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EthnicityIranian peoples
West Asia, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
ISO 639-2 / 5ira
Linguasphere58= (phylozone)
Distribution of the Iranian languages in and around the Iranian plateau

The Iranian languages, also called the 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, predominantly in the Iranian Plateau.

The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BCE), Middle Iranian (400 BCE – 900 CE) and New Iranian (since 900 CE). 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).

Number of speakers

As of 2008, there were an estimated 150–200 million native speakers of the Iranian languages.[3] Ethnologue estimates that there are 86 languages in the group.[4][5]

Top languages by number of native speakers
Name speakers
Persian 84 million
Pashto 50 million
Kurdish 35 million
Balochi 15 million
Caspian 10 million
Tajik 8 million
Luri 5 million

Terminology and grouping


The term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Naqsh-e Rostam, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranian peoples.[6] The Middle-Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- (Middle Persian) and ary- (Parthian), both deriving from Proto-Iranian language *arya- (meaning "Aryan", i.e. "of the Iranians"),[6][7] recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European language *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles (skilfully)".[8] In the Iranic languages spoken on the plateau, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta,[9][note 1] and remains also in other Iranian ethnic names Alan (Ossetian: Ир Ir) and Iron (Ирон).[7]

Iranian vs. Iranic

When used as a linguistic term Iranian is applied to any language which descends from the ancestral Proto-Iranian language.[10]

Some scholars such as John R. Perry prefer the term Iranic as the anthropological name for the linguistic family and ethnic groups of this category, and Iranian for anything about the modern country of Iran. He uses the same analogue as in differentiating German from Germanic or differentiating Turkish and Turkic.[11]

This use of the term for the Iranian language family was introduced in 1836 by Christian Lassen.[12] Robert Needham Cust used the term Irano-Aryan in 1878,[13] and Orientalists such as George Abraham Grierson and Max Müller contrasted Irano-Aryan (Iranian) and Indo-Aryan (Indic[note 2]). Some recent scholarship, primarily in German, has revived this convention.[14][15][16][17]


The Iranian languages are divided into the following branches:

According to modern scholarship, the Avestan languages are not considered to fall under these categories, and are instead sometimes classified as Central Iranian, since they diverged from Proto-Iranian before the east-west division rose to prominence. It has traditionally been viewed as Eastern Iranian; however, it lacks a large number of Eastern Iranian features and thus is only "Eastern Iranian" in the sense that it is not Western.[18]


Distribution of Iranic peoples in Central Asia during the Iron Age period.

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 of the Bronze Age is suggested as a candidate for the common Indo-Iranian culture around 2000 BCE.[citation needed]

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

Proto-Iranian thus dates to some time after the Proto-Indo-Iranian breakup, or the early-2nd 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:[19] 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

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 has survived. These are:

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 c. 520 BCE, 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 BCE 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 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.[21] 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" and in one instance, Median (σπάκα "dog").


Conventionally, Iranian languages are grouped into "western" and "eastern" branches.[22] 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 is not 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". Further 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:[23]

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:

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

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

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.[24]

New Iranian

See also: Persian literature, Pashto literature, Ossetian literature, Kurdish literature, and Tajik literature

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

Following the Arab 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 (Persia). 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 the 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 sometime 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 CE.[25][26][27][28] 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

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English Zaza Sorani Kurdish Kurmanji Kurdish Pashto Tati Talyshi Balochi Gilaki Mazanderani (Tabari) Tat Luri Shugni Persian Middle Persian Parthian Old Persian Avestan Ossetian
beautiful rınd, xasek ciwan, nayab rind, delal, bedew, xweşik x̌kūlay, x̌āista xojir ghašang dorr, soherâ, mah rang, sharr, juwān xujīrçī/xujīr xoşgel, xojir qəşəng, şihid qəşaŋ, xoşgel xushrui, xagh(fem.)


zibā/xuš-čehr(e)/xoşgel(ak)/ghashanq/najib hučihr, hužihr hužihr naiba xvaini, sraiia, srao- ræsughd
blood goni xwên xwîn, xûn wīna xevn xun hon Xun xun xun xī(n) xun xūn xōn gōxan vohuna, vaŋhutāt̰ tug
bread nan, non nan nan ḍoḍəi, məṛəi nun nun nān, nagan nön nun nun nu(n) gartha nān nān nān tāiiūiri, drao-naŋh (scared bread) dzul
bring ardene /anîn, hawerdin, hênan anîn (rā)wṛəl vârden, biyordon varde âurten, yārag, ārag hävərdən, härdən, ävərdən, bərdən biyârden avardən o(v)erden, videu āwurdan, biyār ("(you) bring!") āwurdan, āwāy-, āwar-, bar- āwāy-, āwar-, bar- bara- bara, bar- xæssyn
brother bıra bira bira wror bərâr bira, boli brāt, brās bərär, bərâr birâr birar berar værod barādar brād, brâdar brād, brādar brātar brātar- æfsymær
come ameyene hatin, were, bew (Pehlewanî) hatin, were, rā tləl biyâmiyan ome āhag, āyag, hatin həmän, ämön, hömän biyamona, enen, biyâmuen amarən umae(n) āmadan āmadan, awar awar, čām āy-, āgam āgam- cæwyn
cry bermayene giryan, girîn, gîristin (Pehlewanî) girîn žəṛəl bərma berame, bame greewag, grehten burmə birme girəstən gerevesen, gereva náu gerīstan/gerīye griy-, bram- barmâdan snuδ, kæwyn
dark tari tarî/tarîk tarî skəṇ, skaṇ, tyara ul, gur, târica, târek toki tār zuləmât, tärik tār, siyo, zolamât tariki tārīk torice tārīk, tār tārīg/k tārīg, tārēn tārīk sāmahe, sāma tar
daughter keyne, çêne/çêneke kîj, kiç, kenîşk, düêt (Pehlewanî), dwêt (Pehlewanî) dot, keç lūr titiye, dətar kinə, kila dohtir, duttag lâku, kör, kijâ (girl)

dətər (daughter)

kîjâ(girl), deter (daughter) duxtər doxter rezin doxtar duxtar duxt, duxtar duxδar čyzg (Iron), kizgæ (Digor)
day roce, roje, roze řoj, rûj (Pehlewanî) roj wrəd͡z (rwəd͡z) revj, ruz ruj roç ruz, ruj ruz, ruj ruz ru ruz rūz rōz raucah- raocah- bon
do kerdene kirdin kirin kawəl kardan, kordan karde kanag, kurtin gudən, kudən, kördən hâkerden, hâkorden saxtən kerde chideu kardan kardan kartan kạrta- kәrәta- kænyn
door ber, keyber, çêber derge/derke, derga, qapî (Kelhorî) derî wər, dərwāza darvâca dar, gelo, darwāzag bər dar, loş dər dər, dar dêve dar dar dar, bar duvara- dvara- dwar
die merdene mirdin mirin mrəl bamarden marde mireg, murten murdən, mərdən bamerden mürdən morde mideu mordan murdan mạriya- mar- mælyn
donkey her ker, gwêdirêj, xer (Pehlewanî) ker xər astar, xar hə, hər har, her, kar xər xar xər xər marcabe xar xar kaθβa xæræg
eat werdene xwardin xwarin xwāṛə, xurāk / xwaṛəl harden harde warag, warâk, wārten xördən, xöndən xerâk / baxârden xardən harde xideu xordan / xurāk parwarz / xwâr, xwardīg parwarz / xwâr hareθra / CE-, at- xærinag
egg hak, akk hêk/hêlke, tum, xaye (Pehlewanî), xa (Kelhorî) hêk hagəi merqâna, karxâ morqana, uyə heyg, heyk, ā morg murqönə, murqänə merqâne, tîm, balî xaykərg xā'a tarmurx toxm, xāya ("testicle") toxmag, xâyag taoxmag, xâyag taoxma- ajk
earth erd zemîn, zewî, ʿerz, erd erd, zevî d͡zməka (md͡zəka) zemin zamin zemin, degār zəmi, gəl, bunə zamîn, bene xari zemi zimath zamīn zamīg zamīg zam- zãm, zam, zem zæxx
evening şan êware, îware (Pehlewanî) êvar, şev māx̌ām (māš̥ām) nomâzyar, nomâšon shav begáh şänsər nemâşun şangum evāra véga begáh ēvārag êbêrag arəzaŋh izær
eye çım çaw/çaş çav stərga coš čaş,gelgan cham, chem çum çəş, bəj çüm tīya, çaş çem čashm čašm čašm čaša- čašman- cæst
father pi, pêr bawk, bab, babe, bawg (Pehlewanî) bav, bab plār piyar, piya, dada piya, lala, po pet, pes pér pîyer, pîyar, per piyər bua tat pedar, bābā pidar pid pitar pitar fyd
fear ters tirs tirs wēra (yara), bēra târs tars turs, terseg tərs taşe-vaşe, tars tərsi ters hoge tars, harās tars tars tạrsa- tares- tas
fiancé waşti desgîran,xwşavest dergistî čənghol [masculine], čənghəla [feminine] numzâ nomja nāmzād nömzət numze nükürdə xîsmenz nāmzād para-dāta (affianced) usag
fine weş, hewl xoş xweş x̌a (š̥a), səm xojir, xar xoş wash, hosh xujīr, xurum xâr, xeş, xojir xuş, xas, xub xu bashand xoš, xūb, beh dārmag srīra xorz, dzæbæx
finger engışte/gışte, bêçıke engust, pence,angus, pênce tilî, pêçî gwəta anquš anqiştə changol, mordâneg, lenkutk ənguşt, əngüşt angus əngüşt kelek angiht angošt angust aṇgušta ængwyldz
fire adır agir/awir, ahir,ayer agir wōr (ōr) taš otaş âch, atesh, âs təş taş ataş taş, gor yoç ātaš, āzar âdur, âtaxsh ādur âç- ātre-/aēsma- art
fish mase masî masî māyai mâyi moy māhi, māhig mäyi mâhî mahi māhi moie māhi māhig māsyāg masya kæsag
go şiayene çûn, řoştin, řoyiştin, çün (Pehlewanî) çûn tləl šiyen, bišiyan şe shoten şön şunen / burden raftən ro sà, tideu ro/şo şow/row ay- ai- ay-, fra-vaz cæwyn
God Homa/Huma/Oma Yezdan, Xwedê, Xuda, Xodê, Xwa(y) Xwedê, Xweda, Xudê Xwədāi Xədâ Xıdo Xoda, Hwdâ Xuda Xedâ Xuda xodā Xuthoi Xodā, Izad, Yazdān, Baq Xudā/Yazdān baga- baya- xwycaw
good hewl, rınd, weş baş, çak, xas baş, rind x̌ə (š̥ə) xâr, xojir çok zabr, sharr, jowain xujīr, xurum xâr, xeş, xojir xub, xas xu bashand xub, nīkū, beh xūb, nêkog, beh vahu- vohu, vaŋhu- xorz
grass vaş giya/gya giya, çêre wāx̌ə (wāš̥ə) vâš alaf rem, sabzag vâş vâş güyo sozi, çame woh sabzeh, giyāh giyâ giya viş urvarā kærdæg
great gırd/gırs, pil gewre,mezin mezin, gir lōy, stər pilla yol, yal, vaz, dıjd mastar, mazan,tuh pilâ, pillə, pille, gət gat, pilla kələ gap wazmin bozorg wuzurg, pīl, yal vazraka- mazaṇt̰, masita, stūi styr
hand dest dest, des dest lās bâl dast dast dəs, bâl das, bāl dəs das thust dast dast dast dasta- zasta- k'ux / arm
head ser ser ser sər kalla sə, sər sar, sarag, saghar kəlle, sər kalle, sar sər sar cile, cale sar sar kalli sairi sær
heart zerri/zerre dil/dił/dir(Erbil)/zil dil zṛə dəl dıl dil, hatyr dīl, dəl, qlf del, zel, zil dül del dile, zorth del dil dil zaraŋh, zarəδiia, aηhuš zærdæ
horse estor/ostor/astor asp/hesp/esp, hês(t)ir hesp ās [male], aspa [female] asb, astar asp asp əsb, əsp asp, as əs asb vorge asb asp, stōr asp, stōr aspa aspa- bæx
house key/çê mał, xanû, xanig, ghat xanî, mal kor kiya ka ges, dawâr, log sərə, xöne sere, kime, xene xunə huna chide xāne xânag demāna-, nmāna- xædzar
hungry vêşan/veyşan birsî, wirsî (Pehlewanî) birçî, birsî (behdînî) lweǵai (lweẓ̌ai) vašnâ, vešir, gesnâ vahşian shudig, shud vəşnä, viştâ veşnâ, veşnâsâr gisnə gosna maghzönch gorosne, goşne gursag, shuy veşnâg ṣ̌uδ
language (also tongue) zıwan, zon, zuan, zuon, juan, jüan ziman, zuwan ziman žəba zobun, zəvân zivon zewān, zobān zəvön, zuvön, zuvän zivun, zebun, tok zuhun zevu zive zabān zuwān izβān hazâna- hizvā-, zafana (mouth) ævzag
laugh huyayene kenîn/pêkenîn, kenîn,xende,xene kenîn xandəl/xənda xurəsen, xandastan sıre hendag, xandag purxə, xənde/ xəndəsən rîk, baxendesten, xanne xəndə xana shinteu xande xande, xand karta Syaoθnāvareza- xudyn
life cuye, weşiye jiyan, jîn jiyan žwəndūn, žwənd zindәgi jimon zendegih, zind zīndəgī, zīvəş zindegî, jan həyat zeŋei zindage, umre zendegi, jan zīndagīh, zīwišnīh žīwahr, žīw- gaēm, gaya- card
man mêrdek, camêrd/cüamêrd mêrd, pîyaw, cuwamêr mêr, camêr səṛay, mēṛə mardak, miarda merd merd mərd, mərdönə mardî mərd piyā chorice, mardina mard mard mard martiya- mašīm, mašya adæjmag
moon aşme, menge (for month) mang, heyv meh, heyv spūǵməi (spōẓ̌məi) mâng mang, owşum máh mâng, məng ma, munek, mong, rojâ ma māh mêst mâh, mâng, mânk māh māh mâh- måŋha- mæj
mother may, mar dayik, dayig dayik, dê mōr mâr, mâya, nana moa, ma, ina mât, mâs mâr, mär mâr, nenâ may dā(ya), dāle(ka) nan mâdar mâdar dayek mâtar mātar- mad
mouth fek dem dev xūla (xʷəla) duxun, dâ:ân gəv dap dəhən dâhun, lâmîze, loşe duhun dam gêve dahân dahân, rumb zafan, zafarə, åŋhānō, åñh dzyx
name name naw, nêw nav nūm num nom nâm nöm num num num nöme nâm nâm nâman nãman nom
night şew şew şev špa šö, šav şav šap, shaw şö, şöv, şəb şow, şu şöü şo hab shab shab xšap- xšap-, naxti æxsæv
open (v) akerdene kirdinewe, wazkirdin (Kelhorî) vekirin prānistəl vâz-kardan okarde pāch, pabozag vlätən, väzän, vâ-gudən vâ-hekârden vakardən vākerde(n) ët chideu bâz-kardan, va-kardan abâz-kardan, višādag būxtaka- būxta- gom kænyn
peace haşti/aşti aştî, aramî aştî, aramî rōɣa, t͡sōkāləi dinj aşiş ârâm əşt âştî, esket salaməti, dinci āş(t)i salöm âshti, ârâmeš, ârâmî, sâzish âštih, râmīšn râm, râmīšn šiyâti- rāma- fidyddzinad
pig xoz/xonz, xınzır beraz,goraz beraz soḍər, xənd͡zir (Arabic), xug xu, xuyi, xug xug khug, huk xuk xug xuk xug xūk xūk hū, varāza (boar) xwy
place ca cê(cêga), ga, şwên, şwîn (Pehlewanî) cih, geh d͡zāi yâga vira ja, jaygah, hend jâ, jigâ, jigə jâ, gâ, kolâ cigə, cə joi jâh/gâh gâh gâh gâθu- gātu-, gātav- ran
read wendene xwendin/xwêndin, xwenistin xwendin lwastəl, kōtəl baxânden hande, xwande wánag, wānten xöndən, xönəsən baxenden, baxundesten xundən vane(n) heideu xândan xwândan paiti-pǝrǝs kæsyn
say vatene gutin, witin gotin wayəl vâten, baguten vote gushag, guashten gutən, guftən baowten, boten, bagoten guftirən, gaf saxtən gute(n) lövdeu goftan, gap(-zadan) guftan, gōw-, wâxtan gōw- gaub- vac, mrū- dzuryn
sister waye xweh, xweşk, xoşk, xuşk, xoyşk xwîşk xōr (xʷōr) xâke, xâv, xâxor, xuâr hova gwhâr xâxur, xâxər xâxer, xâxor, xoar xuvar xuar yàx, yàxbìç xâhar/xwâhar xwahar xvaŋhar- xo
small qıc/qıyt, wırd/werdi giçke, qicik, hûr, biçûk, büçik (Kelhorî) biçûk, hûr, qicik kūčnay, waṛ(ū)kay qijel, ruk hırd gwand, hurd kuçhī, kujī, kuştə peçik, biçuk, xerd küçük, küşkin, kişgələ, kəm koçek zulice kuchak, kam, xurd, rîz kam, rangas kam kamna- kasu, kamna- chysyl
son lac, laj law/kuř kur, law, pis d͡zoy (zoy) pur, zâ zoə, zurə possag, baç vəçə, rikə, pəsər, rəy peser/rîkâ kuk kor puç pesar, pur pur, pusar puhr puça pūθra- fyrt
soul roh, gan can, giyan, rewan, revan reh, can rəvân con rawân ruh, jön ro, jân can jöne ravân, jân rūwân, jyân rūwân, jyân urvan- ud
spring wesar/usar behar, wehar bihar, behar spərlay vâ:âr əvəsor, bahar bārgāh vəhâr, bâhâr vehâr, behâr vasal behār, vehār bahor bahâr wahâr vâhara- vaŋhar
tall berz bilind/berz bilind/berz lwəṛ, ǰəg pilla barz, bılınd borz, bwrz burz, bələnd belen, belend bülünd beleŋ beland boland / bârz buland, borz bârež bərəzaṇt̰ bærzond
ten des deh/de deh ləs da da dah da, datâ da thiste dah dah datha dasa dæs
three hirê/hiri drē so, se se, he sey su, sə se, setâ se arai se hrē çi- θri- ærtæ
village dewe gund, dêhat, dê, awayî gund kəlay döh, da di dehāt, helk, kallag, dê mällə, məhällə, kəläyə dih, male, kolâ di de qishloq deh, wis wiž dahyu- vîs-, dahyu- vîs qæw
want waştene xwastin, wîstin, twastin (Pehlewanî) xwestin ɣ(ʷ)ux̌təl begovastan, jovastan piye loath, loteten xäsən, xästən bexâsten, bexâsti xastən, vayistən hāse forteu xâstan xwâstan ūna, ainišti fændyn
water awe/awk, owe, ou aw av obə/ūbə âv, ö ov, wat(orandian dialect) âp ow, âv ow, ou ,u ou ow haç âb âb/aw aw âpi avō- don
when key key, kengî(Hewlêrî) kengê, kîngê kəla key keyna kadi, ked kén, kəy ke, kemin, geder key, çüvəxti ke çavaxt key kay ka cim- kæd
wind va ba, wa (Pehlewanî) ba siləi vo gwáth var bād huz bâd wâd wa vāta- dymgæ / wad
wolf verg gurg, gur lewə, šarmux̌ (šarmuš̥) varg varg gurk vərg verg, verk gürg gorg urge/urj gorg gurg varka- vehrka birægh
woman cıni/ceni jin, afret, zindage,gyian jin x̌əd͡za (š̥əd͡za) zeyniye, zenak jen, jiyan jan, jinik zən, zənək, zunönə zenā zən zena ghenice/ghinice, caxoi zan zan žan gǝnā, γnā, ǰaini-, sylgojmag / us
year serre sal/sał sal kāl sâl sor, sal sâl sâl sâl sal sāl sol sâl sâl θard ýāre, sarәd az
yes / no ya, heya, ê / nê, ney, ni bełê, a, erê / ne, nexêr erê, belê, a / na Hao, ao, wō / na, ya ahan / na ha / ne, na ere, hān / na əhâ/nä, nâ are, ehe / nâ, no həri, hə / nə a, ā / na ön / nai, nå baleh, ârē, hā / na, née ōhāy / ne hâ / ney yâ / nay, mâ yā / noit, mā o / næ
yesterday vızêr dwênê, dwêke duho parūn azira, zira, diru zir, zinə dîru dîruz, aruz deydi diru biyor diruz dêrûž diya(ka) zyō znon
English Zaza Sorani Kurmanji Pashto Tati Talyshi Balochi Gilaki Mazandarani Tat Luri Shugni Persian Middle Persian Parthian Old Persian Avestan Ossetian


  1. ^ In the Avesta, the airiia- are members of the ethnic group of the Avesta-reciters themselves, in contradistinction to the anairiia- (the "non-Arya"). The word also appears four times in Old Persian: One is in the Behistun Inscription, where ariya- is the name of a language (DB 4.89). The other three instances occur in Darius the Great's inscription at Naqsh-e Rostam (DNa 14–15), in Darius I's inscription at Susa (DSe 13–14), and in the inscription of Xerxes I at Persepolis (XPh 12–13). In these, the two Achaemenid dynasties describe themselves as pārsa pārsahyā puça ariya ariyaciça "a Persian, son of a Persian, an Ariya, of Ariya origin."—The phrase with ciça ("origin, descendance") assures that ariya is an ethnic name wider in meaning than pārsa and not a simple adjectival epithet.[9]
  2. ^ In modern and colloquial context, the term "Indic" refers more generally to the languages of the Indian subcontinent, thus also including non-Aryan languages like Dravidian and Munda. See e.g. Reynolds, Mike; Verma, Mahendra (2007). "Indic languages". In Britain, David (ed.). Language in the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 293–307. ISBN 978-0-521-79488-6. Retrieved 2021-10-04.


  1. ^ Johannes Bechert; Giuliano Bernini; Claude Buridant (1990). Toward a Typology of European Languages. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-012108-7.
  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.
  6. ^ a b MacKenzie, David Niel (1998). "Ērān, Ērānšahr". Encyclopedia Iranica. Vol. 8. Costa Mesa: Mazda. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b Schmitt, Rüdiger (1987), "Aryans", Encyclopedia Iranica, vol. 2, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 684–687
  8. ^ Laroche. 1957. Proto-Iranian *arya- descends from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *ar-yo-, a yo-adjective to a root *ar "to assemble skillfully", present in Greek harma "chariot", Greek aristos, (as in "aristocracy"), Latin ars "art", etc.
  9. ^ a b Bailey, Harold Walter (1987). "Arya". Encyclopedia Iranica. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 681–683. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  10. ^ (Skjærvø 2006)
  11. ^ John R. Perry (Summer–Autumn 1998). "A Review of the 'Encyclopaedia Iranica'". Iranian Studies. 31 (3/4): 517–525.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Cust, Robert Needham. 1878. A sketch of the modern languages of the East Indies. London: Trübner.
  14. ^ 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".
  15. ^ Lazard, Gilbert. 1977. Preface in: Oranskij, Iosif M. Les langues iraniennes. Traduit par Joyce Blau.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Lazard, Gilbert. 1998. Actancy. Empirical approaches to language typology. Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-015670-9, ISBN 978-3-11-015670-6
  18. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica: EASTERN IRANIAN LANGUAGES. By Nicholas Sims-Williams
  19. ^ Michael Witzel (2001): Autochthonous Aryans? The evidence from Old Indian and Iranian texts. Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 7(3): 1–115.
  20. ^ Roland G. Kent: "Old Persion: Grammar Texts Lexicon". Part I, Chapter I: The Linguistic Setting of Old Persian. American Oriental Society, 1953.
  21. ^ (Skjærvø 2006) vi(2). Documentation.
  22. ^ Nicholas Sims-Williams, Iranica, under entry: Eastern Iranian languages
  23. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot (2009). "Dialectology and Topics". The Iranian Languages. Routledge. pp. 18–21.
  24. ^ Mary Boyce. 1975. A Reader in Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian, p. 14.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Slovene Studies. Vol. 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.


Further reading