|Native to||Iran (Province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Alborz, Tehran, Semnan and Golestan)|
|Region||South coast of the Caspian Sea|
|Regulated by||None. But the Linguistic faculty of Mazandaran University officially gathers materials and resources about it.|
Areas where Mazandarani is spoken as the mother tongue
Mazandarani (مازندرانی) is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch, spoken by Mazandarani people with 2,320,000 native speakers in 2019. 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. Mazandarani is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies. The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages) share certain typological features with Caucasian languages (specifically South Caucasian languages), reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Caucasian peoples of Mazandaranis and Gilak people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mazanderani is an inflected and genderless language. It is SOV, but in some tenses it may be SVO, depending on dialects however.
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 tā 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.
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 tā. Frequently used postpositions are:
|re||of / to|
|je||from / by|
|həmrā / jā||with|
|səri||on / above|
|bəne||under / below|
|pəli||near / about|
|derū||among / inside|
The list below is a sample list obtained from the Online Mazanderani-Persian dictionary.
/a/ may also range to a more back [ʌ].
/w/ appears as an allophone of /v/ in word-final position. /ɾ/ may appear as a voiceless trill in word-final position [r̥]. An occasional glottal stop /ʔ/ or voiceless uvular fricative /ʁ/ or voiced plosive /ɢ/ may also be heard, depending on the dialect.
Mazanderani is commonly written in the Perso-Arabic script. However, some use the Roman alphabet, for example in SMS messages.
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.
|Great||Gat||Bozorg, Gonde, Got||Adjective|
|Being||Bien||Budan||bhū-||*bʰuH-||Infinitive of Verb|
|My||Me/Mi (before the noun)||am (after the noun), om||máma||*méne||Verb|
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]
In Iran, there are some popular companies and products, like Rika (son) or Kija (daughter), which take their name from Mazanderani words.
There are some Mazanderani loanwords in the Turkmen language.
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.
(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
|At break of dawn blows the cool breeze.
Bearing the healing odor of the beloved.
|basutέ sinέye miónnε hấreš!
tévεsse – nấzεnin! – baímε nâxεš
|Behold,a heart's core ravaged by the flame!
For you – O worthy of love! – I am sick with longing.
Dεl-e armun “Heart’s Aspiration”
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.
In dates given below, A.P. denotes the Iranian calendar, the solar calendar (365 days per year) which is official in Iran and Afghanistan.