BĪDGOL and BĪDGOLI dialect.

1. The localities. Bīdgol and Ārān, two practically contiguous townships in the province of Kāšān, are located some 10 km to the north and slightly to the east of the city of Kāšān at 34°4’ north latitude and 51°29’ east longitude (Razmārā, Farhang III, p. 7), at the edge of the desert; they suffer chronic water shortages. Their main produce is summer crops (ṣayfī) such as melons, cucumbers, beetroots, carrots, and turnips, and some tobacco and cotton. They do not raise livestock. The saline water of the region does not support many grains; only small amounts of wheat and barley are sown. Drinking water is supplied by qanāts; several deep wells provide somewhat saline water. When I visited the two townships in 1969, both had been electrified, and some houses had piped water. Inhabitants of both towns weave carpets, which are marketed as “Kāšānī.” Bīdgol’s carpets have a reputation for good quality. Ša:rbāfī (cloth-weaving) had been prac­ticed in both towns: Čādoršabs (night sheets) and pašabands (mosquito nets) were made, particularly in Bīdgol; however, with the decline of the local industry, a number of the inhabitants, estimated at about 450 people in 1969, commute to Kāšān in order to work in its textile factories. The population of Ārān and Bīdgol was 32,302 in 1976 (Markaz-e Āmār-e Īrān, Saršomārī-­e nofūs wa maskan-e šahrestān-e Kāšān, Tehran, 1355 Š./1976, p. 64), a year after the two had been joined into a single town named Golārā. (For a historical account of the two towns see ārān.) Bīdgol is made up of some ten and Ārān of some twelve quarters, each with its own mosque and Ḥosaynīya, according to my informants. In 1969 both towns had a junior high school for boys and six-grade elementary schools for girls.

2. The Dialect. The local dialect is in decline in both towns. In 1969, according to one of my informants, no more than 200 households actually spoke the dialect in Ārān (mostly in Deh-[e] Now and Zīrdeh quarters), though the great majority was familiar with it; and some 2,000 people in Bīdgol did not know the dialect; in Tūdeh, one of its major quarters, the dialect had been abandoned. The dialect of Ārān and Bīdgol is similar to the dialects spoken in the Kāšān region, which are generally mutually intelligible. There are, however, interesting differences between even Ārāni and Bīdgoli. For instance, while a modicum of grammatical gender distinction is preserved in Ārāni, it is absent in Bīdgoli. Moreover, Ārāni has -e/yon (sing. and plur.) for the third person of the enclitic pronoun, while Bīdgoli has -(e)š/-šon. I was told that in the Salmaḡān district of Bīdgol the patois was slightly different, but time did not permit me to investigate this. Since Ārāni and Bīdgolī are almost identical, both are treated here as one, with the indication of differences when necessary.

Phonology. The affinity of the Ārāni-Bīdgoli dialect to what is commonly styled Northwest Iranian can be seen in characteristic lexical items such as Ā(rāni) esbə “dog” (-sb- < IE kṷ; OIr. tsṷ [ću], Av. sp, OPers. s), bar “door” (b- < dṷ-), yo “barley” (y- < y-) e:zer “yesterday” (z < IE. g,gh; Av. z, OPers. d), Ā. rej- “to pour,” B(īdgoli) jer “below” (j < intervocalic c); note­worthy is, however, Ā. yən B. yan “wife,” Ā. yed, B. yida “alive” (y < Ir. j, IE. g, gh; j or ž in other Kāšāni dialects) and Ā., B. gərgə “wolf” (g- < -).

The Ārāni-Bīdgoli vowel system consists of i, e, ə, a, ö, ü, u, (o), ā. The distinction between e and ə can be seen in Ā., B. ne “this” and “that,” and between ü and u in Ā., B. ru “in, inside” and “face, on.” (Note, however, Ā. u-ri, Pers. āb-e-rū, “good reputation, respect” which occurs in a text.) The vowel ā is somewhat rounded, close to [o], and o is generally more open than cardinal [o]. More likely than not, they are allophones of the same phoneme. Before the nasals this phoneme has a range between [u] and [a]. The vowels are easily influenced by their environment, sometimes passing to a different phoneme (most noticeable in the vowel of prefix ). More material than time allowed me to collect will be required to strictly standardize. The consonants are the same as in Persian, but h has a more guttural articulation, as is the case in most other Kāšāni subdialects.

The dialect avoids clusters in the same syllable and tends to drop final consonants, particularly the dentals, h, and r; e.g., Ā. haš “eight,” ča:š “spring,” ša: “city,” dö:z “thief,” ba-ma “he came,” ār-gə “pick up!,” bə-və “weave!,” -nə/-nā “to put,” -də/-dā “to give.” This results also in the loss of the consonant before the -t of the past stems, e.g., ret “poured,” pād “cooked,” vat “weaved,” or together with it, e.g., ka(r) “did.” The length resulting from the omission of a consonant may become distinctive as in xā:r “sister,” xār “thorn.” Length however may sometimes be the effect of intonation.

Morphology. The nominal system is based on two numbers, one case, and two grammatical genders. The plural marker is -o(n), with -n appearing before vowels, e.g., Ā. yür-o maktab do be-madan “the children came from the school”; nam yür-on-e be-ba sar ča:š “take the children to the spring.” Final -ə drops before the plural marker: karg-o bo-št-an ru lon “the hens (sing. kárgə) went inside the nest.” The grammatical gender of nouns cannot be distinguished morphologically; in Ārāni it may be inferred from the numeral adjective i (masc.)/e (fem.) “a, one” (although the distinction was not always observed in practice), or by the demonstrative adjective ne (masc.)/nam (fem.) “this, the.” Cf. i ka:t (masc.) “a [wooden] shovel,” e bol (fem.) “a spade,” ne gā/xa “this bull/jackass,” nam gā/xa “this cow/she-donkey,” ne māh “the moon,” nam xoršid “the sun.” According to such indications, mājli “cat,” kabu “pigeon,” γāter “mule,” “stream,” düm “face,” gulon “calf,” and yür “child” are feminine (cf. Yarshater, n. 8). A trace of a feminine marker -ə may have been left in a few words such as kárgə, gə́rgə and bözə (but see definition, below). Bīgdoli, on the other hand, has lost all traces of the distinction of the grammatical gender.

Definition is generally indicated by demonstrative adjectives; the direct object, however, is defined by -e, both singular and plural, cf. Ā. karg xorus-a nač-tar-a “hen(s) are (lit. is) better than cock(s),” karg-e na baγo “don’t hit the hen,” nam karg-on-e sar bə-bər “slaughter the hens” (cf. karg-o bo-št-an ru lon, above). No examples of the definition marker occur in my Bīgdoli material.

A single set of personal pronouns is used. Ā. me(n), , , həm, šəm, nəhu/nəmi (those/these): B. me(n), , (also nə/ne that, this), hām, šām, nui. In Ā. mane occurs as the direct object of the first person singular, e.g., Ā. man-e xoj xā be-bar “take me with you”; -e is probably the definite direct object marker and man the fuller form of me rather than a different form of the pronoun; cf. Ā. me:-də “give me,” me: da hā-na-gə(r) “do not take from me,” xoj me: abu “come with me”; B. me dar-kat-o “I fell,” rax men-eš bö-šöšta bu “she had washed my clothes.” In the following example -n does not appear even though followed by a vowel, apparently on account of the juncture: B. me uguš-emo bə-pat “I cooked ābgušt (stewed meat [soup]).” The affixed pro­nouns are in Ā. (a)m, -(e)d, -e, -mun, -dun, -yun; and in B. -(a)m, -(e)t, -(e)š, -mo, -do, -šo. The connective vowel in the first person singular occurs as -a- rather than -e-. (Cf. a similar enclitic pronoun recorded by Mann (Kurdisch-persische Forschungen, pt. 3, vol. 1, p. 266: baüi vâ “he said.”) Affixed pronouns are used as (1) possessive pronouns, (2) direct objects, (3) indirect objects, (4) object of postposition (only one example with - “for” in B., probably also prepositions), and (5) agents of verbs in passive constructions. Ā. shows a new form for the third person when used as a direct object: še (sing.) and šeyon (i.e., še-y-on plur., -y- being a connect­ing glide).

Examples: Ā. čaš-e uve bo-var “her eye(s) developed cataract” (cf. Pers. āb āvardan), pül-e-y-am še-dā “I gave him his money” (-e is the possessive pronoun, -y- the glide, and še the indirect object of am-dā “I gave”), ba:d-e “after that, then” (cf. ba:d-eš “then,” a borrowing from Persian), tə bə-həm zür bə-d-vā “you imposed on us” (cf. Pers. zur-goftan be “to impose upon, demand unreason­ably”); xodā amr-e še-da “may God give him [long] life,” pül-am da borvar-ed dā “I gave the money to your brother”; B. pül-eš ši-am dā “I gave him his money” (-i- ­result of -e of še- and the connective palatal glide); mo ši-­eš ne-dā “we did not give her in marriage (lit. [to] husband)”; pül men-eš me-dā “he gave me my money”; še-də “give him!”; še-rā i xāsgār ba-mad-e bu “a suitor had come for her.” It will be noticed that the affixed pronouns are not always suffixed, but may be prefixed, and in some cases behave almost as free-standing


The verbal system is based, as expected, on two stems: present and past, two “modal” prefixes: - and a-, and six persons. The passive construction is used in past transitive verbs. The present stem is employed for the imperative, the subjunctive, and the present, the past stem for the preterit, the imperfect, and the periphrastic tenses (the perfect and the pluperfect). The personal endings are in both Ā. and B. -o, -e, -e, -im, -ey, -an. The ending of the second person singular of the imperative and the preterit is zero, often accompanied by the loss of the final consonant of the stem, e.g., Ā. hā-či/hā-čin-ey “sit!” (sing. and plur.); bə-və/bə-vəh-ey “weave!”; bü-šu/bö-šöd-a “he went/he has gone”; bam xar/bam xard­a “I ate/I have eaten.” B. hā-gə/hā-ger-ey “take!” The prefix - is employed for the imperative, the subjunc­tive, the preterit, and the periphrastic tenses, provided that the stem is plain, that is, devoid of preverb or nominal complement. The vowel of - is strongly influenced by its environment and often assumes a homomorphic articulation: Ā. bə-ri/bə-rin-ey “buy!” (sing. and plur.); bo-vā/bo-vāj-ey “say!”; a-bu/aburey “come!”; pā-bi/pā-bi-r-ey (probably by analogy with a­burey) “stand up”; B. bə-šə/bə-š-ey “go!”; vā-gel “return!”; dāγ-nə “open!”; Ā. bə-ho “[that] I come”; B. bə-­rej-o “[that] I pour”; bə-bi “may you be!” (the subjunc­tive is used also for the optative); Ā. ba:med-e “you (sing.) came”; hā-čišd-o “I sat”; B. vā-gelā “he re­turned”; ba-hmeyrā “it broke” (passive with secondary past stem in -ā); hā-xāt “he slept.”

The durative (or imperfective) marker a- is used in the present tense and the imperfect, e.g., Ā. a-kər-e “you (sing.) do, are doing”; a-vah-an “we weave”; ho-v-a-res-­an “they spin”; (hā-res- “to spin”; -v- is a connective consonant), ā-b-o “I become.” The perfect stem is made from the past stem with the perfect marker -a (in B. sometimes as close as -e), which is identical with the 3rd person singular of “to be.” In other respects the perfect follows the model of the preterit. The pluperfect employs the perfect stem plus the preterit of “to be” as auxiliary.

Examples: Ā. piar-am bö-šöd-a Karbalā “my father has gone to Karbala”; B. esikān da ru čā kat-a “the cup has fallen in the well”; gol šid ār-bed-a “the flower has opened”; Ā. ta ke ba:med-e či-am bə-xard-a bu “when you came I had [already] eaten”; B. por še-rā i xāsegārba:med-a bu “last year a suitor had come for her.”

These past transitive verbs follow the passive (ergative) construction, whereby the verb (in fact a past participle which corresponds to the 3rd pers. sing. of the intransitive preterit) does not have any ending; its agent is indicated by an affixed pronoun. The “verb” does not agree in number with its subject or its object, but remains singular. As agents, the affixed (or enclitic) pronouns precede the verb. They may be attached to a direct object, an indirect object, a pronoun, or to the verb. In the last case they follow a preverb and the durative marker a- in the imperfect: Ā. dö:z-o-mo be-ga “we caught the thief”; sang-am da-ru čā pes “I threw [a] stone into the well”; borvar-ed-am bə-di “I saw your brother”; da-nə-m dā “I gave him”; mo-bə-xar “we ate”; vo-am-deš “I sewed”; b-am-hamar “I broke”; B. gorgə ga:l-eš boγād “the wolf struck at the flock”; pür-on-am dö xar xarböz-ešun bar karda “my sons have loaded two donkeys [with] melon.”

A periphrastic future (attested only in Ārāni) is formed with the base kəm “to want, to wish” followed by personal endings of the present tense and the past stem of the verb: kəm-o šu, kəm-e šu, kəm-im šu, etc., “I will, you/he will, we will go, etc.” A parallel to dar-a-kan in aga nəhu bə-šan lav čā dar-a-kan “If they go [to the] edge of the pit they will fall in” was given as dar-kəm-an-­ka, a future construction in which the future auxiliary comes between the preverb and the verb; cf. dar-kəm-o-­ka, dar-kəm-im-ka, etc., “I shall fall, we shall fall,” etc.

The infinitive was attested in Ārāni in a sole example: qāli vat-e, (the past stem plus. -e) “to weave carpet(s).” In Ārāni the causative is formed by adding -ən- to the present stem. The past stem is then formed by adding -ā(d) to the causative stem, e.g., bə-tej “run!” bə-tej-ən “make run,” bə-m-tej-ən-ād-a “I have made run,” vo-­am-gel-ən-ā “I made (him) return.” A secondary past stem is formed by adding -ā(d) to the present stem. Such stems are sometimes found even when the primary stem is still in use, e.g., be-veret/ba-vereja “he ran away,” ba-­tat, ba-tejā “he ran.” The passive was attested in Bīdgoli in a sole example: *bahmeyr-ā “it broke.” This seems to result from *ba-hmar-i-ā which would show the passive marker -i-, common in Kāšāni dialects, added to the active stem, with secondary past stem in -ā.

“Must” and “ought to, to want to” are expressed by the base ey for the present and (usually in the meaning of “to want to”) for the past. Persons are indicated by the affixed (agential) pronouns, which precede the verb, e.g., Ā. heyā m-ey bö-šü ša: “today I must go to town (i.e., Kāšān)”; mo-ey ba-šim var u “we must go to the water”; š-ey ba-še “he must go”; me-gā bö-sö “I wanted to go”; šām m-a-šnü do-gā bə-šey ša: “I was hearing that you (plur.) wanted/were to go to Kāšān.” The particle “must” is also occasionally used, but seems to be a borrowing from Persian. With this compare in central dialects, e.g., Qohrūdi mäi “I want to,” Mann, op. cit., p. 266, and Soi, etc., ga “to want to,” A. Christensen, K. Barr, and W. Henning, eds., Iranische Dialektaufzeich­nungen aus dem Nachlass von F. C. Andreas, Berlin, 1939, p. 84, n. 2. The notion of “to be able to” is expressed in the present by the word čān (the vowel ranges between ā and u) followed by an enclitic pronoun as agent and then the freestanding present of “to be” for the present, and the preterit of “to be” for the preterit and the imperfect, e.g., i sāat bi čān-am ha(se) bə-ho “in one hour I can come”; mə ne-ha bə-ho “I cannot come”; mə čān-am ne-bu “I could not.” For the negative “cannot” the following form occurred in a text: na-ms-o kar “I can not do,” which elicited the following paradigm: nams-e, nams-e, nams-­im, nams-ey, nams-an kar/šo “you cannot, he cannot, etc., do/go.” For the unreal conditional of “to be able to” a periphrastic construction with kəmā (past stem of kəm, see above) was obtained: aga čān-am kəmā bu “if I had been able to.” The paradigm is obtained by attaching the enclitic pronouns to čān as endings: čān-e kəmā bu, čān-emo kəmā bu, etc., “if he/we had been able to,” etc. My material is too limited to elucidate all aspects of such formations.

The following pre- and postpositions occur: Ā. xoj- ­“with,” da “at, to,” ru-, da-ru- “in, inside,” -bi “from”; B. -da “from,” da- “to,” voj- “with,” ru- “in,” -, -a “from”; Ā. da borvar-am na-baγow “do not strike my brother”; borvar-am-bi vāresi bə-kə “ask from my brother”; B. pür-am-da vāresi-am bə-kə “I asked from my brother”; voj borvar-am bə-šə “go with my brother”; ru ke: “inside the house”; me-rā u ar-ge “take water to me”; sar xarmen-a ba-med-an “they came from the field.” The prepositions a- “from (Pers. az), ta “until,” and “with” (bə-ne “with this,” bə-həm “with us,” Pers. ) seem to be borrowings from Persian.



E. Yarshater, “The Dialect of Ārān and Bidgol,” in Mélanges Gilbert Lazard, Paris, forthcoming.

For comparative purposes see the references given in the text and abuzaydābādǰ and abyānaʾǰ.

(Ehsan Yarshater)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: December 15, 1989

This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 3, pp. 247-249