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Iranian Dialects are Fading Away


08 January 2007




LONDON, (CAIS) -- A large number of Iranian dialects are under threat of extinction, warned director of Linguistics Department of Research Centre for Languages and Dialects affiliated to Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Talking to Persian service of CHN, Yadollah Parmun explained that a dialect becomes extinct when there is a drastic decline in the speaking population or when those able to communicate in the dialect are no longer willing to use it.

Citing new indices formulated by UNESCO to gauge the extinction of a dialect, the expert elaborated that the United Nations cultural agency has listed nine criteria including the existence of a script for the dialect, the number of speakers as well as the impact of mass media.

“Even by considering the first two yardsticks, it can be said that the majority of native Iranian dialects are being lost,“ Parmun regretted.

The official stated that a guideline is being drawn up for preserving the Iranian dialects. “The guideline, being drafted by the department, will be prepared within two weeks after which it will be put forward to head of the centre for a final decision,“ the expert elaborated.

On how the guideline can help protect dialects, the official explained that provincial departments, once notified, will have to identify the endangered dialects and document them according to priorities.

Asked about inscription of ’Maraghi’ dialect on UNESCO’s list of World Intangible Heritage, he said, “At present, we are reviewing the file. We have not been able to present the proposal due to a change in the management of both the centre and ICHHTO. Furthermore, we are awaiting UN cultural agency’s new regulations for registration.“

Maraghi dialect, about which little research has been carried out, is spoken in 15 villages throughout Alamut district of Qazvin. Since the number of its speakers does not go beyond one thousand, linguists consider it as an endangered dialect. It meanwhile enjoys features that make it remnant of Middle-Persian language.

Two reasons have been given for the dialect’s survival so far: one is the location of villages in remote areas in some sort of natural dead-end; and the other is the traditional culture and conduct specific to their residents.


Extracted From/Source: Iran Daily

Please note the above-news is NOT a "copy & paste" version from the mentioned-source. The news/article above has been modified with the following interventions by CAIS: Spelling corrections; -Rectification and correction of the historical facts and data; - Providing additional historical information within the text; -Removing any unnecessary, irrelevant & repetitive information.

     All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the published news provided by CAIS is coherent, transparent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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