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Mazanderani language

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Title: Mazanderani language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Mazandaran Province, Western Asia, Armenian language
Collection: Languages of Iran, Mazandaran Province, Northwestern Iranian Languages, Subject–verb–object Languages, Verb–subject–object Languages
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Mazanderani language

Mazanderani مازندرانی
Tabari طبری
Native to Iran, province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Alborz, Gilan, Tehran, Semnan and Golestan
Region South coast of the Caspian Sea
Native speakers
3.3 million  (1993)[1]
Persian alphabet
Official status
Regulated by None. But the Linguistic faculty of Mazanderan University officially gathers materials and resources about it.
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
mzn – Mazanderani
srz – Shahmirzadi
Areas where Mazanderani is spoken as the mother tongue

Mazanderani (مازندرانی) or Tabari (طبری) is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch, spoken mainly in Iran's Mazandaran, Tehran and Golestan provinces. As a member of the Northwestern branch (the northern branch of Western Iranian), etymologically speaking it is rather closely related to Gilaki, and more distantly related to Persian, which belongs to the Southwestern branch.[2][3] Mazandarani is closely related to Gilaki and the two dialects have similar vocabularies.[4] The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages) share certain typological features with Caucasian languages, of which Tat is one of them,[5][6] reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Caucasian peoples of the Mazandarani people and Gilaki people.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Classification 3
  • Grammar 4
    • Typology 4.1
    • Morphology 4.2
      • Function cases 4.2.1
      • Adjectives 4.2.2
      • Notable postpositions 4.2.3
      • Suffixes 4.2.4
        • Locatives
        • Subjectives
  • Orthography 5
  • Vocabulary 6
  • Influences exerted by Mazanderani 7
    • Modern-day of Iran 7.1
    • In non-Iranian languages 7.2
  • Specimen 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12


The name Mazanderani (and variants of it) derives from the name of the historical region of Mazandaran (Mazerun in Mazanderani), which was part of former Kingdom of Tapuria. People traditionally call their language Gileki, the same as Gilekis do. Gileki consist of two morphemes : Gil + postfix ki. The name Tapuri (or Tabari) which was the name of an ancient language of somewhere in former Tapuria, Nowadays becomes prevalent into youth groups instead of Gileki. However, Gilan and Mazanderan were part of the same state known as Tapuria which its national language was known as Gileki.


Among the living Iranian languages, Mazanderani has one of the longest written traditions, from the tenth to the fifteenth century. This status was achieved during the long reign of the independent and semi-independent rulers of Mazandaran in the centuries after the Arab invasion.[7]

The rich literature of this language includes books such as Marzban Nameh (later translated into Persian) and the poetry of Amir Pazevari. The use of Mazanderani, however, has been in decline. Its literary and administrative rank was lost to Persian perhaps long before the ultimate integration of Mazandaran into the national administration in the early seventeenth century.[8]


The Mazanderani language is closely related to

  • Society for Iranian Linguistics. Among other services, archives PDFs of articles from linguistics journals, including those written in Persian.
  • Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran.
  • Audio recordings available for Mazanderani
  • Dictionary of Mazanderani, with translations into Saravi, Baboli, and Amoli dialects

External links

  • Borjian, Habib. 2006. The Oldest Known Texts in New Tabari: The Collection of Aleksander Chodzko. Archiv Orientálni 74(2):153–171.
  • ______________. 2006. A Mazanderani account of the Babi Incident at Shaikh Tabarsi. Iranian Studies 39(3):381–400.
  • ______________. 2006. Textual sources for the study of Tabari language. I. Olddocuments. Guyesh-shenâsi 4.
  • ______________. 2008. Tabarica II: Some Mazanderani Verbs. Iran and the Caucasus 12(1):73–82.
  • ______________. Two Mazanderani Texts from the Nineteenth Century. Studia Iranica 37(1):7–50.
  • Borjian, Habib, and Maryam Borjian. 2007. Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran: Mysterious Memories of a Woman. Iran and the Caucasus 11(2):226–254.
  • Borjian, Habib, and Maryam Borjian. 2008. The Last Galesh Herdsman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from South Caspian Rainforests. Iranian Studies 41(3):365–402.
  • Le Coq, P. 1989. Les dialects Caspiens et les dialects du nord-ouest de l'Iran. In Rüdiger Schmitt (ed.), Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 296–312.
  • Nawata, Tetsuo. 1984. Māzandarāni. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Asian and African Grammatical Manual; 17. 45 + iii pp.
  • Shokri, Giti. 1990. Verb Structure in Sāri dialect. Farhang, 6:217–231. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • _________. 1995/1374 A.P. Sārī Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Shokri, Giti. 2006. Ramsarī Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. Sārī Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.

Further reading

  1. ^ Mazanderani at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Shahmirzadi at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Coon, "Iran:Demography and Ethnography" in Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume IV, E.J. Brill, pp. 10,8. Excerpt: "The Lurs speak an aberrant form of Archaic Persian" See maps also on page 10 for distribution of Persian languages and dialect
  3. ^ Kathryn M. Coughlin, "Muslim cultures today: a reference guide," Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 89: "...Iranians speak Persian or a Persian dialect such as Gilaki or Mazanderani"
  4. ^ Dalb, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. Columbia University Press. p. 226.  
  5. ^ a b Academic American Encyclopedia By Grolier Incorporated, page 294
  6. ^ The Tati language group in the sociolinguistic context of Northwestern Iran and Transcaucasia By D.Stilo, pages 137-185
  7. ^ Windfuhr, G. L. 1989. New Iranian languages: Overview. In Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 246–249.
  8. ^ Borjian, Maryam. 2005. Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence With Persian. Language, Communities and Education. Languages, Communities & Education: A Volume of Graduate Student Research. New York: Society for International Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. pp. 65–73.
  9. ^ Ethnologue report for language code:mzn
  10. ^ Fakhr-Rohani, Muhammad-Reza. 2004. She means only her 'husband': politeness strategies amongst Mazanderani-speaking rural women. (Conference abstract) CLPG Conference, University of Helsinki, Finland, PDF
  11. ^ Johanson, Lars. Turkic-Iranian Contact Areas Historical and Linguistic Aspects. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.
  12. ^ Csató, Éva Ágnes, Bo Isaksson, and Carina Jahani. Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion: Case Studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.
  13. ^ The Tati language group in the sociolinguistic context of Northwestern Iran and Transcaucasia By D.Stilo, pages 137-185
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Nasri-Ashrafi, Jahangir-e (ed.). Farhang-e vāžegān-e Tabarī [A Dictionary of Tabari]. v. 5, p. 5, Tehran: Eḥyā’-ketāb”: 2002/1381 A.P. A comparative glossary containing lexical units from almost all major urban and rural centers of the region of the three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan. Reviewed in Iran and the Caucasus, 2006, 10(2). Volume 4 contains a Persian-Mazanderani index of approximately 190 pp. Volume 5 includes a grammar of the Mazanderani language.

In dates given below, A.P. denotes the Iranian calendar, the solar calendar (365 days per year) which is official in Iran and Afghanistan.


See also

ozεrε-vâ énε dámbe sεvâí

iấnnε búye dεlbárrε dεvấi
qam o qossέye dεl vónε kεnârí
me jấne gεl dénε búye xεdâí

At break of dawn blows the cool breeze.

It brings over the healing odor of the beloved.
The sorrow of the heart will go away.
My dear flower smells like God.

basutέ sinέye miónnε hấreš!

tévεsse – nấzεnin! – baímε nâxεš
tε armúne dέl i, εy nâzεnin yâr!
tévεsse mέsle bεlbεl zámbε nâlεš

Look at the middle of the burnt chest!

For you – O loveable! – I am unwell.
You are the heart’s aspiration, O beloved!
For you I moan like a nightingale.


Dεl-e armun “Heart’s Aspiration”
Rezaqoli Mohammadi Kordekheyli
Transcribed and translated by: Habib Borjian

mosalmunun! mέrε šabgir varέnnε
āx, mέrε bā kamεr-e haftir varέnnε
mέrε bavέrdεnε Tεrkεmun-e dam
Tεrkεmun kāfεr o gεlilε be-ra:m
Moslems! They are carrying me at the crack of dawn.
O, they are taking me away with a pistol on the[ir] waist.
They took me to the vicinity of the Turkmen [tribes].
Turkmen [are] unbelievers and the bullet [is] ruthless.
ašun xō badimā mεn še Ali-rε
sio dasmāl davέsso še gali-rε
age xā́nnε bā́urεn ámi badi-rε
bázεne xεrusεk šέme gali-rε
volvol sar-e dār gέnε εy zāri-zāri
me gol dāš báio sarbāz-e Sāri
He would say,
Last night I dreamed my Ali.
He [had] wrapped a black kerchief [round] his throat.
If it is their intention is malignant about us,
May croup-cough attack your throat!
The nightingale on the tree constantly bemoans (?)
My dear brother drafted in Sāri.

Quatrains sang by Sabura Azizi, transcribed and translated by Habib Borjian; Ref. Habib Borjian and Maryam Borjian, “Mysterious Memories of a Woman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran,” Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007.

11/2, 2007, pp. 226–254.) Iran and the Caucasus(from Maryam Borjian and Habib Borjian, “Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran [: Mysterious Memories of a Woman],”
Our chickens go onto the nefār and sleep on it. [Once] we noted that the wood of the nefār was all rotten. I told [my son], “Dear child! Here, next to the stable, make me a chicken coop.” In the evening that [my son] was setting the foundation, the father [-in-law] and [his] son came home. As soon as the father and son came home, they would say their prayers, eat something, and then, after the prayers, they would go over there (to the next room); then at four o’clock they would set off.

áme kεrkā šúnnε nεfār-sar. nεfār-sar xεsέnnε. badími nεfār-sar-e čεl-o-ču hamε bapíssεnε. bāútεmε, “vačε jān! injε, kεlum-e pali, mé-vesse έttā kεrk-kεli dεrεs hā́kεn!” vε εm nεmāšun ke pe dar-biārdε, hamun šō badímε bεmúnε sεre piεr o vačε. ande-tumi piεr o vačε bεmúnε sεre, nεmāz kέrdεnε, qεzā xέrdεnε; ba:d εz nεmāz šínε ún-var, sāāt-e čār harkεt kέrdεnε.


There are some Mazanderani loanwords in the Turkmen language.[16]

In non-Iranian languages

In Iran, there are some popular companies and products, like Rika (son) or Kija (daughter), which take their name from Mazanderani words.[15]

Modern-day of Iran

Influences exerted by Mazanderani

There are many nouns for the same meaning reminding old Indo-European genders, for instance the words Miš, Gal, Gerz all have the meaning of mouse while they are masculine and feminines. Though many Indo-Iranian languages use the masculine noun Muš or Muska or Mušk, in mazanderani the feminine noun Gal is prevail.

English Mazanderani Persian Proto-Indo-European Example of
New Neo No/Now *newos Adjective
Great Gat Bozorg, Gonde, Got Adjective
Better Better Behtar Adverb
Been Bine Budeh Auxiliary Verb
Being Bien Budan Infinitive of Verb
Moon Moong/Mong Mâh *mehnos Noun
Daughter Deter Dokhtar *dheugh Noun
Cow Go/Gu/Guw Gâv/Gow Noun
My Me/Mi (before the noun) am (after the noun), om Verb
Gab Gab Gap Verb
Right Rast Râst Adjective

Spoken in a territory sheltered by the high Alborz mountains, Mazanderani preserves many Indo-European old words which are no longer in common use in many other Iranian languages such as Persian. Below, a few common Mazanderani words that have Indo-European grounds are listed for sample.


Mazanderani is commonly written in the Perso-Arabic script.[14] However, many use roman alphabets for example in sms messages.


The list below is a sample list obtained from the Online Mazanderani-Persian dictionary.


postposition meaning
dəle in
re of / to
je from / by
vəse for
həmrā with
səri on / above
bəne under / below
Pəli near / about
vāri/ tarā like
derū among / inside
. Frequently used postpositions are: and ŠeAdpositions in Masanderani are after words, while most of other languages including English and Persian have preposition systems in general. the only common postpositions that sometimes becoming preposition are

Notable postpositions

. Zazaki and Sangesari, Semnani) grammatical gender still exists in other present-day close languages such as the man meaning mərdē and the woman meaning jənā (as in e and male nouns in nominative were ending with aThere are some remnants from old Mazanderani that female nouns in nominative were ending with

Like other modern Iranian languages there is no distinction between the dative and accusative cases, and the nominative in the sentence takes almost no indicators but with word order (depending on dialects it may end in a/o/e). Since Mazanderani lacks articles, there is no inflection for nouns in the sentence (no modifications for nouns). For definition, nouns are added with e at end (me dətere meaning The daughter of mine while me dəter means my daughter). The indefinite article for single nouns is a-tā with for determination of number (a-tā kijā meaning a girl).


The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages) share certain typological features with Caucasian languages, of wich Tat is one of them,[5][13] reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Peoples of the Caucasus of the Mazandarani people.


Mazanderani is an inflected and genderless language.[10] It is considered SVO, but in some tenses it may be SOV, depending on dialects however.[11][12]


  • Saravi, Amoli, Baboli, Lafori; Chaloosi, Kelari, Shahsavari
  • Gorgani†, Delandi
  • Shahmirzadi, Kholardi, Firoozkoohi
  • Astarabadi, Katouli

Dialects are:


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