IRANIAN LANGUAGES AND LITERA TURES. Historically, the linguistic and liter ary monuments of Iran cover a period of more than two thousand five hundred years, dating from the early Zoroastrian scriptures and the Ohl Persian cuncif, run inscription-, through the PahlaVt, dulN11 to .Voderll literature, From the standpoint ,,f the Iranian tongues are ino,t closely allied to the Indic languages, and together they make up the Indo-Iranian Three great periods in their development may be recognized 01,1 Iranian, Middle Iranian. and New or Mod. ern Iranian. (1 ) The first of these, the 01(1 Iranian period. includes the .1 rista (q.v.) and the cllilriiDgin inscriptions. and antedates the Christian Era by fully six centuries, although it probably extended into the fourth ventury Al). There is practically a barren period of live •en turies during the Parthian sway, from the third century fix. to the early part of the third een tur• A.n., during which time there are no real literary although possibly some later .1vestan text, may have been composed, tain inscriptions and devices in coins may be cited as helping to eke out our knowledge of the (Ild Iranian period till the rise of the Sas-anian monarchy ( 2261. 12) The Iranian period dates fruit the latter event, and extend, to about the ninth or tenth century of our era. It is represented by the language and literature known as Pahlavi (q.v.I. including Iluzvaresh, Pazand. and Parsi. 03) The New or Modern Iranian period begins practically in the tenth eentury A.n., With the rise of the Mod ern Persian language and literature 19.v.) under Firdausi (q.v.) and his immediate predecessors. Within this period. besides the New Persian,
time pane the vat-hills modern Iranian lan guages and Afghan. Baluchi. Kurdish. Ossetish. the dialects of the Pamir and Caspian districts, and the dialects of Central Iran. All the Iranian languages have tertain phonetic eharae teristks which mark them and distinguish them from the kindred group of Judie tongues. •Alost conspicuous among these are: (1) The change of Indo•f;•rmanie .1 into Iranian h e.g. Skt. s'orn41, 'same,' 'like.' 'all' = AV. forma. °Per-. harm, Phi. hu.k. Paz. hu m4. hrn th. 13a1. honor (1;), Kurd hamii: (21 the presence of the voiced sibilants Skt. jaan, 'knee' = Av.
cdna, Phl. zintirk, NPers. Afgh.
Bal. :inn• Kurd. zan: Skt. h%rhu. 'arm' = Av. loizn, Muzak, NPers. Skt.
( Vedic mrlikfi). 'mercy' = Av. (WM 13) the use of spirant, instead of aspi as well as a general tendency to spi rantization (th, 0, qtr, 7, etc.); (-I there are numerous minor phonetic. morphologieal. and syntactica) features which only a technical treatment of the individual languages ecincerned. The details regarding the various Iranian literatures, Avesta, laid Persian, Pahlavi. ete., will lie found in the separate articles devoted to those subjeets. The modern Iranian are written in the Arabic script. the ancient Persian inscriptions in wedge s11aped letter: borrow 41 from the Babylonian (diameters, while the Pahlavi and Avesta are in a script based on the Semitic writing and read from right to left.
Consult : monographs in Geiger and Kelm. in( isrhr n Ph ilologic 1595-1904) Cray, Phonology (New York, 1902).