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HomeAbstracta IranicaVolume 312. Linguistique2.1. Langues anciennes« Avestan and Old Persian Morphol...

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Prods Oktor Skjærvø

« Avestan and Old Persian Morphology », in : Alan S. Kaye, ed., Morphologies of Asia and Africa. Vol. 2, Winona Lake, Eisenbrauns, 2007, p. 853-940.

Book review by Rüdiger Schmitt

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1In the introduction to this detailed overview the problem is discussed to what extent the Avestan (and Old Persian) texts are reliable for a linguistic analysis. The three main sections deal with (1) Avestan morpho(phono)logy in general (i.e., esp. vowel and consonant alternations), (2) the verbal system (stems, endings, non-finite forms), and (3) the nominal system (stems, endings, adjectives) together with the other parts of speech. This sketch is supplemented by 55 tables (p. 910-940). To treat the two languages together, has great historical models, but nevertheless it is somewhat awkward at least for him who looks for information about Old Persian data. In general, the author does not ignore problematic forms and sometimes even offers surprising explanations of individual forms or words, although they are not always convincing. Thus, e.g., the old interpretation taken up again by him that OPers. a-m-t “from there” is “a-hm-atah” (p. 880, 897) and contains the typically pronominal formant (*-sm- >) -hm-, fails because such formations are nowhere attested in Indo-Iranian for adverbs. Apart from a remarkable number of slips and minor mistakes (partly in consequence of not adequately regarding post-Kentian Old Persian studies) must be noticed: xšāyaϑiya- “king” as an example for *t > Med. ϑ (p. 865; but cf. correctly p. 903); the impossible forms “kạriya-” (pass.) and “kạriyaiš” (opt., p. 871f, 913); tunuvant- “mighty” as a *-ant- stem adjective and not a participle (p. 897, 929f.); wrong and/or obsolete readings like tauvīyah- “stronger” (p. 897, 932), “yāuhmani-” from the root “yauk ‘harness’ ” (p. 903), rštika- “spearman” (p. 903) or “mạrtiya-” (p. 911), etc. Unfortunately, Avestan and Old Persian are not treated on an equal level.

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Rüdiger Schmitt. Prods Oktor Skjærvø, « « Avestan and Old Persian Morphology », in : Alan S. Kaye, ed., Morphologies of Asia and Africa. Vol. 2, Winona Lake, Eisenbrauns, 2007, p. 853-940. », Abstracta Iranica [Online], Volume 31 | 2011, document 17, Online since 15 February 2012, connection on 19 May 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abstractairanica/39115 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/abstractairanica.39115

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