BOIR AḤMADĪ, the largest of the six tribal groups of Kūhgīlūya (q.v.). The name, spelled bwyr, is variously vocalized as Boir, Boyer (e.g., Razmārā, Farhang VI, p. 62), Būyer (e.g., Lamʿa), Boveyr (e.g., Dehḵodā, s.v.), and other forms.
The Boir Aḥmadī inhabit the mountainous territory stretching from east of Behbahān and north of Dogonbadān to the Kūh-e Denā range in the northeast, an area of some 2,500 sq miles and nearly half of the present province Kūhgīlūya wa Boir Aḥmad. Their population appears to have increased more than tenfold over the past century. In the 1890s, the number of their households was estimated at nearly 2,000 (Fasāʾī, II, p. 271), in 1910 at 4,750 (Ranking, pp. 3, 32), and in 1944 at about 10,000 (Garrod, p. 38); for 1966, computation of the Boir Aḥmadī component in probably deficient provincial census figures indicates 14,551 households (Iranian Statistical Center), and for 1980, 23,503 households, comprising 127,097 individuals. The natural increase over these fourteen years was at an average annual rate of 3.85 percent. The sex ratio in 1980 was 100 females to 106 males (Ostāndārī, p. 4).
Tribal and political divisions. The Boir Aḥmadī constitute a tribal confederation (usually referred to as īl) composed of some seventy different tribes (usually referred to as ṭāyefa). These occupy, in partially overlapping manner, three political entities: Boir-Aḥmad-e Garmsīr, Boir Aḥmad-e Sardsīr-e ʿOlyā, and Boir Aḥmad-e Sardsīr-e Soflā, each of which constituted the domain of a paramount chief (khan) derived from the dynastic Boir Aḥmadī lineage. The most important of the tribes in terms of size and past political roles are: the Tām(o)rādī, the Qāyed Gīvī; the Āqāʾī tribes, including the Narmābī, Zengevāʾī, and Bābāḵānī; the tribes called Daštemawrī, including the Awlād-e Mīrzā ʿAlī, Šayḵ, and Ṭās-Aḥmadī; and about fifteen different tribes of sayyed descent, including the Sādāt-e Emāmzāda ʿAlī, Sādāt-e Maḥmūdī, and Sādāt-e Reżā Tawfīq. Also important are the Jalīlī, Negīntājī, and Sīsaḵtī. In addition, there are about forty smaller tribes, two thirds of which are named after the locality of their residence, like Čītābī, the tribe living in the village of Čītāb. (For tribal divisions, locations, and population statistics see Institute of Social Studies).
Structurally, these tribes, especially the larger ones among them, are divided into a varying number of sections (tīra, taš) which commonly take the form of lineages, but are not considered of uniform origin. Typically, certain sections in each tribe are identified as its original stock, while the others are seen as later accretions of different origins. Thus, the tribes represent integrated composites of lineages around a lineage or clan core, but they do not form common descent groups in spite of the fact that the eponymous designations of most large tribes suggest such a claim.
This division of the tribe into sections is overlaid by a division into political units. In the course of the political evolution, all large tribes—most of which were initially under the sway of a single, powerful chief—became divided into political segments or factions, each under the control of a dominant member of the tribe’s chiefly lineage (which usually, but not always, was one of the original or core lineages of the tribe). These factions tended to cut across the tribal sections so that members of the same section could end up in different, often opposing, political camps. In addition, all chiefs—whether of whole tribes or of factions—always sought to enlarge the unit under their control. Thus, through territorial conquest or attraction of people into their domain some extended their power over small tribes or fragments of larger ones, which, however, often retained their original tribal identity. In this way, the members of one tribe could become subjects of a chief of a different tribe. The entities resulting from all these processes formed the basic political units of Boir Aḥmad, and the term ṭāyefa was applied to these units too. Thus, the ṭāyefa-ye Mollā Walī was a political unit controlled by a Qāyed Gīvī chief named Mollā Walī; among others it included the Čītābī who, while acknowledging their subordination to this political ṭāyefa, also maintained their identity as a ṭāyefa of descent groups, called Čītābī. The term ṭāyefa was also used for the various groups of ʿAmala and Māl-ḵāna. These formed agglomerations of families extracted from different tribes to serve as private army, retinue, agents, attendants, and domestics of the chiefs, especially the paramount chiefs (author’s field material).
Origins. The Boir Aḥmadī tribes form an amalgamate of the many ethnic strands that have reached the area in a history of conquests, tribal movements, immigrations, forced resettlements, refuge seeking, and hostage taking, but the details of this are not on record. In general terms, the Lur dialect of the Boir Aḥmadī, which belongs to the “Southwest Iranian” group, may suggest that one root of their stock extends back to the early Persians in Fārs, possibly even to pre-Aryan elements absorbed by these. Another, probably more substantive, root may reach to the Jākī, one of the Iranian tribes which, allegedly coming from Syria, arrived in (possibly returned to) Luristan at the beginning of the 7th/13th century (Minorsky, p. 42). The term Jākī recurs in later history (ibid., p. 45) and since at least the 13th/19th century denotes that division of Kūhgīlūya tribes which includes the Boir Aḥmadī (Fasāʾī, II, p. 270). Finally, the Boir Aḥmadī may have absorbed Turkic elements when during Safavid times a reportedly sizeable body of Afšārs lived among the Lurs of Kūhgīlūya (Oberling, p. 165).
Oral histories (author’s field material) about the derivation of tribes and tribal sections suggest further, more specific ethnic origins. There are traditions of descent from the following groups: the Šabānkāra (q.v.), a tribe of Fārs mentioned already in Sasanian times (EI ¹ VII, p. 241); the Šūl (q.v.), a tribe that inhabited part of Luristan in the 4th/10th century, but was driven out under the Atabegs of the Great Lur at the beginning of the 7th/13th century (ibid., p. 391); groups of exiles, said to have been deported from Azerbaijan and settled locally by Shah ʿAbbās; the Aḡāč Erī (called Āqā Jarī), a Kūhgīlūya tribe composed of Lur and Turkic elements (Oberling, p. 173); the Bāvī, a Kūhgīlūya tribe of supposedly Arab descent (Fasāʾī, II, p. 270); and the Baḵtīārī.
Tribal history. The Boir Aḥmad confederation originated among barely half a dozen tribes inhabiting the valleys around Pereškaft in the innermost west-central portion of present-day Boir Aḥmad. By most accounts these tribes, in an effort to contain their internecine fights, to defend themselves against powerful neighbors, and to seek representation vis-à-vis the government, formed the alliance themselves and appointed, or at least accepted, a paramount chief. According to other traditions the federation came into being when an outsider acting as neutral mediator between the warring factions gradually gained acceptance as paramount chief. The accounts leave it unclear exactly which tribes constituted the original Boir Aḥmadī descent group and exactly which tribes were the actual founders or the original core of the federation, but it appears that at an early stage the federation included the original sections of the Qāyed Gīvī, Gūdarzī, Jalīlī, Ṭās-Aḥmadī and Tāmrādī. Subsequently it grew by association, incorporation, and subjugation of neighboring tribes, especially after the paramount chief had gained official recognition by the Zands. By the beginning of the 13th/19th century, the federation included all the major tribes we know today, or at least the core sections of these tribes. Its territories in the western and southern regions of present-day Boir Aḥmad comprised, however, only a fraction of its later expanse. The rise to power in the mid-13th/19th century of the khans of Boir Aḥmad-e Sardsīr and the corresponding decline of the khans of the Nūʾī, another Kūhgīlūya tribe of the Jākī division, precipitated major tribal movements, which led to a dramatic expansion of the Sardasīr section’s territory. Units of the Dašt-e Mawrī tribes pushed north from their traditional quarters northwest of Dogonbadān, and took over large tracts of land around Dehdašt and in the mountains of central Boir Aḥmad to the east. The Tāmrādī left their original quarters on the southeastern fringes of Boir Aḥmad, and taking possession of vast areas hitherto controlled by the Nūʾī and Berrāʾī khans, established what is now the northern sector of Boir Aḥmad territory. The Qāyed Gīvī and Āqāʾī tribes expanded from the center towards the southeast and east, wresting territories from the Mamasanī and Qašqāʾī. Finally, the Sīsaḵtī drove Qašqāʾī groups from areas south of the Kūh-e Denā and made that mountain range the northeastern border of Boir Aḥmad. By the end of the 13th/19th century the Boir-Aḥmad-e Sardsīr section had enlarged its domain to cover four times its original size. In the process, many segments of earlier tribes, like the Nūʾī and Berrāʾī, had been incorporated into their tribal and political structures (author’s field material).
Political history. According to some oral accounts the founder of the Boir Aḥmad dynasty (see Table 9), a certain Ke (Qāyed) Malek, was appointed by the original Boir Aḥmad tribes from among their midst to represent them and to unite them against their powerful neighbors. In others he figures as an outsider, most often a Baḵtīārī, who achieved his position as paramount chief through force and/or impartial leadership. In any case, by the latter part of the 12th/18th century, the young dynasty was well established and exercised their authority from a large, elaborate castle at Bāḡ Malek in central Boir Aḥmad. The great-grandson of the founder, Hādī Khan, even gained sufficient influence outside the area to become appointed by the Zands as governor (żābeṭ) of a major division of Kūhgīlūya tribes (Fasāʾī, II, p. 271). His son Moḥammad-Ṭāher Khan, however, fell foul of the new Qajar regime, and, defeated by its forces, was blinded around 1800 (Fasāʾī, II, p. 271). To obviate fraternal strife he divided his possessions among his sons into two sections, Boir Aḥmad-e Garmsīr and Boir Aḥmad-e Sardsīr (Fasāʾī, II, pp. 271-72). In the latter section, which henceforward dominated political events in the area, his son Ḵodā-Karam assumed power around 1266/1850. Taking advantage of the decline of power among the Nūʾī khans as a consequence of military defeat, internecine feuds, and weak leadership, he was able to seize or claim most of their possessions, and Boir Aḥmad tribes moved in to occupy them, absorbing and incorporating Nūʾī groups in the process (Bāvar, pp. 96, 108-09).
Between him and his son Moḥammad-Ḥosayn, however, an intense struggle over the succession issue developed. In its course, the various tribes were forced to take sides and so coagulated into two major factions. Kodā-Karam Khan came to rely on the Qāyed Gīvī and Āqāʾī, whereas Moḥammad-Ḥosayn was supported by the Tāmrādī, as his mother was of that tribe and two of their chiefs had been killed by Ḵodā-Karam Khan while they were held hostage in his castle. In the end, around 1872-73, Ḵodā-Karam Khan was defeated, and Moḥammad-Ḥosayn became khan. His father fled the area and succeeded in obtaining the support of Farhād Mīrzā, the governor of Fārs 1877-82. This led to events in the course of which Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Khan was killed. Ḵodā-Karam Khan returned to Boir Aḥmad but was readily challenged by his other two sons from the Tāmrādī wife, Walī and Hādī plus their supporters, and was killed in the ensuing fights (Bāvar, pp. 93-96, and oral tradition).
Walī Khan and Hādī Khan were confirmed by the government as īlḵānī and īlbegī of Boir Aḥmad. However, Moḥammad-Ḥosayn’s son, Karīm Khan did not relinquish his claim and made tenacious efforts to assert himself. Finally, around 1316/1898, with the help of the Qāyed Gīvī and Āqāʾī, as well as neighboring khans, he was able to defeat his two uncles and assume control. He did not last long either. In 1907 he was ambushed and shot dead by a coalition formed by the sons of Hādī Khan and Walī Khan and a number of tribal chiefs (Bāvar, pp. 97-98; Wilson, p. 42; and oral tradition). After this a fierce power struggle ensued, in which none of the pretenders could unify the tribal factions. In the end, Sardār(-e) Jang, the Baḵtīārī governor of Behbahān at the time, intervened and divided Boir Aḥmad-e Sardsīr into Upper and Lower Boir Aḥmad-e Sardsīr, the former under Karīm Khan’s sons, Ḡolām-Ḥosayn and Sartīp, the latter under Hādī Khan’s son, Šokr-Allāh (Bāvar, p. 98; Garrod, pp. 41-42; and oral tradition). Both groups joined in an uneasy coalition with the Mamasani chief Emāmqolī Khan and resisted Reżā Shah’s attempt to establish his authority in the area. In a major battle at Tang-e Tāmrādī they inflicted heavy losses, said to have exceeded 1,000 casualties, on the shah’s advancing army. In the end, however, Šokr-Allāh Khan, Emāmqolī Khan, and, somewhat later, Sartīp Khan surrendered to superior government forces, which included contingents from the neighboring Baḵtīārī and Qašqāʾī tribes, and were exiled to Tehran, where they were executed two years later (1932), accused of plotting against the shah (Bāvar, pp. 98-99; Garrod, pp. 41-42; and oral tradition). Locally, a military government was set up, which over the next decade imposed a good measure of law and order. But as soon as central authority collapsed after the abdication of Reżā Shah (1320 Š./1941), the tribal political system rebounded with amazing vigor. The sons of Šokr-Allāh Khan and Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Khan, ʿAbd-Allāh Khan and Nāṣer Khan, respectively, reestablished themselves in their hereditary sections; the administrative center and other settlements that had been built under Reżā Shah were razed to the ground; and the traditional feuding, raiding, and oppression revived almost instantaneously. Sections of the Boir Aḥmadī, under the leadership of their khans, took advantage of the upheaval of southern tribes in the 1940s and extended their raiding expeditions far beyond Boir Aḥmad boundaries. The most remembered event of this period was their participation in the raid on and plundering of the military post at Semīrum, south of Šāhreżā, in the Qašqāʾī area. In the beginning of 1963, the two khans opposed the impending land reform, being allegedly supported by wealthy landlords in Tehran (according to some accounts, even with Ayatollah Khomeini). Expecting a general national uprising against Moḥammad-Reżā Shah, they drew together a tribal army and staged a local revolt. First ʿAbd-Allāh Khan, supported by a number of kadḵodās, attacked a gendarmerie post in northern Boir Aḥmad, killing its commander and several of his men. Then, in a replay of the events of a generation earlier, the two khans ambushed an invading government force in a steep valley (Tang-e Gočestān) and decimated it severely. But when the uprising in Tehran on 5 June failed, they were deserted by most of the tribal chiefs. On 18 Ḵordād/8 June ʿAbd-Allāh Khan was murdered in his sleep by a servant at the order of a tribal chief, and a few days later Nāṣer Khan surrendered and was executed in Shiraz (oral reports). Thus, the rule of the dynasty came to an end.
In sum, over the past two hundred years political events in the area became increasingly influenced by the central government. While the Zands contented themselves in general with appointing local chiefs as their representatives, the Qajars tended to appoint Qajar governors, intensified their military backup of these governors, insisted on the collection of taxes, and played an increasingly important role in the internal power struggles. Finally, under the Pahlavis the dynasty was abolished, full-scale bureaucratic administration was established, and the area became increasingly integrated into the national framework. This trend still continues (Fasāʾī, II, pp. 271-72; Bāvar, pp. 87-99, 108-9; Garrod, pp. 41-43; author’s field notes).
Economic history. The Boir Aḥmadī of the 13th/19th and first half of the 14th/20th century subsisted on a mixed economy of farming and pastoralism. There were two principal patterns: The central tribes lived in black tents and migrated between winter quarters along the piedmont to summer quarters in the mountains to the east. The tribes of the northwest simply moved from villages in the lower valleys to pasture areas at higher elevations, where they put up branch huts (kapar) characteristic of the area. In both patterns fields were usually maintained in the warm quarter, sometimes also in the cold.
The striking feature of both economy and livelihood was, however, their exceeding dearth, simplicity, and lack of elaboration. Clothing, bedding, household goods, and tools were limited to a few elementary items and hardly satisfied basic necessities. Agriculture was scanty in extent and crude in method. In fact, a good part of the economy was simply extractive: acorns collected in the oak forests covering the area supplied the staple acorn-meal bread; hunting of the formerly abundant wild sheep and goats and gathering of wild nuts, berries, roots, and greens supplemented the diet; and the notorious caravan robbing, which greatly troubled the British (Christian, pp. 66-67; Wilson, pp. 42-43), furnished money and goods. The main reason for this rudimentary economy was neither ignorance, inertia, or poor environment, but solely the political structure. The total lack of security and the radical exploitation by the chiefs, who increasingly imposed themselves as landowners, claiming shares of the crops, left the tribesmen at the lowest level of subsistence and precluded any attempt to upgrade that level; only the lack of possessions protected against their inevitable loss (Loeffler et al., 1967; 1974; Loeffler, 1978).
This had not always been so. Archeological evidence (ubiquitous and abundant pottery material, remains of large bridges, caravanserais, extensive settlements, and widespread fruit cultivation; Gaube; Loeffler, unpubl. ms.; Whitcomb, unpubl. ms.) in conjunction with the historical sources (for a summary see Minorsky, pp. 46-47) indicate that in medieval, and probably already Sasanian times, the region provided part of the trade route connecting the Gulf with Isfahan and had a flourishing economy and culture. This prosperity ceased at the latest by the end of the Safavid period; the trading town of Dehdašt was pillaged by the tribes (Stein, p. 95; Demorgny, p. 123); the trade routes were abandoned for lack of security; the settlements and bridges fell in ruins; horticulture decayed; and economic conditions degenerated to the level described above. It was not until the middle of the 20th century, with the establishment of strong central controls, the removal of the chiefs from power, and the land reform, that the region began to recover. Agriculture expanded, herd sizes increased, roads and bridges were built, education became available, and income from wages and salaries greatly improved the living conditions (Loeffler, 1973; 1976; 1982).
Cultural history. Boir Aḥmadī culture preserves elements indicative of the many cultural currents that affected the area and its people. Some of the many shrines that dot the area at intervals of 5 to 10 km may continue pre-Islamic or other cult centers, especially shrines (Luri pīr, rather than emāmzāda) associated with some non-Islamic feature. Thus, some shrines dedicated to female saints may be the remnants of a pre-Islamic cult of female deities. Other shrines consist merely of stone walls with niches, in which candles are lit and votive offerings deposited; one such place is in fact situated inside the ruins of a structure which the remains of four corner pillars reveal to be a former fire temple (čahār-ṭāq). Another type of shrine, consisting of a terrace built around a salubrious spring and large plane trees held taboo, appears to reflect pre-Islamic concepts of the sacredness of water and trees (Gabriel, p. 79). The ancient sacredness of fire seems to survive in the ritual of lighting little lamps or candles at these places and in the customs, practiced until recently, of saying a ṣalawāt when a lamp is lit in the evening and to stand up when it is brought into the room. The concept of a dozen different types of spirits associated with realms of hunting, nature, and health must be pre-Islamic, as well. An entirely un-Islamic folk ethos permeates the rich repertoire of folk songs, especially the unusually explicit love songs (Friedl), the unique, strikingly vulgar trickster cycle, and the legends about local pre-Islamic heroes and their battles against invading Islamic armies. An ancient custom of exposing old people may be reflected in the place name ḵeref-ḵāna (house for the senile). Some of the Boir Aḥmadī rug designs are traceable to Central Asia (Friedl, personal communication). Finally, the kerchief dance (dastmāl-bāzī), performed before the revolution especially at weddings but forbidden since then, and the women’s costume consisting of skirts but no pants, a very un-Islamic fashion, appear to date from pre-Islamic periods, though their exact derivation remains unclear (author’s field material).
M. Bāvar, Kūhgīlūya o īlāt-e ān, Gačsārān, 1324 Š./1945-46.
A. J. Christian, A Report on the Tribes of Fars, Simla, 1919.
M. Demorgny, “Les réformes administratives en Perse,” RMM 22/3, 1913, pp. 83-149.
E. Friedl, “Folksongs from Boir Aḥmad, Southwest Iran,” Mardom-senāsī o farhang-e ʿāmma-ye Īrān 3, 1356 Š./1977-78.
A. Gabriel, Religionsgeographie von Persien, Vienna, 1971.
O. Garrod, “The Nomadic Tribes of Persia To-Day,” Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 33/1, 1946, pp. 32-46.
H. Gaube, Die südpersische Provinz Arrağan/Kūh-Gīlūyeh von der arabischen Eroberung bis zur Safawidenzeit, Vienna, 1973.
Institute of Social Studies and Research, Tribal Section (Moʾassasa-ye Moṭālaʿāt o Taḥqīqāt-e Ejtemāʾī), Jamʿīyat o šenās-nāma-ye īlāt-e Kūhgīlūya, report no. 8, Tehran, 1969.
Iranian Statistical Center (Markaz-e Āmār-e Īrān), Saršomārī-e mellī-e nofūs a maskan (National Census of Population and Housing, November, 1966), vols. 138, 164.
Idem, Village Census of Boir Aḥmad and Kuhgiluyeh, Tehran, 1968.
R. Loeffler, “The National Integration of Boir Aḥmad,” Iranian Studies 6/2-3, 1973, pp. 127-35.
Idem, “Recent Economic Changes in Boir Aḥmad: Regional Growth without Development,” ibid., 4, 1976, pp. 266-87.
Idem, “Tribal Order and the State: The Political Organization of Boir Aḥmad,” in State and Society in Iran, ed. A. Banānī, Iranian Studies 11, 1978, pp. 145-71.
Idem, “Economic Changes in a Rural Area of Iran since 1979,” paper delivered at a Wilson Center Conference on The Iranian Revolution and the Islamic Republic: New Assessments, Washington, 1982.
R. Loeffler and E. Friedl, An Archaeological Survey of Boir Aḥmad, South Iran (unpubl.). Idem, “Eine ethnographische Sammlung von den Boir Aḥmad, Südiran,” Archiv für Völkerkunde 21, 1967, pp. 95-207.
R. Loeffler, E. Friedl, and A. Janata, “Die materielle Kultur von Boir Aḥmad, Südiran,” ibid., 28, 1974, pp. 61-142.
Mann, Kurdisch-Persische Forschungen, pt. 2. V. Minorsky, “Lur” and “Lur-i Buzurg,” in EI ¹ III, pp. 41-48.
P. Oberling, “The Turkic Tribes of Southwestern Persia,” Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher 35/B, 1963 [publ. 1964], pp. 164-80.
Ostāndārī-e Kūhgīlūya o Boir Aḥmad, Yak sāl kūšeš o sāzandagī, Yāsūj, 1359 Š./1980-81.
J. Ranking, Report on the Kuhgalu Tribes, Simla, 1911, pp. 2-5.
Sir Aurel Stein, Old Routes of Western Iran, London, 1940.
D. S. Whitcomb, Medieval Pottery of the Boir Aḥmad Region (unpubl.).
A. T. Wilson, Report on Fars, Simla, 1916, pp. 42-43.
The dialect (Boiraḥmadi) of the Boir Aḥmadī in the northern part of the general governorate of Kūhgīlūya and Boir Aḥmad (lat 30°-32° N, long 50°-52° E) is closely related to the dialect of the Kūhgīlūya and the Mamasanī to the south.
Dialectal relations. Boiraḥmadi-Kūhgīlūa-Mamasanī, together with Baḵtīārī to the north and Lorī to the northwest, constitute the “Perside” southern Zagros group, defined by the changes from Old to New Iranian listed below, as opposed to Kurdish in the northern Zagros. Nevertheless, Boiraḥmadi shares a number of lexical and morphological items and phonological features with Kurdish and other neighboring dialects, e.g., piā “man,” korr “boy,” bard “stone” (cf. also Lārī), mel “mountain pass” (< “neck”), hanūrā “there”; the intervocalic lenization, or loss, of d, the topicalizer and vocative marker akū, the adverbial a, the prefix be with conditional past. Some lexical items shared with Fārs dialects are: taš “fire,” kom “stomach,” mālī/mahlī “much,” sī “for,” tey “in front of,” seyl “watching.”
Phonology. Consonants. Some of the typical “South-West” Iranian changes from Old to New Iranian found in Boiraḥmadi are: initial *y/*v > j/b, e.g., jūma “shirt, suit,” bak “frog”; *vi/*vṛ > go, e.g., gosncy “hungry,” but bengešt “sparrow”; *ğ > d, e.g., dūmā “bridegroom”; *θr > s: ās-ak “handmill”; but there are also exceptions. Later changes: intervocalic voiced stops become glides, most evident in Boiraḥmadi; thus b > w, e.g., buwand “tie!,” g > y, e.g., zendayī “life,” mī-yal “hairs”; d > glide or lost, e.g., xudā/x(v)ā, māyūn “mare” (< mādīyān), bāhī “arm” (< bādū), du(w)ar “daughter girl” (< dohdar < doxtar); ft/xt > (h)t, e.g., rat “went,” sot “burnt”; xwa > xa, e.g., xar “eat,” xaš “well”; but xo “self” (* < xwad).
Vowels. Earlier ō/ē appear generally unchanged, e.g., sōz “burn,” zēr “under,” although the notation in the texts fluctuates between ō/ū and ē/ī, as well as between o/u, e/i, e/a, and a/ā. Changes include ū > ī, e.g., xīn “blood,” sī “for”; and āN > ūN, e.g., hūna “house.”
Grammar. Personal pronouns, pronominal suffixes, and verbal endings are as follows:
Grammar. Personal pronouns, pronominal suffixes, and verbal endings are shown in Chart 1.
1. Yo is the general referential pronoun in dialog; but in opposition to vo “that one” it is near deictic, “this one,” then also as īˊyo. There is further the combined yóhō, functioning as a general emphatic selective, “this/that very one.” Vo/yo occur only independently, ū/ī both independently, mostly in narrative, and before nouns. The specific direct object forms are: mána, tó/ena, ṹna, īˊna, vínna, yínna, yIhínna, īmāˊna, īšāˊna, īngéla/ūngélla. 2. om > em if followed by suffix (e.g., besūn-em-eš “let me take it”). 3. The ending of the imperative 2nd sing. is zero, or ak with certain change-of-state verbs in some areas, e.g., veīsa (-k) “stop!”; 2nd plur. īn (-ītūn for emphasis), e.g., veīsīn/veīsītūn “stop!.” 4. The 3rd sing. ending is zero in past and past perfect.
Noun-phrase. Plural: *gal (g > y after vowel, zero after consonant other than n), e.g., zan-gal “women,” mī-y-al “hairs,” nowkar-al “servants.” Indefinite: (ya)-noun-ē, e.g., ya ādam-ē “a person.” Specific direct object: a, e.g., duar-el-a “the girls” (n inserted after vowel, e.g., gelle-n-a “the herd”); note the combination of specific direct object with indefiniteness: duar-ī-n-a īxās “he wanted a certain girl.” Adverbial suffix: a/i, e.g., men tang-e heygūn-a “at the H. gorge.” Topicalizer, highlighting topic of discussion: akū, e.g., korr-akū va-š go “that particular boy said to him.” Frequent prepositions: va “in, to, with, from(!),” sī “for,” tey “to, before,” men “in(to).” Vocative (compare topicalizer): ī/ū and akū, e.g., kākā-jūn-ī “dear (older) brother,” korr-ū/korr-akū “you, boy!.”
Noun plus dependent nominal: The head-noun is usually connected by e to a following subordinate noun or adjective, e.g., matil-e bow “the story of the father,” cešme-y tela “golden well” (NPers. čašma-ye ṭelā).
Demonstratives. These are the same as the pronouns, but mostly ū “that,” ī “this” + noun, e.g. ū bard “that stone,” ī xamīr “this dough.” Possessive: in + possessor, e.g. in(-e) to “yours,” ingal-e māhrūz “those of Mahruz.” Note that the suffixes identify possessor or direct and indirect object, e.g., duarel-eš “his daughters,” bexare-šūn “that he eat them,” dast-om vardār “take your hands off me,” and that the formal identity of the 1st sing. ending and suffix results in ambiguity, e.g.: be-sūn-om “take me” or “I take”; gerot-em-e “he has taken me” or “I have taken”; zade bīd-om “it had bitten me” or “I had bitten.”
Verb-phrase. The forms of the substantive verb are the same as the personal endings, but note 3rd sing.: ya (< e-a)/nī “is/is not,” hasī/nīsī (emphatic) “(there) is/is not,” dar-e “is (found)” (n inserted after vowel, e.g. yo ce-n-e “what is that”). Note also the frequent use of na separated from verb, e.g., na bā-š-e “is not with him.”
The verb system is typically Western Iranian (including Persian), i.e., the indicative and non-indicative have five aspectual-temporal categories each: two imperfective (present indicative and imperfect), two perfective-stative (present and past perfect), and share a tense-neutral perfective form (simple past), used for both past and present completed action, and completed condition (e.g., rat “she went,” rat “she is leaving, just left,” ar rat “if she goes”).
Aspectual, modal, and negative prefixes comprise for the imperfective aspect: ī (ey)/nī, present subjunctive and counterfactual/conditional: be/na; imperative: be/ma. The paradigm may be shown as in Chart 2 (verb kon/kerd “do,” 1st sing.; traditional terms added).
Directional-locational prefixes include vā e.g., vā-b “become”; var, e.g., var-d “throw”; dar, e.g. dar-ār “take out”; ol “up” found in ol-ā “come up!.” Note that ī precedes these prefixes, e.g., ī-(v)ar-ār “he is bringing out,” that i > y before vā, e.g., ī-vā-bī > y-ā-bī “he was becoming.”
The causative suffix is an/ūn, e.g., sōz-an “(make) burn.” An inchoative (“passive”) is formed by participle + vā-b “become,” e.g., košte vābī “he got/was killed.” With certain change-of-state verbs, in central B. dialects, the ending ak appears to indicate incipient action (as in Šūštarī-Dezfūi), e.g., veīs-ak “stop now!”
Modal verbs include tar/ta(h)res “can/could”; vā or basī “must” or future, e.g., y-ā bū “will be, has to be” (< ī-vā bū); ī-x-/xās “want/wanted,” e.g., īxās šī kone “wanted to marry.” All with subjunctive.
Syntax and conjunctions: 1. Cause: cun “because.” 2. Condition: ar/aga “if,” with apodosis often introduced by xō/xē, e.g., ar īšā tarehsīt bexarīteš xē ītarīt ālāzangī-n-a bezanīt “If you can eat it then you can cope with A.” (Note the use of the perfective “simple past” (tarehsīt “you could” in the protasis expressing the completion of the condition prior to the action of the apodosis); sīyāmārī bekoštom aga na pāzahraš to bīdī “The snakelike blackness (of your hair) would kill me, if you were not the antidote.” 3. ke introduces relative clauses, e.g., a bard-i sefīd-ī ke “That white stone whicḥ …”; temporal clauses, e.g., šow ke vābi “as night came”; and direct speech and explanatory clauses, e.g., biō ke mo nīterom “Come, since I cannot do it.” 4. tā/ă introduces final-consecutive clauses, e.g., biō tā vā mūhāyemūn hīlū konīm “Come, let us swing with our hair”; temporal clauses, e.g., biō tā berrīm “Come, let’s go”; complement clauses, e.g., yādom ūma tā … “I remembered thaṭ … ”; and observations: tā/ă = “saw that”/“turned out to be.” In this case, the specific subject of the dependent clause behaves like a direct object and takes a, e.g., tā ūma tā duarel-a nī “When he came he saw that the girls were (are) not there”; non-specific, e.g., zanal raten tā javūn-e xūbī-ye “The women went there and saw that he was (is) a fine young man.” (Note the present tense after observations: “They saw that it is,” etc.).
A sample quatrain (Friedl, 1977-78, p. 51): ar ī-xeī mīrei-t be-xā-d guk-el-t-a be-ška (Pers. agar mīxāhī šowhar-at beḵᵛāhad-at čārbanahā-y-at-rā beškan) “if you want that your husband likes you, swing your hips.”
sob zī men raxt-e xow ow gol be-peška (Pers. ṣobḥ-e zūd dar raḵt-e kᵛāb āb-e gol bepāš) “And early in the morning, sprinkle perfume in the bedding.”
Published research. O. Mann, “Skizze der Lurdialekte,” SPAW, 1904, pp. 1173-93 (one text in Mamasani and a grammatical sketch).
Idem, Kurdisch-Persische Forschungen, pt. 2, Berlin, 1910 (8 quatrains in Kūhgīlūya; 7 stories and 70 quatrains in Mamasani; glossary).
Manūčehr Lamʿa, Farhang-e ʿāmīyāna-ye ʿašāyer-e Bōyer-Aḥmadī wa Kōhgīlūya, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, (52 distiches; 15 pp. texts in the B.-K. dialect, written by school children; glossary; extensive notes on ethnology).
E. Friedl, “Boir Ahmad Mockery: A Research Note,” Iranian Studies 10/4, 1977, pp. 281-86.
Idem, “Folksongs from Boir Ahmad, Southwest Iran,” Mardomšenāsī wa farhang-e ʿāmma-ye Īrān 3, 1356 Š./1977-78, pp. 47-54 (these two contain 35 quatrains, or bayts, of over 900 collected between 1969 and 1971).
Erika Friedl-Loeffler and Hans Loeffler kindly provided information on Boiraḥmadi.
(Reinhold Loeffler, Gernot L. Windfuhr)
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 3, pp. 320-326