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Eastern Iranian Languages

part 3

iran map

The Eastern Middle Iranian languages preserve OIr. final syllables to a large extent (cf. the forms of the word for “daughter” quoted above, and contrast Mid. Pers. and Parth. duxt).

Many of the resulting final vowels survive in the modern Eastern Iranian languages. The accent has a distinctive function in several languages, e.g., Ossetic (Iron xä´dzar “the house,” xädzár “a house”), Pashto (perfective préγ̌dəm to imperfective preγ̌də´m “I leave”) and Ormuri (á saṛai “this man,” a-saṛái “the man”).

The preservation of final vowels has important implications for the morphology of Eastern Iranian, which tends to be much more complex and conservative than that of Western Iranian. In particular, Khotanese, Sogdian, and Pashto have well-preserved case-systems, fairly strict rules of concord, and a variety of declensions. Several languages (Sogdian, Chorasmian, Ossetic, Pashto, Parachi; but also Western Iranian Sivandi) have special forms of nouns used after numerals in certain cases; some such forms derive from OIr. duals. A notable isogloss is provided by the second person pl. pronouns with prefixed t-: Bactr. tō/ǒmaxo (unpublished), Shughni tama, Yazgh. təmox, Sanglichi təmux (cf. also Pashto tāse, Orm. tōs?). A triple system of deictic pronouns based on the stems *ayam/iyam/ima- “this,” *aiša-/aita- “this, that” (middle distant or near the person addressed) and *hā/ău/awa- “that (yonder)” can be reconstructed on the basis of data in Sogdian, Shughni, Sanglichi-Ishkashmi, Wakhi, and Yidgha-Munji (Sims-Williams, 1994). Typical Eastern Iranian verbal forms include causatives and denominatives in *-āwaya- (Khot. -ev-, Chor. -’wy-, Wakhi -ɨv-, Munji -ōv-, Pashto and Orm. -aw-, Par. -ēw-; contrast Western Iranian *-ānaya-).

For the numerous vocabulary items attested exclusively in Eastern (as distinct from Western) Iranian a few examples must suffice:

*abi-ar- “to find, obtain”: Sogd. βyr, Chor. βyr-, Man. Bactr. ’βyr-, Oss. D. yerun, Yagh. vīr-, Shughni viri-, Yazgh. vir-, Ishkashmi avir-.

*anda- “blind” (OInd. andhá-, Av. aṇda-): Khot. hana-, Sogd. ‘nt, Munji yāndəy, Pashto ṛ-ūnd, Orm. hōnd.

*drawa- “hair”: Khot. drau-, Sogd. žw-, Oss. D. ärdo, Yagh. dirau, Shughni cīw, Yazgh. cu, Orm. drī.

*gari- “mountain” (OInd. girí-, Av. gairi-), often also “rock” or “pass” in the modern languages: Khot. ggara-, Sogd. γr-, Yagh. γar, Shughni žīr, Yazgh. γar, Wakhi γar, Munji γār, Pashto γar, Orm. grī, Par. gir.

*kapā/ă- “fish”: Khot. kavā-, Sogd. kp-, Chor. kb, Scythian Pantikápēs "Fish-path” (place-name), Oss. käf, Wakhi kūp, Munji kop, Pashto kab.

*kuta-, kutī- “dog” (cf. Prakrit kutta-, kuttī-): Sogd. ’kwt-, Chor. ’kt, Oss. D. kui, I. kɨdz, Yagh. kut, Shughni kud, Yazgh. kwod, Sanglichi kud.

*maiθā/ă- “day”: see forms listed above.


To be continued ...

Other Links:

Kabisa: part 1

Kabisa: part 2

The History of the Iranian Flag

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