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Pahlavi Language Still In Usage in Central Iran


Thursday, 10 February 2005


Some words of the Pahlavi language are still used by the people of Abyaneh, which is near Kashan in the central Iranian province of Isfahan.

Cultural anthropologist Abbas Torabzadeh said on Saturday that the dialect of Abyaneh has changed over the centuries, but the local people still use some ancient words from the Pahlavi Ashkani (Parthian) language here and there.

The Pahlavi Ashkani language, a branch of Middle Persian which was spoken in the Parthian era, has almost been forgotten but a few words of the original language are still heard in Abynaeh.

The director of the Anthropology Research Center of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) is convinced that since language is a dynamic and active phenomenon, one can not easily say an old language is dead and a new one has replaced it.

"Language keeps changing. New words are constantly being coined and replaced, and some old words begin to be forgotten," Mohammad Mirshokra'i observed.

The people of Abyaneh have retained some words of the Pahlavi Ashkani language, but one can not say they are speaking the language in its original form, he added.

There is also a language called Taati spoken by the people of Jolfa in western Iran, Mirshokra'i noted.

Taati is a language that developed from Middle Persian almost independently of modern Persian. It has retained many of the characteristics of the Sassanid era Pahlavi language. Taati can be understood by Persian speakers with a little practice.

There is a great danger that that the Pahlavi Ashkani words used by Abyaneh residents will be replaced by modern Persian expressions, since the town is gradually becoming a major tourist magnet.



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