Mazanderani language

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مازرونی‎ (Mazuroni)[1]
Mazanderani in Nastaliq.png
Mazanderani (Mazuroni) written in Nastaliq script. (مازرونی)
Native toIran (Province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Alborz, Tehran, Semnan and Golestan)
RegionSouth coast of the Caspian Sea
EthnicityMazanderani people
Native speakers
2.320 million (2019)[2] (2016)
  • Mazandarani (Main)
  • Mazandarani (Royan)
  • Shahmirzadi
  • Mazandarani-Gilaki
Persian alphabet
Official status
Regulated byNone. But the Linguistic faculty of Mazandaran University officially gathers materials and resources about it.
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mzn – Mazandarani
srz – Shahmirzadi
Glottologmaza1305  Mazanderani–Shahmirzadi
maza1291  Mazanderani
shah1253  Shahmirzadi
Mazandarani Language Map.PNG
Areas where Mazandarani is spoken as the mother tongue
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Mazandarani (مازندرانی), or Tabari (طبری),[1] is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch spoken by the Mazandarani people. As of 2021, there were over 5,320,000 native speakers.[2] As a member of the Northwestern branch (the northern branch of Western Iranian), etymologically speaking, it is rather closely related to Gilaki and also related to Persian, which belongs to the Southwestern branch. Though the Persian language has influenced Mazandarani to a great extent, Mazandarani still survives as an independent language with a northwestern Iranian origin.[3][4]

Mazandarani is closely related to Gilaki, and the two languages have similar vocabularies.[5] The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages)[6] share certain typological features with Caucasian languages (specifically the non-Indo-European South Caucasian languages),[6][7][8] reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Caucasian peoples of Mazandaranis and Gilak people.[9][10]


The name Mazanderani (and variants of it) derives from the name of the historical region of Mazandaran (Mazerun in Mazanderani), which was part of former Kingdom of Tapuria. People traditionally call their language Tabari, as the Tabari themselves do.[11]

The name Tapuri / Tabari (which was the name of an ancient language spoken somewhere in former Tapuria) is now used in preference to the name Mazandarani by the young.

However, both Gilan and Mazanderan formed part of the state known as Tapuria.

The earliest references to the language of Mazandaran, called Tabari, are to be found in the works of the early Muslim geographers. Al-Muqaddasī (or Moqaisi, 10th century), for example, notes: "The languages of Komish and Gurgan are similar, they use , as in hā-dih and hāk-un, and they are sweet [to the ear], related to them is the language of Tabaristan, [similar] save for its speediness."[12]


Among the living Iranian languages, Mazanderani has one of the longest written traditions, from the tenth to the fifteenth century. This status was achieved during the long reign of the independent and semi-independent rulers of Mazandaran in the centuries after the Arab invasion.[13]

The rich literature of this language includes books such as Marzban Nameh (later translated into Persian) and the poetry of Amir Pazevari. Use of Mazanderani, however, has been in decline for some time. Its literary and administrative prominence had begun to diminish in favor of Persian by the time of the integration of Mazandaran into the national administration in the early seventeenth century.[14]


The Mazanderani language is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies. In 1993, according to Ethnologue, there were more than three million native speakers of Mazanderani.[15]

The dialects of Mazanderani are Saravi, Amoli, Baboli, Ghaemshahri, Chaloosi, Nuri, Shahsavari, Ghasrani, Shahmirzadi, Damavandi, Firoozkoohi, Astarabadi and Katouli.

Mazandaranis in Iran


Linguistic Map of Mazandaran Province

Mazanderani is an inflected and genderless language.[16] It is SOV, but in some tenses it may be SVO, depending on the particular dialect involved.[17][18]



Like other modern Iranian languages there is no distinction between the dative and accusative cases, and the nominative in the sentence takes almost no indicators but may be inferred from word order (depending on dialect it may end in a/o/e). Since Mazanderani lacks articles, there is no inflection for nouns in the sentence (no modifications for nouns). For definition, nouns take the suffix e (me dətere meaning The daughter of mine while me dəter means my daughter). The indefinite article for single nouns is a-tā with for determination of number (a-tā kijā meaning a girl). There exist some remnants of old Mazanderani indicating that, in the nominative case, female nouns used to end in a, while male nouns ended in e (as in jənā meaning the woman and mərdē meaning the man). Grammatical gender is still present in certain modern languages closely related to Mazandarani such as Semnani, Sangesari and Zazaki.

Notable postpositions[edit]

Adpositions in Mazanderani are after words, while most of other languages including English and Persian have preposition systems in general. the only common postpositions that sometimes becoming preposition are Še and . Frequently used postpositions are:

postposition meaning
dəle in
re of / to
je from / by
vəse for
həmrā / jā with
səri on / above
bəne under / below
pəli near / about
vāri/ tarā like
derū among / inside


The list below is a sample list obtained from the Online Mazanderani-Persian dictionary.



Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a ɑ

/a/ may also range to a more back [ʌ].


Bilabial Labio-
Dental Alveolar Palato-
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stop voiceless p t k q (ʔ)
voiced b d ɡ (ɢ)
Affricate voiceless t͡ʃ
voiced d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x h
voiced v z ʒ (ʁ)
Nasal m n
Approximant (w) l j
Tap/Flap ɾ

/w/ appears as an allophone of /v/ in word-final position. /ɾ/ may appear as a voiceless trill in word-final position []. An occasional glottal stop /ʔ/ or voiceless uvular fricative /ʁ/ or voiced plosive /ɢ/ may also be heard, depending on the dialect.[19][20]


Mazanderani is commonly written in the Perso-Arabic script.[21] However, some use the Roman alphabet, for example in SMS messages.[citation needed]


Spoken in a territory sheltered by the high Alborz mountains, Mazanderani preserves many ancient Indo-European words no longer in common use in modern Iranian languages such as Persian. Listed below are a few common Mazanderani words of archaic, Indo-European provenance with Vedic cognates.

English Mazanderani Persian Vedic Proto-Indo-European Example of
new neo no / now návas *néwos adjective
great gat gozorg, gonde, got adjective
better better behtar adverb
been bine budeh auxiliary verb
being bien budan bhū- *bʰuH- infinitive of verb
moon moong / mong mâh mā́s *mḗh₁n̥s noun
daughter deter dokhtar dúhitā *dʰugh₂tḗr noun
cow go / gu / guw gâv gáuṣ *gʷṓws noun
my me / mi (before the noun) am (after the noun), om máma *méne verb
gab gab gap verb
right rast râst adjective

Mazandarani is rich in synonyms, some such nouns also retaining the gender they possessed in Indo-European times: for instance the words miš, gal, gerz all have the meaning of mouse, although they are not all of the same gender. While many Indo-Iranian languages use a masculine noun taking such related forms as muš or muska or mušk, in Mazandarani the most commonly used name for the mouse is the feminine noun gal.[vague]

Another example relates to the cow, the most important animal in the symbolism of Indo-European culture: in Mazanderani there are more than 1000 recognized words used for different types of cow. The table below lists some specimens of this rich vocabulary. In Mazandaran there are even contests held to determine those with the greatest knowledge of this bovine nomenclature.

Mazanderani name Meaning Mazanderani name Meaning
ahl Bull subdued[clarification needed] nū dūş Young plough bull used for the first time
āhy Black-eyed cow paei varzā Single bull used for ploughing
alaşt Miner's tool, ending in two wooden arcs parū Cattle for ploughing
baKhte bāri Bullock and traces raji A cow that is ready to mate
bāreng Reddish-brown cow raş go Crimson cow with black spots
batkoniye Castrated male bovine cattle to eliminate it from washing down[clarification needed] raş jūnkā Young bull with red and black streaks
būr gele Yellow / red cow raş kamer Brown-and-white cow
būr şāx Sharp, red points of a cow's horns sārū Bull with a white forehead
būrek Light yellow bull sārū Bull with a white forehead
būreng Blonde cow şelāb beze gozūr The new wide calf rain caused a sharp volley crumbled[clarification needed]
būrmango Fawn cow selnāz Cow streaked with white from nose to tail
das kare Place where bull fights held sembe band Ox bearing a wooden yoke
de jet Rust-coloured cow killed by two bulls serxe sel Red cow with a white stripe from neck to tail
demes mār Cow with a two-year-old calf setāre Black-and-white-spotted cow
demis mār Two-year-old bull calf seyā bare Black cow with a white forehead.
dūşt hākerden Provoke a bull to attack seyā kachal Black cow with black spots on the tail end of the frontal[clarification needed]
elā elā şāğ Cow with horns growing in opposite directions seyā sel Black cow with a white line running along its spine to its tail
elā kal Cow with large open horns seyel White-bellied cow
elā şiro Cow with spreading horns şir vej Gelded calf or bull
elāşāx A bull that has large open horns şirū A cow with a white head and tail
emūj Ox that once trained for ploughing şūkā Pale yellow cow
eşte Pair of cows for work tā şū Miner's cow, only to be closed[clarification needed]
ezāli Cow that is bred to plough tağr in Pair of four-year-old cows inseminated naturally
fal Cow ready for mating tal go A cow that is ready for ploughing
fares Ox that has not been taught to portage tāle mār Cow with bells hung around his neck
ğalfer Bovine of a yellowish colour tarise Cow whose first calf is female and has reached two years of age
jandek Bull bison that used for mating tersekā Two-and-a-half-year-old cow that is ready to mate
jānekā Strong, young bull left ungelded for the purposes of breeding or combat teş kūle A young bull
jinekā Young bull teşk Young bull that is not yet ready for ploughing
jonde kā sare Place where young bulls and breeding cattle are raised teşkel Small bull
jone kā kole Bullock less than two years old that has done no work titāppeli mango Black and white cow
jūndekā Bullock more than two years old that has done no work tolom Young cow - heifer
jūnekkā Young bulls tūz kel bull
jūnekkā jang Quarrel between young bulls varzā Bullock
Khāmod Ox plough xāl dār Bovine with bicoloured coat
lāch kal Cow with open horns xes xesi go A cow that lies down on the ground while working
lachchi Open cow horns that grow in opposite directions xetūr Alarmed cow
lase sar gū Cow that goes to everyone xik chaf A cow that refuses to give milk to calves or its owner
lūş beni Bridegroom's gift cow zām borde Cow missed after giving birth
māgū A cow zanā gū Cow fighting with its horns
mango Relating to lactating cows zar xāl Black cow with yellow spots
mārşan Young cow zargele Yellow cow
mārū Cow with a white forehead zemessūni kar Cow that leans due to food shortages in the winter
merem Lovely young cow zingāl Black cow with white legs

Influences exerted by Mazanderani[edit]

Modern-day of Iran[edit]

In Iran, there are some popular companies and products, like Rika (son) or Kija (daughter), which take their name from Mazanderani words.[22]

In non-Iranian languages[edit]

There are some Mazanderani loanwords in the Turkmen language.[23]


áme kεrkā šúnnε nεfār-sar. nεfār-sar xεsέnnε. badími nεfār-sar-e čεl-o-ču hamε bapíssεnε. bāútεmε, “vačε jān! injε, kεlum-e pali, mé-vesse έttā kεrk-kεli dεrεs hā́kεn!” vε εm nεmāšun ke pe dar-biārdε, hamun šō badímε bεmúnε sεre piεr o vačε. ande-tumi piεr o vačε bεmúnε sεre, nεmāz kέrdεnε, qεzā xέrdεnε; ba:d εz nεmāz šínε ún-var, sāāt-e čār harkεt kέrdεnε.

Our chickens go onto the nefār and sleep on it. [Once] we noted that the wood of the nefār was all rotten. I told [my son], “Dear child! Here, next to the stable, make me a chicken coop.” In the evening that [my son] was setting the foundation, the father [-in-law] and [his] son came home. As soon as the father and son came home, they would say their prayers, eat something, and then, after the prayers, they would go over there (to the next room); then at four o’clock they would set off.

(from Maryam Borjian and Habib Borjian, “Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran [: Mysterious Memories of a Woman],” Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007, pp. 226–254.)

ozεrε-vâ énε dámbe sεvâí

iấnnε búye dεlbárrε dεvấi
qam o qossέye dεl vónε kεnârí
me jấne gεl dénε búye xεdâí

At break of dawn blows the cool breeze.

Bearing the healing odor of the beloved.
Heart's sorrow will depart.
My dear flower has the sweet savour of God.

basutέ sinέye miónnε hấreš!

tévεsse – nấzεnin! – baímε nâxεš
tε armúne dέl i, εy nâzεnin yâr!
tévεsse mέsle bεlbεl zámbε nâlεš

Behold,a heart's core ravaged by the flame!

For you – O worthy of love! – I am sick with longing.
You are the heart's aspiration, O beloved!
For you, like the nightingale, I moan.


Dεl-e armun “Heart’s Aspiration”
Rezaqoli Mohammadi Kordekheyli
Transcribed and translated by: Habib Borjian

mosalmunun! mέrε šabgir varέnnε
āx, mέrε bā kamεr-e haftir varέnnε
mέrε bavέrdεnε Tεrkεmun-e dam
Tεrkεmun kāfεr o gεlilε be-ra:m
Muslims! They are carrying me off at the crack of dawn.
O, they are taking me away with a pistol on the[ir] waist.
They bear me where the Turkmen [tribes] dwell.
Turkmen [are] unbelievers and the bullet [is] ruthless.
ašun xō badimā mεn še Ali-rε
sio dasmāl davέsso še gali-rε
age xā́nnε bā́urεn ámi badi-rε
bázεne xεrusεk šέme gali-rε
volvol sar-e dār gέnε εy zāri-zāri
me gol dāš báio sarbāz-e Sāri
He would say,
Last night I dreamed of my Ali.
He [had] wrapped a black kerchief [round] his throat.
If it chance they wish us harm,
May croup-cough seize your throat!
The nightingale on the tree constantly bemoans (?)
My dear brother drafted in Sāri.

Quatrains sung by Sabura Azizi, transcribed and translated by Habib Borjian; Ref. Habib Borjian and Maryam Borjian, “Mysterious Memories of a Woman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran,” Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007.


In dates given below, A.P. denotes the Iranian calendar, the solar calendar (365 days per year) which is official in Iran and Afghanistan.

  1. ^ a b c Eberhard, David M.; Gary F. Simons; Charles D. Fennig, eds. (2021). "Mazandarani". Ethnologue (24th ed.). SIL International. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Mazandarani: Language of the Day for 28 February 2020". Ethnologue. SIL International. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  3. ^ Coon, "Iran:Demography and Ethnography" in Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume IV, E.J. Brill, pp. 10,8. Excerpt: "The Lurs speak an aberrant form of Archaic Persian" See maps also on page 10 for distribution of Persian languages and dialect
  4. ^ Kathryn M. Coughlin, "Muslim cultures today: a reference guide," Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 89: "...Iranians speak Persian or a Persian dialect such as Gilaki or Mazandarani"
  5. ^ Dalb, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. Columbia University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-231-11568-1.
  6. ^ a b Nasidze, Ivan; Quinque, Dominique; Rahmani, Manijeh; Alemohamad, Seyed Ali; Stoneking, Mark (2006). "Concomitant Replacement of Language and mtDNA in South Caspian Populations of Iran". Current Biology. 16 (7): 668–673. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.02.021. PMID 16581511.
  7. ^ Academic American Encyclopedia By Grolier Incorporated, page 294
  8. ^ The Tati language group in the sociolinguistic context of Northwestern Iran and Transcaucasia By D.Stilo, pages 137–185
  9. ^ "Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence with Persian". CiteSeerX {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "Māzandarān: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 295. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  11. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "Māzandarān: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 289–291. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  12. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "Māzandarān: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 291. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  13. ^ Windfuhr, G. L. 1989. New Iranian languages: Overview. In Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 246–249.
  14. ^ Borjian, Maryam. 2005. Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence With Persian Archived September 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Language, Communities and Education. Languages, Communities & Education: A Volume of Graduate Student Research. New York: Society for International Education Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, Teachers College, Columbia University. pp. 65–73.
  15. ^ "Mazandarani".
  16. ^ Fakhr-Rohani, Muhammad-Reza. 2004. She means only her 'husband': politeness strategies amongst Mazanderani-speaking rural women. (Conference abstract) CLPG Conference, University of Helsinki, Finland, PDF
  17. ^ Johanson, Lars. Turkic-Iranian Contact Areas Historical and Linguistic Aspects. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.
  18. ^ Csató, Éva Ágnes, Bo Isaksson, and Carina Jahani. Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion: Case Studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.
  19. ^ Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. Sārī Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.
  20. ^ Shokri; Jahani; Barani, Guiti, Carina, Hossein (2013). When Tradition Meets Modernity: Five Life Stories from the Galesh Community in Ziarat, Golestan, Iran. Uppsala Universitet.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ " - language-keyboard Resources and Information".
  22. ^ بهشهر, شهرداری. "شهرداری بهشهر".
  23. ^ Nasri-Ashrafi, Jahangir-e (ed.). Farhang-e vāžegān-e Tabarī [A Dictionary of Tabari]. v. 5, p. 5, Tehran: Eḥyā’-ketāb”: 2002/1381 A.P. A comparative glossary containing lexical units from almost all major urban and rural centers of the region of the three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan. Reviewed in Iran and the Caucasus, 2006, 10(2). Volume 4 contains a Persian-Mazanderani index of approximately 190 pp. Volume 5 includes a grammar of the Mazanderani language.

Further reading[edit]

  • Borjian, Habib (2006). "The Oldest Known Texts in New Tabari: The Collection of Aleksander Chodzko". Archiv Orientální. 74 (2): 153–171.
  • ______________. 2006. A Mazanderani account of the Babi Incident at Shaikh Tabarsi. Iranian Studies 39(3):381–400.
  • ______________. 2006. Textual sources for the study of Tabari language. I. Olddocuments. Guyesh-shenâsi 4.
  • ______________. 2008. Tabarica II: Some Mazanderani Verbs. Iran and the Caucasus 12(1):73–82.
  • ______________. Two Mazanderani Texts from the Nineteenth Century. Studia Iranica 37(1):7–50.
  • Borjian, Habib; Borjian, Maryam (2007). "Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran: Mysterious Memories of a Woman". Iran and the Caucasus. 11 (2): 226–254. doi:10.1163/157338407X265469.
  • Borjian, Habib; Borjian, Maryam (2008). "The Last Galesh Herdsman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from South Caspian Rainforests". Iranian Studies. 41 (3): 365–402. doi:10.1080/00210860801981336.
  • Le Coq, P. 1989. Les dialects Caspiens et les dialects du nord-ouest de l'Iran. In Rüdiger Schmitt (ed.), Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 296–312.
  • Nawata, Tetsuo. 1984. Māzandarāni. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Asian and African Grammatical Manual; 17. 45 + iii pp.
  • Shokri, Giti. 1990. Verb Structure in Sāri dialect. Farhang, 6:217–231. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • _________. 1995/1374 A.P. Sārī Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Shokri, Giti. 2006. Ramsarī Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. Sārī Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.

External links[edit]