Tag Archives: Iranian Languages

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 The first part of this article will argue against this tree and show that it is rendered outdated by new data that have come to light from contemporary and ancient languages.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

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.

Newly launched peer-reviewed journal for Iranian Studies

Image: Detail from "Youth reading", Persian miniature by Reza Abbasi (1565-1635), ca. 1625-26, Isfahan. © The Trustees of the British Museum, ME 1920.0917.02
Image: Detail from “Youth reading”, Persian miniature by Reza Abbasi (1565-1635), ca. 1625-26, Isfahan. © The Trustees of the British Museum, ME 1920.0917.02

DABIR: Digital Archive of Brief notes & Iran Review, 2015, Vol 1, No. 1.

The first issue of the Digital Archive of Brief notes & Iran Review (DABIR) has been published and is available from the official website of DABIR.

The Digital Archive of Brief notes & Iran Review (DABIR) is an open access, peer-reviewed online open access journal published by the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the University of California, Irvine. DABIR aims to quickly and efficiently publish brief notes and reviews relating to the pre-modern world in contact with Iran and Persianate cultures. The journal accepts submissions on art history, archaeology, history, linguistics, literature, manuscript studies, numismatics, philology and religion, from Jaxartes to the Mediterranean and from the Sumerian period through to the Safavid era (3500 BCE-1500 CE). Work dealing with later periods can be considered on request.

Table of Contents:
Articles

  1. Saber Amiri Pariyan: “A re-examination of two terms in the Elamite version of the Behistun inscription”
  2. Touraj Daryaee: “Alexander and the Arsacids in the manuscript MU29”
  3. Shervin Farridnejad: “Take care of the xrafstars! A note on Nēr. 7.5″
  4. Leonardo Gregoratti: “The kings of Parthia and Persia: Some considerations on the ‘Iranic’ identity in the Parthian Empire”
  5. Götz König: “Brief comments on the so-called Xorde Avesta (1)”
  6. Ali Mousavi: “Some thoughts on the rock-reliefs of ancient Iran”
  7. Khodadad Rezakhani: “A note on the Alkhan coin type 39 and its legend”
  8. Shai Secunda: “Relieving monthly sexual needs: On Pahlavi daštān-māh wizārdan
  9. Arash Zeini: “Preliminary observations on word order correspondence in the Zand”

Reviews

  1. Sajad Amiri Bavandpoor: “Review of Smith, Kyle. 2014. The Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba’e”
  2. Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones: “Review of Mayor, Adrienne. 2014. The Amazons. Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World”
  3. Yazdan Safaee: “Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd & James Robson. 2010. CTESIAS’ History of Persia: Tales of the Orient”

Special Issue

  1. Bruce Lincoln “Of dirt, diet, and religious others”

 

DABIR

Editor-in-Chief: Touraj Daryaee (University of California, Irvine)
Editors: Parsa Daneshmand (Oxford University) and Arash Zeini (University of St Andrews)
Book Review Editor: Shervin Farridnejad (Freie Universität Berlin)

A manual for Iranian Studies

Paul, Ludwig (ed.). 2013. Handbuch der Iranistik. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert Verlag.
This manual for Iranian Studies  presents a comprehensive survey of status and trends of current research in the filed of Iranian Studies.  In 34 contributions, the most important disciplines of the field, namely history, literature, religion and language were examined by 33 authors on almost 500 pages. It comprised both the current state of Iran as well as  the Iranian cultural sphere in its geographic breadth and historical depth, from Anatolia to Central Asia and from the early history (7th millennium BC) Until today. The manual aims to provide a methodical presentation of research developments and tries to answer the questions such as: what research questions are fresh and interesting? why and in which research contexts they are important?
All contributions of the manual are divided into three sections A, B and C.  The section A guides the reader through fundamental and self-reflexive methodological considerations to approach the subject. The section B provides a research overview, and the section C gives an alphabetical bibliography on each subject.

Continue reading A manual for Iranian Studies

From Old to New Persian

Utas, Bo. 2013. From Old to New Persian: Collected essays (Beiträge Zur Iranistik 38). Edited by Carina Jahani & Mehrdad Fallahzadeh. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

In a long series of essays, written during almost half a century, Bo Utas analyses the development of West Iranian languages, particularly Old, Middle, and New Persian, from various perspectives. The focus is placed on the transition from Middle to New Persian and the final essays (hitherto partly unpublished) especially elucidate this process in the light of an interaction between oral and written language.
This book is the second volume of collected articles by Bo Utas. The first volume, Manuscript, Text and Literature. Collected Essays on Middle and New Persian Texts, was published on the occasion of his 70th birthday as no. 29 in the series Beiträge zur Iranistik in 2008.
The seventeen articles in the present volume cover a time span of about 2,500 years and encompass all the stages of Persian. It also contains two entirely new articles, “The Grammatical Transition from Middle to New Persian” and “Between Spoken and Written: The Formation of New Persian”, which sum up much of Bo Utas’ philological research.

For more information, see the preface to this volume and the ToC.
Continue reading From Old to New Persian