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The Median
Median
language (also Medean or Medic) was the language of the Medes.[2] It is an Old Iranian language
Iranian language
and classified as belonging to the Northwestern Iranian subfamily, which includes many other languages such as Azari, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Kurdish (Zazaki, Gorani, Sorani, Kurmanji), and Baluchi.[3]

Contents

1 Attestation 2 Identity 3 Predecessor of modern Iranian languages 4 References

Attestation[edit] Median
Median
is attested only by numerous loanwords in Old Persian. Nothing is known of its grammar, "but it shares important phonological isoglosses with Avestan, rather than Old Persian. Under the Median rule.... Median
Median
must to some extent have been the official Iranian language in western Iran".[4] No documents dating to Median
Median
times have been preserved, and it is not known what script these texts might have been in. "So far only one inscription of pre- Achaemenid
Achaemenid
times (a bronze plaque) has been found on the territory of Media. This is a cuneiform inscription composed in Akkadian, perhaps in the 8th century BCE, but no Median
Median
names are mentioned in it."[5] Some modern research suggests that the so-called Linear Elamite, which still has not been deciphered, may have been written in the language of Medes, by assuming Kutik-Inshushinak
Kutik-Inshushinak
was the original Iranian name of Cyaxares the Great
Cyaxares the Great
and not a much earlier Elamite king.[6] Identity[edit] A distinction from other ethnolinguistic groups (in Herodotus, ethnos means 'people') such as the Persians is evident primarily in foreign sources, such as from mid-9th century BCE Assyrian cuneiform sources[7] and from Herodotus' mid-5th century BCE secondhand account of the Perso- Median
Median
conflict. It is not known what the native name of the Median
Median
language was (just like for all other Old Iranian languages) or whether the Medes
Medes
themselves nominally distinguished it from the languages of other Iranian peoples. Median
Median
is "presumably"[4] a substrate of Old Persian. The Median element is readily identifiable because it did not share in the developments that were particular to Old Persian. Median
Median
forms "are found only in personal or geographical names... and some are typically from religious vocabulary and so could in principle also be influenced by Avestan.... Sometimes, both Median
Median
and Old Persian
Old Persian
forms are found, which gave Old Persian
Old Persian
a somewhat confusing and inconsistent look: 'horse,' for instance, is [attested in Old Persian
Old Persian
as] both asa (OPers.) and aspa (Med.)." [4] Using comparative phonology of proper names attested in Old Persian, Roland Kent[8] notes several other Old Persian
Old Persian
words that appear to be borrowings from Median: for example, taxma, 'brave', as in the proper name Taxmaspada. Diakonoff[9] includes paridaiza, 'paradise'; vazraka, 'great' and xshayathiya, 'royal'. In the mid-5th century BCE, Herodotus
Herodotus
(Histories 1.110[10]) noted that spaka is the Median
Median
word for a female dog. This term and meaning are preserved in living Iranian languages
Iranian languages
such as Talyshi. In the 1st century BC, Strabo
Strabo
(c. 64BC–24AD) would note a relationship between the various Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
and their languages: "[From] beyond the Indus... Ariana is extended so as to include some part of Persia, Media, and the north of Bactria
Bactria
and Sogdiana; for these nations speak nearly the same language." (Geography, 15.2.1-15.2.8[11]) Traces of the (later) dialects of Media (not to be confused with the Median
Median
language) are preserved in the compositions of the fahlaviyat genre, verse composed in the old dialects of the Pahla/Fahla regions of Iran's northwest.[12] Consequently, these compositions have "certain linguistic affinities" with Parthian, but the surviving specimens (which are from the 9th to 18th centuries AD) are much influenced by Persian. For an enumeration of linguistic characteristics and vocabulary "deserving mention," see Tafazzoli 1999. The use of fahla (from Middle Persian
Middle Persian
pahlaw) to denote Media is attested from late Arsacid times so it reflects the pre-Sassanid use of the word to denote "Parthia", which, during Arsacid times, included most of Media. Predecessor of modern Iranian languages[edit] A number of modern Iranian languages
Iranian languages
spoken today have had medieval stages with evidences found from citations in Classical and Early Modern Persian sources. G. Windfuhr believes, "The modern [Iranian] languages of Azarbaijan and Central Iran, located in ancient Media Atropatene and Media proper, are 'Median' dialects" and those languages "continue lost local and regional language" of Old Median, which is mainly known as "Medisms in Old Persian."[13] The term comes from the regional name Pahlav/Fahlav (see fahlaviyat) in traditional medieval Persian sources and is used to call "dialect poetry and other samples of locales in western Iran
Iran
reflects the Parthian period" of those regions[13] and their languages "being survivals of the Median dialects have certain linguistic affinities with Parthian".[14]

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References[edit]

^ Median
Median
at MultiTree
MultiTree
on the Linguist List ^ "Ancient Iran::Language". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-09.  ^ Schmitt, Rüdiger (1989). Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: Reichert.  ^ a b c Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (2005). An Introduction to Old Persian (PDF) (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Harvard.  ^ Dandamayev, Muhammad & I. Medvedskaya (2006). "Media". Encyclopaedia Iranica (OT 10 ed.). Costa Mesa: Mazda.  ^ Cyaxares: Media's Great King in Egypt, Assyria & Iran, by: Professor Gunnar Heinsohn, University of Bremen, May 2006 ^ "Ancient Iran::The coming of the Iranians". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-28.  ^ Kent, Roland G. (1953). Old Persian. Grammar, Texts, Lexicon (2nd ed.). New Haven: American Oriental Society.  pp. 8-9. ^ Diakonoff, Igor M. (1985). "Media". In Ilya Gershevitch. Cambridge History of Iran, Vol 2. London: Cambridge UP. pp. 36–148.  ^ Godley, A. D. (ed.) (1920). Herodotus, with an English translation. Cambridge: Harvard UP. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) (Histories 1.110) ^ Hamilton, H. C. & W. Falconer (1903). The Geography of Strabo. Literally translated, with notes. 3. London: George Bell & Sons.  p. 125. (Geography 15.2) ^ Tafazzoli, Ahmad (1999). "Fahlavīyāt". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 9.2. New York: iranicaonline.org.  ^ a b Page 15 from Windfuhr, Gernot (2009), "Dialectology and Topics", in Windfuhr, Gernot, The Iranian Languages, London and Newyork: Routledge, pp. 5–42, ISBN 978-0-7007-1131-4  ^ Tafazzoli 1999

v t e

Iranian languages

Old

Western

Old Persian Median

Eastern

Avestan Old Scythian

Middle

Western

Middle Persian Parthian

Eastern

Bactrian Khwarezmian Ossetic

Jassic

Saka Scythian Sogdian

Modern

North

Old Azari Balochi Central Iran Zoroastrian Dari Fars Gilaki Gorani Kurdic

Sorani Kurmanji Southern group Laki

Mazandarani Semnani Taleshi Deilami Tati Zazaki

Eastern

Pamir

Ishkashimi Sanglechi Wakhi Munji Yidgha Vanji Yazghulami Shughni Roshani Khufi Bartangi Sarikoli

Others

Ossetian

Digor Iron

Pashto

Central Northern Southern Wanetsi

Yaghnobi Ormuri Parachi

Western

South

Persian

Caucasian Tat Dari Tajik

Luri

Feyli Bakhtiari Kumzari

Larestani Bashkardi

Italics indicate extinct languages.

v t e

Median
Median
topics

Language

Median
Median
language, Iranian language

Cities

Ecbatana
Ecbatana
(Hamadan) Rhagae
Rhagae
(Shahre Rey, Tehran) Laodicea (Nahavand)

Battles involving Lydia

Eclipse of Thales

Battles involving Persia

Persian Revolt Battle of Hyrba Battle of the Persian Border Siege of Pasargadae
Pasargadae
Hill Battle of Pasargadae Fall of Ecbatana

Kings/Satraps

Deioces Phraortes Madius Cyaxares Astyages Cyaxares
Cyaxares
II

Other Medians

Amytis of Media Artembares Datis Gubaru Mazar

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