|Native to||Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan|
|Native speakers||1,620,000 (date missing)|
|Writing system||Persian alphabet|
Aimaq (Persian: آیماقی) is a dialect of the Persian language spoken west of the Hazarajat (or Hazarastan), in central northwest Afghanistan, eastern Iran, and Tajikistan. It is the dominant ethnolect of Persian spoken by the Aymāq people. It is very close to Khorasani and Dari dialects. The Aimaq people are thought to have a 5-15% literacy rate.
Subdialects of Aimaq include:
- Jamshidi (also known as: Jamshedi, Djamchidi, Yemchidi, or Dzhemshid)
- Taimuri (also known as: Teimuri, Timuri, or Taimouri)
- Zohri (also known as: Zuri)
Phonetically, as one of the eastern Persian dialects, Aimaq dialect resembles a more formal and classical form of Persian (Farsi).
- The merging of "majhul" vowels "ē" / "ī" and "ō" / "ū" into "ī" and "ū" respectively in Iranian Persian, whereas in Aimaq, they are still kept separate. For instance, the identically written words شیر 'lion' and 'milk' are pronounced the same in Iranian Persian as [šīr], but [šēr] for 'lion' and [šīr] for 'milk' in Aimaq. The long vowel in زود 'quick' and زور 'strong' is realized as [ū] in Iranian Persian, in contrast, these words are pronounced as [zūd] and [zōr] respectively by Aimaq speakers.
- The treatment of the diphthongs of early Classical Persian "aw" (as "ow" in Engl. "cow") and "ay" (as "i" in English "ice"), which are pronounced as [ow] (as in Engl. "low") and [ey] (as in English "day") in Aimaq. Dari, on the other hand, is more archaic, e.g. نوروز 'Persian New Year' is realized as [nowrūz] in Iranian, and [nawrōz] in Aimaq, and نخیر 'no' is uttered as [naχejr] in Iranian, and as [naχajr] in Aimaq.
- The high short vowels [i] and [u] tend to be lowered in Iranian Persian to [e] and [o].
- The pronunciation of the labial consonant و, which is realized as a voiced labiodental fricative [v], but Aimaq still retains the (classical) bilabial pronunciation [w]; [v] is found in Aimaq as an allophone of [f] before voiced consonants.
- The convergence of voiced uvular stop [ɢ] (ق) and voiced velar fricative [ɣ] (غ) in Iranian Persian (probably under the influence of Turkic languages like Azeri and Turkmen), is still kept separate in Aimaq.
- The realization of short final "a" (-ه) as [e] in Iranian Persian.
- The realization of short non-final "a" as [æ] in Iranian Persian.
- [æ] and [e] in word-final positions are separate in Aimaq, [e] is additionally a word-final allophone of [æ] in Iranian Persian.
- "Aimaq". JoshuaProject. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
- "Aimaq". World Culture Encyclopedia. everyculture.com. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
- "Aimaq". Ethnologue. 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
- A. Pisowicz, Origins of the New and Middle Persian phonological systems (Cracow 1985), p. 112-114, 117.
- Clifton, John M. (ed.) (2005) Studies in languages of Tajikistan North Eurasia Group, SIL International, St Petersburg, Russia, OCLC 122939499
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