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Footnotes on a Parthian sound change1

  • Agnes Korn (a1)

The treatment of Proto-Iranian *θw (PIE *t) is one of the isoglosses distinguishing Middle Persian from Parthian and thus important for Western Iranian dialectology. The re-discussion of the Parthian development of this consonant cluster by Nicholas Sims-Williams presents a welcome opportunity for some notes on the matter. I will argue that there is some additional evidence in favour of his suggestion that the Parthian result is not -f- as previously assumed, but a consonant cluster. I will also suggest a modification of the steps that the development takes. The Middle Persian development of *θw as well as some related issues of historical phonology and Pth. orthography and Western Ir. are likewise discussed.

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The present article is a revised version of a German paper. For reasons of typographical simplicity, θ, w and y are used instead of ϑ, and for Proto-Iranian. As per Iranological tradition, italics represent the transcription (phonemical form) for Parthian and Middle Persian, but the transliteration (graphical form) for Sogdian. Manichean, Middle Persian and Parthian are quoted from and in the form of DMD unless otherwise noted.

Abbreviations: Av. = Avestan; B = Buddhist Sogdian; C = Christian Sogdian; Ir. = Iranian; Manich. = Manichean; M = (Sogdian in) Manich. script; MP = Middle Persian; OInd. = Old Indic (Vedic and Sanskrit); OP = Old Persian; PIE = Proto-Indo-European; Pth. = Parthian; S = (Sogdian in) Sogdian script. For bibliographical abbreviations see the references at the end of the article.

I am indebted to Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst, Jost Gippert, Thomas Jügel, Nicholas Sims-Williams and Yutaka Yoshida for comments and discussion, and to several colleagues for their contributions acknowledged in the notes.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Harold W. Bailey 1979. Dictionary of Khotan Saka. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walter B. Henning 1937. “A list of Middle Persian and Parthian words”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies 9, 7992 (= id.: Selected Papers I. (Acta Iranica 14.) Leiden: Brill, 1977, 559–72).

Walter B. Henning 1939. “Sogdian loan-words in New Persian”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies 10, 93106 (= Selected Papers I, 639–52).

Heinrich Hübschmann . 1895. Persische Studien. Strasbourg: Trübner.

Nicholas Sims-Williams . 1976. “The Sogdian fragments of the British Library”, Indo-Iranian Journal 18, 4382.

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Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
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