AFTARĪ, the dialect of Aftar (population about 1,200), located at lat 35°39′ N, long 53°07′ E in the mountains one kilometer west of the Semnān-Fīrūzkūh road to Māzandarān. Historical phonology shows Aftarī as a Northwest (i.e. non-Perside) dialect of Iranian, e.g., *v > v: varg “wolf;” *dv > b: bar “door;” *k > s: kasin “small;” *ĝ > z: yeze “yesterday;” *θr, fr, xr(h)r: pūr “son,” herān “tomorrow,” erin “buy;” note also a < *azam “I;” hūǰ < *yužam “you (pl.);” ǰūn < *hača-avān- “they” (an old possessive); vāž < *vāč “say.” Aftarī is closely related to Sorḵaʾī-Lāsgerdī; together with Sangesarī and Šahmīrzādī these dialects form a distinct semicircle around Semnān and are related to Ṭabarī/Māzandarānī and, more remotely, to Harzanī in north Azerbaijan and Zāzā in eastern Anatolia (note especially the use of the old present participle for the present indicative: *-ant- > -nd, and the shared assimilations *-r-nd- > -nn-, as in *kar-nd- > kenn- “do” and in *vāž-nd- > vānn- “say”). Aftarī with Sorḵaʾī and Lāsgerdī developed certain Sprachbund features with Semnānī, such as -išt- in the intransitive past and the use of personal suffixes in the transitive past.

The morphology is summarized in Table 1.

Noun-Phrase. The plural marker is -ūn; no gender or oblique forms are attested. The subordinate noun, pronoun, or adjective precede the head-noun. The specific direct object is marked by the postposition -de, also marking the locative; the comparative postposition is -tun. The (remnant) oblique forms of the 1st and 2nd singular pronouns occur in all non-subject cases, e.g., subordinate noun: tá kiḗ “your house,” tá cī “yours;” indirect object: a tā dénnī “I give to you;” direct object: hēm tá-de vīnénnīm “we see you;” comparative: a tá-tun mastér-ī “I am older than you.” The personal suffixes occur with verbs, only to mark (a) the subject/agent in the past of transitives, e.g., tomún-de vīnénn-a “you see me,” but to mún-de bé-dī-ut “you saw me;” and (b) the effectee with modals such as - “want, must,” e.g., a génn-a-m “I want, must” (followed by the subjunctive; cf. classical Persian ma-rā bāyad/bāyadam).

Verb. The intransitive past tenses are marked by -išt- preceding the personal ending, except for the 3rd singular which has neither. The transitive past tenses are marked by the attachment of the personal suffixes to the past stems. The imperfective marker is -enn- in the present indicative, but the prefix me- in the past, i.e. imperfect. The perfective marker in the past is -, while stative/resultative forms lack this prefix. The subjunctive is marked by -, negative -. The causative marker is -en- attached to the present stem; passive/inchoative forms are not attested. The following examples illustrate the system (1st person singular, present indicative, preterit, perfect, past perfect): intransitive (of ā- “come”): á-nn-ī, bé-mu-št-ī, (3rd sg. bé-mu/o), bé-mu-št-ī, (3rd sg. bé-mu-a), be-mu-a bu-št-ī; transitive (of hā-kar “do”): ké-nn-i, hāˊ-kard-um, hāˊ-kard-a-m, hāˊ-kard bo-a-m. Note perfective bé-nerā-št-ī “I sat down,” but stative nerā bu-št-ī “I was sitting.” 


G. Morgenstierne, “Stray Notes on Persian Dialects,” NTS 19, 1960, pp. 94, 100-07, 109-21 (comparative vocabulary).

For maps showing Aftarī’s geographical relationship to other dialects see Ch. A. Azami and G. L. Windfuhr, A Dictionary of Sangesari. With a Grammatical Outline, Tehran, 1972, pp. 197-98.

(G. L. Windfuhr)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 28, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, pp. 592-593

Cite this entry:

G. L. Windfuhr, “AFTARĪ,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 1982, available at