Ricerche Linguistiche

Ricerche Linguistiche is a new journal, giving new life to an older version of itself. It is published annually and aims to provide ‘a venue for contributions in the fields of diachronic and historical linguistics concerning all levels of linguistic analysis, with a special focus on ancient Indo-European and Semitic languages, as well as Romance languages and varieties’. You can read more about the journal, its history and goals here. Sadly, the journal does not seem to be open access.

It’s first issue has two articles of interest:

Articles Journal

On the Etymology of pourušaspa-

Volume 28, Issue 1, of Iran and the Caucasus has been published. We would like to point out Mehrbod Khanizadeh’s contribution in the issue:

Khanizadeh, Mehrbod. 2024. On the etymology of the Avestan personal name pourušaspa-. Iran and the Caucasus 28(1). 72–86.

This article discusses the formation and meaning of the Avestan personal name of Zarathuštra’s father, pourušaspa-. Taking side with the current scholarly view on the etymology and meaning of the word, i.e., *pourušāspa– → pourušaspa– ‘one who has grey horses’, it is argued here that the shortening of the vowel can be explained by an analogical model in Wištāsp Yašt 1.2, where pourušaspa– m. is described as pouru.aspa– ‘having many horses’. The article also challenges the view that Wištāsp Yašt 1.2 is a recent text.


Lād: A Bactrian loanword

Halfmann, Jakob. 2023. Lād “law”: A Bactrian loanword in the Nuristani languages. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 86(3). 505–510.

This article proposes a new etymology for the Nuristani word family of Katë lod ~ lot, Nuristani Kalasha lād, etc. It is argued that these are best understood as early borrowings from Bactrian λαδο “law”.


On Middle Persian hassār and hassārīh

Fattori, Marco. 2023. A note on Pahlavi lexicography: Middle Persian hassār, hassārīh. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 1–12.

This article deals with the identification and interpretation of two rare Middle Persian words. Firstly, some attestations of the as yet unrecognized word <hs’lyh> hassārīh are discussed, showing that it means “direction”. Then, a semantic analysis of its underived counterpart hassār is carried out, as a basis for an etymological proposal. Finally, it is argued that hassār descends from Old Persian *haçā-sāra- “(having the head) in the same direction”, and a possible reconstruction of the semantic development of the word is provided.

Article’s abstract

Towards a Manifesto for Middle Iranian Philology

Zeini, Arash. 2023. Towards a manifesto for Middle Iranian philology. Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology 0. 1–12.

The purpose of this manifesto is to raise broad questions about philological inquiry as a background to the purpose of this occasional journal. It reflects both on general questions of philology (Section 2) and delves into an example from the Middle Persian translations (Zand) of the Avesta in which can be seen a clash between the traditional approach in that field and the type of inquiry that I advocate here (Section 3).


Studies inspired by Agnes Korn

Suleymanov, Murad & Dorian Pastor (eds.). 2022. Tous les chemins menent a Paris: Studies inspired by Agnes Korn. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.

This volume is a collection of nine papers by various authors focussing on issues of etymology, historical language contact, morphology and syntax, typological modelling, and folk practices in the Caucasus–Iran–Central Asia area and its immediate vicinity. The volume is a humble token of appreciation offered by the authors to Dr Agnes Korn to honour her continuing support for young researchers during her time in Paris and to highlight her wide array of research interests.

For the table of contents, see here.


Current Trends in Avestan Studies

This lecture discusses the major progress made in our understanding of the Avestan corpus/texts in the last years. Based on her recent publication co-written with Jean Kellens, L’introduction à l’Avesta, Céline Redard introduces the new vision of the Avesta, leading to the new editions currently undertaken. The important ritual aspect will also be underlined, with some concrete examples taken from her books The Srōš Drōn – Yasna 3 to 8, and The Gujarati Ritual Directions of the Paragnā, Yasna and Visperad Ceremonies (co-written with Kerman Daruwalla).

From the lecture’s poster

This lecture is scheduled for 16 February 2022. For more details, see the poster of the lecture.

Journal Online resources

Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology

Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology is a new open access e-journal hosted by UC Berkeley’s Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and edited by Adam Benkato and Arash Zeini. It publishes short and longer articles or research reports on the philology and epigraphy of Middle Iranian languages (Middle Persian, Parthian, Bactrian, Sogdian, Chorasmian, Khotanese). Submitted papers will be reviewed by the editors and published on an ongoing basis. The journal promotes a simple and quick publishing process with collective annual volumes published at the end of each year.

The editors encourage scholars working on Middle Persian documents in particular to submit their work.

Articles Journal

The Roar of Silence

Benkato, Adam & Arash Zeini (eds.). 2021. The roar of silence: Festschrift for François de Blois. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 31(3).

The breadth and variety of François de Blois’s erudition is such that only a long and detailed introduction could possibly do justice to his scholarly career. Anyone who knows François, the “quiet man” of Iranian studies, also knows his penchant for concision. We have therefore decided to limit our remarks here to about the length of his legendary handout of Middle Persian grammar—two pages.

From the Introduction
Table of Contents

Ethnic Groups along the Silk Road

Reckel, Johannes & Merle Schatz (eds.). 2021. Ancient texts and languages of ethnic groups along the Silk Road. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen.

Note: This volume is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and can be downloaded here.

Central Asia has been dominated by Mongolian and Turkic speaking nations for the past 1300 years. Uyghurs and Uzbeks were the most important traders on the Central Asian Silk Roads. Earlier Sogdians and Tokharians and other ethnic groups speaking Indo-Germanic (Indo-Iranian) languages were active on these ancient trade routes. In the 18th and 19th century a Tungus language, Manchu, became important for Sinkiang, Mongolia and the whole of China. Expansion policy of different realms, comprehensive commercial activities and the spread of religious ideas facilitated the exchange of (cultural) knowledge along the Silk Road. Texts and scripts tell us not only about the different groups that were in contact, but also reflect details of diplomatic, religious, and economic ambitions and the languages that were used for these different forms of communication. Several examples of contact induced language change or specific linguistic influence as a result of contacts along the Silk Road invite us to understand more about the frequency, intensity and intention of contacts that took place in very different regions connected by the Silk Road.