian Etymology for Biblical Aramaic אֲדַרְגָּזַר‬‎

Noonan, Benjamin J.  2018. A (new) Old Iranian etymology for Biblical Aramaic אֲדַרְגָּזַר‬‎. Aramaic Studies 16(1): 10 – 19.

Despite the many advances that have taken place in our understanding of the Hebrew Bible’s Old Iranian terminology, the donor terms of several words have remained elusive. Among them is Biblical Aramaic ‮אֲדַרְגָּזַר‬‎ (Dan. 3:2–3). Proposed Old Iranian etymologies for this word suffer from various phonological and semantic difficulties, rendering them unlikely. This paper proposes that Biblical Aramaic ‮אֲדַרְגָּזַר‬‎ is best derived from *ādrangāžara- ‘announcer of financial obligation’, a compound of *ādranga- ‘financial obligation’ and *āžara- ‘announcer’. A derivation from Old Iranian *ādrangāžara- adequately explains the form of Biblical Aramaic ‮אֲדַרְגָּזַר‬‎. Furthermore, this etymology also suits the context well in that ‮אֲדַרְגָּזַר‬‎ occurs just prior to ‮גְּדָבַר‬‎ ‘treasurer’ and therefore falls logically within the progression from political administration to finances to law evident in the lists of Nebuchadnezzar’s officials (Dan. 3:2–3).

Endangered Iranian Languages

Gholami, Saloumeh (ed.). 2018. Endangered Iranian Languages. Reichert Verlag.

This edited volume brings together work by theoretical linguists and field linguists who share a strong commitment to the scientific documentation and investigation of endangered Iranian languages. Five chapters of this volume represent the contributors’ findings on endangered Iranian languages and dialects found both inside Iran as well as in other countries. Their work deals with a variety of topics, ranging from documentation methods to aspects of philology, morphology, phonology, syntax, and dialectology.

Table of contents:

  • Editor’s Preface
  • Mohammad Dabir-Moghadam: Non-Canonical Subject Construction in Endangered Iranian Languages: Further Investigation into the Debates on the Genesis of Ergativity
  • Donald Stilo: Dikin Marāei Tati of Alamut: an undocumented conservative Tati language
  • Brigitte Werner: Forms and Meanings of the Ezafe in Zazaki
  • Jaroslava Obrtelova & Ralhon Sohibnazarbekova: Steps being taken to reverse language shift in the Wakhi language in Tajikistan
  • Saloumeh Gholami: Pronomial clitics in Zoroastrian Dari (Behdīnī) of Kerman

 

Saloumeh Gholami, born 1979, is an Iranologist, author, and research fellow at the Institute of Empirical Linguistics at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. She is the founder of ISEIL (International Symposium on Endangered Iranian Languages) and the leader of various international projects on preservation and documentation of endangered cultural heritage.

The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics

Sedighi, Anousha & Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi (eds.). 2018. The Oxford handbook of Persian linguistics. Oxford University Press.

This handbook offers a comprehensive overview of the field of Persian linguistics, discusses its development, and captures critical accounts of cutting edge research within its major subfields, as well as outlining current debates and suggesting productive lines of future research. Leading scholars in the major subfields of Persian linguistics examine a range of topics split into six thematic parts. Following a detailed introduction from the editors, the volume begins by placing Persian in its historical and typological context in Part I. Chapters in Part II examine topics relating to phonetics and phonology, while Part III looks at approaches to and features of Persian syntax. The fourth part of the volume explores morphology and lexicography, as well as the work of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature. Part V, language and people, covers topics such as language contact and teaching Persian as a foreign language, while the final part examines psycho- neuro-, and computational linguistics. The volume will be an essential resource for all scholars with an interest in Persian language and linguistics.

Anousha Sedighi is Associate Professor of Persian and Persian Program Head at Portland State University.

Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi is Senior Lecturer in Persian Language and Linguistics and Persian Language Program Head at McGill University

Source: The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics – Anousha Sedighi; Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi – Oxford University Press

Remnants of Zoroastrian Dari in the colophons and Sālmargs of Iranian Avestan manuscripts

Gholami, Saloumeh. 2018. Remnants of Zoroastrian Dari in the colophons and Sālmargs of Iranian Avestan manuscripts. Iranian Studies 51(2), 195-211.

Zoroastrian Dari, also known as Behdini or Gavruni, is an endangered Iranian language spoken by the Zoroastrian minority who mostly live in Yazd and the surrounding areas as well as in Kerman and Tehran. Zoroastrian Dari is a unique Iranian language on account of its historical background and large number of subdialects. This language is only a spoken language and not a written one, but it seems that remnants of this language are attested in the Avestan manuscripts, particularly in the colophons. This paper provides a study of the existence of Zoroastrian Dari in the personal names in the colophons and Sālmargs of the Avestan manuscripts.

Studies in the Chronology of the Bactrian Documents from Northern Afghanistan

Sims-Williams, Nicholas & Francois de Blois. 2018. Studies in the chronology of the Bactrian documents from northern Afghanistan (Veröffentlichungen zur Iranistik 83). Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. With contributions by Harry Falk and Dieter Weber.

More than 150 documents in Bactrian, the chief administrative language of pre-Islamic Afghanistan, have come to light during the last twenty-five years. These documents include letters, legal contracts, economic documents and a few Buddhist texts; many of them bear dates in the so-called “Bactrian era”, which is also known from a few inscriptions, such as the Tochi valley inscriptions in Pakistan, but whose starting-point is controversial. The Bactrian documents have the potential to transform our knowledge of the history of the region during the 4th to 8th centuries CE, a period for which we have few contemporary records, but before they can be fully exploited as historical sources it is necessary to establish their relative and absolute chronology. The present volume aims to fulfil this need. In Part 1 we consider the dated documents, discussing the nature of the Bactrian calendar and the epoch of the Bactrian era, and concluding with a conspectus in which all the attested dates are converted to Julian dates on the basis of the facts and arguments presented. In Part 2 we turn to the equally important undated documents, systematically weighing up all types of evidence, whether historical, prosopographical, palaeographical, linguistic or orthographic, which may have a bearing on their dating. Part 3 provides a handy check-list of our conclusions, while the Appendices provide additional and supporting material including editions of the Tochi valley inscriptions and of a Pahlavi letter which was purchased together with the Bactrian documents.
This book will be required reading for scholars and students of the pre-Islamic and early Islamic history of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. It will also be a useful resource for those interested in the languages, religions and numismatics of the region.

Handbook of comparative and historical Indo-European linguistics

Klein, Jared S., Brian D. Joseph & Matthias Fritz (eds.). 2017. Handbook of comparative and historical Indo-European linguistics: An international handbook (Handbücher Zur Sprach- Und Kommunikationswissenschaft (HSK) 41/1). Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter.
This series of HANDBOOKS OF LINGUISTICS AND COMMUNICATION SCIENCE is designed to illuminate a field which not only includes general linguistics and the study of linguistics as applied to specific languages, but also covers those more recent areas which have developed from the increasing body of research into the manifold forms of communicative action and interaction. For “classic” linguistics there appears to be a need for a review of the state of the art which will provide a reference base for the rapid advances in research undertaken from a variety of theoretical standpoints, while in the more recent branches of communication science the handbooks will give researchers both an verview and orientation. To attain these objectives, the series will aim for a standard comparable to that of the leading handbooks in other disciplines, and to this end will strive for comprehensiveness, theoretical explicitness, reliable documentation of data and findings, and up-to-date methodology. The editors, both of the series and of the individual volumes, and the individual contributors, are committed to this aim. The languages of publication are English, German, and French. The main aim of the series is to provide an appropriate account of the state of the art in the various areas of linguistics and communication science covered by each of the various handbooks; however no inflexible pre-set limits will be imposed on the scope of each volume. The series is open-ended, and can thus take account of further developments in the field. This conception, coupled with the necessity of allowing adequate time for each volume to be prepared with the necessary care, means that there is no set time-table for the publication of the whole series. Each volume will be a self-contained work, complete in itself. The order in which the handbooks are published does not imply any rank ordering, but is determined by the way in which the series is organized; the editor of the whole series enlist a competent editor for each individual volume. Once the principal editor for a volume has been found, he or she then has a completely free hand in the choice of co-editors and contributors. The editors plan each volume independently of the others, being governed only by general formal principles. The series editor only intervene where questions of delineation between individual volumes are concerned. It is felt that this (modus operandi) is best suited to achieving the objectives of the series, namely to give a competent account of the present state of knowledge and of the perception of the problems in the area covered by each volume.
Seven chapters of the first volume of the Handbook of comparative and historical Indo-European linguistics are dedicated to Iranian linguistics:
  • Prods Oktor Skjærvø: “The documentation of Iranian”, 471–481.
  • Alberto Cantera: “The phonology of Iranian”, 481-503
  • Prods Oktor Skjærvø: “The morphology of Iranian”, 503-549
  • Thomas Jügel: “The syntax of Iranian”, 549-566
  • Velizar Sadovski: “The lexicon of Iranian”, 566-599
  • Philip Huyse: “The dialectology of Iranian”, 599-608
  • Agnes Korn: “The evolution of Iranian”, 608-624

The Linguistic History of Rayy up to the Early Islamic Period

Rezai Baghbidi, Hassan. 2016. “The Linguistic History of Rayy up to the Early Islamic Period“, Der Islam 93(2), 403–412.

The purpose of this paper is to give a short sketch of the linguistic history of Rayy from ancient times through the early Islamic period. The language of Rayy in the Old Iranian period must have been Median. The only traces of Median are a few loanwords identified in Old Persian, Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions, Elamite tablets, Aramaic documents, and Greek texts. The language of Rayy in the Middle Iranian period seems to have been very close to the well-documented northwestern Middle Iranian language spoken in Parthia, known as Parthian or Arsacid Pahlavi. The Iranian dialect of Rayy in the Islamic period, known as the Rāzī dialect, was in fact the natural continuation of Middle Median. The only Rāzī texts available are a small number of poems by Bundār, a Shīʿīte poet at the court of Majd al-Dawla, the Buwayhid ruler of Rayy. In addition, scanty information about the Rāzī dialect can be obtained from a few classical Islamic sources and some of the Persian texts written in Rayy by Rāzī-speaking writers.

A partial tree of Central Iranian

Korn, Agnes. 2016. A partial tree of Central Iranian. Indogermanische Forschungen 121(1).
Relations within the Iranian branch of Indo-European have traditionally been modelled by a tree that is essentially composed of binary splits into sub- and sub-subbranches. The first part of this article will argue against this tree and show that it is rendered outdated by new data that have come to light from contemporary and ancient languages. The tree was also methodologically problematic from the outset, both for reasons of the isoglosses on which it is based, and for not taking into account distinctions such as shared innovations vs. shared archaisms. The second part of the paper will present an attempt at an alternative tree for Iranian by proposing a subbranch which I will call “Central Iranian”. Such a branch seems to be suggested by a set of non-trivial morphological innovations shared by Bactrian, Parthian and some neighbouring languages. The reconstruction of the nominal system of Central Iranian which will then be proposed aims to show the result one arrives at when trying to reconstruct a subbranch as strictly bottom-up as possible, i. e. using only the data from the languages under study, and avoiding profitting from Old Iranian data and from our knowledge about the proto-languages.
Agnes Korn is a Senior Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Mondes iranien et indien (UMR 7528)

Turks and Iranians: Interactions in Language and History

Csató, Éva, Lars Johanson, András Róna-Tas & Bo Utas (eds.). 2016. Turks and Iranians: Interactions in language and history (Turcologica 105). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

The contributions by an international group of leading scholars discuss the historical and cultural relations of old and modern Turkic and Iranian languages. A main topic is how contacts of spoken and written languages from pre-Islamic times until various periods of the Islamic era have influenced the emergence and development of Iranian and Turkic varieties. The purpose is to contribute to a better understanding of the interrelations between cultural-historical contacts and linguistic processes, and to stress the necessity of cooperation between experts of Turkic and Iranian studies.

-See the Table of the Contents here

CfP: Endangered Iranian Languages

ISEIL 2016

Second International Symposium on “Endangered Iranian Languages

8 – 9  JULY  2016, PARIS, FRANCE

CNRS, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, INALCO, EPHE

The International Symposium on Endangered Iranian Languages (ISEIL) proudly announces the second symposium to be held at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle, France, from 8 to 9 July 2016, as part of a cooperation between the Empirical Linguistics, at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany and UMR “Mondes iranien et indien” (CNRS, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, INALCO, EPHE).

The Symposium is the most significant gathering of scholars from all the regions of the world and across different disciplinary interests in the field “Endangered Iranian Languages”. It serves as a platform for presenting new knowledge and insights. Continue reading CfP: Endangered Iranian Languages