Talk:Median Language
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Talk:Median Language

Unattributed quotes?

Lots of sentences enclosed in quotation marks. Without directly saying who is talking (rather than sticking a reference mark next to it), it looks very unencyclopedic, unprofessional, lazy and confused. With all due respect. (talk) 11:18, 9 December 2008 (UTC)


Glad to see this page. I am of the opinion that "Mede" is a better adjectival form than "Median", simply because Median has other unrelated meanings in English. So I would rather see this moved to "Mede language". However, I realize there are others out there who prefer "Median", for whatever reason (both are technically correct)... Instead of moving it unilaterally, I thought I'd take an informal poll, how do other editors feel about it and why? (?) 15:11, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Mede is a noun, not an adjective. You can pick "Medean" if you like something unambiguous. And do me a favour and for once check your facts before starting an argument. dab (?) 07:52, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Gee, thanks! What a nice guy! (?) 14:13, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Mede language references

Instead of removing references from a respected journal publication, update the page with your counter arguments and references. Atabek 22:14, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Atabek Oppret is from a long time ago (120+) years ago or even more. The Elamite language (trinlingual inscription of Darius at Behistun) is not Median. That is why sources from 1890 are really useless. Even the Turanian language family is not accepted by scholars anymore. The trilingual inscription of Darius is in Elamite, Assyro-Babylonian, Old Persian. Not Median. This inscription was really deciphered well much after Oppert. As per Median being a NW Iranian language, this is mentioned by Ehsan Yarshater. I would also check Encyclopedia Britannica 2007. --alidoostzadeh 22:40, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Dear Ali, Ehsan Yarshater is Iranian scholar, not acceptable from POV perspective. Again, instead of removing the references, please provide third-party references in support of your position. Also Turanian language group is the same as Ural-Altaic language group which formally used by linguistists.Thanks. Atabek 22:43, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Dear Atabak. Ehsan Yarshater is world recognized scholar. But there is no need to mention him. I can literally quote many from Diakonoff (history of medes) to Rudiger Schmitt..But let me quote something from 2007.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the medes were an:

. (from "Mede." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 12 Feb. 2007 <>.)

Oppert from 120 years ago I am sorry is not acceptable. Since we know 10000% percent that trinlingual inscription is Elamite, Akkadian/Assyro-Babylonian and Old Persian. At that time Elamite was not deciphered well, but now it is considered an isolate. --alidoostzadeh 22:45, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Note also Herotodus (7.62) The Medes had exactly the same equipment as the Persians; and indeed the dress common to both is not so much Persian as Median. They had for commander Tigranes, of the race of the Achaemenids. These Medes were called anciently by all people Arians; but when Media, the Colchian, came to them from Athens, they changed their name. Such is the account which they themselves give. --alidoostzadeh 22:47, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Also the concept of Turanian language which was based on word structure rather than the method of comparative linguistic is extinct and not uphold by any scholar today or at least within the last 50 years. The ancient Turanians are now considered Iranians by mainstream scholars as their names in Avesta have Iranian etymology. See Mayrhofer studies on Avesta where he has given etymology for every Avesta name. Frye mentions this as well.
I can gaurantee that Median is accept as Iranian by all scholarly sources today. [1]. By the mid-9th century BC two major groups of Iranians appeared in cuneiform sources: the Medes and the Persians.. The 10-20 words we have from them (names with clear Iranian etymology (see Rudiger Schmitt) and some words by Herodotus) and the fact that Strabo and Herodotus call them Arians is now accepted facts by scholars. --alidoostzadeh 22:52, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Ali, you haven't provided a single reference to language of Medes but to theories about their geographical and genetic origination. Please, provide the reference which talks about language.And why do you keep removing the scholarly reference? If you have arguments against it present on Talk page and main page references. Attempts to purge out Turanian language reference from resource are not acceptable, as it's already an established group (Uralo-Altaic) by practically all linguists. It's unfair to purge one theory and present only Iranian theory. Atabek 23:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Atabek I just showed Encyclopedia Britannica 2007. Is that not a reference? Turanian language family does not exist anymore. Even Ural-Altaic does not exist as a single entitty and Uralic and Altaic are considered independent branches. Also it is totally fair to purge a statement from 1890 that contradicts scholarly sources of 2007. If you want I can bring many sources. How about I.M. Diakonoff in Cambridge History of Iran (1985)? My friend the trilingual inscription of Darius is in Elamite, Old Persian and Assyro-Babylonian. Oppert thought 1890 when Elamite was not deciphered that it could be Turkish. That idea is simply extinct and the oldest Turkic inscription is that of Orkhon in Mongolia (Peter Golden, History of Turkic People). Turanian language simply is a dead concept from 100 years ago. Comparative linguistics proved its invalidity. --alidoostzadeh 23:15, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Let me quote Encyclopedia Britannica 2007 again. Though isolated groups of speakers of Indo-European languages had appeared and disappeared in western Iran in the 2nd millennium BC, it was during the Iron Age that the Indo-European Iranians rose to be the dominant force on the plateau. By the mid-9th century BC two major groups of Iranians appeared in cuneiform sources: the Medes and the Persians. [2]. This is a reference from 2007. Your reference is obsolete since I have copies of the Elamite, Assyro-Babylonian and Old Persian inscriptions. Just do a google search trinlingual inscription of Darius and any modern source will tell you there is no Median there. Elamite was classified as a Turanoid language based simply upon typology 110 years ago. That is why even Dravidian was considered a Turanoid language. Typological classifications are not accept as valid by linguists anymore for at least the last 50-60 years. That is why even Ural-Altaic is a obsolete theory and Uralic and Altaic are considered separate language families. --alidoostzadeh 23:18, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
As per language of Medes, I quote some words from Diakonoff. Farnah, Paradayda, Vazraka, Vispa, Spaka (mentioned by Herodotus meaning dog Turkish word for it is It, Modern Persian is Sag and some dialects Sepi. I believe old Slavic which is similar to Old Persian uses the word Spaka or something similar.), Vispa (all as in Avesta). I would also read Diakonoff's article on Medes in Cambridge history of Iran (1985). --alidoostzadeh 23:22, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Also note this source which is exactly what I said [3].[4] A name for Elam at the very beginning of the deciphering adventure, when Grotefend, Rawlinson, Westergaard and de Saulcy wrote about the language of the so-called second kind, they did not know they were dealing with Elamite. They named it Median. Why was Elamite called Median? . I hope the above detail link at least clarifieds the issue for any reader in why Elamite was mistakenly called Median. Also Elamite is now considered a language isolate but some have attempted to relate it to Dravidian languages. --alidoostzadeh 23:29, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Ali, again your disposal of Ural-Altaic group as a whole is not based on scholarly work. You keep saying "most linguists", while not providing a single reference to serious linguist scholar, who says that Ural-Altaic group should not be a single language family.
I would like to attract your attention to the work of the inventor of the term Turanian, Friedrich Max Muller, Professor of Comparative Philology at Oxford in his lecture "Natural religion", vol. 2, 1888-1892:
West of China there stretches a cluster of languages which are on the point of leaving or have left the isolating stage, which show the development of agglutination in high perfection, and in some instances rise to the level of inflectional grammar. They are called Ural-Altaic or Ugro-Tataric. In one of my earliest essays, 'A Letter on the Turanian Languages,' 1854, I proposed to comprehend these languages under the name of Turanian.
Rack's Scythian and Prichard's Allophylian race was supposed to have occupied Europe and Asia before the advent of the Aryan and Semitic races, a theory which has lately been revived by Westergaard, Norris, Lenormant, and Oppert, who hold that a Turanian civilisation preceded likewise the Semitic civilisation of Babylon and Nineveh, that the cuneiform letters were invented by that Turanian race, and that remnants of its literature have been preserved in the second class of the Cuneiform Inscriptions, called sometimes Scythian, sometimes Median, and possibly in that large class of inscriptions now called Akkadian or Sumerian
Whatever may be thought of these far-reaching theories, no one, I believe, doubts any longer a close relationship between Mongolic and Turkic, a wider relationship between these two and Tungusic, and a still wider one between these three and Finnic and Samoyedic. Hence the Mongolic, Turkic, and Tungusic languages have been comprehended under the name of Altaic, the Finnic languages are called Ugric (including Hungarian), while Samoyedic forms, according to some, a more independent nucleus. All five groups together constitute what is called the Ugro-Altaic family.
There is one peculiarity common to many of the Ugro-Altaic languages which deserves a short notice, the law of Vocalic Harmony. According to this law the vowels of every word must be changed and modulated so as to harmonise with the key-note struck by its chief vowel. This law pervades the Tungusic, Mongolic, Turkic, Samoyedic, and Finnic classes; and even in dialects where it is disappearing, it has often left traces of its former existence behind. The same law has been traced in the Tamulic languages also, particularly in Telugu, and in these languages it is not only the radical vowel that determines the vowels of the suffixes, but the vowel of a suffix also may react on the radical vowel. The vowels in Turkish, for instance, are divided into two classes, sharp and flat. If a verb contains a sharp vowel in its radical portion, the vowels of the terminations are all sharp, while the same terminations, if following a root with a flat vowel, modulate their vowels into a flat key. Thus we have sev-mek, to love, but bak-mak, to regard, mek or mak being the termination of the infinitive. Thus we say ev-ler, the houses, but at-lar, the horses, ler or lar being the termination of the plural.
No Aryan or Semitic language has preserved a similar freedom in the harmonic arrangement of its vowels, while traces of it have been found among the most distant members of the Turanian family, as in Hungarian, Mongolian, Turkish, the Yakut, spoken in the north of Siberia, in Telugu, Tulu14, and in dialects spoken on the eastern frontier of India.
Now, Ali, show me the evidence that any linguist denied any of the above. Thanks. Atabek 23:54, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Atabek, you are quoting materials from 110 years ago and that is my point. Check the 3rd link above. The whole concept of Turanian language is dead and obsolete. Check linguistic classifications, Turkish is now classified as Altaic language. Note Britannica now does not consider this language family as a unified family. [5]. Turanian supra-family which included dravidian, altaic and uralic and other languages is now obsolete in Academia. Note the quote above: The same law has been traced in the Tamulic languages also, particularly in Telugu, and in these languages it is not only the radical vowel that determines the vowels of the suffixes, but the vowel of a suffix also may react on the radical vowel.. But if you tell some linguist today that Dravidian is related to Altaic, they will simply dismiss it. (that is why there is Altaic family and Dravidian family). That is why sources from 1890 are not valid. Basically any language that could not have been classified as Indo-European or Semitic was given the name Turanian. Eventually these languages also were studied and their genetic relationships where disproved and new classification based on Altaic, Uralic, Dravidian, Bantu and etc. were discovered. As per the obsoleteness of the theory of Turanian language, Diakonoff in his Medes actually describes this in detail. Check also Brtiannica under the word Turanian or language families of the world. Today scholars do not mention Turanian family. We have IE, Altaic, Uralic, Dravidian, Semitic, Sino-Tibetian.. and Austric (which was also called Turanian) etc. The concept of Turanian language family is not found in any modern linguistic sources. Simply because typological classifications vary too much from each other and are deemed insufficient to show genetic relationship between family. As per the issue at hand, trinlingual inscription of Darius has three languages I mentioned and not Median. Opperts and etc. used to call Elamite (which was thought of as a Turanian language) as Median. But today Elamite is a language isolate (Britannica 2007). --alidoostzadeh 00:09, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Also let me quote Britannica on Ural-Altaic: hypothetical language grouping that includes all the languages of the Uralic and Altaic language families. Most of the evidence for including the Uralic and Altaic languages in one language family is based on similarities of language structure rather than on a common core of inherited vocabulary. Common Ural-Altaic linguistic features present in most of the languages include vowel harmony (i.e., vowels in the same word must harmonize in method of articulation); grammatical traits typical of languages with a basic subject-object-verb sentence word order--e.g., the complete absence of prefixes; the use of suffixes and postpositions to express the grammatical modifications that are expressed in English by prepositions; lack of adjectival declension and of grammatical gender; and similarity in form of nouns and verbs. These types of similarities frequently arise through language contact and are not considered a valid basis for establishing genetic relationship. [6]. I would not study sources from 110-120 years ago with regards to modern scholarly linguistic classifications since many of those theories are obsolete like the Turanian language family. But back to the Medes, the trinlingual inscription of Darius has no Median and the language they meant was Elamite which is now classified as language isolate although few relate to Dravidian. --alidoostzadeh 00:24, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I think a compromise solution should be implemented, where Norris, Oppert et al quotes can be mentioned in the historical, chronological context of scientific development -- especially since so many well-known and authoritative scholars and experts of the day subscribed to the theory -- not just Oppert and Norris, but seems like Muller, Rawlison, etc. It is also very important because some modern pundits allege that it is Turkic scholars who make-up various theories on ancient people's and their languages, whilst we can clearly see that this was a very popular theory of leading Western European scholars from mid-19th century until at least the end of 19th century -- a span of almost 50 years is pretty good for a theory, and deserves a mention. --AdilBaguirov 17:08, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Adil Elamite was mistaken for Median and they thought the trilingual inscription of Behistun had Median where as it was Elamite. Thus there is really no chronological development. The Behistun inscriptions have been fully explained only within the last 50-60 years. No one relates Elamite to Median. Basically a nomenclature mistake was made where these authors thought Elamite was Median. Thus an out-dated theory is not even scientific to bear any mention (i.e. Encyclopedia Britannica 2007). Although we can mention some scholars mistakenly thought Elamite was Median but that is really not relevent to an article on Median language since it has no genetic relationship with Elamite. All we have in Median language is some words from herodotus, some names from Assyrian tablets (Cyaraxes..) and some names from Old Persian. All these names are Iranian and thus scholars classify it as Iranian language. Other than that we have Strabo, Moses of Khoren and Herodotus who call the Medes as Arian (7.62). Also we have an interesting 14th century or so Armenian source which calls Kurdish as the language of the Mede, but this is much later development. During the 19th century there was some scholars back then claiming Sumerian had a lot of IE and even African and etc. Some scholars claimed all languages descended from Noahs three sons. Note I can dig up also 19th century sources calling the Medes as Aryan but any article using 19th century sources is really not a good article when there are 21 century sources available. Virtually the 19th century scholars had many different opinions which is not relevant to classification of Median today. I think for an resource entery which is supposed to be encyclopedic, the latest and correct ideas is all that matters. But perhaps in an article on the now discredited turanoid theory one can mention that Elamite, Dravidian, Sumerian,Uralic, Altaic .. and every single non-IE and non-semitic language was called Turanian. Dravidian actually was placed in the center of Turanian languages by some and Chinese in the outskirt of the Turanian family.(System of Consanguinity & Affinity of the Human family, 1871). The reason of course is also discredited since IE scholars thought the word Aryan and Iran refers to all Indo-Europeans thus Turanoids being all the non-Aryans since Turanians were mentioned in the Shahnameh and after the original Turanians (who by their name in Avesta are actually an IE people) were replaced by Turks, Turks became Turanian in post-Islamic era.. Much like Ottomons were called Romans by Safavids although they were not Romans. Since Turkish, and Hungarian and Dravidian and etc. and sometimes even chinese did not classify into IE and semitic, 19th century scholars created Turanian family. Now it is clear that for example only Indo-Iranians are historically called Aryans and not for example Germans. Thus old theories on linguistic classifications that have been disregarded do not deserve a mention except perhaps in an article on former classification of turanian language and even in that aspect, Median being mistaken for Elamite is not really chronological since these scholars were really talking about Elamite of Behistun as noted above. --alidoostzadeh 01:07, 21 February 2007 (UTC)


According to the late Dr. Tafazzoli, The fahlav^ya@t, being survivals of the Median dialects, have certain linguistic affinities with Parthian, although in their existing forms they have been much influenced by Persian.. This is related to what Henning has stated:(Dank der Nennung von Abar-sahr brauchen wir uns also bei der Bestimmung des manichäischen pahlawänig durch den immerhin misslichen Umstand nicht beirren zu lassen, dass gegen Ende der Regierungszeit der Arsakiden der Name ihrer Stammprovinz ('Parthien') auch im einheimischen Sprachgebrauch auf die gesamten von ihnen direkt verwalteten Länder ausgedehnt wurde, und zwar besonders auf Medien. Das war Ibnu '1-Muqaffac im 8ten Jhdt. noch wohlbekannt, und so erklärte er Pahlawi als die Sprache von Pahla (Fahlahl-Bahlah) im Sinne von Medien (Isfahän, Rai, Hamadän, Mäh-Nihäwand, ÄSarbäigän); hier ist das Eigentliche, d.h. Parthien selbst, ganz unter den Tisch gefallen. Besser entspricht dem Ursprünglichen eine leider fragmentarische manichäische Stelle, in der Isfahän, nach einer Lücke Nisäbür, schliess­lich als Zusammenfassung 'das ganze Land Pahrawag' genannt werden. Aus dem Gebrauch von Pahla(w) für Medien erklärt sich auch die persische Bezeichnung fahlawiyyät für Dialekt­gedichte, und zwar in erster Linie solche, die in den Dialekten des medi-schen Gebiets verfasst sind. W.B. Henning, Handbuch der Orientalistik, Iranistik (Leiden, 1958), pp.95). Translation: "Parthia" by the end of the Arsacid period had been extended to include all of Media(Pahlah of ibn Mofaqqa), and was still so used in the 8th century. The original meaning of "Parthia" had fallen from use. This fact (viz. the appellation of "Parthia" for Media) was still well known to Ibnu l-Muqaffa in the 8th century: he explained Pahlawi as the language of Pahla (Fahlahl-Bahlah) in the sense of Media (Isfahan, Ray, Hamadan, Mah-Nahavand, Azerbaijan). Here, the original sense, i.e. Parthia proper, has been is completely dropped. The original meaning is still evident from a fragmentary Manichean text, which calls Isfahan "the entire land of Pahrawag". The later usage of Pahla(w)=Media goes to explain the Persian fahlawiyyät for "vernacular poetry". I have included a small section. --alidoostzadeh 19:06, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Revert by Pejman47

Without providing any reason for doing so, Pejman47 reverted a previous edit summarized as "tersify to not stray too far from the topic, and try to clarify to avoid confusion with the subject of the article." I have reinstated that previous edit, and followed it up with with a comment to his/her talk page. -- Fullstop (talk) 18:34, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

A source

I would like to delete the source John Limbert. He is not a linguistic or expert. We can have better sources for these matters. Is deleting this source OK with the editors? Xashaiar (talk) 10:05, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I've deleted the section after rereading it and realising it is actually about Kurds and Kurdish, not about the Median language. Dougweller (talk) 19:54, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

change in intro

I reverted an edit which claimed "the intro was better before". This edit removed the important piece of info that "Median is an Old Iranian language". Editors should not "remove" info. If the sentence is not clear editor should collaborate and find a better sentence. Thanks. Xashaiar (talk) 08:05, 17 October 2011 (UTC)


One of the few Median words given in the article is aspa (horse). But another source (Arnold Rosenberg, The Hardest Natural Languages, Lingvisticae Investigationes, III:2, pp. 323-339, 1979) says 'the entire known fragment of the ancient Medean language comprise the single word meaning "horse".' Even reading as spaka and imagining a common root -spa- with aspa, they are not obviously the same word, unless there is some assumed grammar which is not obvious from Old Persian. --Rumping (talk) 18:22, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

@Rumping: Um, spaka means "dog" or "bitch", not "horse" ... Rosenberg is clearly confused. See Wiktionary. Too many people with no clue of linguistics muck around in Wikipedia's language-related articles ... --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:03, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

There may not have been a "Median language"

I think the article here should reflect the, not uncommon, view that there may not have been a distinct Median language at all. The document on Harvard's webiste (reference 4) by Prods Oktor Skjærvø exemplifies the standard evidence given in support of the theory of a Median language. However, as historian Pierre Briant states :

...the theory of linguistic borrowings remains quite disputable... The problem is that we know virtually nothing of Median, for the plain and simple reason that we do not have a single inscription in that language. By reasoning that might be considered circular, Median has been reconstructed on the basis of Persian borrowings, themselves reconstructed... Some contend instead that the language of the Achaemenid inscriptions is a common language (koin?) used by the Medes as well as the Persians. According to this hypothesis, the theory of linguistic borrowings is considerably weakened, and it is not supported by the historical interpretations proposed by the Classical authors.[1]

Currently the article rings too authoritatively on the firm existence of a Median language.

Prods Oktor Skjærvø is a linguist specialising in Iranian languages. Pierre Briant is a historian. Skjærvø can speak on linguistic issues with authority because he understands them; Briant cannot. This is an important point to understand.
But I'll try to explain - there are certain specific sound developments that can be found in Old Persian, and only in Old Persian among the Old Iranian languages, and not in Avestan for example (where the sounds - they happen to be all consonants or groups of consonants - develop differently). They are common in Old Persian, but rarely you find exceptions; and occasionally you find the common Old Persian and the exceptional development side by side, as in asa- vs. aspa- "horse". And it just so happens that the exceptional developments are all found in Avestan too, and regular there, and they're also the common and evidently regular developments in (almost) all Middle and Modern Iranian languages except those in the south, or originating in the south, in the Persis, that appear to descend from Old/Middle Persian. So how do you explain this? Well, the explanation that makes the best sense is that the words with the exceptional developments in Old Persian are borrowings from a different Iranian language. And historically and geographically, the language of the Medians (which judging from the spáka "dog" quoted by Herodotus has the "exceptional" developments too) simply makes the most sense. The logic here is sound, even if Median is (apart from this one word) not directly attested. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:59, 1 August 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Briant, Pierre (2002). From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire (English ed.). Eisenbrauns. p. 25.

Deletion of the Laki dialect for no reason.

First of all, Laki language language is a Northwestern language, so it is included in Med languages. Another issue is Laki language: Laki; (Kurdish, ,Lekî?, Persian) is a vernacular that constitutes of two dialects; Pish-e Kuh Laki and Posht-e Kuh Laki.[6] Laki is considered a Kurdish dialect,[3][7][8][9][10][11][12] by most linguists,[4]

8 sources above and the majority of linguists define Laki as the Kurdish language. And In etymology, Laki is in the group of Kurdish languages. but I think @HistoryofIran: deleted for no relevant reason. I think Laki should be added to the Kurdish language part of this page. Resource sharing (talk) 22:53, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

'Sigh', read [7]. I'm not denying it's Kurdish or whatever it is, I couldn't care less what language it belongs to. --HistoryofIran (talk) 22:55, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
@HistoryofIran: You said that "this situation doesn't concern me" and you say "whatever" and you don't care. Then you should not remove the Laki language for no reason.
What? --HistoryofIran (talk) 23:39, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

"Old Kurdish language" listed at Redirects for discussion

Information.svg A discussion is taking place to address the redirect Old Kurdish language. The discussion will occur at Resource: Redirects for discussion/Log/2020 September 24#Old Kurdish language until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. signed, Rosguill talk 16:59, 24 September 2020 (UTC)

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