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AccueilAbstracta IranicaVolume 42-432. Linguistique2.2. Langues vivantes et dialectesMurad Suleymanov. A Grammar of Şi...

2. Linguistique
2.2. Langues vivantes et dialectes

Murad Suleymanov. A Grammar of Şirvan Tat

Thomas Jügel
Référence(s) :

Murad Suleymanov. A Grammar of Şirvan Tat. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2020, 400 p. (Beiträge zur Iranistik 46).

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1Şirvan Tat is a dialect of the Iranian Language Tat in the Caucasus that has its origin in the Southwest of the Iranian language area. Due to this peculiarity, Tat gives evidence for a relative chronology of language change in the Western Iranian language area. For instance, Tat has lost case distinctions and its morphological system shows a high degree of conformity with Early New Persian (e.g. * preserves its wide semantic range, Section However, similar to other Iranian languages in the north, Caucasian Tat has also lost the inherited series of enclitic pronouns. Today’s series derives from cliticized orthotone pronouns, which are only used as possessives (for instance in the structural copy from Azeri of a possessive construction with an oblique-marked possessor, and 5.2.3). Another typical feature of the wider Caspian area is an infinitive-based progressive (‘be at-doing’) that tends to substitute the inherited present indicative (

2Murad Suleymanov’s (henceforth MS) study goes beyond traditional grammatical description as he always puts information into context. He gives cross-dialectal information (e.g. 4.1.1 on the historical locative marker of the progressive), refers to typological observations (e.g. 3.5.4 on complex predicates), addresses questions of areal linguistics (e.g. 7.1.2 on non-finite relative strategies) and carefully distinguishes form and function (e.g. 3.5.1 on verb stems). Several chapters include “elements of diachrony”, where MS gives information on language development.

3Beside the grammatical description, MS provides extensive background. He visited most places in person, procuring valuable data about the socio-ethnic composition and the history of Tat settlements, drawing information from official sources (archives, census), independent sources (e.g. historical travel reports) and the speakers’ own recollection. The introduction of 62 pp. contains information on geography, name, linguistic classification, sociolinguistics, previous studies, data & method. It is followed by the chapter on phonology (22 pp.), which also serves as justification for the transcription. It demonstrates MS’ careful treatment of several phonetic issues and includes references to areal phenomena such as fronting of velars ( The following chapters on morphology (162 pp.) cover derivation and inflexion, including usage of forms, as well as morphosyntactic matters such as verbal agreement (4.6) or attributive constructions (5.1-3). Chapters on syntax include Sections 6 on argument and information structure as well as discourse (50 pp.) and 7 on sentence types and clause linkage (“complex sentences”, 50pp.).

4The grammatical description is complemented with more than 900 fully glossed examples as well as a fully glossed sample text of 153 sentences, a list of close to 300 simple predicates (simplex verbs), and a subject and language index. On p. 85, a sample text with translation illustrates the adopted transcription in comparison to the IPA transcription.

5A telling example for multilingualism of Tat speakers is the polyexponence of valency-changing morphology ( While complex predicates usually simply switch light verbs for intransitive/transitive distinction (thus ‘be(come)’ for itr. / ‘do’ for tr.), those containing Azeri loans in °miš additionally use the corresponding causative stem of Azeri for the transitive formation, e.g. inǰi-miš birän ‘to be hurt’ (hurt-ptcp be(come)) vs. inǰi-t-miš soxtan ‘to hurt’ (hurt-caus-ptcp make).

6This book is a treasure of information thanks to the author’s expertise in linguistics and his many references to Caucasian, Turkic and other Iranian languages. It extends our knowledge of the wide range of New Iranian constructions and vice versa of possible patterns in Middle Iranian. This makes dialectal descriptions, and this one in particular, an important source for historical studies. Thanks to MS’ concise definitions of linguistic terms and surveys of scholarly discussions, his comprehensive, detailed descriptions are self-explanatory.

7MS has set a new standard for language documentation in Iranian studies.

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Thomas Jügel, « Murad Suleymanov. A Grammar of Şirvan Tat »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 42-43 | 2021, document 5, mis en ligne le 30 décembre 2021, consulté le 19 juillet 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-SA 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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