ALVĪRĪ, a dialect spoken in the village of Alvīr and belonging to the Central group of Iranian dialects. Alvīr is a declining village of some 250 families (1960; local estimate) in Turkish-speaking Ḵaragān district of Sāva, about 60 km northwest of Sāva and 50 km southwest of Eštehārd. The ruins of some mud-brick fortifications attest to its greater past significance, as does the somewhat disproportionate extent of its crafts and industries—iron-mongering, carpentry, leather-working, shoemaking, arms-repairing, and dyeing. The main produce of the village, which includes a number of far-flung farms, is cereals, potatoes, and some fruits; a few animals are also kept. Turkish is understood and sometimes spoken in Alvīr and is gaining. ʿAbbāsābād, a village of some 80 families derived from Alvīr, is now Turkish-speaking. Vīdar, a village some 12 km to the east, still speaks an Iranian dialect, close but not identical to Alvīrī.

Phonology. Alvīrī consonants are the same as those of Persian; the vowels are i, e, a, ö, o, ā, u. Cases of vowel harmony, rounding of e and a, and palatalizing of round vowels occur, e.g., xöšdöneš etā “he himself is coming,” bë-jünden “to chew.”

Morphology. A masculine and a feminine gender is distinguished in nouns, in the 3rd person singular of the personal pronouns, in demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, and in the 3rd singular of all tenses of intransitive verbs and of the present and subjunctive of transitive verbs, i.e., where the passive (ergative) construction is not involved. The common indicator of the feminine gender is an unstressed -a: Hasan etāy “Hasan is coming” but tete-e Hasan etāya “Hasan’s daughter is coming;” am zimin xub ni “this land is not good,” but ama oka xub nia “this water is not good;” eš egua bāy/bāya “he/she wants to come;” āykara/āykaria “he/she opens.”

Whereas Alvīrī has been conservative in the retention of gender distinction, it has lost the oblique plural ending in -on/-un (-hā being the only plural marker), and also, like Persian, any trace of cases. For noun relationships various post-positions are employed, e.g. kenaka-de āgir “take from that girl,” Hasan-bā bavāj “tell Hasan,” tetey xodum-bejā eberum “I take thee along with me.” In pronouns, however, the direct and the oblique are distinguished in non-suffix forms (see Table 1).

The suffix pronouns, as in Tātī, are used as possessive and oblique pronouns, but more frequently as the agents in passive constructions. The position of these pronouns, however, brings Alvīrī (like Vīdarī) more in line with southern Central dialects: When a verb has an object, or an adverb, the suffix pronoun is suffixed to one of them; but when there is neither, it follows not the verb (as in South Tātī in general) but the verbal prefix, whether the prefix is a conjugational marker or part of the stem, the only exception occurring with the imperfect marker e(t), which follows the suffix pronoun. Examples: tira-m bāšind “I fired a shot,” be-m āšind “I threw, shot;” o-m (< ā-m) dā, ā-y dā, ā-š dā “I, thou, he gave,” ā-y gerati “thou hast brought,” de-š dard ešu “he was going,” but em-et-āšin “I was throwing,” i-e-gusta bašey “thou wanted to go” (cf. Ḵᵛānsārī iž bavāt “he said,” Naṭanzī i-xus “he threw,” Sīvandī iš vurd “he brought,” Qohrūdī m-āʾi “I want”).

The verbal system follows the general pattern of the Central dialects: It employs a present and a past stem—the latter based on an old participle in -ta—for present and past tenses respectively, and uses the passive construction for past transitive verbs. A single set of personal endings is used for both present and past tenses: -em(a), -i, -a/-ia (masc. and fem.), un(a), -ayā, -enda. The distinction of tenses and moods is helped by the use of conjugational markers: stressed ba- (or be-, depending on its environment) for the imperative, the subjunctive and the preterite; unstressed be- for the imperfect, which adds -i (-y after a vowel) before the endings, and e- (et- before a vowel) for the present. Examples: ba-vin “see!,” ba-vazema “that I run,” ba-suta “it burnt,” ba-sut-i “it is burnt,” b-om-i bima “I had come.” When the stem includes a prefix, the ba-, be- markers are dropped: a-vendar “stay, stand up!,” ā-vendardeyma “I stood up,” e-vazema “I run, am running,” e-šima “I used to go, was going,” et-āyma “I am coming,” et-āšinda “I was shooting.” If the stem includes a prefix, then e- is placed after it, and if the prefix is a vowel or ends in one, e- changes into -y-: ā-y-vendarema “I am staying,” e-y-pāčona “we scatter, winnow,” nun-em ā-y-gerate “I was buying bread” (cf. ne-y-duna “we do not give,” patle-y-karuna “we make groats”). The use of imperfective e-, et- and their variations is common to southern Central dialects (cf. G. Morgenstierne, HO 4, Iranistik 1, p. 165; O. Mann and K. Hadank, Kurdisch-persische Forschungen III, Berlin, 1926, pp. 15-16). The passive voice occasionally uses an old form in -i- common among the Tātī dialects: e-vin-i-a “is seen,” dözd ba-gir-i-asta “the thief was seized,” agar y-e-gu dözd be-gir-i-a “if you want the thief to be seized,” har-ru tira et-ašin-i-a “every day shot(s) are fired (sing.).”


Razmārā, Farhang I, p. 19, s. Alvīr.

E. Yarshater, “The Dialects of Alvīr and Vīdar” in G. Redard, ed., Indo-Iranica: Mélanges présentés à Georg Morgenstierne à l’occasion de son soixante-dixième anniversaire, Wiesbaden, 1964, pp. 177-87.


(E. Yarshater)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: August 2, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 9, p. 916

Cite this entry:

E. Yarshater, “ALVĪRĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/9, p. 916, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).