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Script, History's First Phonological Alphabet
first phonological alphabet was invented during Sasanid dynasty (226 to
Pointing out the issue, Professor Saeed Oryan, an expert of Iranian
ancient languages and director of Languages and Dialect Research Centre of
Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization says, "Iranians
invented the Avestan alphabet during Sasanid era which is a unique and
unprecedented example of its kind throughout history. If Avestan script
were the only alphabet system which had ever been invented in the history
of Iran, then again Iranian languages could have claimed that it has a
rich history in terms of language and scripts."
Noting various factors which have made the script so prominent, he
mentions the exclusive tailor-made invention of such script for Avestan
language as the most outstanding feature of this alphabetic system.
However, among all existing languages today, including both dead and
living languages, one can not find another language whose script is
This particular feature has made Avestan script also known as Din-Dabira
(The Script of Religion, i.e. Zarathushtrian) capable of representing all
phonemes existing in Avestan language, which is another important
characteristic of the language. As a matter of fact this characteristic is
just found in Avestan, beside phonological alphabets, which do not belong
to any particular language.
"Using Avestan language one can even write the chirrups of
birds," this is a famous saying which Oryan describes as an
exaggeration but indicates, "How accurate is the Avestan script. This
script is so accurate that you can use it as a phonological alphabet for
various existing languages even today."
has 14 vowels and so does Avestan script.
This alphabetic system, which is the sacred script for Avestan language,
the religious language of Zoroastrians,
is used in critical and important contexts, two or three times throughout
its long history, of which writing Pâzand, the Pahlavi
(middle Persian language) interpretation of Avesta, the Zoroastrians
holy book, is considered as one of the most important ones.
Oryan explains, "Pâzand, is neither Pahlavi nor Avestan, it is a
phonological rewriting of a Pahlavi text with Avestan alphabets, the first
ever usage of a phonological system for writing something in the history,
which is a rather prominent and unique event."