Aimaq dialect

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Aimaq dialect
گویش ایماقی
Native toAfghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan
Native speakers
(650,000 cited 1993)[1]
Persian alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3aiq

Aimaq or Aimaqi (Aimaq: ایماقی‎) is the dominant eastern Persian ethnolect spoken by the Aimaq people in central northwest Afghanistan (west of the Hazarajat), eastern Iran, and Tajikistan. It is close to the Khorasani and Dari varieties of Persian.[3] The Aimaq people are thought to have a 5–15% literacy rate.[4]


Subdialects of Aimaq dialect include:

  • Changezi
  • Firozkohi
  • Jamshidi (also known as: Jamshedi, Djamchidi, Yemchidi, or Dzhemshid)
  • Maliki
  • Mizmast
  • Taimani
  • Taimuri (also known as: Teimuri, Timuri, or Taimouri)
  • Zainal
  • Zohri (also known as: Zuri)


Phonetically, as one of the eastern Persian dialects, Aimaq dialect resembles a formal or classical form of Persian.


  • The "majhul" vowels ē / ī and ō / ū are still kept separate, whereas in western Persian they are merged as ī and ū respectively. For instance, the identically written words شیر 'lion' and 'milk' are in western Persian both pronounced [šīr], but in Aimaq [šēr] for 'lion' and [šīr] for 'milk'. The long vowel in زود 'quick' and زور 'strong' is realized as [ū] in western Persian, in contrast, these words are pronounced as [zūd] and [zōr] respectively by Aimaq speakers.
  • The diphthongs of early Classical Persian aw (as ow in Engl. cow) and ay (as i in English ice) have in Aimaq become [ow] (as in Engl. low) and [ej] (as in Engl. day). 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 western Persian to [e] and [o].
  • /æ/[clarification needed] and /e/ are in Aimaq kept separate in word-final positions, unlike western Persian, where /æ/ has [e] as a word-final allophone.


  • Aimaq still retains the (classical) bilabial pronunciation [w] of the labial consonant و, which is realized as a voiced labiodental fricative [v] in western Persian. [v] is found in Aimaq as an allophone of f before voiced consonants.
  • The voiced uvular stop /ɢ/ (ق) and voiced velar fricative /ɣ/ (غ) are still kept separate in Aimaq. They have coincided in western Persian (probably under the influence of Turkic languages like Azeri and Turkmen).[5]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Aimaq dialect at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Aimaq". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "Aimaq". World Culture Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  4. ^ "Aimaq". Ethnologue. 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  5. ^ 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