Mazandarani
Mazandarani مازندرانی
Native toIran (Province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Alborz, Tehran, Semnan and Golestan)
RegionSouth coast of the Caspian Sea
Dialects
  • Mazandarani (Main)
  • Mazandarani (Royan)
  • Shahmirzadi
  • Mazandarani-Gilaki
  • Gorgani†
Persian alphabet
Official status
Regulated byNone. But the Linguistic faculty of Mazandaran University officially gathers materials and resources about it.
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mzn – Mazandarani
srz – Shahmirzadi
Glottologmaza1305  Mazanderani–Shahmirzadi
maza1291  Mazanderani
shah1253  Shahmirzadi
ELPShahmirzadi
Areas where Mazandarani is spoken as the mother tongue
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Mazandarani (مازندرانی) is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch, spoken by Mazandarani people with 2,320,000 native speakers in 2019.[2] As a member of the Northwestern branch (the northern branch of Western Iranian), etymologically speaking it is rather closely related to Gilaki, and also related to Persian, which belongs to the Southwestern branch. Though the Persian language has influenced Mazandarani to a great extent, Mazandarani language still remains as an independent language with a northwestern Iranian origin.[3][4] Mazandarani is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies.[5] The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages)[6] share certain typological features with Caucasian languages (specifically South Caucasian languages),[6][7][8] reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Caucasian peoples of Mazandaranis and Gilak people.[9][10]

Etymology

The name Mazanderani (and variants of it) derives from the name of the historical region of Mazandaran (Mazerun in Mazanderani), which was part of former Kingdom of Tapuria. People traditionally call their language Gilaki, as the Gilaks themselves do.[11]


History

Among the living Iranian languages, Mazanderani has one of the longest written traditions, from the tenth to the fifteenth century. This status was achieved during the long reign of the independent and semi-independent rulers of Mazandaran in the centuries after the Arab invasion.[12]

The rich literature of this language includes books such as Marzban Nameh (later translated into Persian) and the poetry of Amir Pazevari. The use of Mazanderani, however, has been in decline. Its literary and administrative prominence began to diminish in favor of Persian by the time of the integration of Mazandaran into the national administration in the early seventeenth century.[13]

Classification

The Mazanderani language is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies. In 1993, according to Ethnologue, there were more than three million native speakers of Mazanderani.[14]

The dialects of Mazanderani are Saravi, Amoli, Baboli, Ghaemshahri, Chaloosi, Nuri, Shahsavari, Ghasrani, Shahmirzadi, Damavandi, Firoozkoohi, Astarabadi and Katouli.

Furthermore, an extinct variety, Gorgani, was documented back to the 14th and 15th centuries, from writings of the Horufi movement.[15]

Grammar

Mazanderani is an inflected and genderless language.[16] It is SOV, but in some tenses it may be SVO, depending on dialects however.[17][18]

Typology

Morphology

Like other modern Iranian languages there is no distinction between the dative and accusative cases, and the nominative in the sentence takes almost no indicators but with word order (depending on dialects it may end in a/o/e). Since Mazanderani lacks articles, there is no inflection for nouns in the sentence (no modifications for nouns). For definition, nouns are added with e at end (me dətere meaning The daughter of mine while me dəter means my daughter). The indefinite article for single nouns is a-tā with for determination of number (a-tā kijā meaning a girl). There are some remnants from old Mazanderani that female nouns in nominative were ending with a and male nouns in nominative were ending with e (as in jənā meaning the woman and mərdē meaning the man) grammatical gender still exists in other present-day close languages such as Semnani, Sangesari and Zazaki.

Notable postpositions

Adpositions in Mazanderani are after words, while most of other languages including English and Persian have preposition systems in general. the only common postpositions that sometimes becoming preposition are Še and . Frequently used postpositions are:

postposition meaning
dəle in
re of / to
je from / by
vəse for
to
həmrā / jā with
səri on / above
bəne under / below
pəli near / about
vāri/ tarā like
derū among / inside

Suffixes

The list below is a sample list obtained from the Online Mazanderani-Persian dictionary.

Phonology

Vowels

Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a ɑ

/a/ may also range to a more back [ʌ].

Consonants

Bilabial Labio-
dental
Dental Alveolar Palato-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stop voiceless p t k q (ʔ)
voiced b d ɡ (ɢ)
Affricate voiceless t͡ʃ
voiced d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x h
voiced v z ʒ (ʁ)
Nasal m n
Approximant (w) l j
Tap/Flap ɾ

/w/ appears as an allophone of /v/ in word-final position. /ɾ/ may appear as a voiceless trill in word-final position []. An occasional glottal stop /ʔ/ or voiceless uvular fricative /ʁ/ or voiced plosive /ɢ/ may also be heard, depending on the dialect.[19][20]

Orthography

Mazanderani is commonly written in the Perso-Arabic script.[21] However, some use the Roman alphabet, for example in SMS messages.[citation needed]

Vocabulary

Spoken in a territory sheltered by the high Alborz mountains, Mazanderani preserves many ancient Indo-European words no longer in common use in modern Iranian languages such as Persian. Listed below are a few common Mazanderani words of archaic, Indo-European provenance with Vedic cognates.

English Mazanderani Persian Vedic Proto-Indo-European Example of
New Neo No/Now návas *néwos Adjective
Great Gat Bozorg, Gonde, Got Adjective
Better Better Behtar Adverb
Been Bine Budeh Auxiliary Verb
Being Bien Budan bhū- *bʰuH- Infinitive of Verb
Moon Moong/Mong Mâh mā́s *mḗh₁n̥s Noun
Daughter Deter Dokhtar dúhitā *dʰugh₂tḗr Noun
Cow Go/Gu/Guw Gâv gáuṣ *gʷṓws Noun
My Me/Mi (before the noun) am (after the noun), om máma *méne Verb
Gab Gab Gap Verb
Right Rast Râst Adjective

Mazandarani is rich in synonyms,some such nouns also retaining the gender they possessed in Indo-European times : for instance the words Miš, Gal, Gerz all have the meaning of mouse, although they are not all of the same gender. While many Indo-Iranian languages use a masculine noun taking such related forms as Muš or Muska or Mušk, in Mazandarani the most commonly used name for the mouse is the feminine noun Gal.[vague]

Influences exerted by Mazanderani

Modern-day of Iran

In Iran, there are some popular companies and products, like Rika (son) or Kija (daughter), which take their name from Mazanderani words.[22]

In non-Iranian languages

There are some Mazanderani loanwords in the Turkmen language.[23]

Specimen

áme kεrkā šúnnε nεfār-sar. nεfār-sar xεsέnnε. badími nεfār-sar-e čεl-o-ču hamε bapíssεnε. bāútεmε, “vačε jān! injε, kεlum-e pali, mé-vesse έttā kεrk-kεli dεrεs hā́kεn!” vε εm nεmāšun ke pe dar-biārdε, hamun šō badímε bεmúnε sεre piεr o vačε. ande-tumi piεr o vačε bεmúnε sεre, nεmāz kέrdεnε, qεzā xέrdεnε; ba:d εz nεmāz šínε ún-var, sāāt-e čār harkεt kέrdεnε.

Our chickens go onto the nefār and sleep on it. [Once] we noted that the wood of the nefār was all rotten. I told [my son], “Dear child! Here, next to the stable, make me a chicken coop.” In the evening that [my son] was setting the foundation, the father [-in-law] and [his] son came home. As soon as the father and son came home, they would say their prayers, eat something, and then, after the prayers, they would go over there (to the next room); then at four o’clock they would set off.

(from Maryam Borjian and Habib Borjian, “Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran [: Mysterious Memories of a Woman],” Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007, pp. 226–254.)

ozεrε-vâ énε dámbe sεvâí

iấnnε búye dεlbárrε dεvấi
qam o qossέye dεl vónε kεnârí
me jấne gεl dénε búye xεdâí

At break of dawn blows the cool breeze.

Bearing the healing odor of the beloved.
Heart's sorrow will depart.
My dear flower has the sweet savour of God.

basutέ sinέye miónnε hấreš!

tévεsse – nấzεnin! – baímε nâxεš
tε armúne dέl i, εy nâzεnin yâr!
tévεsse mέsle bεlbεl zámbε nâlεš

Behold,a heart's core ravaged by the flame!

For you – O worthy of love! – I am sick with longing.
You are the heart's aspiration, O beloved!
For you, like the nightingale, I moan.

 

Dεl-e armun “Heart’s Aspiration”
Rezaqoli Mohammadi Kordekheyli
Transcribed and translated by: Habib Borjian

mosalmunun! mέrε šabgir varέnnε
āx, mέrε bā kamεr-e haftir varέnnε
mέrε bavέrdεnε Tεrkεmun-e dam
Tεrkεmun kāfεr o gεlilε be-ra:m
Muslims! They are carrying me off at the crack of dawn.
O, they are taking me away with a pistol on the[ir] waist.
They bear me where the Turkmen [tribes] dwell.
Turkmen [are] unbelievers and the bullet [is] ruthless.
gεtε,
ašun xō badimā mεn še Ali-rε
sio dasmāl davέsso še gali-rε
age xā́nnε bā́urεn ámi badi-rε
bázεne xεrusεk šέme gali-rε
volvol sar-e dār gέnε εy zāri-zāri
me gol dāš báio sarbāz-e Sāri
He would say,
Last night I dreamed of my Ali.
He [had] wrapped a black kerchief [round] his throat.
If it chance they wish us harm,
May croup-cough seize your throat!
The nightingale on the tree constantly bemoans (?)
My dear brother drafted in Sāri.

Quatrains sung by Sabura Azizi, transcribed and translated by Habib Borjian; Ref. Habib Borjian and Maryam Borjian, “Mysterious Memories of a Woman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran,” Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007.

References

In dates given below, A.P. denotes the Iranian calendar, the solar calendar (365 days per year) which is official in Iran and Afghanistan.

  1. ^ https://www.ethnologue.com/language-of-the-day/2020-02-28
  2. ^ https://www.ethnologue.com/language-of-the-day/2020-02-28
  3. ^ Coon, "Iran:Demography and Ethnography" in Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume IV, E.J. Brill, pp. 10,8. Excerpt: "The Lurs speak an aberrant form of Archaic Persian" See maps also on page 10 for distribution of Persian languages and dialect
  4. ^ Kathryn M. Coughlin, "Muslim cultures today: a reference guide," Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 89: "...Iranians speak Persian or a Persian dialect such as Gilaki or Mazandarani"
  5. ^ Dalb, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. Columbia University Press. pp. 226. ISBN 978-0-231-11568-1.
  6. ^ a b Nasidze, Ivan; Quinque, Dominique; Rahmani, Manijeh; Alemohamad, Seyed Ali; Stoneking, Mark (2006). "Concomitant Replacement of Language and mtDNA in South Caspian Populations of Iran". Current Biology. 16 (7): 668–673. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.02.021. PMID 16581511.
  7. ^ Academic American Encyclopedia By Grolier Incorporated, page 294
  8. ^ The Tati language group in the sociolinguistic context of Northwestern Iran and Transcaucasia By D.Stilo, pages 137–185
  9. ^ "Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence with Persian". CiteSeerX 10.1.1.501.9468. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "Māzandarān: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 295. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  11. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "Māzandarān: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 289–291. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  12. ^ Windfuhr, G. L. 1989. New Iranian languages: Overview. In Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 246–249.
  13. ^ Borjian, Maryam. 2005. Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence With Persian Archived September 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Language, Communities and Education. Languages, Communities & Education: A Volume of Graduate Student Research. New York: Society for International Education Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, Teachers College, Columbia University. pp. 65–73.
  14. ^ "Mazandarani". ethnologue.com.
  15. ^ ((glottolog|gurg1241|Gurgani
  16. ^ Fakhr-Rohani, Muhammad-Reza. 2004. She means only her 'husband': politeness strategies amongst Mazanderani-speaking rural women. (Conference abstract) CLPG Conference, University of Helsinki, Finland, PDF
  17. ^ Johanson, Lars. Turkic-Iranian Contact Areas Historical and Linguistic Aspects. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.
  18. ^ Csató, Éva Ágnes, Bo Isaksson, and Carina Jahani. Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion: Case Studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.
  19. ^ Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. Sārī Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.
  20. ^ Shokri; Jahani; Barani, Guiti, Carina, Hossein (2013). When Tradition Meets Modernity: Five Life Stories from the Galesh Community in Ziarat, Golestan, Iran. Uppsala Universitet.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "language-keyboard.com - language-keyboard Resources and Information". www.language-keyboard.com.
  22. ^ بهشهر, شهرداری. "شهرداری بهشهر". www.behshahr.ir.
  23. ^ Nasri-Ashrafi, Jahangir-e (ed.). Farhang-e vāžegān-e Tabarī [A Dictionary of Tabari]. v. 5, p. 5, Tehran: Eḥyā’-ketāb”: 2002/1381 A.P. A comparative glossary containing lexical units from almost all major urban and rural centers of the region of the three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan. Reviewed in Iran and the Caucasus, 2006, 10(2). Volume 4 contains a Persian-Mazanderani index of approximately 190 pp. Volume 5 includes a grammar of the Mazanderani language.

Further reading