Avestan language

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Avestisch / Awestisch
Period 1200-400 BC Chr.

Formerly spoken in

eastern Iranian highlands , Bactria , Arachosia , Aria (historical region) , Sogdia . Correspond to today's Afghanistan and Tajikistan
speaker none ( extinct language )
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Avestisch (scientific spelling, Germanized also Awestisch ) is one of the two recorded ancient Iranian languages . The name is derived from Avesta , the sacred book of Zoroastrianism . As an East Iranian language, Avestian and Southwest Iranian Old Persian are the earliest recorded Iranian languages.

Avestan, as it has been handed down in the Avesta, can be divided into two language levels or dialects. The Altavestic of the Gathas and the younger form in which most of the Yasna is written.

In addition to Old Indian, Altavestic received a large part of the original Indo-European grammar and has a purely Indo-European vocabulary. So it knows all the original primeval Indo-European times, eight cases, three genders and three numbers . There are similarities to the language of the Vedas . Linguistic investigations date Altavestic to the time between 1200 BC. BC and 600 BC Chr.

The younger Avestan did not develop directly from the Altavestic, but from a language very similar to it. Compared to Altavestic, it shows some phonetic innovations and simplifications in grammar.

As a spoken language Avestan is believed to have been around 400 BC. To be extinct. After that it was only passed on orally as the cult language of the priests of Zoroastrianism until the Avesta was written down in the 4th to 6th centuries AD.

In Old and Middle Persian verbs are from the Avestan into Persian borrowed Service. Persian and Avestan are both of Iranian origin, but were already different from one another in ancient Persian times.

The word paradise, which is widespread in European languages, is borrowed from the Avest language via Latin paradīsus and ancient Greek παράδεισος parádeisos ' (game) park, palace garden ': pairi.daēza- actually means' wall, encircle' or substantive 'an all around, all around, merging walling, walling '.

See also


  • Karl Hoffmann , Bernhard Forssman : Avestische Laut- und Flexionslehre (=  Innsbruck contributions to linguistics. Volume 115). 2., through and exp. Aufl. Inst. Für Sprachen und Literaturen, Dept. Sprachwiss., Innsbruck 2004, ISBN 3-85124-698-5 .