Sunday, October 19, 2003

Roots and Branches of Farsi Language

Some languages have been grouped as Indo-European and a branch of it is called Indo-Iranian. The Indo-Iranian is again divided into two - The Iranian languages being one of them.The Iranian language is again divided into three:

-Old Iranian language
-Middle Iranian Language
-Modern Iranian language

Old Iranian language
The median language is one of the Old Iranian languages.This was the language of the mads,which was spoken in Central and Western Iran around 835 BCE. The Greek language has borrowed many words from this language. The stone carvings of the Hakhamaneshinians have words from this language.
Old Persian was the state language of the Hakhamaneshinians and is related to Avesta and Sanskrit. Two samples of the language are the stone carvings of Daruish and Ardeshir-lll. The carvings at Bisotum in Hamadan have about 500 words of Old Persian.
Avesta was the language of the East and North Eastern Iran. And the religious books at different periods were written in this language. Gathas are the most ancient form of this language.

Middle Iranian language
These languages were steadily formed with the change in political power. It includes Parthian Pahlavi and Hakahmaneshian Pahlavi. Parthian Pahlavi was the language of the Parthian who lived in the North East of Iran and have left behind some stone tablets in Parthian script, which is derived from the Aarami script. Some of these writings have been found in Ooramaneh in Kurdistan. At Naksh Rostam and Hajiabad of Fars the writings of Shahpour-I are an example of this language. So also, is the message of Nersi at Paekuri. Some archeological finds in Nasa have Parthian language inscribed on them. None of the present day Iranian languages seem to be the direct descendents of the Parthian language. The present day people living in the Parthian country (Khorasan) do not speak any thing close to Parthian language. But Parthian language has had its effect on the formation of Farsi and we can find Parthian in modern Farsi.
In Turfan archeologically remains have been found of Parthian language written in the script of the Maanavians. They are two types one written in the 3 & 4 century ACE is pure Parthian the second after 6th century ACE has a mixture and is used for religious purposes.

Middle Farsi language
The language during the Sassanian times can be categorized as Middle Farsi and we have many writings. To name a few Bodahesh, Ardeviraf nameh, Mainu Khared, Pandnameh Adorbad Mehresfand etc.
Sogdian language,spoken in Samarghand and Bokhara and was the language of Central Asia and extend up to China. After the 6th century ACE this language lost ground to Turkamanestani and Farsi but a variation of it is spoken in Yagnab valley. Many Farsi words have their origin from this language.
Khotani language, were also spoken till the 6 and even the 8th century and was replaced by Farsi. It is still spoken in the Khotan district of China.
Kharazmi was the language of the state of Kharazm in Central Asia. It was spoken till and during the 15 century ACE. It was replaced by, Turkey and Farsi.

Modern Farsi - It started as Farsi e Dari and has its roots in Phalavi and Old Farsi and is a southwestern Iranian language and was the officially language of Iran. Ferdowsi's Shahnameh is an example of this language. As time passed writers of Central and northern Iran added words and dialects from their region to this language and still latter Arabic words found their way into this language and still further Arabic grammar was also imported.
Aasee Language is a Caucasian language and is connected to the Sogdian and Karazmian language. The highlight of this language is that it has not been corrupted by other languages and has maintained its purity and relation to ancient Iranian languages.
Pashtu is the language of Eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. In spite of it being corrupted by Arabic and modern Farsi it has still maintained the characteristic of the ancient Iranian languages. In this language nouns are also treated like verbs.
Tajiki is one of the dialects of Farsi spoken by the people of Tajikistan.
Baluchi is the language of the Baluchi people it is a northern language and also spoken in parts of Turkmenistan. The Baluchis who migrated south to their present day location brought it with them. Farsi and Arabic words have entered this language but it has maintained its ancient Iranian form.
Kurdi has many different dialects important among them is Zaza and Gourani. Original Kurdi is called Kermanji. Kurdi has words from Farsi Arabic Armenian and Turkey.
(the content of this note has been taken from a paper by Fariborz Rahnamoon)