Luri language

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PronunciationIPA: [loriː]
Native toIran; a few villages in eastern Iraq.[1][2]
RegionSouthern Luri
Native speakers
over 4 millions[3]
circa 5 millions[4]
  • Central Luri (Minjai)
  • Luri[5][6][7][8]
  • Bakhtiari
  • Laki
  • Southern Luri
  • larestani
  • kumzari
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
lrc – Northern Luri
bqi – Bakhtiari
luz – Southern Luri
Luri languages. (Note: Iraqi distribution corresponds to that of Southern Kurdish.)

Luri or Lurish (Luri: لۊری) is a Western Iranian language continuum spoken by the Lurs in Western Asia. The Luri dialects are descended from Middle Persian. Luri forms five language groups,[5][6][7][8] Central Luri, Bakhtiari,[10][11] Laki[12][13][14][15] and Southern Luri.[10][11] This language is spoken mainly by the Lurs, Bakhtiari and Southern Lurs (Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Mamasani, Sepidan, Bandar Ganaveh, Deylam)[16] of Iran and beyond.

Map of Luri-inhabited provinces of Iran, according to a poll in 2010


The Luri dialects are descended from Middle Persian (Pahlavi).[17][18] They belong to the Persid or Southern Zagros group, and are lexically similar to modern Persian, differing mainly in phonology.[19]

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica, "All Lori dialects closely resemble standard Persian and probably developed from a stage of Persian similar to that represented in Early New Persian texts written in Perso-Arabic script. The sole typical Lori feature not known in early New Persian or derivable from it is the inchoative marker (see below), though even this is found in Judeo-Persian texts".[20] The Bakhtiāri dialect may be closer to Persian.[21] There are two distinct languages, Greater Luri (Lor-e bozorg), a.k.a. Southern Luri (including Bakhtiari dialect), and Lesser Luri (Lor-e kuček), a.k.a. Northern Luri.[20]


Lur peoples of Iran are mainly in provinces of Lorestan, Ilam Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Fars province (especially Mamasani and Rostam), Khuzestan, Esfahan province and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad and some of this people live in provinces as like as Hamadan province, Qom province, Qazvin province, Gilan province and Kerman province and Kermanshah Province.[22] A Lur population, known locally as Feyli people, exists in eastern parts of Iraq.[10]

Internal classification[edit]

The language is divided into five chief dialects, Feyli, Central Luri, Laki, Bakhtiari, and Southern Luri. Feyli is used by Feyli people in northern regions of Ilam, central regions of Kermanshah and significant parts of eastern Iraq in Diyala province (Khanaqin, Mendeli and Muqdadiyah cities) and Baghdad;[23]. Central Luri is spoken in northern parts of Luri communities including eastern, central and northern parts of Luristan province, southern parts of Hamadan province mainly in Malayer, Nahavand and Tuyserkan counties, southern regions of Ilam province and southeastern parts of Markazi province. Laki is used in central and northwestern regions of Luristan, central and southern regions of Ilam and southern parts of Kermanshah. Bakhtiari is used by Bakhtiari people in South Luristan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, significant regions in north and east of Khouzestan and western regions of Isfahan province. Finally, Southern Luri is spoken throughout Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, and in western and central regions in Fars province, northern and western parts of Bushehr province and southeastern regions of Khouzestan. Several Luri communities are inhabited sporadically across the Iranian Plateau e.g. Khorasan (Beyranvand and Bakhtiari Luri descendants), Kerman, Guilan and Tehran provinces.[24][19][22]



Front Back
ɪ ʊ
Mid ɛ ɔ
Open a~æ ɑː

/a/ may also range to a higher /æ/ in the Northern dialect.


Labial Dental/
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) χ (h)
voiced z ʒ (ɣ) ʁ
Nasal m n ɲ
Tap/Flap ɾ
Approximant ʋ~v~w l j

/h/ mainly occurs as a glide to elongate short vowels (eg. /oh/; [ɔː]). [v~w] are allophones of a labiodental approximant /ʋ/. /ʁ/ occurs in Southern Luri. /ɲ/ as well as velar fricatives /x, ɣ/ as equivalent to uvular fricatives /χ, ʁ/, occur in Northern Luri. /ʔ/ occurs in Northern Luri, as well as in words borrowed from Persian.[25][26][27]


In comparison with other Iranian languages, Luri has been less affected by foreign languages such as Arabic and Turkic. Nowadays, many ancient Iranian language characteristics are preserved and can be observed in Luri grammar and vocabulary. According to diverse regional and socio-ecological conditions and due to longtime social interrelations with adjacent ethnic groups especially Kurds and Persian people, different dialects of Luri, despite mainly common characteristics, have significant differences. The northern dialect tends to have more Kurdish loanwords inside and southern dialects (Bakhtiari and Southern Luri) have been more exposed to Persian loanwords.[28]

English Laki Southern Luri Minjai Bakhtiari Persian transcription Persian English
stone berd/kıçık berd/kuçuk berd berd sang سنگ stone
black sē/sia šé/sia siyah سیاه black
eye čem tye češ ti/tye/tye čašm چشم eye
mother da/daleke da/dey da/daleke da/daye mâdar مادر mother
nose pet nuft pet noft/neft/pet bini بینی nose
bull verza verza verza pel gāve nar گاونر bull
cow manga maga maga maga gave made گاو ماده cow
Porcupine jejŭle cilé/cŭlé jejŭ/jejŭle čŭlé taši تشی Porcupine
fire agır/awır teš agır/teš taš/agır âtash آتش fire
let me bìlam bēlum bílam bēlom be man ejaze bedeh


به من اجازه بده let me
son/boy kur kur kur kur pesar پسر son/boy
daughter dōt duwer/dōder duxter dōder doxtar دختر daughter
men piayēl piayel piaya piayel mardha مردها men
women jenēl zenel zenia zengel/zanyal zanha زنها women
brain mezg mezg mezg mezg maghz مغز brain
cat pıšì gulŭ pıšì/gulŭ gulŭ/gurbe gorbeh گربه cat
dog gemal kutŭ/seg gemal/sey seg sag سگ dog
duck bet bet bet bet morghabi مرغابی duck

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Northern Luri at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Dougherty, Beth K.; Ghareeb, Edmund A. (7 November 2013). "Historical Dictionary of Iraq". Scarecrow Press – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Anonby, Erik John (July 2003). "Update on Luri: How many languages?". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 13 (2): 171–197. doi:10.1017/S1356186303003067. ISSN 2051-2066. Luri is an Indo-Iranian language cluster with over two million speakers.
  4. ^ "LORI LANGUAGE ii. Sociolinguistic Status – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 2018-08-20. In 2003, the Lori-speaking population in Iran was estimated at 4.2 million speakers, or about 6 percent of the national figure (Anonby, 2003b, p. 173). Given the nationwide growth in population since then, the number of Lori speakers in 2012 is likely closer to 2 million.
  5. ^ a b Najm S. Mehdi, al-Luri, Stockholm 2001.
  6. ^ a b "Luri Archive - الارشيف الفيلي".
  7. ^ a b Black-Michaud, J. (1974). "An Ethnographic and Ecological Survey of Luristan, Western Persia: Modernization in a Nomadic Pastoral Society. Middle Eastern Studies, 10(2), 210–228". JSTOR 4282526.
  8. ^ a b Shoup, J.A.2011.Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia.ABC-CLIO, Incorporated. p.177
  9. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Luric". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  10. ^ a b c Erik John Anonby (2003). Update on Luri: How many languages?. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Third Series), 13, pp 171-197. doi:10.1017/S1356186303003067.
  11. ^ a b G. R. Fazel, ‘Lur’, in Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, ed. R. V. Weekes (Westport, 1984), pp. 446–447
  12. ^ B. Grimes (ed.), ‘Luri’, in Ethnologue (13th edition) (Dallas, 1996), p. 677; M. Ruhlen, A Guide to the World's Languages (Stanford, 1991), p. 327.
  13. ^ H. Izadpan¯ah, Farhang-e Laki [Lexicon of Laki]: in Persian, (Tehran, 1978).
  14. ^ بومیان دره مهرگان) تألیف رحیمی عثمانوندی)
  15. ^ H. Izadpan¯ah, Farhang-e Lori [Lexicon of Luri] (Tehran, 1964).
  16. ^ Limbert, John. The Origin and Appearance of The Kurds In Pre-Islamic Iran. Iranian Studies. JSTOR 4309997.
  17. ^ Erik John Anonby, "Update on Luri: How many languages?" // Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Third Series), volume 13, issue 02, Jul 2003, pp 171–197.
  18. ^ Don Stillo, "Isfahan-Provincial Dialects" in Encyclopædia Iranica. Excerpt: "While the modern SWI languages, for instance, Persian, Lori-Baḵtiāri and others, are derived directly from Old Persian through Middle Persian/Pahlavi".
  19. ^ a b Bakhtiari tribe and the Bakhtiari dialect[dead link], Encyclopædia Iranica.
  20. ^ a b "LORI LANGUAGE i. LORI DIALECTS – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  21. ^ Kurdish language, Encyclopædia Iranica.
  22. ^ a b امان الهی بهاروند. اسکندر: قوم لر، انتشارات آگاه، تهران، ۱۳۷۴
  23. ^ Dougherty, Beth K.; Ghareeb, Edmund A. (7 November 2013). "Historical Dictionary of Iraq". Scarecrow Press – via Google Books.
  24. ^ "E. Anonby, LORI LANGUAGE ii. Sociolinguistic Status – Encyclopædia Iranica".
  25. ^ Anonby, Erik (2014). Bakhtiari Studies: Phonology, Text, Lexicon. Uppsala University.
  26. ^ Anonby, Erik (2002). A Phonology of Southern Luri.
  27. ^ Amanolahi; Thackston, Sekandar, Wheeler M. (1987). Tales from Luristan. Harvard Iranian Series, 4: Harvard University Press.
  28. ^ "History and cultural relations - Lur". Retrieved 2015-09-21.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]