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Kurdish Durative Indicator

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zimanzan's picture
Joined: 16 Sep 2008

This issue is one of the prominent subjects of Kurdish speeches which can be really helpful in case of disclosing the vague fronts of Kurdish.

One of the main outward differences between Kurdish speeches shows up in this case:


Northern Kirmanjí: di-, ti- (sub-dialectal)

Central Kirmanjí: de- (western, northern), e- (eastern, southern)

Southern Kirmanjí: di-, e- (northern), me- (Lekí sub-dialect)


Zaza: -en-

Goraní: me-, mi-

First I annotate on Goraní "me-"/"mi-" which is the youngest in comparison with the others. It's a direct loan from Middle Persian "mé-" which itself is a n earlier Parthian borrowing: "heméw". This present indicator, heméw, literally means "always" (compare with Modern Persian "hemíshé" and Gilaki "míshek") appears in the Parthian texts only once:

"Kedh heméw íshtad ped afríwan…"

When he was praying (~literally: when he was standing to pray)

Evidently Middle Persian borrows this Parthian significance and uses it in a large extent as it serves as the only present indicator in the Middle Persian and ultimately survives to the modern days: mí- in both official and conversational forms of Persian.

This indicator later invades Lekí sub-dialect of Southern Kirmanjí, via Gúraní, and takes the place of original present indicator over there:

Lekí : Kolyayí : Meaning

me-cim : e-cim : I go

me-wshim : e-weshim : I say

me-kem : e-kem : I do

Also Semnaní language contains this Parthian borrowing via Persian: me-.

I have no idea what was the original present indicator in Goraní speech before "me-" but there are two remarkable points: in some Hewramí sub-dialects they don’t use any present indicator at all:

Sub-Dialectal : Common : Meaning

keru : mekeru : I do

wespí : mospí (mewespí) : you sleep

This concept, lacking in present indicator, is just the same as many Parthian texts as well as various Northwestern and Southwestern Iranian speeches: Luri, Galeshi.

Also some Kirmajhí Kurdish sub-dialects also preferably avoid using present indicator, however it still survives:

Kelhúrí : Meaning

(di-)cim : I go

(di-)xwey : you eat

di-wínim : I see

di-yed : s/he comes

It's probably a contemporary phenomenon among western Iranian languages. Perhaps in order to ease the language.

The second point that I want to remark is a Hewramí verb: "shyay" ~ "ought, must". Its present tense forms as follow:



As you can notice "e-" stays instead of "me-". Although it could be speculated as a Central Kirmanjí influence on Herwamí. Indeed deeper researches on archaic Goraní speeches are required for the sake of clarification.

About Zaza "-en-" the conditions are different. First this present indicator occupies between the present stem and the personal pronoun. This is substantially different with Kirmanjí and Goraní indicators which locate before the present stem. And surprisingly it matches with some Northern Iranian present indicators:

Mazandarani (except Shahrudi): -nd-

Gilaki (except Galeshi and eastern dialect): -n-

Sangsari: -ind-

Amazingly some Khorasani sub-dialects of Persian also represent this indicator (however in another tense) too: -end-.

At the first glance the original form exposes itself: "-end-". It most likely originates from a Parthian indicator: "-héndé-":

"cewaghon kedh eber eseng waran war-éndé"

As if rain is pouring down over the stone" "

Amazingly only Goraní Kurdish (particularly Hewramí) appears to retain this indicator in its proper place:

wan-en-mé* : if we would be reading*

(*I am not sure about the accurate meanings)

Also Zaza shows a closer form in its past tense:

min kerd-éné : I was doing

ma wend-éné : we were reading

Evidently in most Northwestern languages that have undergone a tough Parthian influence, this indicator has received the sense of "present indicator" gradually.

Eventually it’s time to discuss about the main Kurdish speech, namely Kirmanjí. Kurmanjí, western and northern Soraní as well as more than half of Kirmajhí subdialects represent either "di-" (some Kurmanjí subdialects "ti-") or "de-". But southern and eastern Soraní and almost half of Kirmajhí subdialects deal with "e-". It was a bit obscure to elucidate the connection between "de-"/"di-" and "e-" until I read an archaic poem alleged to Bawa Tayer (Persian "Baba Taher). This poem is an exceptional one due to its language which is neither Persian nor a mixture of Persian, Kurdish, and Luri. This time Bawa Tayer seems to care for his own mother tongue rather than his contemporary lingua franca. In that poem which is contains a language that I can refer to it as "transitional between Kirmanjí and Goraní", we find this:

"zarijish kúsht ú múran zarij edxwerd"

"[it] killed the partridge and [then] the ants were eating partridge"

Therein we face "edxwerd" which is combined of "ed-" and "xwerd". The second part is the same as current Kirmanjí "xwardin"/"xwerdin" ~ "to eat" and the first part is durative indicator just the same as Kirmanjí "de-"/"di-"/"e-". So surprisingly we can explain this Central and Southern Kirmanjí exception: et-é, the durative indicator which only appears before the present stem of "hatin" ~ "to come". Whilst the other varieties are: d(e)-é, t(e)-é. This "et-" is the hardened form of "ed-" which regularly appears in the archaic poem of Bawa Tayer. Also Central Iranian dialects represent it as "ed-"/"e-":

ecún (ed-shún : ed-shan) : I go (Mahallati*)

etshan (ed-shan) : I go (Ashtyani*)

ejim : I say (Raji-ye Delijani)

Beside these, another Northwestern Iranian language has fortunately retained this durative indicator too: "-de-" in Northern Talyshi.
But apparently it has adopted a foreign sense regarding to locate the present indicator between the present stem and personal pronoun.

According to the above evidences the genuine form amongst "di-", "ti-", "de-" is Soraní "de-". But which one we should pick out of "de-" and "e-"?

The answer requires to trace the Old Iranian root. Allegedly, according to "Kurmancí Institute" in Paris, its Old Iranian root is "hedhe-"* which appears in Avesta. It does make sense since we have already another example, "hece", which later forms modern "jhe", "ejh", "zé", "ez", etc. Just same as Kirmanjí Kurdish and other Iranian languages' variants:

Kirmanjí Kurdish: de-, e-

Talyshi: -de-

Central Iranian: e(d)-

Hence I speculate that Central Kirmanjí "de-" deserves to be the standard durative indicator in Kirmanjí Kurdish.

Blessed Are The Meek

Hesen's picture
Joined: 21 Aug 2008
From where you know that

From where you know that Middle Persian loaned it from Parthian? Where is the loud-rule for it? And why should Middle Persian loan such important grammer feature from Parthian and why Hewramí should laon it from Persian?

And why you speak from Parthian influence, if Zazaki shows older structures. How you can evidence, that a word is loaned if you have not any rule? I can also say, "xw" is loaned from Persian, because according to lingusts is a Southwestern developing. I have even the rule and source (Paul Ludwig) for it.

zimanzan's picture
Joined: 16 Sep 2008

It makes sense, because in archaic (classical) Persian texts there are both of "mí-" and "hemí-" sorts: míkerdem : hemíkerdem : I was doing. Also, according to the dictionary of Shahrudi-a Mazandarani dialect, it's "hén-" in the Southern Mazandarani: hénkéném (< hémkonom) : I do (while common Mazandarani "kimmé" < "kon-nd-mé"). This "hemí-" / "hemé-" is directly loaned from Parthian "heméw". I assert that it's a borrowing because first it doesn’t appear in the Old Persian as a durative indicator. I think it's not necessary to remark the hard influence of Parthian on Middle Persian and other Iranian languages since it, Parthian, was making advantage of being the official language of Iran for a pretty long period.

Anyways if we ever assume that this is not a Parthian borrowing and Middle Persian just coincidentally starts to use this durative indicator right after the Parthian, still it's obviously a Middle Persian loan-feature in Semnani, Gorani, Tati, and whatever the Iranian language that contains "mé", "me", and "mí" as durative indicator. Because to truncate the first part, "he-", only takes place the in Middle Persian and its concept is supposed to convey the sense of "duration" and "eternity":

Persian : Goraní : Semnani

hemí, hemíshé : heméshe : hémíshe : always

hemí-, mí- : me- : me- : durative indicator

It's indisputably a Persian loan, from "mé-", which later passes this path: "mi-" > "me-". Otherwise how come the Goraní, Semnani, and the others have started to use a durative indicator in sense of "duration", "always" ~ "heméw"; but it even doesn’t exist in their own vocabulary? We all know that right after the collapse of Parthians by Sassanid Persians, the Middle Persian started to serve as the official language of Iran and this situation lasts to the modern times under the name of "New Persian": namely about 2 millenniums. So it shouldn’t be surprising surprising to discern various Persian influences on the modern Iranian languages.

By the way I don’t know why you are talking about sound rules?! I don’t think that Parthian and Persian differ in case of representing "heméw". It doesn’t involve something like the divergencies of "jh" > "z", "s" > "h", etc. Here you are:

Parthian : Middle Persian : Meaning

heméw : hemé, hemésheg : always

heméw : mé-, hemé- : durative indicator

Also I think you shouldn’t be asking me why middle Persians have loaned it from Parthians. Because I didn’t advise them to do so, I only share whatever I figure out pal.

And I think you have a misinterpretation about the "older structure". In these cases it is specifically immaterial whether a language somewhere else represents an old feature or not. Kirmanjí, Pehlewaní, Tati, as Northwestern members, represent "zan-", for "know", which is closer to the Old Iranian form rather than the Old Persian "dan-". But it doesn’t mean that these speeches are the untouchables of the linguistic world in comparison with Old Persian! No matter how many older features they got, they still and forever are "modern" and Old Persian is and will be ever an "old" language comparing to them. That means it's possible to trace the Old Persian influences on them-modern Iranian speeches. Also Zaza is pretty younger compared to Parthian. Then it's possible to trace down Parthian influences over Zaza. And according to the indelible impression of Parthian on Zaza (just recollect the mere Zaza "g" in "gún" and Parthian "gúxen" and the fact that Zaza is never ever apt to change "v" > "g"), we should be always considering Parthian when we want to discuss about Zaza. Also you think Zaza present "-en-" and past "-éné" are any thing but Parthian features? From the same Parthian tense, we have "-an" pronoun for first person, and incredibly Zaza , as well some Central Iranian dialects, contain "-an" (> "-ún", "-ú") for the first person in the present tense. These things along with "gún" and many other features and words that I don’t wanna write them down here, make it implausible to think on any coincidences.

It's wrong to talk about "xw-" right here, frankly it would be fallacious; I will discuss it in a relevant topic very soon.

And all due respect, any one can say anything but the only criterion to distinguish the jive from the sense is to see what sensible materials are backing them up.

Blessed Are The Meek

Hesen's picture
Joined: 21 Aug 2008
The archaic Sorani "ed"

The archaic Sorani "ed" supports my these, that this "ed" has the same root as Zazaki "en", which comes from Old Iranian "ent" and is represented in Caspian languages as "ed, en, end" etc.

I think, the best is to let the "de" in the presense time (like in Proto-Kurdish), that the verbs become more beautiful like in Southern Kurdish. So my proposal for a Standard Kurdish ist:

ez kem = I do, ez bíkem = that I do, min kird = i've done
ez xwem = I eat, ez bíxwem = that I eat, min xwerd = i've ate
ez zanim = I know, ez bízanim = that I know, min zaní = i've knowed
ez vejhim = I say, ez bívéjhim = that I say, min vet = i've said

ez kem, tu key, ew ked, em ken, hún ken, ewan ken
ez zanim, tu zaní, ew zaned, em zanin, hún zanin, ewan zanin
ez vejhim, tu vejhí, ew vejhed, em vejhin, hún vejhin, ewan vejhin

Like in Southern Kurdish. Thats were a perfect common language for Kurdistan.

zimanzan's picture
Joined: 16 Sep 2008

First, no Caspian language contains "ed-". Northern Talyshi, which is seemingly the most genuine Talyshi dialect, merely contains "-de-". Galishi, which is allegedly the most genuine Gilaki dialect, as well as eastern Gilaki do not contain "-in-" at all. If I am not mistaken the durative marker for the past tense is Galishi is "e-", which comes before the verbal root just like Kirmanjí Kurdish and Central Iranian dialects. Only Sangsari and, in some sorts, Mazandarani represent it, "-ind-", thoroughly. Central Iranian dialects all together agree with "e(d)-". If we could ever find one example of "nt" > "d" in some Kurdish varieties, we can never ever find it in a general sense as well as we can never ever find such a weird change in any cases within Talyshi, Galishi, or Central Iranian dialects.

On the other hand, Old Iranian "-ente" is a suffix which makes adjectives and nouns. Fortunately this ancient suffix still exists in Kirmanjí Kurdish as well Central Iranian dialects and Talyshi: -end, -ind, -in (dayendí ~ donator, wéjhinde ~ speaker, mandú ~ tired, etc.) And obviously it never ever changes into "ed" or "d" in a single word even. By the way, the reason of tagging "-ent-" to the present stem would be showing this significance: for instance Sangsari "e kúshní*" is re-constructible as ancient "ezim (I) keosh(kill)-ente(-er)-íme(am)" that literally means "I am killer", but in Sangsari it has changed as "I kill". So when we know this, how come you except this notion to access your mind that ancient "-ente" which always appears at the end of the verbal root, might come before the verbal root in Kurdish, Talyshi, Central Iranian dialects, Galishi, etc. and incidentally they all turn it into either "de" or "ed", so Kirmanjí Kurdish "ez dekujhim" should literally mean "I am er-kill" (kush-ent > ent-kush ~ killer > erkill)!!! It's the most freak thing to consider. Just let alone that the ancient "ent" it self survives in the mentioned languages without any change to "ed" or "de" at all.

By the way the contemporary varieties for ancient "hece" (> ec, ce, ejh, jhe, ez, zé) boost up the probability of "ed" and "de" being derived from the ancient marker "hedhe" (as Kurmanjí Institute affirms). Regarding to Kirmanjí Kurdish, Talyshi, Galishi, and Central Iranian dialects sharing it in common, hence I most likely speculate it as a Mede durative indicator.

Blessed Are The Meek