A Comparative Dialectal Description of Iranian Taleshi

  • Daniel Paul

Student thesis: Phd


This work presents a synchronic description of the Taleshi language spoken in northwest Iran. Its purpose is to provide a comparative study of the basic phonological, morphological and syntactic structure of three dialects spoken in Iran: Anbarani (northern), Asalemi (central) and Masali (southern). In addition, the sociolinguistic situation of the dialects is explored, along with some key elements of narrative discourse structure.To date only individual dialects of Iranian Taleshi have been described, mostly at the level of a grammatical sketch. This study, by comparing key representative speech varieties of each main dialect area, provides an overview of the whole dialect continuum, and is thereby able to show how the language changes from north to south. This variation has arisen partly as a result of language contact: the Taleshi language area is surrounded by other languages, including South Azerbaijani (Turkic), and Tati, Gilaki and Persian (all Western Iranian). Language shift to Persian is also occurring, and many Talesh no longer transmit their mother tongue to the next generation.The data for the study is drawn from fieldwork carried out in Iran during 2006 and 2007. This fieldwork included the elicitation of word and sentence lists, and the recording, transcription and translation of narrative texts in each dialect area. Further to these, a short film (The Pear Film) was used to elicit spontaneous narrative texts in nine locations along the dialect continuum; we therefore include some wider comment on other dialects of Iranian Taleshi.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJohn Payne (Supervisor) & Eva Schultze-Berndt (Supervisor)

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