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Description

Harzani

Harzani is spoken by less than 30.000 people. The speakers live in the West Azerbaijan province of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Harzani is generally regarded to be a member of the Talysh subgroup of the northwestern branch of the Iranian languages. The Iranian languages form a top-level constituent of the Indo-European language family.

Harzani is an oral language and has no official status in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Harzani has nine vowel phonemes. The consonant inventory of Harzani is basically the same as in Persian.

Nouns and pronouns do not have grammatical gender. The plural of nouns is formed by suffixes.

Nouns are inflected for case. There are two cases: direct and oblique case. The direct case has no overt morphological marking whereas the oblique case is marked by a suffix.

The oblique case has the following functions: 1) marking of the possessor (preceding the head noun), 2) marking of the definite direct object, 3) a noun governed by postposition is marked by the oblique case, 4) subjects of transitive verbs in the past tense are marked by the oblique case.

Personal pronouns have three cases: direct, oblique and possessive case.

A set of enclitic pronouns is used to indicate the agent of transitive verbs in the past tenses.

There are two demonstrative pronouns: one for near deixis, one for remote deixis.

The verbal inflection is based on two stems: present and past stem. Person and number are indicated personal suffixes attached to the stem. Modal prefixes are used to convey modal and aspectual information.

The past tense is formed by the past stem without personal endings and a suffix. The agent of transitive verbs is indicated by an enclitic pronoun that can be attached to the stem or to a constituent preceding the verb.

Harzani is a split ergative language: Split ergativity means that a language has in one domain accusative morphosyntax and in another domain ergative morphosyntax. In Harzani the present tense is structured the accusative way and the past tense is structured the ergative way. Accusative morphosyntax means that in a language subjects of intransitive and transitive verbs are treated the same way and direct objects are treated another way. Ergative morphosyntax means that in a language subjects of intransitive verbs and direct objects are treated one way and subjects of transitive verbs are treated another way.

In the Harzani past tense subjects of intransitive verbs and direct objects are marked by the direct case whereas subjects of transitive verbs are marked by the oblique case. This feature characterises the Harzani past tense as ergative.

The unmarked order of constituents is SOV like in most other Iranian languages.

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