Iranian languages

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EthnicityIranian peoples
West Asia, Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
ISO 639-2 / 5ira
Linguasphere58= (phylozone)

Countries and areas where an Iranian language has official status or is spoken by a majority

The Iranian or Iranic languages[1][2] are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples.

The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BC), Middle Iranian (400 BC – 900 AD), and New Iranian (since 900 AD). The two directly attested Old Iranian languages are Old Persian (from the Achaemenid Empire) and Old Avestan (the language of the Avesta). Of the Middle Iranian languages, the better understood and recorded ones are Middle Persian (from the Sasanian Empire), Parthian (from the Parthian Empire), and Bactrian (from the Kushan and Hephthalite empires).

As of 2008, there were an estimated 150–200 million native speakers of the Iranian languages.[3] Ethnologue estimates that there are 86 Iranian languages,[4][5] the largest among them being Persian, Pashto, Kurdish, and the Balochi languages.[6]


The term Iranian is applied to any language which descends from the ancestral Proto-Iranian language.[7]

Some scholars such as John Perry prefer the term Iranic as the anthropological name for the linguistic family and ethnic groups of this category (many of which exist outside Iran), while Iranian for anything about the country Iran. He uses the same analogue as in differentiating German from Germanic or differentiating Turkish and Turkic.[8]

This use of the term for the Iranian language family was introduced in 1836 by Christian Lassen.[9] Robert Needham Cust used the term Irano-Aryan in 1878,[10] and Orientalists such as George Abraham Grierson and Max Müller contrasted Irano-Aryan (Iranian) and Indo-Aryan (Indic). Some recent scholarship, primarily in German, has revived this convention.[11][12][13][14]

The Iranian languages are divided into the following branches:

  • The Western Iranian languages subdivided into:
    • Southwestern, of which Persian is the dominant member;
    • Northwestern, of which the Kurdish languages are the dominant members.
  • The Eastern Iranian languages subdivided into:
    • Southeastern, of which Pashto is the dominant member;
    • Northeastern, by far the smallest branch, of which Ossetian is the dominant member.


Historical distribution circa 170 BC: Sarmatia, Scythia, Bactria (Eastern Iranian, in orange); and the Parthian Empire (Western Iranian, in red)

The Iranian languages all descend from a common ancestor: Proto-Iranian which itself evolved from Proto-Indo-Iranian. This ancestor language is speculated to have origins in Central Asia, and the Andronovo Culture is suggested as a candidate for the common Indo-Iranian culture around 2000 BC.[citation needed]

It was situated precisely in the western part of Central Asia that borders present-day Russia (and present-day Kazakhstan). It was in relative proximity to the other satem ethno-linguistic groups of the Indo-European family, like Thracian, Balto-Slavic and others, and to common Indo-European's original homeland (more precisely, the Eurasian Steppe to the north of the Caucasus), according to the reconstructed linguistic relationships of common Indo-European.

Proto-Iranian thus dates to some time after Proto-Indo-Iranian break-up, or the early second millennium BCE, as the Old Iranian languages began to break off and evolve separately as the various Iranian tribes migrated and settled in vast areas of southeastern Europe, the Iranian plateau, and Central Asia.

Proto-Iranian innovations compared to Proto-Indo-Iranian include:[15] the turning of sibilant fricative *s into non-sibilant fricative glottal *h; the voiced aspirated plosives *bʰ, *dʰ, *gʰ yielding to the voiced unaspirated plosives *b, *d, *g resp.; the voiceless unaspirated stops *p, *t, *k before another consonant changing into fricatives *f, *θ, *x resp.; voiceless aspirated stops *pʰ, *tʰ, *kʰ turning into fricatives *f, *θ, *x, resp.

Old Iranian[edit]

The multitude of Middle Iranian languages and peoples indicate that great linguistic diversity must have existed among the ancient speakers of Iranian languages. Of that variety of languages/dialects, direct evidence of only two have survived. These are:

  • Avestan, the two languages/dialects of the Avesta, i.e. the liturgical texts of Zoroastrianism.
  • Old Persian, the native language of a south-western Iranian people known as Persians.[16]

Indirectly attested Old Iranian languages are discussed below.

Old Persian was an Old Iranian dialect as it was spoken in southwestern Iran (the modern-day province of Fars) by the inhabitants of Parsa, Persia or Persis who also gave their name to their region and language. Genuine Old Persian is best attested in one of the three languages of the Behistun inscription, composed circa 520 BC, and which is the last inscription (and only inscription of significant length) in which Old Persian is still grammatically correct. Later inscriptions are comparatively brief, and typically simply copies of words and phrases from earlier ones, often with grammatical errors, which suggests that by the 4th century BC the transition from Old Persian to Middle Persian was already far advanced, but efforts were still being made to retain an "old" quality for official proclamations.

The other directly attested Old Iranian dialects are the two forms of Avestan, which take their name from their use in the Avesta, the liturgical texts of indigenous Iranian religion that now goes by the name of Zoroastrianism but in the Avesta itself is simply known as vohu daena (later: behdin). The language of the Avesta is subdivided into two dialects, conventionally known as "Old (or 'Gathic') Avestan", and "Younger Avestan". These terms, which date to the 19th century, are slightly misleading since 'Younger Avestan' is not only much younger than 'Old Avestan', but also from a different geographic region. The Old Avestan dialect is very archaic, and at roughly the same stage of development as Rigvedic Sanskrit. On the other hand, Younger Avestan is at about the same linguistic stage as Old Persian, but by virtue of its use as a sacred language retained its "old" characteristics long after the Old Iranian languages had yielded to their Middle Iranian stage. Unlike Old Persian, which has Middle Persian as its known successor, Avestan has no clearly identifiable Middle Iranian stage (the effect of Middle Iranian is indistinguishable from effects due to other causes).

In addition to Old Persian and Avestan, which are the only directly attested Old Iranian languages, all Middle Iranian languages must have had a predecessor "Old Iranian" form of that language, and thus can all be said to have had an (at least hypothetical) "Old" form. Such hypothetical Old Iranian languages include Carduchian (the hypothetical predecessor to Kurdish) and Old Parthian. Additionally, the existence of unattested languages can sometimes be inferred from the impact they had on neighbouring languages. Such transfer is known to have occurred for Old Persian, which has (what is called) a "Median" substrate in some of its vocabulary.[17] Also, foreign references to languages can also provide a hint to the existence of otherwise unattested languages, for example through toponyms/ethnonyms or in the recording of vocabulary, as Herodotus did for what he called "Scythian".


Conventionally, Iranian languages are grouped in "western" and "eastern" branches.[18] These terms have little meaning with respect to Old Avestan as that stage of the language may predate the settling of the Iranian peoples into western and eastern groups. The geographic terms also have little meaning when applied to Younger Avestan since it isn't known where that dialect (or dialects) was spoken either. Certain is only that Avestan (all forms) and Old Persian are distinct, and since Old Persian is "western", and Avestan was not Old Persian, Avestan acquired a default assignment to "eastern". Confusing the issue is the introduction of a western Iranian substrate in later Avestan compositions and redactions undertaken at the centers of imperial power in western Iran (either in the south-west in Persia, or in the north-west in Nisa/Parthia and Ecbatana/Media).

Two of the earliest dialectal divisions among Iranian indeed happen to not follow the later division into Western and Eastern blocks. These concern the fate of the Proto-Indo-Iranian first-series palatal consonants, *ć and *dź:[19]

  • Avestan and most other Iranian languages have deaffricated and depalatalized these consonants, and have *ć > s, *dź > z.
  • Old Persian, however, has fronted these consonants further: *ć > θ, *dź > *ð > d.

As a common intermediate stage, it is possible to reconstruct depalatalized affricates: *c, *dz. (This coincides with the state of affairs in the neighboring Nuristani languages.) A further complication however concerns the consonant clusters *ćw and *dźw:

  • Avestan and most other Iranian languages have shifted these clusters to sp, zb.
  • In Old Persian, these clusters yield s, z, with loss of the glide *w, but without further fronting.
  • The Saka language, attested in the Middle Iranian period, and its modern relative Wakhi fail to fit into either group: in these, palatalization remains, and similar glide loss as in Old Persian occurs: *ćw > š, *dźw > ž.

A division of Iranian languages in at least three groups during the Old Iranian period is thus implied:

  • Persid (Old Persian and its descendants)
  • Sakan (Saka, Wakhi, and their Old Iranian ancestor)
  • Central Iranian (all other Iranian languages)

It is possible that other distinct dialect groups were already in existence during this period. Good candidates are the hypothetical ancestor languages of Alanian/Scytho-Sarmatian subgroup of Scythian in the far northwest; and the hypothetical "Old Parthian" (the Old Iranian ancestor of Parthian) in the near northwest, where original *dw > *b (paralleling the development of *ćw).

Middle Iranian languages[edit]

What is known in Iranian linguistic history as the "Middle Iranian" era is thought to begin around the 4th century BCE lasting through the 9th century. Linguistically the Middle Iranian languages are conventionally classified into two main groups, Western and Eastern.

The Western family includes Parthian (Arsacid Pahlavi) and Middle Persian, while Bactrian, Sogdian, Khwarezmian, Saka, and Old Ossetic (Scytho-Sarmatian) fall under the Eastern category. The two languages of the Western group were linguistically very close to each other, but quite distinct from their eastern counterparts. On the other hand, the Eastern group was an areal entity whose languages retained some similarity to Avestan. They were inscribed in various Aramaic-derived alphabets which had ultimately evolved from the Achaemenid Imperial Aramaic script, though Bactrian was written using an adapted Greek script.

Middle Persian (Pahlavi) was the official language under the Sasanian dynasty in Iran. It was in use from the 3rd century CE until the beginning of the 10th century. The script used for Middle Persian in this era underwent significant maturity. Middle Persian, Parthian and Sogdian were also used as literary languages by the Manichaeans, whose texts also survive in various non-Iranian languages, from Latin to Chinese. Manichaean texts were written in a script closely akin to the Syriac script.[20]

New Iranian languages[edit]

Dark green: countries where Iranian languages are official.
Teal: countries where Iranian languages are official in a subdivision

Following the Islamic Conquest of Persia, there were important changes in the role of the different dialects within the Persian Empire. The old prestige form of Middle Iranian, also known as Pahlavi, was replaced by a new standard dialect called Dari as the official language of the court. The name Dari comes from the word darbâr (دربار), which refers to the royal court, where many of the poets, protagonists, and patrons of the literature flourished. The Saffarid dynasty in particular was the first in a line of many dynasties to officially adopt the new language in 875 CE. Dari may have been heavily influenced by regional dialects of eastern Iran, whereas the earlier Pahlavi standard was based more on western dialects. This new prestige dialect became the basis of Standard New Persian. Medieval Iranian scholars such as Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa (8th century) and Ibn al-Nadim (10th century) associated the term "Dari" with the eastern province of Khorasan, while they used the term "Pahlavi" to describe the dialects of the northwestern areas between Isfahan and Azerbaijan, and "Pârsi" ("Persian" proper) to describe the Dialects of Fars. They also noted that the unofficial language of the royalty itself was yet another dialect, "Khuzi", associated with the western province of Khuzestan.

The Islamic conquest also brought with it the adoption of Arabic script for writing Persian and much later, Kurdish, Pashto and Balochi. All three were adapted to the writing by the addition of a few letters. This development probably occurred some time during the second half of the 8th century, when the old middle Persian script began dwindling in usage. The Arabic script remains in use in contemporary modern Persian. Tajik script, used to write the Tajik language, was first Latinised in the 1920s under the then Soviet nationality policy. The script was however subsequently Cyrillicized in the 1930s by the Soviet government.

The geographical regions in which Iranian languages were spoken were pushed back in several areas by newly neighbouring languages. Arabic spread into some parts of Western Iran (Khuzestan), and Turkic languages spread through much of Central Asia, displacing various Iranian languages such as Sogdian and Bactrian in parts of what is today Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In Eastern Europe, mostly comprising the territory of modern-day Ukraine, southern European Russia, and parts of the Balkans, the core region of the native Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans had been decisively taken over as a result of absorption and assimilation (e.g. Slavicisation) by the various Proto-Slavic population of the region, by the 6th century AD.[21][22][23][24] This resulted in the displacement and extinction of the once predominant Scythian languages of the region. Sogdian's close relative Yaghnobi barely survives in a small area of the Zarafshan valley east of Samarkand, and Saka as Ossetic in the Caucasus, which is the sole remnant of the once predominant Scythian languages in Eastern Europe proper and large parts of the North Caucasus. Various small Iranian languages in the Pamir Mountains survive that are derived from Eastern Iranian.

Comparison table[edit]

EnglishZazaSoraniKurmanjiPashtoTatiTalyshiBalochiGilakiMazanderaniTatPersianMiddle PersianParthianOld PersianAvestanOssetian
beautifulrınd, xaseknayab, cuwanrind, delal, bedew, xweşikx̌kūlay, x̌āistaxojirghašangdorr, soherâ, mah rang, sharr, juwānxujir, xojirxoşgel, xojirgüzəl, ziba, qəşəngzibā/xuš-čehr(e)/xoşgel(ak)/ghashanq/najibhučihr, hužihrhužihrnaibavahu-, srîraræsughd
bloodgonixwênxwîn, xûnwīnaxevnxunhonXunxunxunxūnxōngōxanvohuni-tug
breadnan, nonnannanḍoḍəi, məṛəinunnunnān, nagannownnunnunnānnānnāndzul
bringardene/anîn, hawerdinanîn(rā)wṛəlvârden, biyordonvardeâurten, yārag, āraghavardən, hardən, avardənbiyârdenavardənāwurdan, biyār ("(you) bring!")āwurdan, āwāy-, āwar-, bar-āwāy-, āwar-, bar-bara-bara, bar-xæssyn
brotherbırabrader, birabirawrorbərârbira, bolibrāt, brāsberær, barârbirârbirarbarādarbrād, brâdarbrād, brādarbrātarbrātar-æfsymær
comeameyenehatin, werehatin, were,rā tləlbiyâmiyanomeāhag, āyag, hatinhamæn, amownbiyamona, enen, biyâmuenamarənāmadanāmadan, awarawar, čāmāy-, āgamāgam-cæwyn
crybermayenegirîn, giryangirînžəṛəlbərmaberame, bamegreewag, grehtenburmebirmegirəstəngerīstan/gerīyegriy-, bram-barmâdankæwyn
darktaritarî/tarîktarîskəṇ, skaṇ, tyaraul, gur, târica, târektokitārtarikitārīk, tārtārīg/ktārīg, tārēntārīksâmahe, sâmatar
daughterkêna/keyna, çêna/çêneke[25]kîj, kiç, kenişk, düet (pehlewanî)dot, keçlūrtitiye, dətarkinə, kiladohtir, duttaglâku, kowr, kijâ(

(girl) dətər (daughter)

kîjâ(girl), deter (daughter)duxtərdoxtarduxtarduxt, duxtarduxδarčyzg (Iron), kizgæ (Digor)
dayroce, roje, rozeřojrojwrəd͡z (rwəd͡z)revj, ruzrujroçrujruz, rujruzrūzrōzraucah-raocah-bon
dokerdenekirdinkirinkawəlkardan, kordankardekanag, kurtingudən, kudənhâkerdensaxtənkardankardankartankạrta-kәrәta-kænyn
doorber, keyber, çêberderge/derke, dergaderîwərdarvâcadar, gelo, darwāzagbərdar, loşdərdardardar, barduvara-dvara-dwar
diemerdenemerdenmirinmrəlbamardenmardemireg, murtenmurdənbamerdenmürdənmordanmurdanmạriya-mar-mælyn
donkeyherkerkerxərastar, xarhə, hərhar, her, karxarxarxərxarxarxæræg
eatwerdenexwardinxwarinxwāṛə, xurāk / xwaṛəlhardenhardewarag, warâk, wārtenxowrdənxerâk / baxârdenxardənxordan / xurākparwarz / xwâr, xwardīgparwarz / xwârhareθra / ad-, at-xærinag
egghak, akkhêk/hêlke, tumhêkhagəimerqâna, karxâmorqana, uyəheyg, heyk, ā morgmerqâne, tîm, balîxaykərgtoxm, xāya ("testicle")toxmag, xâyagtaoxmag, xâyagtaoxma-ajk
eartherdzemîn, zawî, ʿerz, erderd, zevîd͡zməka (md͡zəka)zeminzaminzemin, degārzəmi, gelzamîn, benexarizamīnzamīgzamīgzam-zãm, zam, zemzæxx
eveningşan, êreêwareêvarmāx̌ām (māš̥ām)nomâzyar, nomâšonshavbegáhnemâşunşangumbegáhēvāragêbêragizær
eyeçımçaw/çaşçavstərgacoščaş,gelgancham, chemçumçəş, bəjçümčashmčašmčašmčaša-čašman-cæst
fatherpi, pêrbawk, bab,bababav, babplārpiyar, piya, dadapiya, lala, popet, pespiyer, perpîyer, perpiyərpedar, bābāpidarpidpitarpitarfyd
fearterstirstirswēra (yara), bēratârstarsturs, tersegbarmastaşe-vaşe, tarstərsitars, harāstarstarstạrsa-tares-tas
fiancéwaştidasgîran,xwşavestdergîstî, xwestîčənghol [masculine], čənghəla [feminine]numzânomjanāmzādnowmzədnumzenükürdənāmzād--usag
fineweş, hewlxwşxweşx̌a (š̥a), səmxojir, xarxoşwash, hoshxujir, xojir, xorumxâr, xeş, xojirxuş, xas, xubxoš, xūb, behdārmagsrîraxorz, dzæbæx
fingerengışte/gışte, bêçıkeengust, pence,angustilî, pêçîgwətaanqušanqiştəchangol, mordâneg, lenkutkangusəngüştangoštangustdišti-ængwyldz
fireadırager/awir, ahir,ayeragirwōr (ōr)tašotaşâch, atesh, âstaştaşataşātaš, āzarâdur, âtaxshādurâç-âtre-/aêsma-art
fishmasemasîmasîkəbmâyimoymāhi, māhigmæiimâhîmahimāhimāhigmāsyāgmasyakæsag
goşiayeneçûn, řoştin, řoyiştinçûntləlšiyen, bišiyanşeshotenşownşunen / burdenraftənro/şoşow/roway-ai-ay-, fra-vazcæwyn
GodHoma/Huma/Oma, HeqYezdan, Xwedê, Xuda, Xodê, Xwa(y)Xwedê, Xweda, Xwadê, XudêXwədāiXədâXıdoXoda, HwdâXudaXedâXudaXodā, Izad, Yazdān, BaqXudā/Yazdānbaga-baya-xwycaw
goodhewl, rınd, weşbaş, çak,xasbaş, rindx̌ə (š̥ə)xâr, xojirçokzabr, sharr, jowainxujir, xojir, xorumxâr, xeş, xojirxub, xasxub, nīkū, behxūb, nêkog, behvahu-vohu, vaŋhu-xorz
grassvaşgiya/gyagîya, çêrewāx̌ə (wāš̥ə)vâšalafrem, sabzagvaşvâşgüyosabzeh, giyāhgiyâgiyavişurvarâkærdæg
greatgırd/gırs, pilgewre,mazenmezin, girlōy, stərpillayol, yal, vaz, dıjdmastar, mazan,tuhpila, pilegat, pillakələbozorgwuzurg, pīl, yalvazraka-uta-, avañtstyr
handdestdast, dasdestlāsbâldastdastdas, bâldas, bāldəsdastdastdastdasta-zasta-k'ux / arm
headsersersersərkallasə, sərsar, sarag, sagharkalle, sərkalle, sarsərsarsarkallisairisær
heartzerri/zerredil/dił/dir(Erbil)/zildilzṛədəldıldil, hatyrdildel, zel, zildüldeldildilaηhušzærdæ
horseestor/ostor/astorasp/hesp/esp, hês(t)irhespās [male], aspa [female]asb, astaraspaspasb, aspasp, asəsasbasp, stōrasp, stōraspaaspa-bæx
housekeye/çeye,[26][27] banmał, xanu, xang, ghatxanîkorkiyakages, dawâr, logsere, xownesere, xenexunəxānexânagdemâna-, nmâna-xædzar
hungryvêşan/veyşanbersîbirçî, birsî (behdînî)lwəgavašnâ, vešir, gesnâvahşianshudig, shudvəşna, viştaveşnâgisnəgorosne, goşnegursag, shuyveşnâg
language (also tongue)zıwan, zon, zuan, zuon, juan, jüanzeman, zuwanzimanžəbazobun, zəvânzivonzewān, zobānzəvon, zəvânzivun, zebunzuhunzabānzuwānizβānhazâna-hizvā-ævzag
laughhuyayenekenîn/pêkenîn, kenîn,xanda,xanakenînxandəl/xəndaxurəsen, xandastansırehendag, xandagpurxe, xənderîk, baxendestenxəndəxandexande, xandkartaSyaoθnâvareza-xudyn
lifecuye, weşiyejiyan,gyianjiyanžwəndūn, žwəndzindәgijimonzendegih, zindziviş, zindegizindegî, janhəyatzendegi, janzīndagīh, zīwišnīhžīwahr, žīw-gaêm, gaya-card
manmêrdek, camêrd/cüamêrdmerd, pîyaw,mêr, camêrsəṛay, mēṛəmardak, miardamerdmerdmərdmard(î)mərdmardmardmardmartiya-mašîm, mašyaadæjmag
moonaşme, menge (for month)mangmeh, heyvspūgməi (spōẓ̌məi)mângmang, owşummáhalâtiti, mâ

, ,âma

ma, munekmamâh, mâng, mânkmāhmāhmâh-måŋha-mæj
mothermay, mar, dayîke, dadî [28]dayekdayik, dêmōrmâr, mâya, nanamoa, ma, inamât, mâsmâr, mærmârmaymâdarmâdardayekmâtarmâtar-mad
mouthfekdam,kat,sardam,satdevxūla (xʷəla)duxun, dâ:ângəvdapdəhəndâhun, lâmîzeduhundahândahân, rumbåŋhânô, âh, åñhdzyx
namenamenaw, nêwnavnūmnumnomnâmnowmnumnumnâmnâmnâmannãmannom
nightşewşawşevšpašö, šavşavšap, shawşowşowşöüshabshabxšap-xšap-æxsæv
open (v)akerdenekirdinewevekirinprānistəlvâz-kardanokardepāch, pabozagva-gudən/kudənvâ-hekârdenvakardənbâz-kardan, va-kardanabâz-kardan, višādagbūxtaka-būxta-gom kænyn
peacehaşti/aştiaştî, aramîaştî, aramîrōɣa, t͡sōkāləidinjaşişârâmaştâştîsalaməti, dinciâshti, ârâmeš, ârâmî, sâzishâštih, râmīšnrâm, râmīšnšiyâti-râma-fidyddzinad
pigxoz/xonz, xınzırberaz,gorazberazsoḍər, xənd͡zir (Arabic), xugxu, xuyi, xugxugkhug, hukxixugxūkxūkxwy
placecaje(jega), gacih, gehd͡zāiyâgaviraja, jaygah, hendjiga, jigecigə, cəjâh/gâhgâhgâhgâθu-gâtu-, gâtav-ran
readwendenexwendin/xwêndinxwendinlwastəl, kōtəlbaxândenhande, xwandewánag, wāntenxowndənbaxinden, baxundestenxundənxândanxwândankæsyn
sayvatenegutin, witingotinwayəlvâten, bagutenvotegushag, guashtengutən, guftənbaowtenguftirən, gaf saxtəngoftan, gap(-zadan)guftan, gōw-, wâxtangōw-gaub-mrû-dzuryn
sisterwayexweh, xweşk, xoşk, xuşk, xoyşkxwîşkxōr (xʷōr)xâke, xâv, xâxor, xuârhovagwhârxâxur, xâxerxâxerxuvarxâhar/xwâharxwaharx ̌aŋhar- "sister"xo
smallqıc/qıyt, werdigiçke, qicik, hûrbiçûk, hûrkūčnay, waṛ(ū)kayqijel, rukhırdgwand, hurdkuçe, kuçi, kujipeçik, biçuk, xurdküçük, küşkin, kişgələ, kəmkuchak, kam, xurd, rîzkam, rangaskamkamna-kamna-chysyl
sonlac, lajlaw/kuřkur, lawd͡zoy (zoy)pur, zâzoə, zurəpossag, baçvaçe, rika, rike, pisərpiser/rîkâkukpesar, purpur, pusarpuhrpuçapūθra-fyrt
soulroh, ganjan, giyan, rewan, revanreh, canrəvânconrawânjownro, jâncanravân, jânrūwân, jyânrūwân, jyânurvan-ud
springwesar/usarbahar, weharbihar, beharspərlayvâ:ârəvəsor, baharbārgāhvəhâr, bâhârvehârvasalbahârwahârvâhara-θūravâhara-
tallberzbilind/berzbilind/berzlwəṛ, ǰəgpillabarz, bılındborz, bwrzbulənd, bələndbilen(d)bülündboland / bârzbuland, borzbârežbarez-bærzond
threehirê/hiridrēso, sese, heseysu, sesesehrēçi-θri-ærtæ
villagedewegund, dêhat, dêgundkəlaydöh, dadidehāt, helk, kallag, dêdih, male, koladideh, wiswiždahyu-vîs-, dahyu-vîsqæw
wantwaştenexwastin, wîstinxwestinɣ(ʷ)ux̌təlbegovastan, jovastanpiyeloath, lotetenxæsən, xæstənbexâstenxastən, vayistənxâstanxwâstanfændyn
waterawe/awk, owe, ouawavobə/ūbəâv, öov, wat(orandian dialect)âpow, âvowouâbâb/awawâpiavô-don
whenkeykeykengê, kîngêkəlakeykeynakadi, kedkenkekey, çüvəxtikeykaykačim-kæd
windvaba, wa (pehlewanî)basiləivogwáthvarbâdwâdwavâta-dymgæ / wad
wolfverggurg,gurlewə, šarmux̌ (šarmuš̥)vargvarggurkvərgverggürggorggurgvarka-vehrkabirægh
womancıni/cenijin,zindage,gyianjinx̌əd͡za (š̥əd͡za)zeyniye, zenakjen, jiyanjan, jinikzanzanzənzanzanžangǝnā, γnā, ǰaini-,sylgojmag / us
yearserresal/sałsalkālsâlsor, salsâlsâlsâlsalsâlsâlθardýâre, sarәdaz
yes / noya, heya, ê / nê, ney, nibełê, a / na, neerê, belê, a / naHao, ao, wō / na, yaahan / naha / ne, naere, hān / naâhâ,æhæ/naare / nâhəri, hə / nəbaleh, ârē, hā / na, néeōhāy / nehâ / neyyâ / nay, mâyâ / noit, mâo / næ
yesterdayvizêrdwênê, duêkaduhoparūnazira, zira, diruzir, zinədirudîruzdeydidiruzdêrûždiya(ka)zyōznon
EnglishZazaSoraniKurmanjiPashtoTatiTalyshiBalochiGilakiMazandaraniTatPersianMiddle PersianParthianOld PersianAvestanOssetian


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  2. ^ Gernot Windfuhr (1979). Persian Grammar: History and State of Its Study. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-90-279-7774-8.
  3. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot. The Iranian languages. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
  4. ^ "Ethnologue report for Iranian".
  5. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). "Report for Iranian languages". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (Fifteenth ed.). Dallas: SIL International.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Cardona, George. "Indo-Iranian languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  7. ^ (Skjærvø 2006)
  8. ^ John R. Perry Iranian Studies Vol. 31, No. 3/4, A Review of the "Encyclopaedia Iranica" (Summer - Autumn, 1998), pp. 517-525
  9. ^ Lassen, Christian. 1936. Die altpersischen Keil-Inschriften von Persepolis. Entzifferung des Alphabets und Erklärung des Inhalts. Bonn: Weber. S. 182.
    This was followed by Wilhelm Geiger in his Grundriss der Iranischen Philologie (1895). Friedrich von Spiegel (1859), Avesta, Engelmann (p. vii) used the spelling Eranian.
  10. ^ Cust, Robert Needham. 1878. A sketch of the modern languages of the East Indies. London: Trübner.
  11. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hasan. 1989. History of northern areas of Pakistan. Historical studies (Pakistan) series. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research.
    "We distinguish between the Aryan languages of Iran, or Irano-Aryan, and the Aryan languages of India, or Indo-Aryan. For the sake of brevity, Iranian is commonly used instead of Irano-Aryan".
  12. ^ Lazard, Gilbert. 1977. Preface in: Oranskij, Iosif M. Les langues iraniennes. Traduit par Joyce Blau.
  13. ^ Schmitt, Rüdiger. 1994. Sprachzeugnisse alt- und mitteliranischer Sprachen in Afghanistan in: Indogermanica et Caucasica. Festschrift für Karl Horst Schmidt zum 65. Geburtstag. Bielmeier, Robert und Reinhard Stempel (Hrg.). De Gruyter. S. 168–196.
  14. ^ Lazard, Gilbert. 1998. Actancy. Empirical approaches to language typology. Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-015670-9, ISBN 978-3-11-015670-6
  15. ^ Michael Witzel (2001): Autochthonous Aryans? The evidence from Old Indian and Iranian texts. Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 7(3): 1–115.
  16. ^ Roland G. Kent: "Old Persion: Grammar Texts Lexicon". Part I, Chapter I: The Linguistic Setting of Old Persian. American Oriental Society, 1953.
  17. ^ (Skjaervo 2006) vi(2). Documentation.
  18. ^ Nicholas Sims-Williams, Iranica, under entry: Eastern Iranian languages
  19. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot (2009). "Dialectology and Topics". The Iranian Languages. Routledge. pp. 18–21.
  20. ^ Mary Boyce. 1975. A Reader in Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian, p. 14.
  21. ^ Brzezinski, Richard; Mielczarek, Mariusz (2002). The Sarmatians, 600 BC-AD 450. Osprey Publishing. p. 39. (..) Indeed, it is now accepted that the Sarmatians merged in with pre-Slavic populations.
  22. ^ Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 523. (..) In their Ukrainian and Polish homeland the Slavs were intermixed and at times overlain by Germanic speakers (the Goths) and by Iranian speakers (Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans) in a shifting array of tribal and national configurations.
  23. ^ Atkinson, Dorothy; et al. (1977). Women in Russia. Stanford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780804709101. (..) Ancient accounts link the Amazons with the Scythians and the Sarmatians, who successively dominated the south of Russia for a millennium extending back to the seventh century B.C. The descendants of these peoples were absorbed by the Slavs who came to be known as Russians.
  24. ^ Slovene Studies. 9–11. Society for Slovene Studies. 1987. p. 36. (..) For example, the ancient Scythians, Sarmatians (amongst others), and many other attested but now extinct peoples were assimilated in the course of history by Proto-Slavs.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^


  • Bailey, H. W. (1979). Dictionary of Khotan Saka. Cambridge University Press. 1979. 1st Paperback edition 2010. ISBN 978-0-521-14250-2.
  • Schmitt, Rüdiger (ed.) (1989). Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum (in German). Wiesbaden: Reichert. ISBN 978-3-88226-413-5.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Sims-Williams, Nicholas (1996). "Iranian languages". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda. pp. 238–245.
  • Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.) (1996). "Iran". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Frye, Richard N. (1996). "Peoples of Iran". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda.
  • Windfuhr, Gernot L. (1995). "Cases in Iranian languages and dialects". Encyclopedia Iranica. 5. Costa Mesa: Mazda. pp. 25–37.
  • Lazard, Gilbert (1996). "Dari". Encyclopedia Iranica. 7. Costa Mesa: Mazda.
  • Henning, Walter B. (1954). "The Ancient language of Azarbaijan". Transactions of the Philological Society. 53 (1): 157–177. doi:10.1111/j.1467-968X.1954.tb00282.x.
  • Rezakhani, Khodadad (2001). "The Iranian Language Family". Archived from the original on 2004-10-09.
  • Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (2006). "Iran, vi. Iranian languages and scripts". Encyclopædia Iranica. 13.
  • Delshad, Farshid (2010). Georgica et Irano-Semitica (PDF). Ars Poetica. Deutscher Wissenschaftsverlag DWV. ISBN 978-3-86888-004-5.
  • Mallory, J. P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (2006). The Oxford introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European world. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-929668-2.
  • Toroghdar, Zia (2018). "From Astara to Fuman: Comparison words from dialects of different languages Talysh and Tatic". Farhang-e Ilia. pp. 38–172.

Further reading[edit]

  • Sokolova, V. S. "New information on the phonetics of Iranic languages." Trudy Instituta jazykoznanija NN SSR (Moskva) 1 (1952): 178-192.

External links[edit]

  • "Areal developments in the history of Iranic: West vs. East" (PDF). Martin Joachim Kümmel, department of Indo-European linguistics, University of Jena.
  • Society for Iranian Linguistics
  • Kurdish and other Iranic Languages
  • Iranian EFL Journal
  • Iranian language tree in Russian, identical with above classification.
  • Old Iranian Online by Scott L. Harvey and Jonathan Slocum, free online lessons at the Linguistics Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin