Mazandarani
مازِرونی‎ (Mazeruni)[1]
تَبَری (Tabari)[1]
Mazanderani (Mazeruni) written in Nastaliq script. (مازِرونی)
Native toIran (Province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Alborz, Tehran, Qazvin,[2][3][4] Semnan and Golestan)
RegionSouth coast of the Caspian Sea
Ethnicity4.6 million Mazanderani people (2021)[5]
Native speakers
2.4 million (2021)[5]
Dialects
  • Gorgani-Mazandarani (East)
  • Katuli-Mazandarani (East)
  • Tabari-Mazandarani (Center)
  • Kojuri-Mazandarani (West)
  • Kelarestaqi-Mazandarani (West)
  • Gilaki-Mazandarani (West)
  • Galeshi-Mazandarani (South)
  • Taleqani-Mazandarani (South)
  • Shahmirzadi (South)
  • Ilikaei (South)
  • Qasrani (South)
Persian alphabet
Official status
Regulated byNone. However, the Linguistic faculty of Mazandaran University officially gathers materials and resources about the language.[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mzn – Mazandarani
srz – Shahmirzadi
Glottologmaza1305  Mazanderani–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 (Mazanderani: مازِرونی, Mazeruni; also spelled Mazani (مازنی) or Tabari (تبری))[1] is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch spoken by the Mazandarani people. As of 2021, there were 2.38 million native speakers.[5] 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 still survives as an independent language with a northwestern Iranian origin.[6][7]

Mazandarani is closely related to Gilaki, and the two languages have similar vocabularies.[8] The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages)[9] share certain typological features with Caucasian languages (specifically the non-Indo-European South Caucasian languages),[9][10][11] reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Caucasian peoples of Mazandaranis and Gilak people.[12][13]: 295 

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 Tabari, as the Tabari themselves do.[13]: 289–291 

The name Tapuri / Tabari (which was the name of an ancient language spoken somewhere in former Tapuria) is now used in preference to the name Mazandarani by the young.

However, both Gilan and Mazanderan formed part of the state known as Tapuria.

The earliest references to the language of Mazandaran, called Tabari, are to be found in the works of the early Muslim geographers. Al-Muqaddasī (or Moqaisi, 10th century), for example, notes: "The languages of Komish and Gurgan are similar, they use , as in hā-dih and hāk-un, and they are sweet [to the ear], related to them is the language of Tabaristan, [similar] save for its speediness."[13]: 291 

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.[14]

The rich literature of this language includes books such as Marzban Nameh (later translated into Persian) and the poetry of Amir Pazevari. Use of Mazanderani, however, has been in decline for some time. Its literary and administrative prominence had begun to diminish in favor of Persian by the time of the integration of Mazandaran into the national administration in the early seventeenth century.[15]

Classification

The Mazanderani language is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies. In 1993, according to Ethnologue, there were three million native Mazanderani speakers.[16]

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

The native people of Sari, Shahi, Babol, Amol, Nowshahr, Chalus, and Tonekabon are Mazanderani people and speak the Mazanderani language.[17][18]

Mazandaranis in Iran
Mazandaranis in Iran
Map depicting areas where the various dialects of Mazandarani are spoken

Grammar

Linguistic Map of Mazandaran Province

Mazanderani is an inflected and genderless language.[19] It is SOV, but in some tenses it may be SVO, depending on the particular dialect involved.[20][21]

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 may be inferred from word order (depending on dialect 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 take the suffix e (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 exist some remnants of old Mazanderani indicating that, in the nominative case, female nouns used to end in a, while male nouns ended in e (as in jənā meaning the woman and mərdē meaning the man). Grammatical gender is still present in certain modern languages closely related to Mazandarani such as Semnani, Sangesari and Zazaki.

Usage

Function cases

Case Position Meaning
Sere -(a/o/e) Nominative The Home
Sere re Accusative (Action) the Home
Sere -(o/e) Vocative Home!
Sere şe Genitive Home's
Sere re Dative To the Home
Sere ye jä Ablative/Instrumental By the Home

Adjectives

Adjective Position Meaning
And-e Sere Applicative  
Gat e Sere Comparative Great Home
untä Sere Determinative That Home

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 become 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.

Locatives

Suffix Example Meaning
Kash Kharkash Good place
Kel Tutkel Mulberry limit[clarification needed]
Ij Yoshij Yoshian
Bun Chenarbon At the plantain[clarification needed]
Ja Səre Ja Relating to home
Sar Bənesar Underneath

Subjectives

Suffix Example Meaning
Chaf Au Chaf Water-sucker
Rush Halikrush Berry-seller
Su Vərgsu Wolf-hunter
Kaf Ukaf One who performs actions in water
Vej Galvej Mouse-finder
Yel vəngyel Bandmaster

Phonology

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Open a ɑ

/a/ may also range to near-open [æ] or a more back [ʌ]. Allophones of /e, u, o, ɑ/ are heard as [ɪ, ʊ, ɒ]. /ə/ can also be heard as [ɛ] or [ɐ].

Consonants

Labial Dental/
Alveolar
(Palato-)
alveolar
Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n
Stop/
Affricate
voiceless p t t͡ʃ k q (ʔ)
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ (ɢ)
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x h
voiced v~(w) z ʒ ʁ
Approximant 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.[22][23][24]

Orthography

Mazanderani is commonly written in the Perso-Arabic script.[25] 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, gozorg, gonde, got adjective
better better behtar adverb
been bine budeh auxiliary verb
being bien budan bhū- *bʰuH- infinitive of verb
father piar pedar noun
mother mâr mâdar noun
brother berar barâdar noun
daughter deter dokhtar dúhitā *dʰugh₂tḗr noun
grandpa gatepa pedar bozorg / pedar gozorg noun
moon moong / mong mâh mā́s *mḗh₁n̥s noun
cow go / gu / guw gâv gáuṣ *gʷṓws noun
wolf verg gorg noun
my me / mi (before the noun) am (after the noun), om máma *méne verb
gab gab gap verb
right rast râst adjective
damage damej âsib noun

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]

Another example relates to the cow, the most important animal in the symbolism of Indo-European culture: in Mazanderani there are more than 1000 recognized words used for different types of cow. The table below lists some specimens of this rich vocabulary. In Mazandaran there are even contests held to determine those with the greatest knowledge of this bovine nomenclature.

Mazanderani name Meaning Mazanderani name Meaning
ahl Bull subdued[clarification needed] nū dūş Young plough bull used for the first time
āhy Black-eyed cow paei varzā Single bull used for ploughing
alaşt Miner's tool, ending in two wooden arcs parū Cattle for ploughing
baKhte bāri Bullock and traces raji A cow that is ready to mate
bāreng Reddish-brown cow raş go Crimson cow with black spots
batkoniye Castrated male bovine cattle to eliminate it from washing down[clarification needed] raş jūnkā Young bull with red and black streaks
būr gele Yellow / red cow raş kamer Brown-and-white cow
būr şāx Sharp, red points of a cow's horns sārū Bull with a white forehead
būrek Light yellow bull sārū Bull with a white forehead
būreng Blonde cow şelāb beze gozūr The new wide calf rain caused a sharp volley crumbled[clarification needed]
būrmango Fawn cow selnāz Cow streaked with white from nose to tail
das kare Place where bull fights held sembe band Ox bearing a wooden yoke
de jet Rust-coloured cow killed by two bulls serxe sel Red cow with a white stripe from neck to tail
demes mār Cow with a two-year-old calf setāre Black-and-white-spotted cow
demis mār Two-year-old bull calf seyā bare Black cow with a white forehead.
dūşt hākerden Provoke a bull to attack seyā kachal Black cow with black spots on the tail end of the frontal[clarification needed]
elā elā şāğ Cow with horns growing in opposite directions seyā sel Black cow with a white line running along its spine to its tail
elā kal Cow with large open horns seyel White-bellied cow
elā şiro Cow with spreading horns şir vej Gelded calf or bull
elāşāx A bull that has large open horns şirū A cow with a white head and tail
emūj Ox that once trained for ploughing şūkā Pale yellow cow
eşte Pair of cows for work tā şū Miner's cow, only to be closed[clarification needed]
ezāli Cow that is bred to plough tağr in Pair of four-year-old cows inseminated naturally
fal Cow ready for mating tal go A cow that is ready for ploughing
fares Ox that has not been taught to portage tāle mār Cow with bells hung around his neck
ğalfer Bovine of a yellowish colour tarise Cow whose first calf is female and has reached two years of age
jandek Bull bison that used for mating tersekā Two-and-a-half-year-old cow that is ready to mate
jānekā Strong, young bull left ungelded for the purposes of breeding or combat teş kūle A young bull
jinekā Young bull teşk Young bull that is not yet ready for ploughing
jonde kā sare Place where young bulls and breeding cattle are raised teşkel Small bull
jone kā kole Bullock less than two years old that has done no work titāppeli mango Black and white cow
jūndekā Bullock more than two years old that has done no work tolom Young cow - heifer
jūnekkā Young bulls tūz kel bull
jūnekkā jang Quarrel between young bulls varzā Bullock
Khāmod Ox plough xāl dār Bovine with bicoloured coat
lāch kal Cow with open horns xes xesi go A cow that lies down on the ground while working
lachchi Open cow horns that grow in opposite directions xetūr Alarmed cow
lase sar gū Cow that goes to everyone xik chaf A cow that refuses to give milk to calves or its owner
lūş beni Bridegroom's gift cow zām borde Cow missed after giving birth
māgū A cow zanā gū Cow fighting with its horns
mango Relating to lactating cows zar xāl Black cow with yellow spots
mārşan Young cow zargele Yellow cow
mārū Cow with a white forehead zemessūni kar Cow that leans due to food shortages in the winter
merem Lovely young cow zingāl Black cow with white legs

Influences exerted by Mazanderani

Modern-day of Iran

In Iran, there are some popular companies and products, like Rika (boy) or Kija (girl), which take their name from Mazanderani words.[26]

In non-Iranian languages

There are some Mazanderani loanwords in the Turkmen language.[27]

Examples

The following verses are in an eastern Mazandarani dialect spoken in the Caspian littoral in northern Iran. They were transcribed and translated by Maryam Borjian and Habib Borjian.[28]

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. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference e25 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "Considerations about the dialect of Alamut district from the northern dialects of Iran". پرتال جامع علوم انسانی.
  3. ^ Jaafari Dehaghi, Mahmoud; Khalilipour, Nazanin; Jaafari Dehaghi, Shima. Iranian Languages and Dialects Past and Present. Tehran. p. 261.
  4. ^ Borjian, Habib (16 July 2018). "کاهش توجه به زبان مازندرانی در قرن بیستم" [Decreased attention to Mazandarani language in the 20th century] (in Persian). Islamic Republic News Agency. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Mazandarani at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
    Shahmirzadi at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ 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"
  8. ^ Dalb, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. Columbia University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-231-11568-1.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Academic American Encyclopedia By Grolier Incorporated, page 294
  11. ^ Stilo, Donald L. (1981). "The Tati Language Group in the Sociolinguistic Context of Northwestern Iran and Transcaucasia". Iranian Studies. 14 (3/4): 137–185. doi:10.1080/00210868108701585. JSTOR 4310364.
  12. ^ "Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence with Persian". CiteSeerX 10.1.1.501.9468.
  13. ^ a b c Borjian, Habib (2004). "Māzandarān: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 289–328. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  14. ^ Windfuhr, G. L. 1989. New Iranian languages: Overview. In Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 246–249.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Mazanderani language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Spoken L1 Language: Mazanderani". Glottolog 4.6.
  18. ^ Windfuhr, G. L. (1989). "New Iranian languages: Overview". In Rüdiger Schmitt (ed.). Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. p. 490.
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ Johanson, Lars. Turkic-Iranian Contact Areas Historical and Linguistic Aspects. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.
  21. ^ Csató, Éva Ágnes, Bo Isaksson, and Carina Jahani. Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion: Case Studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.
  22. ^ Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. Sārī Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.
  23. ^ Shokri, Guiti; Jahani, Carina; Barani, Hossein (2013). When Tradition Meets Modernity: Five Life Stories from the Galesh Community in Ziarat, Golestan, Iran. Uppsala Universitet.
  24. ^ Borjian, Habib (2019). The Mazandarani Dialect of Kalijān Rostāq. Iranian Studies.
  25. ^ "language-keyboard.com - language-keyboard Resources and Information". www.language-keyboard.com.
  26. ^ بهشهر, شهرداری. "شهرداری بهشهر". www.behshahr.ir.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Borjian, Habib; Borjian, Maryam (2007). "Mysterious Memories of a Woman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran". Iran and the Caucasus. 11 (2): 226–254. doi:10.1163/157338407X265469.

Further reading