KAZERUN iii. Old Kazerun Dialect



iii. Old Kazerun Dialect

The old dialect of the city of Kazerun was commonly used by the local people up to around the 14th-15th centuries.  Examples of the dialect are quoted from Shaikh Abu Esḥāq Kāzaruni (fl. 352-426/963-1033) in Maḥmud b. ʿOṯmān’s Ferdaws al-moršediya fi asrār al-ṣamadiya, written in 728/1328, and in Marṣad al-aḥrār elā siyar moršed al-abrār, written about 750/1349 by Rajāʾ Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥim Kāzaruni, known as ʿAlāʾ.  The topics covered by these two books were taken from a Arabic source, now lost, written by Abu Bakr Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Karim b. ʿAli b. Saʿd (d. 1109), the grandchild of Abu Esḥāq’s brother and his third ḵalifa (successor).  Maḥmud b. ʿOṯmān also made a summary version of his book titled Anwār-al-moršediya fi asrār-al-ṣamadiya, of which there is a copy at Tehran University Central Library.  From certain statements in the book, it becomes clear that it was written over four hundred years after Shaikh Abu Esḥāq’s death, that is, a few years after 1423.  The dialect words attributed to Abu Esḥāq in this book are in a more recent form, indicating that the dialect of Kazerun was still alive in the 15th century (Ṣādeqi, p. 4).

Phonology. (1) Vowels. The dialect appears to have had three short vowels: /u/, /i/, /a/, and five long vowels: /ō/, /ē/, /ū/, /ī/, /ā/.  The existence of alternants in it, such as sl-sʾl (sal-sāl “year”); kr-kʾr (kar-kār “work”); bⁱfᵃyst/nᵃfᵃyst (bifayst/nafayist = Pers. bāyest/bāyesti, nabāyest/nabāyesti “must, must not”), ksy/ksi (kasē-kasi or kase “someone”), bdny-bdnh (bidanē/ī or bedane-bedanē “you would know”), may bear witness to a contrast between short and long vowels.  The vowel /ē/ is indicated by the diacritic fatḥa (for /a/) being written before the letter yāʾ, which indicates the long vowel. There is, however, no example in the sources of fatḥa being used with letter wāw to indicate the other majḥul vowel, /ō/.  The recorded forms of tifᵃh-tᵃfᵃh (tifah-tafah = tabāh “ruined”), mᵃ, mᵃh, mi (ma, mi “I”), and nizyk-nᵃzyk (nizīk-nazīk “close, near”) seem to be indicative of the existence of the schwa sound /ə/ in the Kazerun dialect.

(2) Consonants. The consonant /θ/ is to be found only in two words, θar (θar “head”) and θal/θʾl (θal/θāl “year”); however, the forms sal and sʾl (sal/sāl “year”) also were used, which shows that /θ/ was tending to disappear altogether.

The /d/ sound occurring after a vowel was invariably represented as /ḏ/ [dh] in writing;  /č/ and /j/ were probably articulated as [ts] and [dz]; examples are: ss (*tsis) “thing”; sh (*tse) “what”; hyz (*ēts) “nothing”; pnzʾ (*pandzā) “fifty” (Pers. čīz, čē, hič, panjāh, respectively).  The consonants /ž/ and /q/ are not seen in the examples.  The consonant /ḡ/ is found only in the word maar (= magar “perhaps, except”), which is an allophone of intervocalic /g/.  The consonant ḵʷ/ḵᵛ seems to have taken the simpler form /ḵ/, because the word ḵvardan (= ḵordan “to eat”) is recorded as ḵurdyn and ḵardyn (ḵurdīn and ḵardīn) in Marṣad, and as ḵwrdyn (ḵurdīn) in Montaḵab.  But the word ḵoš (happy, pleasant) is written as ḵuwaš in both Marṣad and Montaḵab.  The rest of the consonants closely resemble those of classical Persian. 

Among the interesting phonetic transformations in this dialect is the change of Middle Persian /w/ to / bv/ and then to /bᵘv/, as can be seen in the words bᵃwʾd/buwʾd (wind); buwᵃd (buvad “bad”); buwih (buveh “better”); biwnm, buwnm buvnam (bivnam or buvnam “[I] see”); buwᵃs (buvas “plenty, enough”).  This transformation reveals that Middle Persian /w/ in Kazerun was pronounced labiodentally [v], as in Shiraz. 

Middle Persian /p/ in the preposition pad (= be “to, at, in”) changed to /f/, and the word is written fh (fa).  In forms of the verb bāyestan (Mid. Pers. abāyistan “must”), intervocalic /b/ is changed to /f/, for instance, bifᵃyst/nᵃfᵃyst (= bebayist/nabayist “[it, he/she] must/must not”), and to (); /b/ is changed to /f/ also in tifᵃh-tᵃfᵃh (= tabāh).  It is possible that /f/ in these cases represents a voiced fricative bilabial consonant.  In the word baht (baht, = baḵt “fortune”), the consonant /ḵ/ before /t/ is changed to /h/.

Grammar.  The simple past tense of transitive verbs is formed with an ergative verb (see ERGATIVE CONSTRUCTION), for instance, ē/īzemān nadīd (Persian īn rā nīz nadīdīm “this we did not see either”).  The present continuous tense was formed with the verbal prefix mī-;  there is only one instance where mī- is replaced by “ʾ” (e  < ed), which may be due to a non-Kāzeruni copyist.  There is one instance of the present tense subjunctive, bwunʾn (buv(e)nān, Pers. bebinam “[I] would see”); other examples of the subjunctive are composed with the prefix be-, as in Persian. There is one example of a periphrastic verb construction for the future tense, using the verb kāmistan (“shall, will”; cf. the auxiliary kam-/kem-, etc. in KASHAN ix, under “Isoglosses,” no. 6).

The infinitive indicator is the ending -yn (-īn); examples: dδyn (daδīn “to give”), brdyn (burdīnto carry”).  The independent pronouns  are: man/min (possibly mən “I”),  tw (to “you, thou”); uy (oy “he, she”); šmuh/šmᵃh (šumah/šumuh or šuməh “you”); ʾuyšʾn/ʾimšʾn (they).  A first-person plural form is not attested. The attached subject pronouns are: -ᵃm; -ay (ē); -ᵃt; -ᵃy/y (ē); -yd (apparently ēd).  The first and third person plural pronouns are not attested.  The non-subject attached pronouns are: -m, -t, -ᵃš/iš, -š, and -mʾn (mān). Second- and third-person pronouns are not attested.  Demonstrative pronouns and adjectives are (1) proximal: ʾm (apparently em) and ʾyn (= ēn), (2) distal: ʾmšʾn (i/emšān). The adverbial suffix -z (iz in Middle Persian), meaning “also,” is attested once.  There are two instances of nominal sentences, without a linking verb.

Lexicon.  Examples: tiy/tᵃy (tiy/tay “way”?); ʾulust (ulust “get up”), composed of ul (Mid. Pers. ulup, upward”) and ust, the present stem of the verb ēstādan (to stand); ʾδišt (aδišt < Mid. Pers. ādišt “brazier”); buwyr (buvīr “fire”), possibly from the Middle Persian wīr “thunderbolt.”  A sentence in the old Kazerun dialect reads: Bahte bovaḏ az tay-i man ulust / maḡar kem fa buvād bakamē daδīn “O bad fortune, step away from my way / you may ruin me” (Maḥmud b. Oṯmān, ed. Meier, p. 149; ed. Afšār, p. 138).



Arthur, J. Arberry, “The Biography of Sheikh Abu Isḥāq al-Kāzarūnī,” Oriens 3/2, 1950, pp. 163-82. 

Hāšem Ḵātami, Barrasi-e taṭbiqi-e guyeš-e kāzāruni, Tehran, 2008.

Rajā Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥim Kāzeruni, Marṣad al-aḥrār elā serr al-moršed al-abrār, MS., n. 2787, Bayazid Library, Istanbul.

Maḥmud b. ʿOṯmān, Ferdaws al-moršediya fi asrār al-ṣamadiya, ed. Fritz Meier as Die Vita des Scheich Abū Ishāq al-Kāzarūnī in der persischen Bearbeitung, Istanbul, 1943; ed. Iraj Afšār (together with Anwār al-moršediya), Tehran, 1978.

ʿAli-Ašraf Ṣādeqi, “Guyeš-e qadim-e Kāzerun” (On the former dialect of Kazerun), Majalla-ye zabān-šenāsi/Iranian Journal of Linguistics 19/1, 2004, pp. 1-41.

(ʿAlī Ašraf Ṣādeqī)

Originally Published: May 31, 2013

Last Updated: December 6, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XVI, Fasc. 2, pp. 216-217