BANDARI, the dialect spoken by the native population of Bandar ʿAbbās, administrative center of Hormozgān province, and of its environs. Short news programs in the dialect are transmitted from time to time on the local TV channel and on radio wave. Songs in Bandari are highly popular among city inhabitants and have much in common with the musical folklore of the other regions of the Persian Gulf coast. Almost all of the circulating tape recordings go back to pre-revolutionary times, and only few recordings with the songs on political and social issues have been officially produced quite recently. In the last years local publishing houses have printed a number of books on the history, ethnography and culture of Bandar ʿAbbās, among them a collection of lyrical poems in Bandari (Reżāyi) and glossary (Sāybāni, pp. 287-400).

Bandari belongs to the southwestern group of the Iranian languages. It is tightly encircled by a number of other, less known dialects geographically located on the territory between Lārestān and Bašākerd, such as the local dialects of Mināb, Rudān, Berentin, Menujān (to the east of Bandar ʿAbbās), Lenge (to the southeast), Hājiābād (to the north), and the islands of Hormoz, Qešm and Kiš. They are closely related, and together with Bandari constitute a distinct sub-group of the Hormozgān dialects.

On a large scale, Bandari shares many of the phonological and morphological features listed below, as well as lexical items, with the dialects of Fārs and Lārestān, and the Baškerdi and Kumzāri dialects, and in its phonemic system is closest to that of Lāri (Kamioka, Yamada, 1979, p. X). This includes the behavior of stable and unstable vowels, the contraction of ab/āb > ü; much of the formation of verb system; and lexical items such as kardunden, kard- ‘throw’; kaften, ka- ‘fall’; gap ‘big’; xars ‘tear’.


Typical changes from Old and Middle Iranian, and later changes, include the following. Consonants: (1) *θr > s, e.g., ā–puθra- > āvus ‘pregnant’; (2) *dz > d, e.g., dumār ‘son-in-law’; (3) *-sm- > -hm- in čehem ‘eye’; (4) initial *y > j, e.g., jema ‘clothes’; (5) initial *w- > g-, g(w), e.g., *wabz- > güz ‘hornet’, *wēn-a- > gīn-, a-gīn-et ‘he sees’, govüg ‘daughter-in-law’, gwak ‘frog’, *wāč- ( or *gaub-) > g(a)-, a-ge-yt ‘he speaks’; (6) xw- > xw, e.g., xwah ‘sister’, xwaš ‘good’,but xo ‘self’; (7) retention of voiced stops -d, -g; e.g., müd ‘hair’ (Ir. *mauda, MP. mōy), borg ‘eyebrow’ (MP. burg), but estak ‘fruit stone’ (MP. ast(ag) ‘bone’); note *-ā-tar- > -ār in berār ‘brother’, dumār ‘brother-in-law’; (8) occlusive -d- and –t- appear instead of fricative -y- in words hamsāda ‘neighbor’ and dātī ‘stepmother’; (9) sporadic r > l, l > r, e.g., eškāl ‘hunting game’, espül ‘spleen’, sixür ‘porcupine’; (10) intervocalic -b- > -v-, e.g., taver ‘axe’, āvela ‘smallpox’; and further (11) ab/āb > av/āv > ou > ü, e.g., āb > ‘water’, nawak > nük ‘grandson’, šü ‘night’, ‘sleep’; (12) in loans, uvular q > k, but final postvocalic -x, e.g., mekdār ‘amount’, karāvul ‘pheasant’, and šallāx ‘whip’, kāčāx ‘contraband’, kāšek ‘spoon’, but -γ in kāteγ ‘gravy’.

Vowels: long *ī/* ē > ī, *ū/*ō > ū, ā > ā; short i > e, u > u/o, a > a/e/u. The stable u is generally fronted ü, e.g., müšk ‘mouse’, düd ‘smoke’, but may remain unchanged as in xūb ‘good’, bāhūš ‘clever’, possibly under Persian influence. Prenasal ā is raised to ū, e.g., xūna ‘house’. Of the unstable vowels, u may be retained in clusters with final stop, e.g., duxt ‘daughter’, duz ‘thief’ < duzd, but elsewhere is lowered to o, e.g., sorx ‘red’, dom ‘tail’. Most unstable is a , which tends to be centralized to e in closed syllables and nasal contexts, e.g., deryā ‘sea’, āhen ‘iron’; and rounded in labial contexts, e.g., buhār ‘spring’, juvāb ‘answer’. The diphthong ow is retained in some Persian loans, e.g., rowγan ‘oil’, mowj ‘wave’, but in direct loans from Arabic regularly merges with ü, e.g., mawqi > müke ‘time, moment’. The synchronic system is showin in Table 1.


Nominal. The definite marker is ü, e.g., e.g., berār-e gap-ü ‘the elder brother’. Indefiniteness is marked by –i e.g., tü ya šahr-ī ‘in one town’. The productive plural marker is an open -o < -, e.g., zan-o ‘women’, gadük-o ‘jugs’. Dependent nominals are connected by -e; which is lost after long vowel, e.g., sedā me ‘voice of mine’, ǰelü sang-e gap-i ‘near the big stone’, ba tara xūna xo ‘to his (her, their) house’.

The main prepositions are: a, ey ‘from’, e.g., a asp-o zir hunden ‘they dismounted’, mekdār-ī ey ī vāgīrum ‘I will take part of it’; ba ‘to’, e.g., ba hayāt ra ‘he went to the yard’; ‘with, by’, e.g., vā mā zendegī bokun ‘live with us’, vā zarba-v-o-ye šamšir košt-a ‘killed by sword strikes’); bey ‘to’, e.g., gadük-o bey ā zan ī-dā ‘he gave the jugs to that woman’, bey ühamla šā-kerd ‘they attacked him’, bey āpel düvī ‘he ran in that direction’. Note also bey in the function of the Persian postposition –rā, e.g., düš bey ümā-dī ‘yesterday we saw him’.


There are two basic sets: (1) The independent pronouns and the personal affixes, which serve in all oblique function, including possession, direct and indirect object. Prefixed to past forms, these affixes also serve in the verb system as person markers in the imperfect with both transitive and intransitive verbs, and as agent markers in the simple past and the pluperfect. Typologically noteworthy is 3s i- (hai), the agent form in the intransitive past and pluperfect, which contrasts with –š (šai) in other functions. (2) The copula with the existential verb and the personal endings. The existential verb is based on hast-, and has a distinct past form marked by –ar (<at- ‘was’, as also found in other dialects of the region): see Table 2.

The demonstratives are ā, ī 'that, this', ā-šü, ī-sü 'those, these'. The personal endings differ from the forms of the copula only in the 3s and 3p. The ending of the 3s past is zero. The verb büd-en 'become, be' has two subjunctive variants, bü- and baš (there is no Persian-type šod-an in Bandari.)

Stems and Nominal Forms. Verb forms are based on the present and past stems marked by –t/d. Nominal forms include the past participle –t/d-a, and the infinitive –t/d-en, e.g., pres. gīn-, past dīd 'to see', with dīd-a, dīd-en, and pres. ra-, past raft 'to go, leave', with raft-a, raft-en.

Prefixes. The imperfective prefix in the general present-future and imperfect is at-, a- before consonants, e.g., at-ā-m 'I (will) come, a-gīn-um 'I (will) see'; m-a-ra 'I was going', or 'I used to go', š-a-vārd(en) 'he was bringing, or 'he used to bring'. The negation is na-. The present subjunctive and imperative have the prefix be-/bo-, superseded by na-. The earlier directional-locational prefixes are preserved only in the positive subjunctive and imperative, apparently only with the verb dād-en 'to give', thus hā- 'forth' in hā-dā 'give!' and hā-de-ym 'that we give', but na-dā 'don't give!'

Verb system. The basic system of aspect and tense is fourfold. It distinguishes two imperfective (at, a-), and two perfective forms, each set pairing a non-anterior with an anterior member. The marker of past anterior is –ar- (cf. the existential verb). Mood similarly has four members: two subjunctives, the present subjunctive together with the imperative, and (though unrecorded) a past subjunctive marked by the subjunctive of 'to be', while the function of conditional, or counterfactual mood is expressed by the imperfect and pluperfect forms (as in Persian). An essential parameter is transitivity, whereby the agent is expressed by personal prefixes in past tenses of transitive verbs. In the imperfective, the transitive pattern extended to intransitive verbs as well. The basic system, pairing transitive and intransitive conjugation, is shown in Table 3, adding forms of the present subjunctive.

Verbal Constructions

In the present, two verbal constructions have disambiguated the present-future: (1) the continuous present, which is a locative construction, a-PT-e + copula ('be at Vb-ing'), e.g., 1s a-nevešt-um, 1p a-nevešt-e-ym, 2s/2p a-nevešt-e-y. This has become the "regular" present tense form; (2) an immediate future, expressed by a compound construction with the present of 'to come', at-ā, followed by the present-future forms, e.g., at-ā-m a-nin-um 'I shall sit down'. The pattern is thus as in Table 4, although not all of the forms are recorded in the field.

Possessive and Modal Constructions: Possession is expressed by an impersonal construction, lit. 'to me is', etc. The possessor is indicated by the personal affix, followed by the 3s of the existential verb, pres. ha, past hast-a (< hast- and hast-ar), e.g., singü um-ha 'I have a crab', xuna mā-hast-a 'we had a house' (Persian-type dāštan is not found). Similarly, wish and need is expressed impersonally with the 3s of the verb 'want', pres. a-vā, past vāst, followed by the subjunctive; thus, m-a-vā, t-a-vā, š-a-vā, mā-vā, tā-vā, šā-vā, e.g., m-a-vā be-ra-m 'I want to go'.

Obligation is expressed bāya 'must' followed by the subjunctive, e.g., bāya ya jāy-ī kāyem baš-um 'I must hide somewhere'. Ability is expressed by the verb tün-, tünest 'can' likewise followed by the subjunctive, e.g., to a-tün-ī cīz-ī na-ge-ī 'you may not say anything'.

Examples of modal verb forms: subjunctive, ke rahbar-umü bo-bü-t xurram 'so that our leader becomes glad'; imperative, be-ge 'take'; counterfactual use of imperfect and pluperfect, aga nāma et-nevešt-a, müm-et xüšāl š-a-bü 'if you had written a letter, your mother would have become glad'.


Apart from the words of purely Iranian origin such as berār 'brother', duxt 'daughter', čehem 'eye', 'lip', süz 'green', the lexicon of Bandari includes some Arabic and English loans borrowed without Persian meditation. Thus, Arabic loan include tüfa 'tribe, people' < Ar. ṭāʿifa; magrāz 'scissors' < Ar. miqrāḍ. English loans include lanč < Engl. launch, kākrük < cockroach, tüvāl < towel. Terms that are less common synonyms in Persian may be dominant terms in Bandari, such as kāspa-pošt 'turtle' for lāk-pošt, gazer 'carrot' for havij, nāštā 'breakfast' for sobhāne), while others show shift in connotation, such as Pers. xiyār 'cucumber', but 'melon' in Bandari, Pers. kadu 'pumpkin', Band. küdü 'watermelon'. In addition, a large number of professional terms comes from traditional pursuits of the local population in the spheres of fishing, sea trade, and the cultivation of dates.

Sample verses from a song:

deryā mowj-en, kākā;    
sāheli xāli a-kon-(e)t;   deryā xašm-uš sar-e sang-e
ammā to dard-et ziyād-en;   ba koǰa xālia-bü-(e)t;
vakt-i gol-i pažmorda bü.   ʿomr-e γam-(e) sad-sāla bü ...

“The sea is troubled [my] brother;
the sea vents its anger upon coastal stones;
but your pain is great, where is it vented on;
when flower became withered, the age of sorrow became a hundred years long.”


A. Eqtedāri, Farhang-e Lārestāni (Lārestāni Dictionary), Tehran, 1955. E. A. Floyer, Unexplored Baluchistan, London, 1882. I. Gershevitch, "Travels in Bashkardia," Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 46, 1959, pp. 213-25. Idem, "Outdoor Terms in Iranian," in A Locust's Leg. Studies in Honor of S. H. Taqizadeh, London, 1962, pp. 76-84. Idem, "Iranian Chronological Adverbs," in Indo-Irania. Mélanges présentés à Georg Morgenstierne, Wiesbaden, 1964, pp. 78-88. Idem, "Dialect Variation in Early Persian," Transactions of the Philological Society, 1964 (1965), pp. 1-29. Idem, "The Crushing of the Third Singular Present," in W. B. Henning Memorial Volume, London, 1970, pp. 161-74. Idem, "Genealogical Descent in Iranian," Bulletin of the Iranian Culture Foundation 1, 1973, pp. 71-86. Idem, "Višāpa," Voprosy iranskoĭ i obshcheĭ filologii, Tbilisi, 1977, pp. 62-69.

K. Kamioka and M. Yamada, Lārestānī Studies 1: Lāri basic vocabulary, Tokyo, 1979. K. Kamioka, A. Rahbar, and A. A. Hamidi, Lārestānī Studies 2: Comparative basic vocabulary of Khonjī and Lārī, Tokyo, 1986. A. A. Kerimova, "Dialekty Farsa" (Dialects of Fars), in Osnovy iranskogo yazykoznaniya: Novoiranskie yazyki: zapadnaya gruppa, prikaspiĭskie yazyki, Moscow, 1982, pp. 316-63. Idem, "Farsa dialekty" (Dialects of Fars), in yazyki mira: iranskie yazyki I: yugo-zapadnye iranskie yazyki, Moscow, 1997, pp. 177-91. W. N. Koelz, Persian Diary, 1939–1941, Ann Arbor, 1983. P. Lecoq, "Les dialects du sud-ouest de 1'Iran," in Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. 341-49.

O. Mann, Kurdisch-Persische Forschungen 1: Die Tâjîk-Mundarten der Provinz Fârs, Berlin, 1909. E. K. Molčanova, "Larskiĭ yazyk" (The Lārestāni language), in Osnovy iranskogo yazykoznaniya: Novoiranskie yazyki: zapadnaya gruppa, prikaspiĭskie yazyki, Moscow, 1982, pp. 364-446. Idem, "Larskaja gruppa dialektov" (The group of the Lārestāni dialects), in yazyki mira: iranskie yazyki I.- yugo-zapadnye iranskie yazyki, Moscow, 1997, pp. 174-77. Idem, "Kumzari yazyk/dialekt" (The Kumzāri language/dialect), ibid., pp. 191-93. G. Morgenstierne, "Balochi Miscellanea," ActaOrientalia 20, 1946-48, pp. 253-92. Idem, "Neu-iranische Sprachen," in Handbuch der Orientalistik, Abt. I, B. IV, Iranistik I, Leiden and Köln, 1958, pp. 155-78. V. V. Moshkalo, "Baškardi gruppa dialektov" (The group of the Baškardi dialects), in yazyki mira: iranskie yazyki I: yugo-zapadnye iranskie yazyki, Moscow, 1997, pp. 194-98.

S. H. Razavi, "Lahje-ye maḥalli-ye Bandar-e ʿAbbās (moqaddame)" (The dialect of Bandar ʿAbbās [introduction]), in Avvalin našriye ye farhang-e ḥowze ye banāder va jazāyer-e Baḥr-e ʿOman va Ḵalij-e Fārs, s.l. s.a., pp. 59-62 (Skjærvø, 1989, p. 369). ʿA. Reżayi Kučayun-e čičekā: majmuʿe az bumi sorudhā be guyeš-e Bandari, Bandar ʿAbbās, 1377/1998. A. A. Romaskevič, "Lar i ego dialekt" (Lār and its dialect), in Iranskie yazyki I, Moscow and Leningrad, 1945, pp. 31-86. P. O. Skjærvø, "Notes on the Dialects of Minab and Hormoz," Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap 29, 1975, pp. 113-28. A. Sāybāni, Az Bandar Jerun tā Bandar ʿAbbās, Bandar ʿAbbās, 1377/1998. Idem, "Languages of Southeast Iran: Lārestāni, Kumzāri, Baškardi," in Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. 363-69. B. Thomas, The Kumzari Dialect of the Shihuh Tribe, Arabia, and a Vocabulary, Asiatic Society Monographs XXI, London, 1930.

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(Mikhail Pelevin)

Originally Published: January 1, 2000

Last Updated: July 20, 2002