The Extinct Language of Gorgān: Grammar, Typology, Lineage

Document Type : Original Article


The State University of New Jersey


Known exclusively from historical documents of the 14th-15th centuries, Gorgāni is largely overlooked in Iranian dialectology. This paper is organized in three parts: (I) grammar, (II) typology, (III) diachrony. The right-branching noun phrase places Gorgāni within the Caspian-Alborz Sprachbund. Such continuum does not hold in other typological features when Gorgāni is compared areally with Caspian and Komisenian. Morphological idiosyncrasies include: possessor with oblique marker -n; imperfective with hī-; future with kām-; irrealis with -nd-; 3sg pronoun . These characteristics substantiate that Gorgāni belongs to none of the recognized West Iranic language groups. Gorgāni shows exclusive isoglosses with its historical neighbor Balochi. Genealogically, Gorgāni displays a strong Northwest Iranian pedigree, as expected of a language that could once be in contact with Parthian.