The Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia holds the Sixth National Conference on the Iranian Languages and Dialects

10/21/2023 10:51

The Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia holds the Sixth National Conference on the Iranian Languages and Dialects

The sixth national conference on the Iranian languages and dialects (the past and the present) was held on Monday, March 6, 2023 at the Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia.

CGIE: The sixth national conference on the Iranian languages and dialects (the past and the present) was held on Monday, March 6, 2023 at the Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia.

The conference opened with a statement issued by Kāẓim Mūsavī Bojnurdī, CEO of the Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia, as follows:

“We take great pride in holding the sixth national conference on the Iranian languages and dialects; we can now say with a greater degree of certainty that this conference has had far-reaching consequences for a far better understanding of Iran and the Iranian people, hence each and every one of the discourses here have a superior and special status in the Persian studies.

The key research topics at this conference clearly indicate that we are dealing with a vast subject with many remarkable or neglected aspects. This conference and above all the research papers of the esteemed professors and scholars which are due to be presented in it, play a pivotal role in developing and deepening the world’s understanding of the diversity of the Iranian languages and dialects; it also puts an end to non-scientific and even biased observations of some linguists. Apart from being an inseparable part of Iran’s culture and civilization, all these languages and dialects have definitely played a leading role in the creation and promotion of our rich culture and civilization throughout the history. Furthermore, the relation between the Iranian languages and dialects and the Persian language (also called Fārsi) is an interesting subject. We all know that contrary to the claims of some ill-informed and ignorant linguistic experts, Farsi has not been the language of a specific ethnic group as all the Iranians and even the enthusiasts for this language who live beyond the geographical and political borders of Iran, have had a role in its enrichment; for this reason, Fārsi is the secret to our national unity. Additionally, further research into the Iranian languages and dialects leads to greater accomplishments in dictionary making and lexicography which in turn end in the embellishment of the Persian language.

Today, the continuous growth of the digital media has created compelling opportunities for us to document, research and introduce the Iranian languages and dialects more than ever before and I suppose that such conferences and the gathering of eminent professors and researchers in them will facilitate the examination and discussion of ideas and plans for further linguistic studies, which, undoubtedly, add weight to the related discourses in such conferences.

The Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia, as one of the greatest scientific and research institutions, has long concentrated on studying different aspects of the Iranian culture and civilization as one of its main missions and has taken major steps towards it. We have undertaken notable research and studies at the CGIE and hope for greater cooperation of the professors and researchers and their sharing of ideas and thoughts in this regard.”     

Later, Maḥmūd Jaʿfarī Dihaqī , the scientific secretary of this conference, gave a report to the attendees as follows: “The Iranian peoples are a large group of the Medes, the Persians and the Parthians across the Iranian plateau, the Cimmerians and other branches of the Scythians and the Sarmatians in the region of Ukraine, the Ossetians in the region of Caucasus and the Sogdians, the Khwārezmians, the Khotans, the Hephthalites and the Yuezhis in Central Asia. A group of these ancient Iranian peoples, called the Medes and the Persians, entered the Iranian plateau around the 1st millennium BCE and settled in the foothills of Zagros Mountains and integrated with the Iranian ethnic groups. The Medes and the Persians established the Median and the Achaemenian empires during the 8th and 7th centuries BCE respectively. The Ancient Iranian languages including the Median, Old Persian, Avestan and Saka as well as the Middle Iranian languages including the Parthian, Pahlavi, Sogdian, Khotanese, Khwārezmian and Balkhī spread across and beyond the Iranian plateau during the rule of the Achaemenian, the Arsacid and the Sasanian vast empires; due to this territorial extent and linguistic diversity, a considerable number of the Iranian languages and dialects are now spoken beyond the political borderlines of modern Iran. These languages carry the Iranian culture and world-view and spread them across the world. Taking a look at some branches of the Iranian languages, you will notice the vastness and diversity of these languages and dialects. Nowadays, two groups of the Iranian languages known as the modern eastern and the modern western are scattered across the vast areas of the Iranian plateau and the Central Asia.

The Kurdish language and its dialect groups (related to the north-western branch of the Iranian language family); Kurmānjī in east and southeast Turkey; the eastern group in Transcaucasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia); the central group known as ‘Sōranī’ in northeast Iraq in Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Kirkuk and Khaneqin and ‘Sanandajī’ in the Iranian Kurdistan; the southern group including Kirmānshāhī, Sanjābī, Kalhorī, Lakī and Lurī of Poshtkooh; the Gorani and Zaza languages (related to the north-western branch of the Iranian language family); Gorani (Hawrāmī in Kermanshah); Bajalani (in the east of Mosul in Iraq, Qasr-e Shirin, Sarpol-e Zahab, etc.), Kurmānjī (northern Zazaki) and Daylami or Zazaki dialects (in east Turkey); also the dialects in southwest Iran including Farsi, Dari (Afghan dialect of Farsi) and Tajik Persian; the dialects of Fars province. At present, the languages and dialects of Ossetic, Talysh and Kurdish are spoken in regions of Caucasus, Dagestan, Georgia, Armenia and Arran. A group of eastern languages and dialects of Iran are spoken within a broad region that stretches from Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Panjab and Sindh to Xinjiang in northwest China. A significant part of the dialects in southwest Iran is now spoken in the Persian Gulf countries. Moreover, the Persian poets and men of letters played a formative role in the spread of Dari language in vast areas of the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Asia Minor, in a way that it has been used as the language of science and literature in these regions for a long period of time. In addition, the eastern Iranian dialects such as Pāmīrī, Yaghnābī, Shughnī, Wakhī, Ormūri, Roshānī, Bartangī, Ishkashmī, Yāzgulāmī, Parāchī, Yidghā and Munjī are spoken on the other side of the Iranian border in the mountainous province of Badakhshan in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and different dialects of Pashto are spoken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Panjab and Sindh. The Iranian dialect of Sarīkolī is spoken in Xinjiang province in northwest China as well. Furthermore, there are two main dialects of Ossetic language spoken in the central regions of Caucasus in Ossetia: the eastern, known as Iron, and the western, known as Digor (Digoron). The speakers of this language inhabit in North Ossetia, Ālān, South Ossetia and parts of Turkey and Hungary.

Since Herodotus called the land of the Ossetians as ‘Asia’, this term became immensely popular throughout this continent. It must be noted that the Turkish and Arabic languages, which are spoken by a large number of our fellow countrymen, have also played an influential role on the cultural and scientific enrichment of the Iranian languages and added to their value as well. In fact, the Persian language or Fārsi as the official language of Iran acts as a unifying force within the Iranian nation, bringing them together under a common linguistic umbrella; this language with a rich history, culture, literature and science tradition has formed strong social bonds among all the Iranians and made them invincible.

We believe, nevertheless, that the Persian language does not just belong to the Iranians but it is the common heritage of the Eastern world. This heritage belongs to the people of Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and other ethnic groups who have expressed and developed their philosophical ideas and their feelings and emotions in literature through it; therefore, the Iranian languages and dialects are our invaluable means of communication with the world, which must be preserved for the sake of our history, culture and identity and maintaining the cultural relations and friendship between the modern Iran and other Persian speaking countries.

The Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia, which is now holding the sixth national conference on the Iranian languages and dialects, organized the first conference in 2012 and has consistently held it every two years ever since. The three achievements of these conferences are as follows: the publication of five ‘conference proceedings’, the introduction of the basics of the Iranian languages to the university students and young researchers through meeting the professors and researchers of the Iranian languages and the opening of a permanent secretariat for these conferences. The CGIE started the organization of the sixth conference in collaboration with the scientific committee of the Society for Iranian Studies in 2021; its ‘call for papers’ was warmly welcomed by the esteemed professors and enthusiastic university students who submitted seventy-five article abstracts to the conference secretariat. Forty-five article abstracts, which matched the conference theme and topics, were accepted after the primary evaluation. Then, the authors were invited to present a report on their articles in person. The collection of these research papers will be published as ‘the conference proceedings of the sixth national conference on the Iranian languages and dialects’ at the end of summer 2023.

Throughout this one-day conference which was held in four sessions, twenty-nine lectures were given in total; some of the most distinguished professors who delivered their speech in this conference were Majduddīn Kayvānī, Nasrallah Pourjavadī, ʿAlī Ashraf Sadiqi, Asghar Dādbeh, Omid Ṭabīb Zadeh, Mazdak Anousheh and Arash Akbarī Mafākhir.

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Publish Date : 10/21/2023

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