Tag Archives: Iranian Languages

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.

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

Selected Works of Ehsan Yarshater

Civilizational Wisdom- Selected Works of Ehsan Yarshater CoverYarshater, Ehsan. 2015. Civilizational Wisdom: Selected Works of Ehsan Yarshater. (Ed.) Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi. (IranNameh Books 2). Toronto: Foundation for Iranian Studies.

The volume edited by Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi brings together twenty nine articles by the leading scholar of Iranian studies, Prof. Ehsan Yarshater on the various subjects of Iranian history, culture, religions, literature, dialects and philology. It presents a valuable collection of important articles, which many of them were not easily accessible. The collection represents the author’s most important contributions, written in Persian language in the period between 1327š/1947-48 to 1380š/2001-02. Even the papers are concerned with a range of different subjects, they are pretty much interconnected, as it is possible to trace lines of ideas originating in one article which the author develops in latter writings. All these are carefully and illuminating described by the editor in his preface to this volume. The papers are categorized into four thematic chapters: 1. Autobiography and Obituary (with three articles), 2. World Art and Literature (with four articles), 3. Language and Civilization (with nine articles), 3. Civilization and the Secret of Survival (with thirteen article).

 

To learn more read the Preface of the Editor and see the Table of Contents. To order the book see here.

About the Editor:

Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi is Professor of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto and the Founding chair of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto-Mississauga.

Judæo-Iranian Languages

Torat Adonai, Constantinople: Eliezer ben Gershom Soncino, 1546 Detail. The right column contains Jacob Tavusi’s Judeo-Persian translation (BL Or. 70.c.10) © The British Library

Borjian, Habib. 2015. Judeo-Iranian Languages. In Lily Kahn & Aaron D. Rubin (eds.), Handbook of Jewish Languages, 234–296. (Brill’s Handbooks in Linguistics). Leiden: Brill.

Judeo-Iranian languages referring mostly to a group of Jewish variants of Iranian languages, many of them dialects of Persian, spoken or written with the Hebrew script by Jews in greater Iran over a period of more than a millennium. The corpus of Judeo-Iranian literature is very important for both linguistic and literary reasons, as it includes some of the earliest documents of New Persian, and because it constitutes a sizable literature written by Persian Jews.

 

About the Handbook of Jewish Languages

This Handbook of Jewish Languages is an introduction to the many languages used by Jews throughout history, including Yiddish, Judezmo (Ladino) , and Jewish varieties of Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Berber, English, French, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Iranian, Italian, Latin American Spanish, Malayalam, Occitan (Provençal), Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Syriac, Turkic (Karaim and Krymchak), Turkish, and more. Chapters include historical and linguistic descriptions of each language, an overview of primary and secondary literature, and comprehensive bibliographies to aid further research. Many chapters also contain sample texts and images. This book is an unparalleled resource for anyone interested in Jewish languages, and will also be very useful for historical linguists, dialectologists, and scholars and students of minority or endangered languages.

Habib Borjian is a scholar of Iranian lingustic, comparative historical philology and typology in Center for Iranian Studies at the  Columbia University as well as the senior assistant editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica.

Corpus of Alanic Marginal Notes

Lubotsky, A. (2015). Alanic marginal notes in a Greek liturgical manuscript. Veröffentlichungen zur Iranistik 76. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
The book represents the first publication of the complete corpus of Alanic marginal notes in a 13th century Byzantine manuscript from the Library of the Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg. This manuscript is a Greek Old Testament lectionary, or Prophetologion, which at one point was owned and used by an Alanic priest who had learned to read and write Greek, but felt the need to identify the feasts in the margin of his manuscript, because he could not easily find them by skimming the text. For this purpose, he wrote an abbreviated heading of his own in the margin, next to the full heading of the manuscript. There are altogether 34 marginal notes in the manuscript (24 Alanic, 9 Greek, and 1 mixed). In this edition, every note is followed by the Greek heading, to which the note refers, its translation, and a black-and-white photograph. Then, a short outline of the liturgical context is provided, when necessary, followed by paleographic comments and an analysis of the meaning of the note and its linguistic structure. The edition of the notes ends with a discussion of the spelling conventions and the language of the notes and with an appendix on the Alanic text in Tzetzes’ Theogonia. The book is further provided with full-color photographs of all pages containing marginal notes.
See the Table of the Contents here.
Alexander Lubotsky is Professor of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at Leiden University.