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Towards a Morphosyntax of Old Persian Cases

Benvenuto, Maria Carmela & Flavia Pompeo. 2020. Towards a morphosyntax of Old Persian cases : The genitive (Indogermanische Textlinguistik, Poetik und Stilistik 3). Hamburg: Baar-Verlag.

To date, there has been no comprehensive study specifically devoted to the syntax or morphosyntax of Old Persian cases. The authors of the present work have decided to remedy this with a study regarding an Old Persian case that from various viewpoints is not only the most complex, but also the most interesting: the genitive. Progressing from traditional approaches, the authors analyze the Old Persian genitive adopting both semasiological and onomasiological methods. Through a semasiological approach, emphasis is placed on case functions as well as on the constructions in which the genitive case is implied and the various meanings that they convey. Through an onomasiological approach, a given semantic/functional domain, such as ditransitive constructions and expressions of possession, is investigated, and the relevant alternating constructions are analyzed.

Thanks to this integrated methodology, the new monograph in the Indo-European Text Linguistics, Poetics and Stylistics series will be of great interest to specialists in Old Iranian philology and comparative-historical Indo-European linguistics as well as to scholars working in the fields of general linguistics (morphosyntax) and linguistic typology.

To see the ToC, click here.

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Ancient Indo-European Languages between Linguistics and Philology

Bianconi, Michele, Marta Capano, Domenica Romagno & Francesco Rovai (eds.). 2022. Ancient Indo-European Languages between Linguistics and Philology: Contact, Variation, and Reconstruction (Brill’s Studies in Historical Linguistics, 18). Leiden: Brill.

Studying the Indo-European languages means having a privileged viewpoint on diachronic language change, because of their relative wealth of documentation, which spans over more than three millennia with almost no interruption, and their cultural position that they have enjoyed in human history.

The chapters in this volume investigate case-studies in several ancient Indo-European languages (Ancient Greek, Latin, Hittite, Luwian, Sanskrit, Avestan, Old Persian, Armenian, Albanian) through the lenses of contact, variation, and reconstruction, in an interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary way. This reveals at the same time the multiplicity and the unity of our discipline(s), both by showing what kind of results the adoption of modern theories on “old” material can yield, and by underlining the centrality and complexity of the text in any research related to ancient languages.

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A Relative Chronology of Persian

Korn, Agnes. 2021. Contributions to a relative chronology of Persian: The non-change of postconsonantal y and w in Middle Persian in context. Indo-European Linguistics 1–43.

Old Persian shows a change of postconsonantal y, w to iy, uw, respectively. However, if one applies (pre-)Middle Persian sound changes to the Old Persian forms, the result is at variance with certain Middle Persian forms. If one were to assume a syncope reversing the Old Persian change of y, w to iy, uw, this would also affect old cases of iy, uw and likewise yield incorrect results for Middle Persian. The Old Persian change can thus not have operated in the prehistory of Middle Persian, and there is a dialectal difference between attested Old Persian and the later stages of the language, which is to be added to those already noted. The paper also discusses some sound changes that are connected to the Old Persian change in one way or the other. Cases in point are the processes called Epenthesis and Umlaut in previous scholarship, which this article suggests to interpret as occurring in different contexts and in different periods. The former is limited to Vry, which yields Vir and feeds into a monophthongisation that, as shown by some late Old Persian word forms, occurred within Achaemenid times, giving ēr and īr from ary and əry. Epenthesis did not occur in the prehistory of Parthian, whereas the monophthongisation did. The Appendix presents a tentative sequence of the processes discussed in this article, which is intended as a contribution to the relative chronology of Persian historical phonology.

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From Aṣ̌ǝm Vohū to Dareios’ Inscription

Oettinger, Norbert, Stefan Schaffner & Thomas Steer (eds.). 2020. “Denken Sie einfach!”: Gedenkschrift für Karl Hoffmann (Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 30). Dettelbach: Verlag J.H. Röll.

Two chapters of the edited Gedenkschrift-volume for Karl Hoffmann are for special intrest of the study of Avestan and Old Persian:

  • Kellens, Jean. 2020. L’Aṣ̌ǝm Vohū entre Gâthâs et Visprad, 113–121.
  • Schmitt, Rüdiger. 2020. Dareios’ Inschrift „DPd“ – Gebet, Dichtung, in metrischer Form? , 235–254.

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The Bīsotūn Inscription – A Jeopardy of Achaemenid History

Ahmadi, Amir. 2020. The Bīsotūn Inscription – A Jeopardy of Achaemenid History. The Journal of Archaeology and Ancient History 27. 3–56.

Darius the Great (r. 522–486 BC)
Behistūn Relief

According to the currently favoured view among historians of the Persian Empire, the Bīsotūn Inscription is a deceitful piece of propaganda whose purpose was to resolve Darius’s legitimacy problem. To this effect, Darius cobbles a family relation with Cyrus and fabricates the story of a magus who impersonates Smerdis, son of Cyrus, and usurps the throne. This view, however, contradicts not only the Bīsotūn Inscription but also the ancient Greek testimonies. This article examines the arguments historians have given for their position. Since allviews of the two issues in question are necessarily interpretations of the relevant sources that rely on argumentation, reasons and inferences must stand up to critical scrutiny.

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Articles

An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2019. An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria (DFa): Preliminary report of a work in progress. Arta 2019. 005.

The present paper is a preliminary study of an Achaemenid fragmentary inscription recently discovered from Phanagoria, southwestern Russia. After a brief introduction to the discovery of the inscription, the preserved Old Persian text will be analysed and reconstructed.

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Articles

DNf: A New Inscription Emerges from the Shadow

Delshad, Soheil, and Mojtaba Doroodi. 2019. DNf: A new inscription emerges from the shadow. Arta 2019.001.

DNf is a recently-discovered trilingual inscription on the tomb of Darius I at Naqsh-e Rostam. This article presents images, a first edition of the texts, observations on why the inscription was not recognized earlier, and comments on the relationship between the inscription and the sculptured figures below it.

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Articles

On the invention of the Old Persian Cuneiform

Albino, Marcos. 2017 [2018]. Zur Erfindung der altpersischen Schrift. MSS: Munich Studies on Linguistics Issue 71(2): 181-200.

In diesem Aufsatz stelle ich die Hypothese zur Diskussion, dass die altpersische Schrift unter Darius I. erfunden wurde, und zwar auf folgende Weise: ein Gelehrter („der Erfinder“) schrieb erst in aramäischer Schrift den Name des Darius, seines Vaters, seiner Vorfahren und die der anderen persischen Könige. Dann erfand er willkürlich das Zeichen für den ersten Buchstaben in Darius’ Namen und modifizierte dieses Zeichen für die anderen Buchstaben dieses und der anderen Namen: (fast) jedes neue Zeichen ist das Ergebnis der Modifizierung des Vorangehenden oder eines in seiner Nähe in der aramäischen Vorlage.

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Articles

The grammaticalization of progressive aspect in Persian

Davari, Shadi & Mehrdad Naghzguy-Kohan. 2017. The grammaticalization of progressive aspect in Persian. In Kees Hengeveld, Heiko Narrog & Hella Olbertz (eds.), The Grammaticalization of Tense, Aspect, Modality and Evidentiality: A Functional Perspective (Trends in Linguistics Studies and Monographs 311), 163–190. Berlin: De Gruyter.
This paper investigates the development of the Persian lexical verb dâštan ‘have’, which has grammaticalized into an auxiliary verb functioning primarily as a progressive aspect marker in durative situations, and which is currently developing into a prospective marker with achievement verbs. Possessive progressives are a cross-linguistic rarity and deserve attention. We suggest that the progressive function arose through context-induced reinterpretation based on metonymic relations. The resulting reinterpretation of dâštan ‘have’ to ‘ongoingness of a durative event’ represents a conceptual shift, in the form of metaphoric extension, from possessing a physical object to possessing the continuum of an action in a focal point of utterance. We will also illustrate that the progressive’s focus on subjective notions leads to its development as an expression of the speaker’s attitude that does not describe properties of a situation in the extralinguistic world but rather in the subjective conceptualization of the speaker. The auxiliation process of dâštan ‘have’ in Persian will be analyzed based on the Auxiliation Dimensions Model proposed by Davari and Naghzguy-Kohan (forthcoming), which focuses on the force, the source and the degree of auxiliation. We also point out that these changes are in tune with the overall directionality of semantic change in grammaticalization according to Narrog (2012), namely, increase in speaker-orientation.
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Cosmic, cultic and social spaces in Early Zoroastrianism

Rezania, Kianoosh. 2017. Raumkonzeptionen im früheren Zoroastrismus. Kosmische, kultische und soziale Räume (Iranica, GOF III/NF 14). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
Space, like time, is one of the basic categories of our thinking. Their concepts do not remain constant in different cultures or in changing periods, which is why dealing with a historical cultural phenomenon always requires a review of these categories in their specific culture and time. Based on the oldest linguistic and architectural evidence of Iran from the 12th to the 4th century BC, for the first time Kianoosh Rezania offers a comprehensive study of space concepts in Zoroastrianism in ancient Iran.
Based on current and historical theories of space, the Zoroastrian spaces are divided into cosmic, cultic and social spaces. The depiction of the cosmic spaces describes spatial abstractions in ancient Iranian languages as well as Zoroastrian boundary principles. Rezania examines the coordinate systems that ancient Iranians used for orientation in space and how they transformed their cognitive maps into text. This also includes the portrayal of the Zoroastrian worldview according to their older texts. At the intersection of cosmic and cultural spaces, there are transcendent spaces that contain, on the one hand, utopian spaces for communication with gods, some of which are written by poets. Since the study does not rule out dynamics and change processes in the ritual domain, reconstructions of Zoroastrian ritual surfaces in the Avestan period are presented without the inclusion of recent materials. In addition, the spatially represented social structure of the Avestan society and their spatial symbolic orders are presented.
For the table of contents of this volume visit here.