Mazandarani language

Mazandarani language
Mäzandarani مازندرانی
Tabari تبری
Spoken in Iran, province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Gilan, Golestan, Semnan, Khorasan
Region South coast of the Caspian Sea
Native speakers 3.3 million  (1993)
Language family
Writing system Persian alphabet
Official status
Official language in None
Regulated by Linguistic Faculty of Babol University
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mzn
Mazandarani Language Map.PNG
Areas where Mazandarani is spoken as mother tongue

Mazandarani (مازندرانی) or Tabari (تبری) (Also known as: Mazaniki) is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch, spoken mainly in Iran's Mazandaran, Gilan and Golestan provinces. As a member of the Northwestern branch (the northern branch of Western Iranian), genetically speaking it is rather closely related to Gilaki, and more distantly related to Persian, which belongs to the Southwestern branch.[1][2]



The name Mazandarani (and variants of it) derives from the name of the historical region of Mazandaran (Mazerun in Mazandarani), which was part of former Kingdom of Tapuria. People traditionally call their language Gileki, the same as Gilekis do. Gileki consist of two morphemes : Gil + postfix ki. The name Tapuri (or Tabari) which was the name of an ancient language of somewhere in former Tapuria, Nowadays becomes prevalent into youth groups instead of Gileki. However, Gilan and Mazanderan were part of the same state known as Tapuria which its national language was known as Gileki.


Among the living Iranian languages, Mazandarani has one of the longest written traditions, from the tenth to the fifteenth century. This status was achieved during the long reign of the independent and semi-independent rulers of Mazandaran in the centuries after the Arab invasion.[3]

The rich literature of this language includes books such as Marzban Nameh (later translated into Persian) and the poetry of Amir Pazevari. The use of Mazandarani, however, has been in decline. Its literary and administrative rank was lost to Persian perhaps long before the ultimate integration of Mazandaran into the national administration in the early seventeenth century.[4]

The Mazandarani language is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies. In 1993, according to Ethnologue, there were more than three million native speakers of Mazandarani, speaking different dialects such as Gorgani, Ghadikolahi and Palani.[5]


Mazanderani is an inflected and gender-free language.[6] It is considered SVO.


Function Cases

Case Position Meaning



The Home

Sere re


To the Home




Sere şe



Sere re


To the Home

Sere ye jä


By the Home


Adjective Position Meaning

And-e Sere



Gat e Sere


Big Home

untä Sere


That Home



Xär Sere


The list below is a sample list obtained from the Online Mazandarani-Persian dictionary.







Good Place



Mulberry Limit






At the Plantain


Səre Ja

Of Home



At the Below






Au Chaf

Water Sucker



Drupelet Seller



Wolf Hunter



Who acts in water



Mouse Finder





Perso-Arabic Script

Mazanderani is commonly written in the Perso-Arabic script.[7]


Spoken in a territory sheltered by the high Alborz mountains, Mazandarani preserves many Indo-European old words which are no longer in common use in many other Iranian languages such as Persian. Below, a few common Mazanderani words & their Persian cognates are listed for sample.

English Mazandarani Persian Proto-Indo-European Example of
New Neo No Adjective
Great Gat Bozorg, Gonde Adjective
Better Better Behtar Adverb
Been Bine Budeh Auxiliary Verb
Being Bien Budan Infinitive of Verb
Moon Moong/Mong Mâh Noun
Daughter Deter Dokhtar Noun
Cow Go/Gu/Guw Gâv Mâda Noun
My Me/Mi (before the noun) am (after the noun), om Verb
Gab Gap Goftogu, Gap Verb
Right Rast Râst

Virtually all speakers of Mazandarani are also fluent in standard Persian.[8] Some dialectologists have concluded that the language is converging with Persian.[4][9]

Influences exerted by Mazanderani

Modern-day of Iran

In Iran, there are some popular companies and products, like Rika (son) or Kija (daughter), which take their name from Mazandarani words.[citation needed]

In non-Iranian languages

There are some Mazanderani loanwords in the Turkmen language.[10]


áme kεrkā šúnnε nεfār-sar. nεfār-sar xεsέnnε. badími nεfār-sar-e čεl-o-ču hamε bapíssεnε. bāútεmε, “vačε jān! injε, kεlum-e pali, mé-vesse έttā kεrk-kεli dεrεs hā́kεn!” vε εm nεmāšun ke pe dar-biārdε, hamun šō badímε bεmúnε sεre piεr o vačε. ande-tumi piεr o vačε bεmúnε sεre, nεmāz kέrdεnε, qεzā xέrdεnε; ba:d εz nεmāz šínε ún-var, sāāt-e čār harkεt kέrdεnε.
Our chickens go onto the nefār and sleep on it. [Once] we noted that the wood of the nefār was all rotten. I told [my son], “Dear child! Here, next to the stable, make me a chicken coop.” In the evening that [my son] was setting the foundation, the father [-in-law] and [his] son came home. As soon as the father and son came home, they would say their prayers, eat something, and then, after the prayers, they would go over there (to the next room); then at four o’clock they would set off.

(from Maryam Borjian and Habib Borjian, “Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran [: Mysterious Memories of a Woman],” Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007, pp. 226–254.)

mosalmunun! mέrε šabgir varέnnε āx, mέrε bā kamεr-e haftir varέnnε mέrε bavέrdεnε Tεrkεmun-e dam Tεrkεmun kāfεr o gεlilε be-ra:m Moslems! They are carrying me at the crack of dawn. O, they are taking me away with a pistol on the[ir] waist. They took me to the vicinity of the Turkmen [tribes]. Turkmen [are] unbelievers and the bullet [is] ruthless. gεtε, ašun xō badimā mεn še Ali-rε sio dasmāl davέsso še gali-rε age xā́nnε bā́urεn ámi badi-rε bázεne xεrusεk šέme gali-rε volvol sar-e dār gέnε εy zāri-zāri me gol dāš báio sarbāz-e Sāri He would say, Last night I dreamed my Ali. He [had] wrapped a black kerchief [round] his throat. If it is their intention is malignant about us, May croup-cough attack your throat! The nightingale on the tree constantly bemoans (?) My dear brother drafted in Sāri. Quatrains sang by Sabura Azizi, transcribed and translated by Habib Borjian; Ref. Habib Borjian and Maryam Borjian, “Mysterious Memories of a Woman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran,” Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007.

ozεrε-vâ énε dámbe sεvâí
iấnnε búye dεlbárrε dεvấi
qam o qossέye dεl vónε kεnârí
me jấne gεl dénε búye xεdâí

At break of dawn blows the cool breeze.
It brings over the healing odor of the beloved.
The sorrow of the heart will go away.
My dear flower smells like God.

basutέ sinέye miónnε hấreš!
tévεsse – nấzεnin! – baímε nâxεš
tε armúne dέl i, εy nâzεnin yâr!
tévεsse mέsle bεlbεl zámbε nâlεš

Look at the middle of the burnt chest!
For you – O loveable! – I am unwell.
You are the heart’s aspiration, O beloved!
For you I moan like a nightingale.


Dεl-e armun “Heart’s Aspiration”
Rezaqoli Mohammadi Kordekheyli
Transcribed and translated by: Habib Borjian

See also


In dates given below, A.P. denotes the Iranian calendar, the solar calendar (365 days per year) which is official in Iran and Afghanistan.

  1. ^ Coon, "Iran:Demography and Ethnography" in Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume IV, E.J. Brill, pp. 10,8. Excerpt: "The Lurs speak an aberrant form of Archaic Persian" See maps also on page 10 for distribution of Persian languages and dialect
  2. ^ Kathryn M. Coughlin, "Muslim cultures today: a reference guide," Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 89: "...Iranians speak Persian or a Persian dialect such as Gilaki or Mazandarani"
  3. ^ Windfuhr, G. L. 1989. New Iranian languages: Overview. In Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 246–249.
  4. ^ a b Borjian, Maryam. 2005. Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence With Persian. Language, Communities and Education. Languages, Communities & Education: A Volume of Graduate Student Research. New York: Society for International Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. pp. 65–73.
  5. ^ Ethnologue report for language code:mzn
  6. ^ Fakhr-Rohani, Muhammad-Reza. 2004. She means only her 'husband': politeness strategies amongst Mazanderani-speaking rural women. (Conference abstract) CLPG Conference, University of Helsinli, Finland, PDF
  7. ^
  8. ^ Kalbāsi, Iran. 2004/1383 A.P. Gozašte-ye Naqli dar Lahjehā va Guyešhā-ye Irāni. Guyeššenāsi [Dialectology], 1(2):66–89. (journal of the Iranian Academy of Persian Language and Literature)
  9. ^ Habib Borjian (2006) "Mazandarani: language or dialect" Iranshenasi 18/1, 2006, pp. 43–49.
  10. ^ Nasri-Ashrafi, Jahangir-e (ed.). Farhang-e vāžegān-e Tabarī [A Dictionary of Tabari]. v. 5, p. 5, Tehran: Eḥyā’-ketāb”: 2002/1381 A.P. A comparative glossary containing lexical units from almost all major urban and rural centers of the region of the three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan. Reviewed in Iran and the Caucasus, 2006, 10(2). Volume 4 contains a Persian-Mazandarani index of approximately 190 pp. Volume 5 includes a grammar of the Mazandarani language.

Further reading

  • Borjian, Habib. 2006. The Oldest Known Texts in New Tabari: The Collection of Aleksander Chodzko. Archiv Orientálni 74(2):153–171.
  • ______________. 2006. A Mazandarani account of the Babi Incident at Shaikh Tabarsi. Iranian Studies 39(3):381–400.
  • ______________. 2006. Textual sources for the study of Tabari language. I. Olddocuments. Guyesh-shenâsi 4.
  • ______________. 2008. Tabarica II: Some Mazandarani Verbs. Iran and the Caucasus 12(1):73–82.
  • ______________. Two Mazandarani Texts from the Nineteenth Century. Studia Iranica 37(1):7–50.
  • Borjian, Habib, and Maryam Borjian. 2007. Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran: Mysterious Memories of a Woman. Iran and the Caucasus 11(2):226–254.
  • Borjian, Habib, and Maryam Borjian. 2008. The Last Galesh Herdsman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from South Caspian Rainforests. Iranian Studies 41(3):365–402.
  • Le Coq, P. 1989. Les dialects Caspiens et les dialects du nord-ouest de l'Iran. In Rüdiger Schmitt (ed.), Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 296–312.
  • Nawata, Tetsuo. 1984. Māzandarāni. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Asian and African Grammatical Manual; 17. 45 + iii pp.
  • Shokri, Giti. 1990. Verb Structure in Sāri dialect. Farhang, 6:217–231. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • _________. 1995/1374 A.P. Sārī Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Shokri, Giti. 2006. Ramsarī Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. Sārī Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.

External links

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