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|Spoken in:||India, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada|
|Total speakers:||46 million|
|Writing system:||Gujarati script|
|Official language of:||Gujarat (India)|
Gujarati (ગુજરાતી Gujarātī; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee) is an Indo-Aryan language, part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is one of the 22 official languages and 14 regional languages of India. Gujarati is native to the Indian state of Gujarat, and is its chief language, as well as of the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It is also the language of the large Gujarati community in Mumbai, India.
There are about 46 million speakers of Gujarati worldwide, making it the 23rd most spoken language in the world. Of these, roughly 45.5 million reside in India, 150 000 in Uganda, 250 000 in Tanzania, 50 000 in Kenya and roughly 100 000 in Pakistan. A considerable population of Gujarati speakers exists in North America and the United Kingdom as well. Gujarati was the first language of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the "father of India", Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the "father of Pakistan" and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the "iron man of India".
Gujarati is a modern Indo-Aryan language evolved from Sanskrit. The traditional practice is to differentiate the IA languages on the basis of three historical stages: (1) Old IA (Vedic and Classical Sanskrit), (2) Middle IA (various Prakrits and Apabhramshas), and (3) New IA (modern languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, etc.). Another view can be presented in terms of successive family, tree splits. According to this view, Gujarati is assumed to have separated from other IA languages in three stages: (1) IA languages split into Northern, Eastern, and Central divisions based on the innovate characteristics such as stops becoming voiced in the Northern and dental retroflex sibilants merging with the palatal in the Eastern; (2) Central, in Gujarati/Rajasthani, Western Hindi, and Punjabi/Lahanda/Sindhi, on the basis of innovation of auxiliary verbs and postpositions in Gujarati/Rajasthani; and (3) Gujarati/Rajasthani into Gujarati and Rajasthani through development of such characteristics as auxiliary ch- and the possessive marker -n- during the 15th century (Dave 1948, Pandit 1966).
Gujarati is customarily divided in the following three historical stages: Old Gujarati (from the mid-12th century to 15th century), Middle Gujarati (from the mid-15th century to the beginning of the 19th century), and Modern Gujarati. What is labelled as Old Gujarati, however, has been referred to differently by different scholars. Tessitori (1914-1916), on the basis of 14 and 15th century literary texts, came to the conclusion that at the time there was on a single language covering the region currently occupied by Gujarati and Rajasthani. He termed the common language Old Western Rajasthani.
Gujarati, in contrast with most other Indian languages, is considered to be a relatively young language, with its origins traced back to around the 12th century AD. A formal grammar of the precursor of this language was written by Jain monk and eminent scholar Hemachandra-charya in the reign of Rajput king Siddharaj Jayasinh of Anhilwara (Patan). This was referred to as an Apabhramsha grammar, signifying a "corrupted" form of the formal languages of the time, Sanskrit and Ardhamagadhi Prakrit. The earliest literature in the language survives in oral tradition and can be traced to the Krishna devotee and great egalitarian Narsinha Mehta. The story of Narsinh Mehta himself was composed in the 17th century as a long narrative ballad by Premananda, accorded the title mahakavi or "great poet" by modern historians of the language. Other than this, a large number of poets flourished during what is now characterised as the bhakti ("devotional") movement in Hinduism, a movement of the masses to liberate the religion from entrenched priesthood.
Premananda was a vyākhyānkār, or traveling storyteller, who narrated his subject in song and then perhaps elaborated on the lines in prose. His style was so fluent that his long poems, running into hundreds of lines, were nonetheless memorised by the people and are still sung today. In this sense, the oral tradition of the much more ancient Vedas was clearly continuing in India till late. Premananda's famous poetic stories deal with epic themes couched in stories of mythical kings, and the Puranas. He also wrote a drama based on Narasinh Mehta's life capturing his simplicity and his disregard for worldly divisions of caste and class.
In the medieval periods of Gujarat’s history, poetry was employed to express religious sentiments. The first work of poetry in Gujarati is considered to be “Bharateswara Bahubali Rasa”, composed by Shalibhadrasuri, a 7th century Jain monk. A number of Jain Sadhus followed his example and composed short storytelling poems called “Rasas” till the end of the 18th century AD.
In the 15th century, a prominent poet called Narsingh Mehta brought in a new era in Vaishnava poetry, with his portrayal of Krishna as a playful child, a lover, a friend and the poet’s muse. Narsingh Mehta’s works became a blueprint for his successors in composing devotional as well as philosophical poetry. Raje, Raghunathdas, Pritam, Ratno and Muktananda were some prime contributors to this era of devotional poetry. In the 18th century, the poet “Vallabh” created two very significant devotional songs called “Garbo” and “Garbi”. Premananda, introduced a famous work called “Akhyana”. Most of these poems drew their inspiration from Sanskrit and Prakrit fiction. Nayasundar and Samal emerged as popular narrators of devotional poetry in the 18th century.
Poetic literature soared to new heights in the later stages of the 18th century under the steadily strengthening British influences. Narmad and Dalpat were pioneers of this constantly innovating age. The noted poets of this century like Kalapi, Kant, Nanalal and Balavantrai Thakor produced significant bodies of work under various categories of poetry. After the rise of Mahatma Gandhi’s prominence in a steadily strengthening struggle for Independence and social equality, a great volume of poetry, written by poets like Umashankar, Sundaram, Shesh, Snehrasmi and Betai, among others, were centered on the existing social order, the struggle for Independence and the travails of Mahatma Gandhi himself.
Post-Independence Gujarati poetry displays a higher form of subjectivity and explores newer philosophies and lines of thought and imagery. Prominent Gujarati poets of the post-Independence era include critically acclaimed poets like Suresh Joshi, Gulam Mohamed Sheikh, Harinder Dave, Chinu Modi, Nalin Raval and Adil Mansuri, among others.
Modern exploration into Gujarat and its language is credited to British administrator Alexander Kinloch Forbes. During the nineteenth century he explored much of the previous thousand years of the history of the land and compiled a large number of manuscripts. Farbas Gujarati Sabha ("Forbes Gujarati Assembly"), the learned body devoted to the Gujarati language, is named after him, with headquarters in Mumbai.
 Geographic distribution
 Official status
Gujarati is officially recognized in the state of Gujarat, India.
As with most languages, Gujarati comes in numerous regional dialects that differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and/or grammar. Some dialects have many Arabic and Persian borrowings, while others, such as the southern dialects, take more from Portuguese and English, while others take more from Hindi.
Selected dialects of Gujarati are listed below along with subdivisions.
- Standard Gujarati
- Saurashtra Standard
- Bombay Gujarati
- Ahmedabad city
- Eastern Broach Gujarati
- East African Gujarati
 Closely related languages
- It must be noted that at the time of this edit, there is confusion surrounding some Gujarati consonants, marked by parentheses.
- Dave (1995) lists /z/, but does not give any letter for it. Mistry (1996) and Mistry (2001) do not list it. Dwyer (1995) talks about how English's /z/ is represented by the Gujarati character for /ʤʱ/, and is pronounced by many as /ʤʱ/.
- Mistry (1996) lists /f/, seemingly replaced by /pʰ/ in Mistry (2001). Dave (1995) lists /pʰ/. Dwyer (1995) claims wider usage of /f/ over /pʰ/.
- Dave (1995) and Mistry (1996, 2001) don't list /ɲ/ and /ŋ/, in spite of there being two Gujarati characters for them. Mistry (1996) says /ŋ/ is "restricted mainly restricted to Sanskrit loans". Suthar (2003) does list /ɲ/ and /ŋ/.
- Dave (1995) says the glottal fricative is voiced, and therefore /ɦ/, while Mistry (1996, 2001) does not mention its voicedness. Mistry (2001) places the h (હ) on the left side of the glottal fricative box, perhaps implying voiceless /h/.
- /ʋ/ has /v/ and /w/ as allophones.
- Among modern Indo-Aryan languages, Gujarati is conservative in several features. For example, languages used in Asokan inscriptions (3rd century B.C.) display contemporary northern, western, and eastern regional variations. Bhayani (1951) reported that words found in Gujarat's Girnar inscriptions containing consonant clusters with r as the second member do not have r in their occurrence in inscriptions elsewhere. Even in modern times such clusters are still retained in Gujarati. Corresponding to Gujarati traṇ (< Skt. trayas) 'three', bhatrījo (< Skt. bhrātṛjah) 'nephew', chatrī (< Skt. chatram) 'umbrella'; Hindi has tīn, bhattījā, and chattī.
These are the principal categories of words in Gujarati, applicable across the spectrum of Indo-Aryan languages:
- તત્સમ્ tatsam, "same as that": These are words of pure Sanskrit character ("that" refers to Sanskrit), serving to enrich Gujarati in its formal, technical, and religious vocabulary. Often being incorporated without any phonetic or spelling change, they are recognizable by their Sanskrit inflections and markings; they are thus often treated as a separate grammatical category unto themselves.
|Tatsam Word||English||Participle||Notes||Gujarati equivalent|
|પરિક્ષા parikṣā||test||-ā||Feminine gender marker||-ī|
- Many old tatsam words have changed their meanings in modern times. પ્રસારણ prasāraṇ means "spreading", but now it's used for "broadcasting". In addition to this are neologisms, often being calques. An example is telephone, which is Greek for "far talk", translated as દુરભાષ durbhāṣ. Though most people just use ફોન phon and thus neo-Sanskrit has varying degrees of acceptance.
- તદ્ભવ્ tadbhav, "of the nature of that": In contrast to tatsam, these are words of Indo-Aryan origin that have undergone organic evolution over the ages. They tend to be non-technical, everday, crucial words. Their routes and patterns of change are defining of the modern Indo-Aryan languages in vocabulary (and grammar). Below is a table of Gujarati tadbhav words and their Old Indo-Aryan sources:
|falls, slips||khasati||khasvuṃ||to move|||
|causes to move||arpayati||āpvuṃ||to give|||
|attains to, obtains||prāpnoti||pāmvuṃ|||
- So, with a common, higher tatsam set, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, etc. can have differing tadbhav sets, precisely a large part of what makes them Gujarati, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, etc. Some words are basic enough in composition to have not undergone any change from tatsam: ek one, nām name. Tatsam and tadbhava can also co-exist in Gujarati; sometimes of no consequence: dharma-dharam, other times with the former holding a "higher" meaning:
|work||karma||Dharmic religious concept of works or deeds whose divine consequences are experienced in this life or the next.||kām||Simply... work.|
|field||kṣetra||Abstract sense, such as a field of knowledge or activity; khāngī kṣetra → private sector. Physical sense, but of higher or special importance; raṇǎkṣetra → battlefield.||khetar||Regular old field, such as to farm on.|
- What remains are words of local origin (deśaj), as well as of foreign origin (videśī). The latter consists mainly of Persian, Arabic, and English, with trace elements of Portuguese and Turkish. While the phenomenon of English loanwords is relatively new, Perso-Arabic has many centuries of history behind it. Both English and Perso-Arabic influences are/were nation-wide, thus paralleling tatsam as a common vocabulary set or bank. What's more is how, beyond a transposition into genera' Indo-Aryan, the Perso-Arabic set has also been assimilated in a manner characteristic and relevant to the specific Indo-Aryan language it's being used in, bringing to mind tadbhav.
Gujarat was ruled for many a century by Persian-speaking Muslims. As a consequence the language was changed greatly, with the large scale entry of Persian and its many Arabic loans into the Gujarati lexicon. One fundamental adoption was Persian's conjunction "that", ke. Also, while tatsam or Sanskrit is etymologically continuous to Gujarati, it is essentially of a differing grammar (or language), and that in comparison while Perso-Arabic is etymologically foreign, it has been in certain instances and to varying degrees grammatically indigenized. Owing to centuries of situation and the end of Persian education and power, (1) Perso-Arabic loans are quite unlikely to be thought of or known as loans, and (2) more importantly, these loans have often been Gujarati-ized. dāvo - claim, fāydo - benefit, natījo - result, and humlo - attack, all carry Gujarati's singular masculine gender marker, o. khānuṃ - compartment, has the neuter uṃ. Aside from easy pairing with the auxiliary karvuṃ, a few words have made a complete transition of verbification: kabūlvuṃ - to admit (fault), kharīdvuṃ - to buy, kharǎcvuṃ - to spend (money), gujarvuṃ - to pass. The last three are definite part and parcel.
Thus, while Indo-Aryan languages like Marathi, Nepali, and Bengali are conservative in their lexicons, central and western/northwestern tongues like Punjabi, Hindustani, Sindhi, and Gujarati have been Persianized. The most resounding occurrence of this was that of the Delhi dialect of Hindustani; Delhi being the seat of Muslim power. Its Persianization and subsequent dePersianization and Sanskritization lead to the reality of the two registers if not languages of Urdu and Hindi, which became the national languages of Pakistan and India. Gujarati is not split in this way, but nonetheless its loaning is to be noted.
Below is a table displaying a number of these loans. Currently the etymologies are being referenced to an Urdu dictionary, so it should be noted that Gujarati's singular masculine o corresponds to Urdu ā, neuter uṃ groups into ā as Urdu has no neuter gender, and Urdu's Persian z is not upheld in Gujarati and corresponds to j.
|fāydo||gain, advantage, benefit||A||||khānuṃ||compartment||P||||kharīdī||purchase(s), shopping||P||||tājuṃ||fresh||P|||
|humlo||attack||A||||makān||house, building||A||||śardī||cold||P||||juduṃ||different, separate||P|||
Lastly, Persian, being part of the Indo-Iranian language family as Sanskrit and Gujarati are, met up in some instances with its cognates:
Zoroastrian Persian refugees known as Parsis also speak an accordingly Persianized form of Gujarati. Also, the Dawoodi Bohra community of India and Pakistan speak an Arabicised version of Gujarati, devised in the last 30 years or so, with an Arabic-style script.
With the end of Perso-Arabic inflow, English is now the current foreign source of new vocabulary. English had and continues to have a considerable influence over Indian languages. Loanwords include new innovations and concepts, first introduced directly through British colonialism, and then streaming in on the basis of continued Anglosphere dominance in the post-colonial period. Besides the category of new ideas is the category of English words that already have Gujarati counterparts which end up replaced or existed alongside with. The major driving force behind this latter category has to be the continuing role of English in modern India as a language of education, prestige, and mobility. In this way, Indian speech can be sprinkled with English words and expressions, even switches to whole sentences. See Hinglish, Code-switching.
In matters of sound, English consonants map as retroflexes rather than dentals. Two new characters were created in Gujarati to represent English /æ/'s and /ɔ/'s. Levels of Gujarati-ization in sound vary. Some words do carry dentals, going beyond the aforementioned basic transpositional rule.
As English loanwards are a relatively new phenomenon, they adhere to English grammar, as tatsam words adhere to Sanskrit. Though that isn't to say that the most basic changes have been underway: many English words are pluralized with Gujarati o over English "s". Also, with Gujarati having 3 genders, originally genderless English words must take one. Though often inexplicable, gender assignment may follow the same basis as that which is the case in Gujarati: vowel type, and the nature of word meaning. One notable example of integration is "photo". Its final o is taken as a declinable gender and number marker, which in this instance is masculine and singular.
|station||sāykal||(bi)cycle||rum||room||āis krīm||ice cream|
The relatively short foothold the Portuguese had in wider India had linguistic effects. Gujarati took up a number of words, while elsewhere the influence was great enough to the extent that creole languages came to be. See Portuguese India, Portuguese-based creole languages#India and Sri Lanka.
 Writing system
The Gujarati script, which like all Nāgarī writing systems is strictly speaking an abugida rather than an alphabet, is used to write the Gujarati and Kutchi languages. It is a variant of Devanāgarī script differentiated by the loss of the characteristic horizontal line running above the letters and by a small number of modifications in the remaining characters.
 Common Words, Phrases, and Idioms
|કેમ છો?||kem cho?||How are you?|
|તમે ગુજરાતી બોલો છો?||tame gujarātī bolo cho?||Do you speak Gujarati?|
|હું ગુજરાતી બોલું છું||huṃ gujarātī boluṃ chuṃ||I speak Gujarati|
|મને ગુજરાતી (બોલતા) આવડે છે||mane gujarātī (boltā) āvḍe che||I know (how to speak) Gujarati|
|અંગ્રેજી||aṅgrejī||English||Traditonal Portuguese loan; ઇંગ્લિશ iṅgliś is equally well understood|
|તમારું નામ શું છે?||tamāruṃ nām śuṃ che?||What is your name?|
|મારું નામ ___ છે||māruṃ nām ___ che||My name is ___|
|ગુજરાતીમાં ___(ને) શું કેવાય?||gujarātīmāṃ ___(ne) śuṃ kevāy?||What is ___ called in Gujarati?|
|હા, હાંજી||hā, hāṃjī||Yes||In increasing formality|
|ના, નાજી||nā, nājī||No||In increasing formality|
|બસ||bas||That's it!, Enough!, Just...||Persian loan|
|શું થયું?||śuṃ thayuṃ?||What happened?|
|મને ___ ગમે છે||mane ___ game che||I like ___||approx. lit. ___ is (being) likeable to me; note the OSV word order|
|કેટલાં વાગ્યાં?||keṭlāṃ vāgyāṃ?||What time is it?||lit. How many did it strike?|
|મારું માથું ન ખા||māruṃ māthuṃ na khā||Don't bother me||lit. Do not eat my head|
|... કે ન પૂછવાની વાત||ke na pūchvānī vāt||... that you wouldn't believe it||lit. an un-ask-able talk or a talk not to (be) ask(ed)|
 See also
- Gujarati grammar
- Gujarati script
- Languages of India
- List of national languages of India
- List of Indian languages by total speakers
- Gujarati people
- ^ a b c d e Mistry, P.J. (2001) "Gujarati". Facts about the world's languages: An encyclopedia of the world's major languages, past and present. Ed. Jane Garry, and Carl Rubino: New England Publishing Associates. pp. 274-277.
- ^ a b (2005) "Gujarati". Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Ed. Gordon, Raymond G., Jr: Dallas, Tex.: SIL International.
- ^ Gujarati – Language from the Land of the Gujjars. BhashaIndia.com
- ^ Dave, J. (1995) Colloquial Gujarati. New York: Routledge. Reprinted 2004. pp. 8-9.
- ^ Mistry, P. J. (1996) "Gujarati Writing". The World's Writing Systems. Ed. Daniels and Bright: Oxford University Press. pp. 391-393.
- ^ Dwyer, R. (1995) Teach Yourself Gujarati. pp. 19-20.
- ^ Suthar, B. (2003) "Consonants". Gujarati-English Learner's Dictionary. p. 9.
- ^ Snell, R. (2000) Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script. Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 83-86.
- ^ Turner, R.L. (1966) A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press. p. 203. Entry 3856.
- ^ Ibid. p. 30. Entry 684.
- ^ Ibid. p. 401. Entry 6969.
- ^ Ibid. p. 502. Entry 8947.
- ^ Ibid. p. 706. Entry 12193.
- ^ Ibid. p. 760. Entry 13139.
- ^ Ibid. p. 766. Entry 13276.
- ^ Platts, J.T. (1884). A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co. p. 776.
- ^ Ibid. p. 486.
- ^ Ibid. pp. 489.
- ^ Ibid. p. 305.
- ^ Ibid. p. 481.
- ^ Ibid. p. 1057.
- ^ Ibid. pp. 653.
- ^ Ibid. p. 378.
- ^ Ibid. p. 519.
- ^ Ibid. p. 1142.
- ^ Ibid. pp. 122.
- ^ Ibid. p. 1136.
- ^ Ibid. p. 1123.
- ^ Ibid. p. 471.
- ^ Ibid. p. 487.
- ^ Ibid. pp. 771.
- ^ Ibid. p. 618.
- ^ Ibid. p. 947.
 Further Reading
- Belsare, M.B. (1904) An etymological Gujarati-English Dictionary.
- Mehta, B.N. & Mehta, B.B. (1925) The Modern Gujarati-English Dictionary.
- Deshpande, P.G. (1974) Gujarati-English Dictionary. Ahmadabad: University Granth Nirman Board.
- Deshpande, P.G. (1982) Modern English-Gujarati Dictionary. Bombay: Oxford University Press.
- Deshpande, P.G. & Parnwell, E.C. (1977) Oxford Picture Dictionary. English-Gujarati. Oxford University Press.
- Deshpande, P.G. (1988) Universal English-Gujarati Dictionary. Bombay: Oxford University Press.
- Suthar, B. (2003) Gujarati-English Learner's Dictionary (1 Mb)
- Turner, R. L. (1966) A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages. London: Oxford University Press.
- Tisdall, W.S. (1892) A Simplified Grammar of the Gujarati Language. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 8120600932
- Taylor, G.P. (1908) The Student's Gujarati Grammar. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services.
- Cardona, G. (1965) A Gujarati Reference Grammar. University of Pennsylvania Press.
- Lambert, H.M. (1971) Gujarati Language Course. Cambridge University Press.
- Dave, J. (1995) Colloquial Gujarati. New York: Routledge. Reprinted 2004. ISBN 0415091969
- Dwyer, R. (1995) Teach Yourself Gujarati. (43 Mb) London: Hodder and Stoughton.
- Gajendragadkar, S.N. (1972) Parsi Gujarati. Bombay: University of Bombay.
- Masica, C.P. (1993) The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521299446
- Mistry, P.J. (2001) "Gujarati". Facts about the world's languages: An encyclopedia of the world's major languages, past and present. Ed. Jane Garry, and Carl Rubino: New England Publishing Associates. pp. 274-277.
- Dalby, A. (1998) "Gujarati". Dictionary of languages: the definitive reference to more than 400 languages. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 237-238. ISBN 0231115687
- Mistry, P.J. (1996) "Gujarati Writing". The World's Writing Systems. Ed. Daniels and Bright: Oxford University Press. pp. 391-393.
- Dave, T.N. (1935) A Study of the Gujarati Language in the XVth Century. The Royal Asiatic Society. ISBN 0947593306
- Mistry, P.J. (2003) "Gujarati". International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Vol. 2. Ed. Frawley, W. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2nd ed). pp. 115-118.
 External links
 Linguistic resources
- Ratilal Chandaria's Online Language Resources
- Gujarati Wiktionary
- Website for reading Gujarati Literature Online
- Gujarati English Dictionary from Webster's Online Dictionary - the Rosetta Edition
- Online Gujarati Type Pad
- Free Gujarati Tutorial - Learn Gujarati
- Gujarati script and alphabets
- Gujarati Editor
- Akila Daily
- Gujarati Samachar
- Divya Bhaskar
- Jai Hind
- The Bombay Samachar
- Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavat, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Upanishad, Yog Sutra, Bhajans and more in Gujarati (Hinduism)
- Religious and Spiritual Texts in Gujarati (Islam)
- World Bible Translation Center: Gujarati New Testament (Christianity)
- Gujarati Language and Literature
- Gujarati Samaj of Minnesota
- Gujarati Samaj of Western Australia
- A brief history of the Gujarati language
- The UK Gujarati Teachers Association
- Gujarati Writers Guild UK
- SBS Gujarati Radio (Australia)
- The South Asian Literary Recordings Project, The Library of Congress. Gujarati Authors.
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