DAVĀN (local pronunciation do:ʾu:), village located 12 km northeast of Kāzerūn in Fārs; a distinctive dialect is spoken there.

i. The village.

ii. The Davānī dialect.



Davān is located at 29° 23′ N, 51° 55′ E, in a narrow valley at the foot of Mount Davān in the greater Zagros range. It is divided into upper (maʿale[maḥalla]-ye bār) and lower (maʿale [maḥalla]-ye duman) quarters. The climate is hot and dry. In the 1970s the only source of water was a group of nine springs located at the southeastern end of the village. Arable land is very limited and located mostly in the foothills; dry farming is the prevailing form of agriculture. Products include barley, wheat, and fruits—grapes, figs, pomegranates, and pears (locally called xormor). In 1354 Š./1975 there were thirty-three orchards.

Some ruins dating from the Parthian and Sasanian periods are located approximately 4 km to the south of the village. Davān was mentioned by some medieval Islamic historians and geographers (e.g., Eṣṭaḵrī, p. 112; Ebn al-Balḵī, p. 137; Nozhat al-qolūb, ed. Le Strange, p. 117). It was the birthplace of the theologian and philosopher Jalāl-al-Dīn Davānī (830-908/1426-1502/03), whose tomb, known as Maqbara-ye Šayḵ-e ʿĀlī, is venerated locally.

In the last forty years there has been a sharp decrease in population, from 2,747 people in 1330 Š./1951 to 966 in 1365 Š./1986 (Razmārā, Farhang VII, p. 103; Markaz-e āmār, p. 26). The Davānīs, who are divided among twelve clans (ṭāyefa), belong to the Shaikhi branch of Shiʿite Islam and maintain close contact with the Shaikhis of Kermān. They speak both Persian and a local dialect (see ii, below).



ʿA. Laḥsāʿīzāda and ʿA. Salāmī, Tārīḵ o farhang-e mardom-e Davān, Tehran, 1370 Š./1991.

Markaz-e āmār-e Īran, Sar-šomarī-e ʿomūmī-e nofūs wa maskan. Mehr-māh-e 1365. Farhang-e ābādīhā-ye kešvar. Šahrestān-e Kāzerūn, 4-92, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989.

Ṣandūq-e taʿāwon-e Davānīhā (Markaz-e Tehran), Taqwīm-e sāl-e 1354, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975.




Davānī (local pronunciation: devani) is spoken in the village of Davān and belongs to the Fārs group of Iranian dialects spoken in the western and northwestern regions of the province of Fārs (see Lecoq; for published material on Davāni, see Ḥosāmzāda Ḥaqīqī; Mahamedi, 1979; idem, 1982; Morgenstierne; Ṣādeqī; Salāmī), an area of Lorī speakers. It thus shares the general characteristics of such other Fārs dialects as Somḡūnī, Būrengūnī, and Māsarmī, but it also presents some unique features.


Consonants. Davānī has dental affricates ts and dz, unknown in the neighboring dialects, as in tse “what” and berendz “rice” and andzi “fig,” which contrast with č and ǰ, as in čiš “eye” and tāǰ “throne.” The fricative δ is a variant of d after vowels, as in baδ “bad.” There is a tendency for k and g to be palatalized before front vowels: koᶄa “brother,” beᶃa “say.” Beside the regular r (single flap), there is also a trilled , as in mor (NPers. morḡ) “hen,” contrasting with mōṟ “round.” Old Iranian and fr have both become hl, as in pohl (Av. pərəθu, Mid. Pers. puhl, NPers. pol) “bridge” and ba:hl (Av. vafra, Mid. Pers. wafr, NPers. barf)“snow.” Old Iranian nd has been assimilated and simplified to n, as in ganom (NPers. gandom) “wheat” and ben- (NPers. band-) “to tie.” There is also the peculiar change of n to r in kur- (NPers. kon-) “to do,” kor- (NPers. kan-) “to dig,” and zar- (NPers. zan-) “to hit.” Middle Persian intervocalic b and w have both become v, as in lav (Mid. and NPers. lab) “shore, side” and meivene (Mid. Pers. band- and wēn-) “I tie, I see.” Initial b, when followed by a closed vowel, is pronounced v by some speakers, as in bi/vi “was.”

Vowels. The vowel system of Davānī is essentially the same as that of Persian. The long vowels a:, e:, o: of various origins contrast with short a, e, o, as in bar “shore,” ba:r (NPers. bahr) “share,” ser “head,” se:r (NPers. sīr) “full,” mor (NPers. morḡ) “hen,” mo:r (NPers. mohr) “seal.” The long variants of ā (back a), i, u (ā:, i:, u:) are not separate phonemes. Both o and e have a reduced variant ə, as in dərəs beside doros, dorost “right” and the enclitic pronouns -əm, -ət, -əš, -ən. In the final position o is sometimes found for original ā:injo (NPers. īnjā; cf. colloq. Shirazi īnjo) “here.” There are two diphthongs, ou (ou) and ei (ei), for example, tou “you,” peiš “before, front”; ei has the variant e:, as in meikore and me:kore “I do.”


Nouns. The plural marker is usually -gal, as in beččekgal “children,” sālgal “years,” gapgal “conversations,” but occasionally (-hā), as in šāhā “kings,” unā “those,” kehā “who.”

Personal pronouns. The personal pronouns are singular ma, tou, u; plural mu, šumu, unā; and enclitic -m, -t, , -mu, -tu, -šu (or with the joining vowels e, ə, o; unattached in ergative constructions: om, ot, etc.). The enclitic pronouns are used as possessive pronouns (ser-eš “his head,” dass-om “my hand”) and in several verbal constructions: as direct or indirect object and as agent in the ergative construction and with impersonal verbs (for examples, see below).

Demonstrative pronouns. The demonstratives are i “this,” un “that,” iyā (inā) “these,” and unā “those.”

Prepositions. The most common prepositions are a (corresponding to Pers. az and be) “from, to, in” and an (Pers. andar) “in,” as in a Kāziri še “he went to Kāzerun,” tou a Širāz amesse? “have you come from Shiraz?” ma a xuna kār meikore “I work at home,” Sardār an ma:jjed-e “Sardār is in the mosque.” The preposition ve (Pers. be) is used in such phrases as ve ī zelli “so soon.”

The verb. The verbal system of Davānī is based on the present stem (for the present indicative, imperative, and subjunctive) and the past stem (for the preterit, imperfect, past subjunctive, perfect, and pluperfect). The verbal endings are set out in Table 7. The in -t-ā and -en-ā is probably the attention-drawing particle (h)ā found in many dialects in Persia. The modal prefixes are mei in the present indicative and imperfect; be (also bo) in the subjunctive, imperative, and sometimes the intransitive preterit (boše/beše “he went”); and (or hu) in the present subjunctive and imperative of a small group of verbs. There are two negations, as in classical Persian: na-, negation of statement, and ma-,prohibition. The negation na is prefixed to the stem and mei but replaces be and ; ma is used with the imperative and replaces any modal prefix. The lexical preverbs and var/ver are common; they may precede or replace the modal prefixes and provide new meanings, for example, xor- “to eat,” vā xor- “to drink,” vā meixore “I am drinking”; avār- “to bring,” var/ver avār- “to pick, to separate,” ver avār “pick!”

The enclitic copula and the negative copula are shown in Table 7. A special form of the third person singular, he, meaning “there is (for),” is used in possessive constructions, for example, tse tou he? “what do you have?” panss-um boč he “I have five goats,” tou-t sad sāl de omr he “you will live for another hundred years.”

Present stems can be divided into two groups. The first consists of stems in -e- that add -t in the third person singular, for example: meixat-e-t “he sleeps, he is sleeping” < -xat-e- “to sleep.” The -e- is elided before vocalic endings, as in (ma) meiters-e “I am afraid” < -ters-e- “to fear.” The second group includes stems ending in -r or -n, which are dropped in the third- person singular present indicative and subjunctive and second-person singular imperative, with accompanying change of the vowel quality. The ending is nil or -t-ā, for example, meivit(-ā) “he sees” < -ven- “to see,” boxut(-ā) “he may eat” and buxu “eat!” < -xor- “to eat.” The verb -še- “to go” is inflected according to this class, as in bošut-ā “he may go.”

The present indicative is formed by prefixing mei- and suffixing a personal ending to the present stem, as in present stem kor-/kur- (short form ku-) “to do”: singular (ma) meikore, (tou) meikore, (u) meiku or meikutā; plural (mu) meikoru, (šumu) meikori, (unā) meikoren(-ā).

The present subjunctive is formed by adding a modal prefix (or be) to the present stem and suffixing the personal endings, for example, hāδe “I/you may give,” huvene “I/you may tie,” beire “I may come,” bokutā “he may do.” The imperative is formed in the same way as the subjunctive, except in the second-person singular, which takes the ending -a with stems of the first group but none with stems of the second group, for example, singular beδa, heδa “give,” bega “say,” beška “break,” boku “do,” vazu “return,” huči “sit,” heδe dass-e hasan huvene-š bā injā “go (and) chain Ḥasan’s hand (and) bring him here”; plural begai “say.”

Past stems are formed differently from intransitive and transitive verbs. The past stems of intransitive verbs are formed in -eδ-, corresponding to present stems in -e-, as in xateδ “slept,” šeδ “went,” beδ “was,” or to different present stems, for example, ameδ “came” (present stem -r- “to come”), so:teδ “burned,” mordeδ “died.” Some verbs have the past stem formative -esseδ, instead of -eδ-, for example, dovesseδ “ran,” nalesseδ “groaned.”

Past stems of transitive verbs end in either consonants or vowels. Those ending in consonants include košt “to kill” and xond “to read.” Stems ending in vowels are either monosyllabic or bisyllabic, for example, di:- “saw,” ze- “hit,” go- “said,” ge- “took,” ersā- “sent,” xeri- “bought,” buri- “cut,” duši- “milked.”

Causative verbs are formed by adding -n- to the present stem, to which -i- is added to form the past stem, for example: čar- “to graze,” čarn-, čarni- “to cause to graze”; čiy- “to sit,” čeyn-, čeyni- “to cause to sit down”; xat- “to sleep,” xatn-, xatni- “to cause to sleep.”

The perfect stem is formed from the past stem plus -s(s)e-, for example: hāise- “have sat down,” amesse- “have come,” šesse- “have gone,” bise- “have been,” dise- “have seen.”

The simple past tense of intransitive verbs is formed by attaching the personal ending to the past stem. The third-person singular has no ending and may lose the final consonant of the stem. Examples are ameδe “I/you came,” ama or amaδ “he came,” še “he went,” ameδen-ā “they came.” Expressions like še-š “he went” and Hasan-əš ama “Ḥasan came” are probably borrowed from Persian.

The continuous past is formed by prefixing mei to the simple past, as in mei-šeδ “he was going,” mei-ama “he was coming,” mei-δovesseδen “they were running.”

The past subjunctive is formed from the perfect stem plus the inflected present subjunctive of the auxiliary verb “to be,” as in bāyas dovesse but/vut “he must have run,” bāyas amesse but/vut “he must have come,” šesse be/ve “I/you might have gone,” dovesse ben/ven “they might have run.”

The perfect is formed by suffixing the personal endings to the perfect stem, which loses its final -e before vocalic endings. The third-person singular has no ending: (ma) amesse “I have come,” (u) šesse “he has gone,” šessu “we have gone,” (unā) hāyisən “they have sat down.”

The pluperfect is based on the perfect stem plus the simple past form of the auxiliary verb “to be,” for example, (ma) šesse beδe/veδe “I had gone,” (u) amesse bi/vi “he had come.”

Transitive verbs take the ergative construction in the past tenses. The verb appears in its stem form, and the agent indicating the logical subject is expressed as an enclitic pronoun attached to any word near the verb or to the verb itself. When the agent is a noun or an independent pronoun the corresponding enclitic pronoun must still appear. In the past subjunctive and the pluperfect the auxiliary verb “to be” remains unchanged in all forms, as but or vut and bi or vi respectively. Examples of the simple past include o-š ze “he struck,” go-t “you said,” ame injā-š ejāza dā “he came here and gave permission,” bonā-š ke nasiyat-mu kardan “he began to advise us,” unā-šu Hasan ersā “they sent Ḥasan”; of the continuous past Hasan-əm meidi “I was seeing Ḥasan”; of the perfect tou-t xarse “you have eaten,” gosse-mu “we have said,” pos-eš-ešu i juri ver sar-eš avarse “they have done this to his son”; of the past subjunctive (bāyas) tou-t gosse but/vut “you must have said it”; of the pluperfect ma-m dise bi/vi “I had seen,” oš gosse bi/vi “he had said.”

The impersonal verbs“to want, to wish” and šā “can, to be able” are also combined with enclitic pronouns to express what would be the subject in English, for example, tou-t ne meiša ma hu-zere “you cannot hit me,” agarət pil mā “if you want money.”

The passive is formed from še- “to go” plus an infinitive construction: nu a xardan še, literally, “bread went to eat.” The passive is used only when the agent is not expressed. When the agent is expressed the ergative construction is used.


To illustrate the lexical characteristics of Davānī as a Fārs dialect, some words denoting family relationships are listed here: bāva “father,” dey “mother,” koka “older brother,” borāk “younger brother,” xāk “sister,” pos, bečček “son,” dot “daughter,” zan “wife,” ši, mira “husband,” bā-gutu “grandfather,” nena “grandmother,” āmu “uncle” (father’s brother), ālu, xālu “uncle” (mother’s brother), āma “aunt” (father’s sister), xāla “aunt” (mother’s sister), xasi “wife’s mother,” dey ši “husband’s mother,” nā bavei “stepfather,” zey bāvei “stepmother,” dot-e pos “grandchild” (son’s daughter), pos-e dot “grandchild” (daughter’s son), āris “bride,” damā “bridegroom,” hamāris (cf. Šīrāzī hamrūs) “sister-in-law” (wife of husband’s brother), hamriš (cf. Šīrāzī hamrīš) “brother-in-law” (husband of wife’s sister), peyza (cf. Šīrāzī pīzāda) “stepchild.”

Local place names include those of the nine springs from which the village obtained its water in the 1970s: bal-e passe, bal-e ḡeni, baryā-ye duman, baryā-ye bār, ouw-e mašīrī, dere-ye xᵛāja rajob, bal-e maʿd-e xᵛāja, ouw-e lordeḵ, and ouw-e nayekò. Among orchards are zer-e deh, lehrakò, zer-e monāra, bar-e sovaδu, garr-e māhar, gaft-e monseri, pasbardekò, barḵo, tel-e katekò, and derey-e dāsbanu.



Č. Ḥosāmzāda Ḥaqīqī, “Gūyeš-e Davān,” in Proceedings of the First Congress of Iranian Studies, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 77-98.

P. Lecoq, “Les dialectes du sud-ouest de l’Iran,” in R. Schmitt, ed., Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. 341-49.

H. Mahamedi, “On the Verbal System in Three Iranian Dialects of Fars,” Stud. Ir. 8, 1979, pp. 277-97.

Idem, “The Story of Rostam and Esfandīyār in an Iranian Dialect,” JAOS 102, 1982, pp. 451-59.

G. Morgenstierne, “Stray Notes on Persian Dialects,” NTS 19, 1960, pp. 123-29.

ʿA.-A. Ṣādeqī, “Yāddāšt-ī dar bāra-ye sāḵtemān-e vājī-e lahja-ye Davānī,” Majalla-ye zabān-šenāsī 5, 1367 Š./1988, pp. 2-8.

A. Salāmī (Davānī), “Sāḵt-e feʿl dar gūyeš-e Davānī,” Majalla-ye zabān-šenāsī 5, 1367 Š./1988, pp. 9-28 (mentioninng two unpublished theses unavailable to the present author: M. Ḡolāmī, “Gūyeš-e Davānī,” B.A. thesis, Jondīšāpūr University, 1354 Š./1975; Q. Forqānī, “Barrasī-e gūyeš-e Davānī az naẓar-e vāžegān wa sāḵtmān-e dastgāhhā-ye feʿlī,” M.A. thesis, Shiraz University, 1355 Š./1976).

This article is based mainly on data collected by the author during several trips to Davān in 1351-54 Š./1972-75 and 1359-60 Š./1980-81.

(Hamid Mahamedi)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 2, pp. 129-132