Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
& CULTURAL NEWS OF THE IRANIAN WORLD
Dialects are Fading Away
08 January 2007
(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
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.
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
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.
From/Source: Iran Daily
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