Iranian Languages

Authored by: J.R. Payne , Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari

The World’s Major Languages

Print publication date:  November  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415353397
eBook ISBN: 9780203301524
Adobe ISBN: 9781134261567

10.4324/9780203301524.ch24

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Abstract

Iranian Languages form a branch of the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European family, which are probably spoken by more than 80 million people in a wide area from Turkey (with Zaza, as the westernmost) to China (with Sarikoli, as the easternmost Iranian language), and mainly cover the whole of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. The development of the Iranian languages may be studied within three major historical periods: Old Iranian (up to the fourth/third centuries BC), Middle Iranian (from the fourth/third centuries BC to the eighth/ninth centuries AD), and New Iranian.

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