|Era||550 BCE - 1200 CE|
|Aramaic alphabet, Sogdian alphabet, Pahlavi script, Arabic script|
Khw?rezmian (? z?'k 'y xw'rzm "language of Khwarezm"; also transliterated Khwarazmian, Chorasmian, Khorezmian) is an extinct East Iranian language closely related to Sogdian. The language was spoken in the area of Khwarezm (Chorasmia), centered in the lower Amu Darya south of the Aral Sea (the northern part of the modern Republic of Uzbekistan, and the adjacent areas of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan).
Knowledge of Khwarezmian is limited to its Middle Iranian stage and, as with Sogdian, little is known of its ancient form. From the writings of the great Khwarezmian scholars, Al-Biruni and Zamakhshari, we know that the language was in use at least until the 13th century, when it was gradually replaced by Persian for the most part, as well as several dialects of Turkic.
Other than the astronomical terms used by al-Biruni, our other sources of Khwarezmian include Zamakhshari's Arabic-Persian-Khwarezmian dictionary and several legal texts that use Khwarezmian terms and quotations to explain certain legal concepts, most notably the Qunyat al-Munya of Jalal ad-Din al-'Imadi.
Before the advance of Islam in Transoxiana (early 8th century), Khwarezmian was written in a script close to that of Sogdian and Pahlavi with its roots in the imperial Aramaic script. From the few surviving examples of this script on coins and artifacts, it has been observed that written Khwarezmian included Aramaic logograms or ideograms, that is Aramaic words written to represent native spoken ones e.g. (?NT) for sar? "year", ? (NP?Y) for ? xud?k "self" and ? (MLK') for ? ?ah "the king".
After the advance of Islam, Khwarezmian was written using an adapted version of the Perso-Arabic alphabet with a few extra signs to reflect specific Khwarezmian sounds, such as the letter ? which represents /ts/ and /dz/, as in the traditional Pashto orthography.