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زبان شناس آینده - Laki and Kurdish Relationship
 
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Laki and Kurdish, Kurdish linguistics, Laki linguistics, Iranian linguistics, Faramarz Shahsavari, Garnik Asatrian, Kurdish phonetic developments, original Kurdish features


By "Phosphorus, the Silent"

Laki has sometimes been subject to ethno-linguistic disputations whether it belongs to the Kurdish continuum or not. However many have considered Laki a Kurdish dialect but there are also advocates of the idea that puts Laki in position of a transitional dialect between Kurdish (as a Northwestern Iranian language) and Luri (as a Southwestern one).

Faramarz Shahsavari, a linguist of Iranian origin at Yerevan State University, has written the last as well as the most linguistically acceptable article in respect to Laki titled "Laki and Kurdish". The present article deals with that paper and examines Shahsavari's conclusions through more inclusive range of variants from Laki dialects.

Shahsavari draws his conclusions based on David N. MacKenzie's proposed set of sound changes which distinguishes Kurdish from other Northwestern Iranian varieties.

The first sound change is development of Old Iranian intervocalic "*-m-" and "*-xm-/*-shm-" into "v/w" in Kurdish. Shasavari compares couple of Laki words with their Kurdish (actually Sorani and Kurmanji) equivalents and then Laki appears to have preserved "-m-" instead of changing it into "v/w", as is the case with Kurdish (Sorani and Kurmanji).

But what is crucial here, as Shahsavari himself asserts somewhere in his paper, is that this sound change is not completely unique to Kurdish and, more importantly, it does not include all Kurdish words neither it has a regular pattern at all. Also it is not only Laki which seems to have develop not "-m-" (also including "-m-" resulted from Old Iranian "*-xm-"/"*-shm-") into "v/w", but there also significant Southern Kurdish sub-dialects (such as Gerrusi Kurdish) which do not follow the same pattern as Central (Sorani) and Northern (Kurmanji) Kurdish in this regard. By the way occurrence of Arabic loans in Northern and Central Kurdish which have undergone similar sound change proves it to be a pretty recent development, not present in the beginning of Kurdish language.

Irregularity of "-m" > "v/w" change in Central and Northern Kurdish:

Kurmanji "duma" ~ "after", vs. Sorani "duwa"

Western Sorani "tamasha" ~ "look" (of Arabic origin), vs. Eastern Sorani "t(a)washa"

Kurmanji "zimeg" ~ "winter quarter" vs. Kurmanji "zivistan" ~ "winter"

Erdelani "zemawen(d)" ~ "wedding" (literally "groom's feast") vs. Erdelani "zawa" ~ "(bride)groom"

Southern Kurdish exceptions in "-m-" > "v/w" sound change:

Gerrusi Kurdish "shím" ~ "dinner" vs. Sorani "shíw", Kurmanji "shív"

Erdellani Kurdish "méman" ~ "guest" vs. other Sorani varieties "méwan", Kurmanji "mévan"

Kelhuri Kurdish "nam" ~ "inside, within" vs. Sorani "naw", Kurmanji "nav"

Erdelani Kurdish "zemí" ~ "earth" vs. Sorani "zewí", Kurmanji "zeví" and Kelhuri "zew"

Southern varieties and Erdelani "tom" ~ "seed" vs. other Sorani varieties/Kurmanji "tow/v"

Occurrence of Arabic words with similar sound change:

Kurmanji/Sorani "hev/wír" ~ "dough" (< Arabic خمیر)

Sorani "t(a)washa" ~ "look" (< Arabic تماشی)

Similar sound change in other Iranian languages:

Vafsi "shaw(a)" ~ "candle" (< Arabic شمع)

Baluchi "daf" ~ "mouth" (< "*dav" < "dam")

As is demonstrated above the development of Old Iranian "-*m-", "*-xm-", "*-shm-" into "v/w" is neither a significantly regular shift nor a an inclusive one (encompassing all Kurdish varieties) and thence it cannot be considered as a distinct Kurdish feature based on which one could determine the Kurdishness or non-Kurdishness of a Northwestern Iranian dialect.

Second sound change attributed to Kurdish is development of Old Iranian initial "*x-" into "k-". This shift has quit a few attested examples in Kurdish language but for sure it can be considered as a distinct Kurdish feature since it is more regular than the previous shift and also includes all Kurdish varieties. But in fact most Southern Kurdish subdialects, not all of them though, represent mostly "x-" instead of "k-". But as a matter of fact there is no single Kurdish variety without a "k-" for an Old Iranian "*x-"; as well as there is no single non-Kurdish dialects or language in vicinity of Kurdish speaking areas to demonstrate such a shift (Khuri and Baluchi languages, spoken in eastern and southeastern Iran, also represent this shift to some degrees but none are in direct contact with Kurdish speaking areas). Also other Northwestern varieties usually represent Old Iranian "*x-" in form of "h-". Then it is impossible to consider Southern Kurdish examples of "x-" as original and speculating "k-" instances as Sorani borrowings (as Shahsavari claims in his article). Actually Southern Kurdish instances of "x-", instead of common Kurdish "k-", are most likely later Persian borrowings (bearing in mind the influence of Persian language in Southern Kurdish areas best shown in the Persian dialect of Kermanshah city).

Examples of the aforesaid sound change in Northern and Central Kurdish:

C. N. Kurdish "ker" ~ "donkey" < Old Iranian "*xara"

C. N. Kurdish "kirr-" ~ "buy" < Old Iranian "*xri-"

C. N. Kurdish "ken-" ~ "laugh" < Old Iranian "*xand-"

C. N. Kurdish "kaní/ke(h)ní" ~ "(well)spring" < Old Iranian "*xan-"

C. Kurdish "kiruz-" ~ "scream (of pain)" < Old Iranian "*xros-"

Now take a look at the Southern Kurdish equivalents of the above respectively:

Common Southern Kurdish (including Laki) "xer", but Gerrusi and Ilami Kurdish "ker" ~ "donkey"

Common Southern Kurdish (including Laki) "xen-", but Gerrusi Kurdish "ken-" ~ "laugh"

All Southern Kurdish (including Laki) varieties "k(y)ení" ~ "(well)spring"

Common Southern Kurdish "kir(uz)-" ~ "scream (of pain), in Laki it is attested in form of "kir-"

And in case of "xer-" (present stem for "to buy") it occurs pretty sporadic and is borrowed from Persian language, since the common Southern (and some Central) Kurdish varieties for "buy" is "s(t)endin" (compare to New Persian "setāndan") and the aforementioned Kurdish varieties actually use a different root for this sense and the original Kurdish "kirrín" ~ "to buy" is replaced.

Preservation of Old Iranian initial "*č-" in Kurdish "cun" ~ "to go" from Old Iranian "*čyaw-" versus "š-" in Western Iranian language as well as in Avestan: N. Persian "šaw-" (Iranian pronunciation "šo(w)-"), Zazaki "shiyayish", Avestan "šyav-". In fact Laki, along with other Kurdish varieties, represents "cun/cin". But according to Anonby (in an article published in Kurdische Studien, 2004/2005) some Pish-e Kouhi Laki varieties (in fact not all of them at all) represent "sh-" instead of "cin" or "cun". Anonby himself considers this, along with other non-Kurdish features in some Western Laki sub-dialects, as Southwestern borrowings. But Shahsavari argues that since adjacent Southwestern Iranian dialects (namely Luri ones) do not represent the common Western Iranian "š-", but instead they represent "rata(n)" (present stem "rav-") just similar to contemporary Persian "raftan" (present stem "ro-"). Then Shahsavari concludes that "sh-" in some Western Laki varieties is perhaps the original Laki form.

This later conclusion, similar to many other inferences in respect with Kurdish linguistics, crucially suffers from lack of information in regard to Kurdish and its adjacent languages. Devastating to Shahsavari's conclusion on Laki "sh-" is the very fact that the old fashioned verb in sense of "to go" in Luri dialects in southern Hamadan and Northern Luristan province of Iran is "shiya(n)". This verb is still preserved in some Luri dialects, particularly in Tuiserkan and Malayer area-north of Luristan (South Hamadani Luri "del shiya" compare to Kurdish "zik cun"). Evidently Luri "shiya(n)" is later replaced by Persian "raftan" (with loss of "f" before "t" resulting in "rata(n)"). Then sporadic "sh-" in some Western (Pish-e Kouhi) Laki subdialects is no doubt a later Luri borrowing, while the original Laki form, with "c-", is represented by the majority of Laki varieties-as is the case with other Kurdish varieties too.

The last sound change, considered exclusive to Kurdish among Western Iranian languages, which is proposed by Asatrian is loss of intervocalic "*-sh-" or resulting in "-h". Shahsavari again refers to Anonby's wordlist of Laki and again arrives at the conclusion that Laki lacks this aforesaid Kurdish feature. Shahsavari points out following words:

Northern Kurdish "duh" ~ "yesterday" vs. Laki "dösh", also N. Persian "dosh" (classical word in sense of "last night") < Old Iranian "dauša"

Northern Kurdish "guh" ~ "ear" vs. Laki gösh, also N. Persian "gosh" (Iranian pronunciation "gush") < Old Iranian "gaoša-"

What precludes Shahsavari's conclusion lies again in lack of information regarding Kurdish linguistic materials (including Laki). Laki "dösh", to begin with, is indeed a later Luri borrowing. It occurs sporadically in Western Laki (Pish-e Kouhi) varieties which are geographically closest to Luri (Southwestern Iranian) dialects. Other Laki varieties represent "dün(e)" which in fact shares the same sound shift as attested in Sorani Kurdish "du(ke)/dweke" and Northern Kurdish "duh".

Similar situation is also attested for Western Laki variety "gösh". There is Laki "gu" in sense of "ear", not only other Laki sub-dialects (Posht-e Kouhi) but also in Pish-e Kouhi Laki too: "we gu bín" ~ "expecting a situation (or being alarmed)" (compare to Persian "be guš budan"). However "gosh", as a Southwestern Iranian loan, is also to be found in a few Southern Kurdish varieties too, but Laki "gu" no doubt represents the original Laki word in sense of "ear" (bearing in mind that adjacent Southern Kurdish and even closest Sorani sub-dialects contain "gwecke" which by no means can be a source of borrowing for Laki "gu").

Also there is another instance of loss of Old Iranian intervocalic "-sh-" which is common to all Laki varieties: "tíní" ~ "thirsty", compare to Central Kurdish "tínu/tínig" and Northern Kurdish "ti(h)ní"; vs. N. Persian "tašna" (Iranian pronunciation "tešne") < Old Iranian "*taršna-ka". Also other Southern Kurdish varieties represent "t(iy)ení".  

As is demonstrated above, what Shahsavari refers to as "fact"-in terms of Laki not revealing original phonetic features of Kurdish- is indeed a range of incorrect conclusions devastatingly suffering from lack of inclusive information in respect to Kurdish and Western Iranian languages (particularly those spoken in the vicinity of Kurdish speaking areas).  

Laki, in accordance with the demonstrations above, is indeed a dialect of Kurdish continuum representing most exclusive Kurdish features in regard to historical sound changes, despite the fact that its respective speakers have experienced centuries of close ethno-social contact with originally Southwestern speaking tribes-namely Lurs-and therefore Laki dialect of Kurdish has undergone some lexical changes (Southwestern borrowings) and perhaps has not undergone some later sound changes common to other Kurdish dialects (such as "m" > "v/w").

 

Appendix: Some Kurdish Lexical Features in Laki

Zivírd / zeverd ~ "revolve; change": past root for "*zeverdin", which is lost in today Laki, it is akin to Northern Kurdish "zivir-" ("zivirín") both derived from Old Iranian "*uz-warta-". It is not, to author's knowledge, attested in other Southern Kurdish varieties and Sorani. Also compare with Sogdian "zwar-". No other Western Iranian language contains this root.

Zik ~ "stomach": also Sorani and Northern Kurdish "zik" ~ "stomach; heart". The original sense of the word is "heart" but it has semantically developed to embrace "stomach" too (also attested in Persian "del" ~ "stomach; heart", common to many other Iranian languages). But gradually Persian loan "dil" (< N. Persian "dil") has replaced the sense of "heart" (as well as "stomach" in many cases) but the original sense of "zik" is still evident in some Sorani and Kuramnji phrases: "zik shewat" ~ "compassionate" (literally "heart-burnt"), "zik kesék éshandin" ~ "annoying/hurting (someone)" (lit. "hurting someone's heart"), etc. Kurdish "zik" (heart) shows a previous form of "*zirk" and is ultimately derived from Old Iranian "*zrda-ka" (as opposed to initial "d-" in Southwestern Iranian, evident in Persian and Luri "del"). It is noteworthy that however "zig" is attested in some Southern Kurdish varieties too but the common Southern Kurdish word for "stomach" is "leme" and "gey/de". Old Iranian root for "heart" in form of "zik" is not preserved no other Western Iranian languages adjacent to Kurdish speaking areas: Zazaki "zerre", Hewrami (Gorani) "zéll" (also "dill" a Persian loan), and Luri "del".

Resh ~ "black": Common Kurdish word for "black" is "resh" (however in some Southern Kurdish varieties, including some Laki subdialects, "síya" is attested < Persian "siyāh"). Kurdish "resh" is derived from Old Iranian "*raxsha" and it, in sense of "black", has attested merely in Kurdish and not in any other Western Iranian languages.

Mal ~ "house": Other Kurdish dialects also share this word for "house" (though some Soraní subdialects use "xanu" too). Kurdish "mal" is actually an Arabic loanword and originally means "property". No other Western Iranian languages represent Arabic "mal" in sense of "house".


This article is first released through the following blog: http://linguist2b.mihanblog.com/





نوع مطلب : Iranian Linguistics، 
برچسب ها : Laki and Kurdish، Faramarz Shahsavari Laki and Kurdish، Garnik Asatrian Kurdish features، Original Kurdish Features، لکی و کردی، ارتباط زبان کردی و لکی، آیا لکی گویشی کردی است؟،
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دوشنبه 4 شهریور 1392
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