Mazanderani language

Mazandarani (مازندرانی), or Tabari (طبری),[1] is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch spoken by the Mazandarani people. As of 2019, there were 2 million native speakers.[1] 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.[5][6]

Mazandarani
مازرونی‎ (Mazuroni)[1]
طبری(Tabari)[1]
Mazanderani in Nastaliq.png
Mazanderani (Mazuroni) written in Nastaliq script. (مازرونی)
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
EthnicityMazanderani people
Native speakers
2 million (2019)[1]
Dialects
  • Mazandarani (Main)
  • Mazandarani (Royan)
  • Shahmirzadi
  • Mazandarani-Gilaki
Persian alphabet
Official status
Regulated byNone. But the Linguistic faculty of Mazandaran University officially gathers materials and resources about it.
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mzn – Mazandarani
srz – Shahmirzadi
Glottologmaza1305  Mazanderani–Shahmirzadi
maza1291  Mazanderani
shah1253  Shahmirzadi
ELPShahmirzadi
Mazandarani Language Map.PNG
Areas where Mazandarani is spoken as the mother tongue
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Mazandarani is closely related to Gilaki, and the two languages have similar vocabularies.[7] The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages)[8] share certain typological features with Caucasian languages (specifically the non-Indo-European South Caucasian languages),[8][9][10] reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Caucasian peoples of Mazandaranis and Gilak people.[11][12]

EtymologyEdit

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]

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."[14]

HistoryEdit

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.[15]

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.[16]

ClassificationEdit

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.[17]

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.[18][19]

 
Map depicting areas where the various dialects of Mazandarani are spoken

GrammarEdit

 
Linguistic Map of Mazandaran Province

Mazanderani is an inflected and genderless language.[20] It is SOV, but in some tenses it may be SVO, depending on the particular dialect involved.[21][22]

TypologyEdit

MorphologyEdit

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.

UsageEdit

Function casesEdit

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

AdjectivesEdit

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

Notable postpositionsEdit

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 becoming 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

SuffixesEdit

The list below is a sample list obtained from the Online Mazanderani-Persian dictionary.