ABYĀNAʾĪ, the dialect spoken in the village of Abyāna, one of a number of closely similar dialects spoken in the villages of Kāšān and its neighboring districts, all belonging to the Central Dialects of Iran (or Southern Median).

Phonologically, Abyānaʾī exhibits the general features of Northwestern Iranian; it has b- for original dv- (bar “door”); it has preserved initial y- and v- (va “barely,” varg “wolf”) and the labial in original sṷ, Av. sp, Old Pers. s (ešpeš “louse”); it has ǰ for the postvocalic č (evāǰe “he says”), z for IE. ĝ, ĝh, Old Iran. z, Old Pers. d (az “I”), z for ǰ (zan- “to hit”). The vowel system consists of e o ö a ā u ü i. Ā is generally rounded ( o:) and is long. So are u, i, and possibly ü. There is a question whether â, an open back vowel, more open than a but more spread and frontal than ā, is a phoneme; here it has been treated as an allophone of a or ā. The consonants correspond to those of Persian. Glottal , noticed in some Kāšān dialects (e.g., Jowšaqānī, and the intradental s and z (as, for example, in the Jewish dialect of Kāšān) do not occur in Abyānaʾī.

The nominal system, with practically only one case (but see pronouns, below), is based on the distinction of two genders and two numbers. The plural marker is a stressed -a; nouns ending in unstressed -a drop this -a in the plural; in nouns ending in stressed -a the plural marker coalesces with their final vowel into -e (vača/vače “child”/“children”); nouns ending in have their plural in -āa (dādā/dādāa “sister”/“sisters”). Grammatical gender is distinguished in (i) the substantive, the feminine generally ending in an unstressed -a (karga “hen,” bāla “spade”); (ii) adjectives (sür-a göla “red flower”); (iii) demonstrative adjectives nen/ nen-a “this” and nun/nun-a “that,” which serve also as demonstrative and personal pronouns; (iv) the numerical adjective e/ya “a, one,” which serves also as an indefinite article; (v) the copula in the second person singular (-a/-e) and the third (a/āsa); (vi) third person singular of the past tenses of the intransitive verbs (e.g., ba-kat/ba-kat-a “fell”); (vii) past transitive verbs in accord with the object (e.g., xorus-om ba-gratā bö “I had caught a rooster,” karg-a-m ba-grate-vda “I had caught a hen”). In such ergative constructions a plural object normally takes a feminine singular verb (e.g., nen sarbāz-a kö dozz-a ba-köšte-vda “this is the soldier who had killed the robbers”). No case endings have been preserved in either Abyānaʾī or the other dialects of Kāšān. The pronouns, however, unlike those in most Central Dialects and like those in Bārūdī in the southeast of Kāšān province, distinguish the direct and the oblique in the first and second person singular (az/man, tö/ta). The enclitic personal pronouns, used only for the oblique, are -m, -t, -i (-y after a vowel), -mi, -i -ši.

The verbal system is based on two stems, past and present, four modal affixes, and endings for six persons, three singular and three plural. The modal prefixes are: (i) b(a)-, which is used in the imperative, the proximate future, the preterite, the perfect, and the pluperfect, unless the stem has a verbal prefix (ār, bar, dar, , va, var, negative na, prohibitive ma) or a nominal complement, e.g., ba-vaz “run!” but ār-vaz “jump!”, pā-ba “stand up!”, dāγ-ne “open!”. (ii) e-, which is a durative marker and is used in the present and the imperfect, e.g., ē-vaz-ān “I run, I am running;” ār-e-vaz-ān “I jump, I am jumping;” pā-e-bān “I stand, I am standing.” (iii) be- (apparently a combination of b- and e-, above) is used in the proximate future, e.g., be-vaz-ān “I run, I shall run.” (iv) stressed -a, the perfective marker which attaches itself to the past stem in the perfect and pluperfect. The personal endings essentially consist of two sets: (i) -ān, -e, -e, -ima(n), -iya, -(a)nda, which are used in tenses based on the present stem, namely the imperative, the present, the subjunctive, and the proximate future; and (ii) -ān, -i, nil/-a (masc. and fem.), -ima(n), -iya, -(a)nda, which are used in tenses based on the past stem, namely, the preterite and the imperfect. The periphrastic tenses (perfect and pluperfect) basically use the present and the preterite of “to be” as ending. In combination with the perfective marker the perfect endings are -aān, -ae, -ā/e (masc. and fem.), -ayma, -aya, -ayanda.

Past transitive verbs that follow a passive ergative construction (on which see E. Yarshater in A Locust’s Leg, London, 1962, p. 245) have no endings as such; their agent is indicated by a set of affixed pronouns (cf. the enclitic pronouns, above), which are -(o)m, -(ö)d, -i, (-y after vowels), -mi, -yi, š(i), e.g., ba-m dernā “I tore,” dāγ-om nā “I opened,” ba-š-köšt-ān “they killed me,” b-i-xüš-avd-ān “he had struck me,” γarz-ši hā-š-dā “they paid their debt.” In the imperfect, however, a modified set of these pronouns is used, namely m-, y-, š-, mi-, yi-, ši-, which are prefixed to the durative marker -e, e.g., m-e-xā “I was eating,” ši-e-xārda (with feminine object) “they were eating.” These pronouns are found also as prefixes denoting the agent in the modal verb for “to want to” and “must,” e.g., š-e-gi “he wants to,” ba-š-e-gi “he must.” A second future tense (distant) is made with the auxiliary kām- “wish,” which is followed by a mixed set of endings and then the past stem of the verb, e.g., kām-om šö “I shall go.” For the other persons endings are , , -ömi, -öi, -anda.

The passive is formed by adding the passive marker -g to the present stem. The past stem is then made by adding to it: n-e-yuš-e “does not boil,” n-e-yuš-g-e “does not get boiled,” ba-m-hamard “I broke” (trans.), ba-hmar-g-ā “was made to break, broke,” ārda ba-peš-g-ā-y-a “the flour (fem.) got pounded.” The causative present stem is formed by affixing -(e)n- to the present stem; the past stem is then made by adding -a to it, e.g., ba-m vāz-en-ā “I made [it] run.”

Some characteristic lexical items which mark both the similarity of Abyānaʾī to its neighboring dialects and its differences from them may be noted here: pür “son,” pürá “boy,” döˊta “daughter,” doté “girl,” zan “wife” (cf. Abū[zaydābādī] žan; Ārā[nī], Jew[ish] Kāš[ānī], etc. yen; Jow[šaqānī] jan; Bād[rūdī] jen), māˊya “mother,” dādé/dādāˊ “brother/sister” (in general agreement with Jowš., Qoh[rūdī], Abū.; cf. Ārā. borvar/xār; Bād[golī] borvar/xoar; Bād. barād/xo; Našaǰī berā/xāka), kuyā “dog” (Bādr., Jowš. kua; Bīd. esbə; Abū, Qohr., Jew. Kāš. esbe), zung “knee,” hayā “tomorrow,” pahrā “day after tomorrow,” hezze “yesterday,” ziā “alive” (cf. Ārā. yed; Bīd. yida; Jew. Kāš. janda; Qohr. jige; Abū. `uya), hāka “earth,” kaya “house,” bura “come!,” ba-xüs “throw!” (cf. Ārā. pes; Bīd., Bādr. fes; Abū. ves; Jew. Kāš., Jowš., and Qohr. agree with Abyā.), ba-hrin “buy!,” va-hārz-/va-hašt- “to let,” ār-hašār “press!”, xüs- “to hit” (as against boγ in most Kāšān dialects), vah-/vat- “to weave,” vram- “to weep.”


See also P. Lecoq, “Le dialecte d’Abyāne,” Studia Iranica 3, 1974, pp. 51-63.

(E. Yarshater)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 404-405

Cite this entry:

E. Yarshater, “ʿABYĀNAʾĪ,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 1982, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abyanai-the-dialect-spoken-in-the-village-of-abyana