Isfahan xxii. GAZI DIALECT

Gazi, spoken in the city of Gaz in the district of Borḵᵛār (dialect: bolxār), belongs to the Central Plateau Dialect group of Northwestern Iranian (NWI) languages. Gazi, the Jewish dialect of Isfahan, Sedehi, and probably other uninvestigated dialects of the Gaz-Isfahan area, for instance, Segzi, Jarquyaʾi, and others are grouped together as one subgroup of CPD.




Gazi, spoken in the city of Gaz in the district of Borḵᵛār (dialect: bolxār), belongs to the Central Plateau Dialect group (CPD, see CENTRAL DIALECTS) of Northwestern Iranian (NWI) languages. Gazi, the Jewish dialect of Isfahan (see above, xix; henceforth JDI), Sedehi, and probably other uninvestigated dialects of the Gaz-Isfahan area, for instance, Segzi, Jarquyaʾi, and others are grouped together as one subgroup of CPD. The dialect of Ḵorzuq, about 3 km from Gaz, is particularly close to Gazi. (see JDI for a fuller description of the subgroups of NWI and CPD and the history and classification of Gazi and its position among these languages). It is not known how many speakers of Gazi there are at present and its current status can only be ascertained by conducting a careful survey of the area. The sources used for this description are abbreviated as follows: WE (Eilers and Schapka, 1979), EY (Yarshater’s unpublished field notes), and ZH (Zhukovskiĭ, 1888).

Diachronics. (See the entry on JDI for a brief introduction to the significance of the different sound correspondences that place NWI in contradistinction to Persian and SWI.) The following list details the usual NWI developments from proto-Iranian present in Gazi, but examples typical of Persian and Southwest Iranian (SWI) most likely also borrowed into Gazi will be listed alongside in parentheses: *ts > s: kas “small,” (but > SWI h, as in ā(h)en “iron,” dah “ten”); *dz > z: zun/zunāšt “know,” zomā “son-in-law,” ezé “yesterday” (but > SWI d, as in del “heart,” daryā “sea”); *tsw > sp: üšpüš “louse,” ösbö “white”; *dzw > zb: ozun ~ uzun “tongue” (the -b- was probably later absorbed by the u, e.g., zbān > ozvān > ozvun > ozun, or some similar process); *d w > b: ber “door,” ebi, bin “other”; *y- remains as y- (as opposed to SWI j-): yuš/-ā “boil,” yuz/yuss “find,” iye “barley” and similarly, original *vy > y in “place” (cf. MP gyāg, NP. jāy); *j remains as NWI ž in žan “woman,” žen- “hit, give birth” žande “alive.” Later developments are: *w- remains as v- in veše “hungry,” (i)var ~ (i)vašt “pass” (but > SWI g, in Gazi gorg “wolf,” gol “flower”), and as v- in vorun “rain,” varf “snow,” vo “wind” (but > SWI b- in Gazi biye “widow,” bid “willow”); *fr- > (h)r~h(r)- as in gāre “down” (cf. Av. *gufra-, *jafra-) and possibly the preverb *frā- > i- ~ (h)e- in (h)é-nešt “run,” (h)e-tā- “give!” i-git- “take” (see Preverbs below), but cf. SWI-like reflexes for *fr- in Gazi ferāš/ferāt “sell,” feresn/-ā “send”; *θr > (h)r ~ h(r)- > -r- is seen in Gazi pür “son,” dār “sickle,” ār “mill” (but > SWI s in Gazi se “three”); *xr > (i)r in cār “wheel,” sür “red,” irin/irint “buy.” It is possible that *fr, *θr, *xr are identical developments in Gazi through a merger: *fr, *θr, *xr > NWI *hr > (i)r, with -r after a vowel (e.g., gāre “down,” pür “son,” cār “wheel,” where *fr, *θr, *xr all have the same reflex), and ir- in initial position (irin-/irint “buy” and possibly i- in the preverb *frā- > ir- with a subsequent loss of final -r in preverbs (?), that is, *ver-, *ir- > ve-, i-, cf. the Vafsi preverbs o(r)-, ha(r)-).

*-xt > -(h)t ~ -(t)t is seen in Gazi dot “girl,” ret- “poured,” urit- “fled,” vāt- “said,” vet- “sifted” (but cf. pešā ~ paxt “cooked,” possibly a borrowing). The parallel change *-ft > NWI -(h)t ~ -tt, is seen in git- “took,” but possibly later influenced by Persian in dar-kaft- “fell,” i-oft- “slept,” roft- “swept,” kuft- “pounded.” Most potential examples of *-xt, -ft > -tt are lost due to re-formations of the past stems with the past formant instead of -t: vāz/-ā “lose (in games),” var-sanj/-ā “weigh,” piš/picā “twist, wind.” *-č- > -ž- ~ -j- as in uriž- “flee,” enj- “water, irrigate,” rež- “pour,” vež- “sift,” ruže “fast(ing),” vāžār “bazaar, market,” žer “down” (< *haca adara-), -ji “also” (< Av. *ciṱ), (but > SWI z, as in az “from” (< *haca), suz- “burn”); *xw > x as in xox “sister,” xāss- “want,” xunt- “read,” and xow “sleep” (but see i-ows, next); *-x- is lost before other consonants (“bitter,” tum “seed,” bösüre “father in-law” < (bā) bā-xsüre) and initial *x-, *xw-, *h- are also lost (ibize “melon,” i-ows/ofd “to sleep,” al/ašt “to allow,” ašt “eight,” em “together,” ižir “good,” ürd “small”), even in words of Arabic origin: le “maternal aunt,” emir “dough” (Ar. xāl, xamir). Note loss of medial -d- in: vāum “almond,” kum “which,” kaa “game,” rue “intestine,” in participles from stems in final (pušnāā- “dressed”) and of final consonants in cu “wood,” noxo “chickpea,” “smoke,” du “buttermilk,” cerā “lamp,” duru “lie,” ru “day,” numā “prayer.”

Vowels. Original *u is generally fronted to ü, even in Arabic loan words: xün “blood,” pür “son,” müš “mouse,” “early,” pül “money,” arüs “bride.” As in colloquial Persian, becomes u before nasals: ume “came,” xunt “read,” bun “roof,” da-mun “stay,” un “that.” When an original short *a occurs next to an original back fricative (including Ar. ʿayn), the latter is absorbed into the vowel making it long, as in cār “wheel,” arüs “bride.”

Phonology. Gazi consonant inventory (p, b, t, d, c, j, k, g, q, f, v, s, z, š, ž, x, g, h, m, n, r, l, y) is similar to standard Persian. Note that according to WE transcriptions q vs. γ and j vs. ž seem to be independent phonemes, but many words simply alternate: γaa ~ qaa “speech” or (WE) γāyde- (EY) qāyde “must” and jemxow ~ žemxow” quilt,” or jenúe ~ ženúe “he hits.” In both cases the two alternates are probably not independent consonants but upon further investigation will turn out to vary according to position.

Wilhelm Eilers (1979) indicates twenty-six vowels and glides, but the normalized system as in Ehsan Yarshater (i, e, a, u, o, ā, ü, ö (?), ey, āy, ow ~ öy and possibly ay), is probably more realistic; hence transcriptions of Eilers’ examples are slightly altered here to conform to the latter system. Even further adjustments have been make to Valentin Zhukovskiĭ’s transcriptions. Note the contrasting pairs: pir “old,” pür “son”; duduq (buttermilk),” “smoke, two”; ru “day, in,” “spirit”; dum “tail,” düm “face”; “outside,” ku “dung, mountain,” küü “squash.” While Eilers, Yarshater, and Zhukovskiĭ usually agree on transcribing ü ( “out,” xün “blood,” üšpüš “louse,” pür “son”), there is less agreement on ö (WE: bösürei- EY and ZH: bōsure “father-in-law”; WE: möžö, ZH: meže “eyelash”; WE: böšoem, EY: böšöym “we went”; WE: ver-öškoft, EY: ver-oškoft, ZH: ve-škuft “split”; but WE, EY, ZH: cöš “eye,” böšo “he went”). The vowel ö seems to be most predictable in words with an expected glide (from original -ow, -af, or -ab) as in WE: möy, EY: “vine”; WE köš, ZH: köwš “shoes”; WE: šö(y), EY and ZH: šö “night”; WE: lö(y), ZH: löv “lip,” cf. Persian mow, kafš, šab, and lab, respectively. In addition, ö is most common in Eilers’ data. Sequences of the same vowel are common (e.g., küü “squash,” pāā “feet,” balee “the big one”), especially in past participles (vé-ž-parsaa-bo “he had asked,” rasaa “ripe”) and even sequences of three vowels occur: rasaaā “the ripe ones.” Gazi has a strong tendency for vowel harmony (change of a vowel to match a neighboring vowel), especially between verbal affixes and the root: bé- > bé-be “carry!” bü-lül-üd “move!” bó-xo “eat!” bö-šöym “we went,” bí-gi “catch!” bí-di “saw.”

Stress is mostly word-final, but some prefixes and suffixes shift stress away from final position, for instance, “Set₁” person endings (see Table 1) in the present (xunāˊne, xunéme “I, we read,” vāíe, vāúe ~ voúe, vāíme “you, he, we say,” enénde “they put”); the participial element of the imperfect (ašnofté-žun-e “they were hearing,” xunté-m-e “I would read,” larzāˊ-yy-e “he was trembling,” i-ništé-yy-e “he would sit”); the bé- or preverb of the subjunctive (bü´-lül-ü “let it move,” ígiru “let him get”); the negative (náfa:māne “I don’t understand,” náunue “it doesn’t cut”). Preverbs seem to attract stress: mālúe “he rubs” vs. vár-mālue “he flees,” girāˊne “I grab” vs. vé-girāne “I pick up.” Note contrasts in kué “dog,” kúe “it falls,” bózā “the goat (d.o.),” bozāˊ “the goats,” bárāž “its door,” barāˊž “for him,” dózzāmun “our thief,” dozzāˊmun “our thieves,” dozzāmún “to steal.”

Noun forms. Nouns and pronouns do not have gender or formal cases. There is one plural form, -(v)ā: guš-āˊ “ears,” in ādem-āˊ “these people” with an occasional animate plural -un, probably borrowed from Persian: pirún āmā “our elders,” bozorgún isfoún “the greats of Isfahan,” but only on a sporadic basis, cf. pürā pādəšā “the king’s sons.” The alternate -vā sometimes occurs after -ā: berā-vāˊ “brothers,” but pāā “feet.” There are two indefinite markers: ye “one” (mo ye kué dārān “I have a dog”) and unstressed(be yāˊ-i nárasā “he didn’t get anywhere”), but for the most part both of these occur together: mo ye dús-i dārān “I have a friend.”

Object marking. Definite direct objects (as well as indirect objects) are marked with -(r)ā in Gazi. Direct objects: bár-ā dāγ nánāne “I won’t open the door,” buzγālé-rā vé-girue “he takes the kid.” -(r)ā is clearly more common in the present system than in the past. When the subject marker in a past transitive verb (see Set₂ endings, Table 1) is moved from the verb to the direct object (see Fronting below), -(r)ā must be omitted: unā-d šehíd ke “you (-d) martyred (šehíd ke) them (unā),” kāqez-ām beccösnā “I stuck/glued the paper up.” However, when Set₂ either remains on the verb or is moved to another word other than the object, -(r)ā returns (vazir-āmun-ā vé-mun-numaa “we have appointed our vazir,” kelíl-o damané-rā hamé-ž zunāšte-biye “He knew Kalila va Dimna, all of it”), yielding equal alternate structures: dib dass-āž-ā ru del-āž ke ~ dib dassāž-āž ru del-āž ke “the div put his hand in his bosom.” Note, however, that moving the Set₂ endings from the verb to the object is by far the most common situation in past transitive verbs and is virtually the primary way of marking the direct object in the past tenses. Set₂ as possessive may cooccur with -rā, however, since it appears before -rā: pāāˊ-ž-ā ru falak nid! “put his feet in the bastinado!” (pā-āˊ-ž-ā = foot-plural-his-). The only suffix that can occur after Set₂ as subject marker is -ji “also”: dótāžāžji étā “he₃ also₄ gave away₅ (i.e., married off) his₂ daughter₁” (i.e., dot-āž-āž-ji étā₅).

Set₂ on the verb also shows short pronominal direct objects only in the present system (present, subjunctive, imperative). Their position changes according to tense: between the suffixes for person and tense in the present (yuz-ān-ež-e “I’ll find him,” ber-ind-ež-e “they take him away,” xer-ú-e “he eats/will eat” vs. xer-ú-ž-e “he will eat him”). In the subjunctive/imperative, Set₂ endings occur either just before the verb stem (bi-ž-yuz! “find it!” bé-žun-ber-ān “that I take them away,” vé-ž-gir-ān “that I pick it up”) or in final position b-ār-id-āž “bring him!” b-āˊr-ān-āž “that I bring him.” The above rules apply only to the affirmative forms as the Set₂ endings always move to the position right after a negative prefix: keš-ān-ed-e “I will kill you” > ná-d-kešāne “I won’t kill you”; má-ž-koš “don’t kill him!” These Set₂ endings can also move from the verb either to the first part of a compound verb (vāˊž-āž kerúe “he calls him,” kü-š kašid! “pull him out!) or to another preceding word: ru ša:r-āž māˊrid! “don’t bring him into the city!” Double marking of direct objects with both full pronoun and Set₂ endings is also common: dót-ā bé-ž-berind “let them take the girl away,” ín-ā b-āru-ž “let him bring him,” mó-rā bí-m-gi! “catch me!” In the past tenses Set₂ only indicates the subject, never the direct object; thus móqr-āmun bí-git can only mean “we caught a/the chicken, and not “he caught our chicken,” which is: móqr-āmun-āy bí-git. See also Person endings, below.

Indirect objects have five possibilities: (1) the object marker -(r)ā (mostly in the present system): hakím-ā voúe “he says to the doctor,” yéki-rā ru kie-ž re ná-tu-e “he won’t let anyone (lit. give one way) into his house”; (2) prepositions (be “to,” var (-de) “to,” bar “for, to”: de ešrefi-ž be mo etā “he gave me ten ashrafis,” var xo-ž-de be-ž-vāt “he said to himself,” bar mardum sargozašt kue-ra voúe “he tells the people the dog’s story”); (3) the pronominal endings (Set₂) incorporated into the verb: bédvān (< bé-d-vā-ān) “let me tell you,” t-ém-ed-e “we’ll give (it) to you,” é-m-te “give (it) to me!”; (4) fronting the subject Set₂ ending to the indirect object in the past system: rubā-ž bevāt “he said to the fox,” to mo-d bévāt “you told me”; (5) with no marking: egar dót-ā d-ā mo t-í-e “if you give me your daughter.” Set₂ as indirect object may also move off the verb to the direct object in the present tenses as well: ow-āž tinde “they give him water,” an’um-ām túe “he’ll give me a boon.” Double marking of indirect objects is also common: uštur-ā ow-āž tíe “you give the camel water.” Set₂ can sometimes occur two in a row in the past tenses as both indirect object and subject: nešun-āž-āž“he₂ showed him₁.”

Modifiers. Modifiers (possessives, adjectives) follow the noun via simple juxtaposition, with no overt connector, for instance, possessives: nabz šāzde “the prince’s pulse,” berāvā dot “the girl’s brothers,” taxsir to “your fault,” bar kie hasirbāf “the door of the mat weaver’s house,” taqās xün bābā-ž “retaliation of (for) the blood of his father.” Occasionally an eżāfa appears in phrases clearly borrowed from Persian: xāléγ-e donyā “creator of the world,” mérd-e kāri “a working man.” Pronoun possessive forms can be either full pronouns or short forms (Set₂): bābā to ~ bābā-t “your father,” xox āmā ~ xóx-āmun “our sister.” Adjective modifiers: pür bale “old(er) son,” libās nu “new clothes,” ow garm “hot water.” An eżāfa marker also occasionally accompanies an adjective; sarpúš-e ösbóy “a white covering.” The plural ending of a noun often shifts to the adjective: söndü naresi-ā “unripe watermelons,” but it may also remain on the noun: ābādi-ā bale “the large villages.”

Demonstratives. They are in “this,” un “that,” hamin/hamun “this/that very (same)”: in dot “this girl,” hamun-vā “right there,” mo hamun pir-ān “I am that very same holy man.”

Personal pronouns. Table 1 gives the person endings of the verb (Set₁) and three types of pronouns: full forms for subject and other functions, full direct objects, and Set₂ pronoun suffixes with various functions (described passim throughout this entry).

The reflexive pronoun xo- requires Set₂ endings and can function as a direct object (xó-m-ām ru deriā xos “I threw myself into the ocean,” xó-ž-ā kašúe “he pulls himself”), with prepositions (var xo-ž bež-vāt “he said to himself”), as a possessive (benā-žun ke ru sar xó-žun xusénd “they started to hit their heads,” vace xó-d-ā má-š-koš “don’t kill your (own) child!”), and as an emphatic (mo xo-m bím-di “I saw it myself”).

Prepositions and similar forms. Gazi has a frequent postposition (i.e., a “preposition” that follows the noun), -de, meaning both “in” and “from,” and some very common circumpositions. For the latter prepositions combine with the suffixed -de to form a frame around the object: ru … -de “in,” düm … -de “on,” az … -de “from,” žer … -de “under,” etc. Prepositions are by far the most numerous in Gazi: az “from,” be “to,” “until,” xow “with” (either instrument, xow nemarzun “with a broom,” or accompaniment, xow bābām “with my father”), ru “in, into” (but not “on”), píš-e “to, by, near (person),” var “in front of; to (as indirect object),” žer “under,” etc. Examples: (1) prepositions: ru vāžār, ru jeng “in the bazaar; in the war,” ru xow engārāne “I talk in (my) sleep,” žer xāk “under the dirt,” düm xar “on the donkey”; (2) postposition: yek yā-ye gármi-de “in a warm place,” zemin-de í-niue “he sits on the ground,” inā-t kuā-de bāˊrte? “where have you brought these from?”; (3) circumpositions: düm zimin-de “on the ground,” az kamár-āž-de “off his waist,” gal šāx šikār-de “around the deer’s horns,” žir pā-ž-de “under his foot.” Pronouns occurring with prepositions may be either short forms or full forms, thus creating alternate forms (az-ām ~ az mo, and also: az-ām-de ~ az mo-de, all meaning “from me”).

Verb phrase: Verb stems. Formation of past stems from present stems have the usual types of irregularities as elsewhere in Iranian: peš-/paxt “cook,” va-vež-/vet “pull up, out, off” zun-/zunāšt “know,” engār-/engāšt “speak,” ron-/roft “sweep.” Most past stems are formed from present stems by two regular patterns: (1) addition of -t (with -t rather than -d after -r or -n, possibly a conservative feature in the area, see also the entry on JDI): ār/-t “bring,” kan/-t (but EY: kan/kas) “dig”; (2) addition of : suzn-/suznā “burn (tr),” var-māl-/mālā “flee,” enj-/enjā “irrigate, water.” There are many alternate past stems in or -t (ber/berā ~ bart “take away,” ve-ver-/verā ~ vašt “pass,” i-os-/osā ~ oft “sleep”), which often distinguish active in -t vs. passive in -ā: emart “break (trans.)” vs. emarā “break (intrans.), get broken,” kant “dig (up) (trans.)” vs. kanā “be dug (up) (intrans.),” but yuš-/yušā “boil (intrans.),” yušn-/yušnā “boil (trans.).” Present stems in -r or past stems in -rt or only -t optionally lose these consonants when final (but reinstate them before a suffix), for instance, present stems: í-gi “take!” vel ke “drop!” kü a “bring out!” (but note the plural commands: í-girid!, vel kerid!, kü arid!); past stems: benā-ž ke ~ kart “he started,” kü-ž ā ~ kü-ž ārt “he brought out,” bé-m-xo ~ bé-m-xort “I ate,” ye pür-āž dā ~ ye pür-āž dārt “he had a son,” ve-m-gi ~ ve-m-git “I picked up” (see also Perfects, below). Two roots have irregular alternate past stems: “be, become” has bo for the preterit (béboyan “I became”), bi- for the past participle (used in the perfect tenses: bíbie-bo “he had become”); “go” has the past stems št-, ši, šo: be-št-e-bo ~ ši-e-bo (with Participles One and Two) “he had gone,” and the short infinitive šo (see Non-finite forms, below).

Preverbs. Preverbs create finer nuances, lexical extensions, or total meaning changes of a verb root. The preverbs found in Gazi are dar-, de-, var-, ve- and possibly he-, e- ~ i-. Note some contrasting examples: bí-gi “grab! catch!” vé-gi “pick up!,” í-gi “take! get!”; bé-cin “pick!” vé-cin “sheer!; gather!” dé-cin “stack!”; gartāne “I go around,” vé-gartāne “I return”; bé-m-xos “I threw, I hit,” vāˊ-m-xos “I threw (down),” dá-m-xos “I pinned (him) down (in wrestling)”; mālāne “I rub,” vár-mālāne “I flee.” The status of he- and e-~ i- (tā jāyeze í-girān “so that I get a prize,” bö´-šo í-oft “he went (and) slept,” é-mun-nāšt “we seated,” é-ž-tā “he gave”) is not totally clear. In contrast to the Jewish dialect of Isfahan, they occur in the present (e-n-énde “they put,” í-ni-ān-e “I sit”), imperfect (i-ništ-éy-e “he would sit”), or even with negatives in Gazi (i-né-ni-ān “(that) I not sit,” e-ž-nān-āˊn-e/ e-ž-ná-nān-ān-e “I seat/don’t seat him,” e-ná-n-end “let them not put”), but not always (e-nān-e~nān-e “I am putting” é-t-an “(that) I give” vs. t-ān-e “I give”). i- ~ e- and he- could either be contrastive (i-nište-bo “he had sat down” vs. hé-nešte-bo “he had run”), or, since some forms vacillate in Eilers’ data (e.g., (h)é-te “give!” (h)é-tu “let him give”), they could just be alternate forms.

Verb roots that had an original initial vowel and a preverb ending in -r moved the -r from the preverb to the verb root in the modern language. In such forms as veröškoā “it split open,” derāyžāne “I hang,” verossāne “I get up,” or verašnāne “I hear,” where the position of -r- is not apparent in the affirmative forms (but is still part of the preverb in similar preverb-verb combinations in other NWI languages), the past tense or any negative forms in modern Gazi show that the -r- has clearly become part of the verb root: de-ná-rāyžāne “I don’t hang” (cf. de-má-rāyž! “don’t hang!”), ve-ná-rossāne “I do not get up,” vé-m-rašnoft “I heard,” ve-m-röškoft “I split (it) open” (see also JDI for a similar process). We can see that the -r- is still perceived as part of the preverb even in the modern language, however, in cases when the preverb is occasionally omitted, in which case the initial -r- also disappears from the root: ašnofté-ž-e “he was hearing.”

Negation is formed by ná-: ná-kerāne “I don’t do,” ná-dāru “he doesn’t have,” imperfect e-m-ná-nā-yy-e “I wouldn’t put.” bé- is suppressed in the negative: bé-gir-u/ná-gir-u “that he catch/not catch”; bé-ž-unt/ná-ž-unt “he cut/didn’t cut.” The negative command is formed with na- (nam(b)er “don’t die!”) or má- (por mángā! “don’t talk so much!” < angār-). Preverbs are retained in the negative forms: mo-ž da-ná-xosse “he hasn’t pinned me down (in wrestling),” ve-má-ro “don’t get up!” zun- “know” has two alternate negative forms: názunān ~ nánān “I don’t know.”

Non-finite forms include one present and two past participles and four types of infinitives. Infinitives function as verbal nouns but are, especially types 2 and 3 here, also used with modals (see below). (1) Past stem + -(ə)mun: kār kartəmún “to work,” gitmún “to take,” feresnāmún “to send,” e.g.: mo hāl-e baγdād šo-mún nádārān “I’m not in the mood for going to Baghdad,” fékri be enāštəmún-āžun ke “they thought about seating us”; (2) full past stems with no suffix and no loss of final consonants, often called the “short infinitive”: kār kart “to work,” duru vāt “to lie,” šo “to go,” e.g.: cundin sāl dars xunt o kār kart “several years of studying and working,” az var-mālāˊ-ž, az engāˊšt-āž xóšnüd bébo “he was (lit: became) happy with his fleeing, his speaking,” asar vārun ume náu “there is no sign of rain coming”; (3) another variant of “short infinitive” with similar functions but minus the final -(r)t: kār ke “to work,” xo “to eat,” usually used with modals (see below); (4) past stem + -an, the least common type, probably borrowed from Persian: unā-d kuštan tā “you gave them (over) to (being) killed.” Note that some verbs have two or three alternate forms as with “to work” and “to go” here.

The formation of Past Participle One (mostly used in the formation of the perfects) is: (preverb/be-) + Past Root + after consonants (be-košt-e “killed,” ve-git-e “picked up”), but after a vowel, either -Ø, or -a is added: (ume > b-ume-Ø “come”; of the past root + -a/-ā of the participle yields either -aa or -āā, for instance, the past stems asā, e-tā, ve-numā and ve-pušnā have the following perfect forms respectively: béasaayān “I have looked,” šā farmún-āž e-taa / taá-biye “the shah has commanded/had commanded,” vazir-āmun-ā vé-mun-numaa “we have appointed our vazir,” vé-m-pušnāā-bo “I had dressed (trans).” Past Participle Two is formed exactly like the first but with no initial be- or type two preverb (i- and (h)e-) and is used in an optional alternate form of the perfect tenses (see below), or as a noun: karté-ye xo-ž “his doing(s) (lit: his own done),” vāté xodā “the word of God.”

Person endings. The distinction between Set₁ and Set₂ endings in Table 1 is crucial for the conjugation of verbs in Gazi. Set₁ is reserved for the present system of all verbs (but see Individual tenses for the singular command and also Modals, below), both intransitive (xand-end-e “they laugh”) and transitive (xer-end-e “they eat”), as well as for the preterit and perfect tenses of intransitive verbs. Set₂ endings (which in Persian may only indicate objects), however, are obligatory in Gazi to indicate the subject in the past system of transitive verbs: trans. bé-žun-xort “they ate” vs. intrans. bé-xandā-ynd “they laughed.” Thus Gazi qabul-ād kart only means “you accepted,” never “he accepted you.” Set₂ endings change position depending on the tense (see Table 4 and the discussion under Individual tenses and Fronting, below) and even negation: ašnofté-ž-e “he was hearing,” né-ž-ašnofté-yy-e “he wasn’t hearing.”

Important points in the Gazi Set₁ endings are: (1) 1st sg. -ān with -n rather than -m; (2) the 2nd sg. -e changes to -i when followed by the tense marker -e: subjunctive bé-xun-e “that you read,” but present xun-i-e “you read”; (3) 3rd sg. -u is typical of some CPD (see HAMADĀN ix for further discussion); 4) Set₂ plural endings sometimes take an additional suffix -un (probably modeled on the Set₂ endings), e.g., bo-im-un “we were,” bé-vaz-id-un “run (pl.)!” dār-end-un “they have,” ná-t-end-un-e “they don’t give,” bérasāynd(un) “they arrived” (see also the imperfect forms below for further discussion). Important points in the Set₂ endings are: (1) the distinction between intransitive (Set₁) and transitive (Set₂) conjugations is lost in the imperfect (see below), a rather unusual case for NWI languages; (2) the difference between the alternate forms -āž and -āy for the 3rd sg. (see Table 1), if any, is not completely clear. Both are used as possessives: (EY) pül-āž “his money” gušt-āy “its meat,” (WE) mere-ž, mere-y “her husband”; as subject in past: (ZH) ún-āy bídi “he saw him,” in-āž bé-vāt “he said this”; vé-y-parsā ~ vé-ž-parsā “he asked”; (WE) ém-āy yušnā “he boiled (them) together,” ye žan-āž béxās “he asked (to marry) a woman”; and as both possessive and fronted agent together: (EY) āš-āž-āy₂ boxorte “he₂ has eaten his₁ soup.” Note the following alternate forms used by the same speaker (Eilers, pp. 146-48): be-ž-vāt ~ be-y-vāt “he said,” benā-ž ke~benā-y ke “he began,” gumbā-ž-e ~ gumbā-yy-e “he wanted,” sar-āž ~ sar-āy “his head,” bar kie xo-ž-āž ret ~ bar kie xo-ž-āy ret “he poured (it) in front of his (own) house,” dar dómb-āž-āž bas “he₂ threw (him) on his₁ back,” kúl-āž-āy git “he₂ took (it) on his₁ (upper) back.”

Fronting. As shown in the previous section, there are two sets of person endings in Gazi verbs (and most NWI languages). Since Set₂ endings as subject markers are quite different from English, other European, languages and Persian, it is worth reiterating that Set₂ endings show agreement with subject only in the case of transitive verbs and only in the tenses of the past system, as well all tenses of the verb “to want” (see Modals below). While the position for the Set₂ endings is fixed and unchangeable in Gazi verbs (just as with all Persian verb forms), Set₂ endings by contrast are quite mobile. As already seen, Set₂ endings indicating the subject are located in different positions in the preterit (e.g., bé-ž-cint “he picked,” bé-žun-košt “they killed”) than the imperfect (e.g., cinté-ž-e “he was picking,” košté-žun-e “they would kill”). In addition, there is a general (but optional) tendency for Set₂ to move forward in a sentence, hence the designation “Fronting.” This process only occurs in sentences that have words preceding the verb other than the subject. With this process the Set₂ subject markers in the past system of transitives move off the verb to a preceding word (but never to the subject), for instance, (past) unā-d šehíd ke “you martyred them,” ibize-m xorté-yy-e “I was eating melon.” Set₂ remains on the verb when it stands alone (bé-ž-košt “he killed”), but Fronting to the direct object, when one exists, is the preferred form in the past system, (e.g., preterit: tofang xo-ž-āmun b-ārt “we brought (him) his own rifle,” ye pür-bale-žun dā “they had a big (i.e., grown) son”; imperfect: araγ-āmun xorté-yy-e “we were drinking arrack,” numā-m xunté-yy-e “I was saying (my) prayers”; perfect tenses: pül-ām-āy ve-ne-git-e “he hasn’t taken my money,” ebādat-āž bé-karte-bo “he had worshipped”). Set₂ may also remain on the verb (bar bābā-m xunté-m-e “I used to read for my father”), especially when there is no direct object. In addition, the verb “want,” formed with Set₂ person markers in all tenses, generally moves these markers to a preceding word (pres: har-ci-d gu-e “whatever you want,” pül-āžun-āžun gu-e “they₂ want their₁ money”). As the previous example shows, a Set₂ verbal marker may move to a word that already has a Set₂ possessive (abā-ž-āžun barté-yy-e “they would take his cloak away”).

Set₂ not only moves to the word immediately preceding the verb but also commonly skips to an even earlier word in the sentence: to-m az qarq nejāt e-tā “I saved you from drowning,” ye kíe-bale-ž az mo bírinte-bo “he had bought a big house from me,” occasionally even over the subject (ye emsin cíi-m mo ru tekie bí-di “I saw such a thing in the takia,” ye šāl yazzi nu-ž taže bicāre bí-rinte-bo “the poor (guy) had just bought a new Yazdi scarf”) or out of a relative clause: in amál-āž ke xow mo bé-karte “this action that he has done to me.” As these examples show, however, the Set₂ endings almost always skip to words earlier in the sentence only so that they can remain attached to the direct object regardless of where it is located, sometimes even quite far from the verb: cador-āmun šöš kilumetri go sar ye farséngi-u bé-žente-bo “we had pitched tent six kilometers (away), which is one full parasang.” Set₂ endings will usually remain attached to the verb when no overt direct object is expressed even though other words precede the verb (har ru košté-žun-e “they would kill (him) every day,” az saadi vé-š-parsā “he asked Saʿdi”), but this is not a strict rule, cf. ru ruxune-žun xos “they threw (it) in the river,” ém-āy yušnā “he boiled (them) together.” Set₂ as agent marker may not be fronted to a subject; thus refiγ-āž-āž bévāt can only mean “he told his friend,” never “his friend said” (see also Fronting under HAMADĀN ix for a more detailed discussion of this phenomenon).

Tense Markers. (a) -e. The marker of the present and the imperfect tenses (i.e., the durative forms) is a suffixed -e: pres. runú-e “it grows,” vé-girim-e “we pick up”; imperf. (intrans.) vasséym-e “I used to run,” vārāˊ-yy-e “it used to rain”; (trans.) karté-m-e, karté-d-e, karté-ž-e, “I, you, he used to do.” With fronting of Set₂, -e stays on the verb: araγ-āmun xorté-yy-e “we would drink arrack.” (b) The prefix bé- is used to form the subjunctive, imperative, preterit and perfect forms (i.e., the non-durative forms) but drops when a preverb or a negative is present: bévān “let me say” but vérossān “let me get up.” It has many alternate forms but bé- (bé-ž-vāt “he said,” bé-m-xunt “I read”) is the most common (see the comment on vowel harmony at the end of Phonology above). Bé- is sometimes deleted from these tenses, but the reasons for this are not totally clear: go das dar tilaž mālu “that he rub his hand on his stomach,” xodā bar kamár-ām xusu “may God strike my loins (i.e., fertility),” sar-e yā-ž-āy“he₂ put (it) in its₁ place.”

Individual tenses. Various comments. (a) Imperatives: “To be” has special subjunctive and imperative forms (see Table 2), which then serve to build the equivalent forms of the modals as well as of “have” (subj. dār-bān, dār-be, dār-bu, etc.; imp. dār-be!) and “know” (subj. zum-bān (= zun-bān), etc.; imp. zum-be!). The irregular imperative búre/máwre “come/don’t come!” is typical in NWI. Véro “get up!” loses the final -ss of the present stem. Alongside é-m-te, there is the irregular form mói, both meaning “give (it) to me!” The singular imperative of regular verbs, as elsewhere in Iranian, ends simply in the present stem: bíxus “hit!” bírin “buy!” bédderaz “jump!” bévez “run!” vá-darz “sew!” dé-cin “stack!” í-ni “sit!” vé-gi “pick up!” máke “don’t do!” máxus “don’t hit!” Often the second person singular subjunctive also serves as the command form (báre “bring!” béwne “cut!” bérone “sweep!” béše “go!” béase “look!” vér-ašne “hear!” der-āyže “hang (it) up!”), including all causative verbs (bésuzne “burn (trans.)!” nátāyne “don’t make run!”); (b) there are no special optative forms for blessings or curses as in the Jewish dialect of Isfahan; the subjunctive forms are used instead: xodā ömr derāzi-t étu “may God give you long life,” va:bā bédberu “may cholera take you!”; (c) Gazi has progressive forms built with “have” as their auxiliary verb as in colloquial Persian (az dur ye darviš dāru yúe “a dervish is coming from afar”), but they are rarely encountered in the actual texts: mo numā-m xunté-yy-e “I was saying (my) prayers,” cez-u larzíe? “why are you trembling?”

The transitive preterit has two types, the conditions for which are not totally clear (but in any case Fronting is still the most common pattern): (1) bé-/preverb + Set₂ + past root (e.g., “return” in Table 3, “read,” in Table 4), and (2) the less common bé- + past root + Set₂ (e.g., “brought” in Table 4). On rare occasions when the context is clear, Set₂ markers may be omitted altogether: be but sujde ke “he prostrated himself to the idol,” ínā mo xo-m be caš né-die “I haven’t seen this myself with my (own) eyes” (cf. mo xo-m bí-m-di “I saw it myself”).

The Imperfect of Gazi intransitives shows certain interesting innovations: (1) Set₂ endings are used for intransitive as well as transitive verbs; (2) there seem to be two imperfect markers, one before and one after the person endings (xandāˊ-y-m-e); (3) the 3rd singular uses only the variant -āy-, not -āž; (4) while Eilers mostly has the usual Set₂ ending for 3rd plural (xandā-žun-e), Yarshater (and Eilers, rarely) gives the 3rd pl. as -ndun (see Person Endings, point 4 above). Fronting of Set₂ is not allowed for intransitives.

Perfects of most intransitives are formed: Past Participle One + Set₂ + BE (bérasaa(-u) “he has arrived”), but a few verbs alternate with Participle Two: “go” (kuā béšte(-u) ~ kuā šiye(-u)? “where has he gone?) and “become” (bí-bie(-u)) vs. “be” (bie(-u)). There are two types of transitive perfects (parallel to the two preterit types): (1) -/preverb + Set₂ + Past Participle + BE: (bímxosse(-u) “I have thrown,” bé-ž-rasnaa “he has delivered”) is more common, and (2) the rarer type, Past Participle Two + Set₂ + BE alternates with type one in certain verbs (bé-ž-vāte-bo ~ vāt-ež bo “he had said,” b-ārt-ežun-u “they have brought”). The tense of the auxiliary “be” distinguishes the present, past, and subjunctive perfects (vémbirinte-(u) “I have cut,” vémbirinte-bo “I had cut,” ege mo bé-šte-bān “if I (may) have gone”) and is optional only in the 3rd singular of the present perfect (dot max bibí-e(-u) “the girl has gotten lost”) and all transitive present perfects (bímvāte(-u) “I have said”). Fronting of Set₂ is a further option, most common with direct objects or compound verbs: mo ta:rif to-m xéli var hākem békarte “I have praised you to the governor very much,” dessür-ād étaa-bo “you had commanded.” Past verb stems that drop final -rt reintroduce these sounds in the perfects before the final -é: xálγ-ād ke “you created” vs. xálγ-ād karté “you have created.” See above under Verb Stems and Non-finite forms for additional examples of the perfect tenses.

Modals. “Want” and “can” have the following characteristics: (1) they are indirect (or dative) verbs (“it is wanting/possible to me”) with the Set₂ endings expressing the person either right in the verb: (want) pres.: gú-m-e/ná-m-gue, gú-d-e, gú-ž-e, etc.; past (two similar variants): gumāˊ-m- e~gumbāˊ-y-m-e, gumāˊ-d-e~gumbāˊ-y-d-e; (can) pres.: be-šā-m/ná-šā-m, be-šā-d, be-šā-ž; past: be-šā-m-boyye, be-šā-d-boyye), or with Set₂ fronted to a preceding word (ü´ccü-mun az to ná-gu-e “we don’t want anything from you,” har bār gu-dun-bu “whenever you should want,” mo teng araγ-ām ná-šā ürd kerān “I cannot tolerate arrack”); (2) tenses other than the present are formed with a “be” auxiliary (subj.: gú-m-bu, gú-d-bu; bé-šā-m-bu, bé-šā-d-bu, etc.). The main verb is always in the subjunctive following “want” and generally after “can,” but the short infinitive may also occur after personal forms of “can.” Impersonal forms of “can” always use the short infinitive. Examples: (“want”) xodā gumāˊyže emtehún-āž keru “God wanted to test him”; (“can”) personal, with subjunctive: ü´škü ná-šā-ž xat mó-rā béxunu “no one can read my handwriting”; personal, with short infinitive: nášā-žun boyye celgi dót-ā cāk ke “they couldn’t cure the girl’s insanity.” There are three ways to express personal forms of “must” (i.e., “I, you, he, etc. must”) and one way for impersonal forms (i.e., “one must”). Personal: (1) qāyde (an invariable form) plus a subjunctive (qāyde béšān, qāyde béše “I, you must go,” qāyde sālem bu “he must be healthy); (2) a special form of “want” (bégu) minus the Set₂ endings, followed by a subjunctive (bégu béše “you must go”). A second form, which is actually a past form, seems to be used also with present sense (gumā-bo de timān é-t-u “he must give 10 tumans,” etc.); (3) the previous form, bégu, or a less common alternate form, égu (both with present sense), plus the Set₂ endings (and optional fronting) followed by a short infinitive (bémgu šo, bédgu šo “I, you must go,” araγ-ād bégu xo “you must drink arrack”; ejāre-ž égu tā “he must pay (give) the rent”). The impersonal construction uses bégu without Set₂ followed by a short infinitive: sár-āž-ā bégu und “one must cut the top of it off.”

To be. Gazi has possibly four “be” verbs (cited in 3rd sg.): (1) -u (neg: ná-u), a general copula: mo mere-d-ān “I am your husband,” to šöytun-e “you are the devil,” bár kuā-u? “where is the door?” xün sür-u “blood is red,” mo xasse-yān “I am tired,” vace go boyān “when I was a child,” xandedār bo “it was funny”; (2) While the present form of be2, hu, (cf. Persian hast-) is separately listed in Yarshater’s data, no examples were found in the various corpora of Gazi. The forms and functions of this verb may have merged with be3, especially given the Gazi tendency to lose initial h-; (3) ess-u (i.e., ess-/essā “stand”) has a copular function: žer sar to essu “it is under your charge,” sāt-tā ešrefi ru cante-ž essu "100 ašrafis (gold coin, q.v.) are in his bag,” ozun vo dandunā ru ayn essu “the tongue and the teeth are in the mouth”; essu sometimes also functions as “become” (see below). (4) dár-u, “be in” (neg: ná-dar-u) (see also above, ISFAHAN xix and GILĀN ix): sárāž haméžā ru kitāb dár-bo “her head was always in a book,” de-vis ru der-end “they are (around) for ten-twenty days,” mo se raš bumeyān, šoma kie ná-dar-boid “I came three times (but) you weren’t home”). be1 also alternates with the other “be” verbs: (location) in deraxt düm xarand bo “this tree was on the footpath,” ru cante-ž dáru ~ ru cante-ž essu “it is in her purse.”

Become is expressed by two verbs. The more common one consists of “to be₁” plus tense-aspect markers (see Table 2 and Table 3): pres. baletar b-ú-e “he gets bigger”; imperf. har vax ibize-m xorté-yy-e, nācāk boym-e “every time I ate melon, I would get sick.” Note the contrast in nācāk boyān “I was sick” vs. nācāk bé-boyān “I got sick” vs. nācāk boym-e “I would get sick.” The present perfect is seen in dot max bibíe(-u) “the girl has gotten lost.” (See also Passive below). The second “become” verb is ve-ess/-ā, i.e., “be₃” (stand) plus preverb,” but seems to occur mostly in the negative form in order to retain a clear distinction between the negative forms of “be” and “become” (which are identical in many NWI languages): go bozāˊ gar ve-nássend “… so that the goats not get mangy,” mo sir ve-ná-ssāyān “I have not become full/satiated.” There are also occasional affirmative forms: (ZH) peydā vessā “it was found,” mah vessaa-bo “it had gotten lost,” (WE) pir vesse ~ pir bébe “may you grow (lit: become) old!"

Causatives, Passives. The causative formant -n/-nā is added to the present stem of the non-causative: emus- “to learn” > emusn/-ā “to teach,” (WE) ces- “to stick (intrans)” > cesn/-ā “to stick (trans).” The vowel of the stem may also be lengthened or changed in the causative: car- (intrans) > cārn- “to graze,” ver- (intrans) > vern- ~ vārn- “to pass,” (EY) cesúe “it sticks (intrans.) > cösnāne “I stick (it) up (on the wall, etc.).” Gazi has no formal passive forms, but four alternatives exist: (1) different past stem formations (see Verb Stems above) sometimes distinguish active from passive (with transitive vs. intransitive conjugations): (trans.) bé-ž-emart, bé-ž-sut (~bé-ž-suzna) “he broke (it), he burned (it)” vs. (intrans.) bé-(e)marā-Ø, bé-suz-ā-Ø “it broke, it burned”; (2) analytic formation with “become” as in Persian: fárγ-āž öškofte bébie “his crown (of his head) has (been) split open”; (3) the same verb can have both active/passive or intransitive/transitive senses: pešúe “he cooks (trans.)” and “it cooks (intrans.)”; (4) some so-called causative forms are nothing more than a way to convert an intransitive stem to transitive and the resulting pair of verbs serves the same “active/passive” type distinction discussed here: cesúe “it sticks” > cösnāne “I stick (it),” xārúe “it itches” xārnúe “he scratches,” girúe “it lights up, it goes on” > girnúe “he lights (it) up, he turns (it) on.” As these examples show, “passive” has a much wider range of meanings than simply passive.



Harold W. Bailey “Modern Western Iranian: Infinitives in Gazī and Soī,” TPS, 1935b, pp. 73-74, repr. in idem, Opera Minora I, pp. 265-66.

Wilhelm Eilers and Ulrich Schapka, Westiranische Mundarten aus der Sammlung Wilhelm Eilers II: Die Mundart von Gäz, 2 vols., Wiesbaden, 1979.

Pierre Lecoq, “Les dialectes du centre de l’Iran,” in Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., pp. 313-26.

Manfred Mayrhofer, “Vorgeschichte der iranischen Sprachen; Uriranisch,” in Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., pp. 4-24.

Rüdiger Schmitt, “Die altiranischen Sprachen im Überblick,” in idem, ed., pp. 25-31.

Idem, ed., Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989.

Ehsan Yarshater, Handwritten field notes collected in Gaz, 1969, kindly provided to the author.

Valentin A. Zhukovskiĭ, Materialï dlya izuches-niya persidskikh’ narechiy, 3 vols., St. Petersburg, 1888-1922.

(Donald Stilo)

Originally Published: December 15, 2007

Last Updated: April 5, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 1, p. 112 and Vol. XIV, Fasc. 2, pp. 113-119