- Sogdian language
extinct=largely extinct by the
9th century, remnants evolved into Yaghnobi
The Sogdian language is a
Middle Iranianlanguage that was spoken in Sogdiana(Zarafshan River Valley), located in modern day Uzbekistanand Tajikistan(chief cities: Samarkand, Panjakent, Fergana).
Sogdian is one of the most important Middle Iranian languages, along with
Middle Persianand Parthian. It possesses a large literary corpus. The language is usually assigned to the Northeastern branch of the Iranian languages. No direct evidence of an earlier version of the language ("Old Sogdian") has been found, although mention of the area in the Old Persian inscriptionsmeans that a separate and recognisable Sogdiana existed at least since the Achaemenidera (559-323 BCE). Sogdian possesses a more conservative grammarand morphology than Middle Persian.
The economic and political importance of the language guaranteed its survival in the first few centuries after the
Islamicconquest of Sogdiana in the early eighth century CE. The earliest Modern Persiantexts were written in Sogdiana under the patronage of Samanidkings, with the result that many Sogdian words entered Modern Persian.
Various Sogdian pieces have been found in the
Turfantext corpus. They consist almost entirely of religious works by Manichaeanand Christianwriters.
Like all the writing systems employed for Middle Iranian languages, the
Sogdian scriptultimately derives from the Aramaic script. Like its close relative the Pahlavi writing system, written Sogdian contains many logogramsor ideograms, which were Aramaic words written to represent native spoken ones. The Sogdian script is the direct ancestor of the Uyghur script, itself the forerunner of the Mongolian script.
As in other writing systems descended from the Semitic script, there are no signs for short vowels. The consonantal signs ’ y w can stand for the long vowels [a: i: u:] respectively.
In transcribing Sogdian script into Roman letters, Aramaic ideograms are often noted by means of capitals.
Sample Sogdian text (transliteration): MN sγwδy-k MLK’ δy-w’šty-c ’t x’xsrc xwβw ’pšwnw δrwth γ-rβ nm’cyw
Word-by-word translation: From Sogdiana's King Dewashtic to Khakhsar's Khuv Afshun, (good) health (and) many salutation...
* [http://www.iranologie.com/history/ilf.html Iranian Language Family]
* [http://fas.harvard.edu/~iranian/Sogdian/index.html Introduction to Sogdian] by P. Oktor Skjærvø
* [http://www.geocities.com/interlinguae/sogdian.html Sogdian]
* [http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/indologie/lil/sd-search.html Sogdian Dictionary]
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