KOROSH ii. Linguistic Overview of Koroshi


ii. Linguistic Overview of Koroshi

From a linguistic point of view, Koroshi can be described as a distinct subgroup within the Balochi macro-language, although it shares many features with southern dialects of Balochi. Koroshi itself also displays internal dialect divergences: the Koroshi spoken in Fars Province (the ‘northern’ dialect) differs to some extent from varieties spoken in the southeastern portion of the language area near Bandar Abbās (the ‘southern’ dialect). While the vocabulary listed at the end of this overview shows the extent of variation between the two areas, the description of phonology and morphosyntax given here is based on data gathered from the northern dialect. Even within the northern dialect, there is a significant amount of variation in the data, and this is taken into consideration throughout the description.

Koroshi wordlists are found in Salāmi (1383 Š./2005, 1385 Š./2006-7). Descriptive remarks on the language appear in Mahamedi (1979), ʿEmādi (1384 Š./2005-6), Jahani and Nourzaei (2011), and Nourzaei and Jahani (2013), and a fuller overview of the grammar is available in Nourzaei et al. (2015).


Vowels. The Koroshi phoneme inventory includes eight vowels: three short ones (a, e, o), and five long ones (ā, ī, ē, ū, ō) (see Table 1). It is similar to that of Southern Balochi dialects spoken in Iran (Jahani and Korn, 2009, p. 642; Okati, 2012, p. 212), apart from the fact that ā is a back vowel, as in Persian. The sounds ay [ɛj] and aw [əw] are best analyzed as VC sequences rather than diphthongs, since, unlike vowels, they can never be followed by more than one consonant within a syllable. Nasalization, which is common in Southern Balochi dialects, is phonetically less salient in Koroshi.

The Koroshi vowel system is, however, highly unstable. There is a strong tendency towards convergence with the Persian system, in which the long mid vowels ē and ō have merged with the long high vowels ī and ū: in Koroshi, ē and ō are often found in free variation with their high counterparts. There is, in fact, considerable variation among all front vowels, among all back vowels, and even between ā and a, e.g., ēdā, ēda, eda, īdān, edān “here”; čōbān, čūbān, čobān “shepherd.”

Consonants. There are several differences between the Southern Balochi consonant system (Jahani and Korn, 2009, p. 645) and that of Koroshi (see Table 2). The most salient ones are as follows: first, the fricatives f, x, and occur frequently, both in loanwords and due to a diachronic process of spirantization, e.g., ḡāfel “unaware,” a=kafī(t) “he/she falls,” xodā “God,” tōxā “in.” Second, w exhibits a fricative and/or labiodental articulation in some positions, e.g., wad [βad ~ ʋad ~ vad] “self.” Third, the glottal plosive is peripheral—in the data it is encountered only in the word alʔān “now”—and has often been replaced by h (e.g., mahlūm “clear”). Fourth, the retroflex stops and are not attested in the data (replaced by t and d), and is marginal, being found in published data only in the word leṛa “camel.” Additionally, the stops k and g are palatalized in positions other than before back vowels, as in Persian (cf. Jahani and Paul, 2008). Finally, a velar nasal ŋ, which is not encountered in other Balochi dialects, is found in place of the ng sequence.

Important historical phonological processes which have taken place include:

  • spirantization of p and k after vowels: āp > āf “water,” gōk > gōx “cow”;  
  • progressive assimilation of a plosive to a homorganic fricative or nasal:tolomba > tolomma “water pump,” a=gendīt > a=gennīt “he/she sees,” dast > dass “hand,” mozd > mozz “wages” (the zd > zz shift also being attested in other Balochi dialects);
  • regressive assimilation of šm > mm: čašm > čamm “eye” (also in other Balochi dialects);
  • metathesis: ḡasr > ḡars “palace,” tarh > tahr “plan”;
  • devoicing (in common with other Balochi dialects; see Korn 2005:268–271): az > as “from,” hodūd=e > hodūt=e “approximately”; and, conversely,
  • voicing (likely due to Persian influence): wat > wad “self,” a=bīt > a=bīd “he/she becomes.”


Nominal morphology.

Nouns. Nouns are inflected for number and case. There are two numbers (singular, plural) and three cases (nominative, genitive, oblique) (see Table 3).

The basic plural marker is -(o)bār, e.g., bozobār “goats,” ḡālībār “carpets.” Two other plural-type suffixes are used for adverbials: -ān (tawsānān “in summertime”) and -hā (tā modathāī “for quite a while”; borrowed from Persian; see Windfuhr, 1989b, p. 533, who prefers to describe the function this suffix as “amplification” rather than “plurality”).

The subject is expressed with the unmarked nominative case (ḡāfela-Ø zorr a=gī “the caravan turns back,” aždahā-Ø ar=ra “the dragon goes,” joḡlabār-Ø a=kōštant “the boys stop,” joḡla-Ø ra madrasa “the boy went to school”). This case is also used for vocatives (ay čūbān-Ø “hey, shepherd,” ay manī janekobār-Ø=om “O my daughters”) and is occasionally used in place of the oblique case after prepositions (go bozzay mūd “with goat hair”), for a direct object (man ē aždahā bōjān “I may open up this dragon”), and for an indirect object (a=dād=ī ahmad “he gives her to Ahmad”).

The oblique case, marked by (occasionally shortened to -a), is used for definite direct objects (ham oštorā a=gīt=o ham karā “it (the caravan) takes both the camel and the donkey,” yeke a ē mūdobārā ās day “set fire to one of these hairs”) as well as indirect objects (ālemokā “(to the) doctor” in pūlā a=dā ālemokā “she gives money to the doctor”). It is also normally used after prepositions (dawr=e ī mēdagā “around this camp/village,” go ī čōbānobārā “with these shepherds”). In contrast to other Iranian languages, including other dialects of Balochi, there are also generic direct objects and nominal parts of complex predicates that are marked with oblique case marking (man bokā janā begerān “I want to get married,” ham kalamā majana ham šērā magaša “she is both playing the flute and reciting poetry”).

The genitive case, marked with the suffix -ay, denotes possession (šāhay janek “the king’s daughter,” korošobāray čok “the children of the Korosh”) and is also used with postpositions (čāhay tōxā “in the well”).

The individuation clitic =ī ~ =ē ~ =e, normally together with the numeral ye/yek/ya/yak “one,” indicates singularity and specificity (“a certain …”): ya oštor=e “a (certain) camel,” ya čāh=ī “a (certain) well.” Indefiniteness is occasionally expressed only with the individuation clitic or only with the numeral (rōč=ī “on a (certain) day,” ye ādam=e bīčāra “a poor fellow,” yak nafar “a person”). The historical function of the “diminutive” suffix -ok ~ ‑ak has been bleached, and it is used to denote a definite singular form (which is otherwise unmarked), as in hamī kačalokā bokānom “I want this bald one.”

Adjectives and adverbs. Attributive adjectives are placed before their noun and take the suffix ‑ēn ~ -en ~ -īn (syāhēn mēš “black sheep,” bōrēn pašm “light brown wool”). There is no number and case agreement between the adjective and the noun.

The comparative suffix -ter ~ -tar is used with adjectives (bālādter “higher”) as well as adverbs (pēšter “earlier, beforehand”). Superlatives are formed by the adding the attributive suffix to the comparative form (bozorgtaren gonāh “the biggest sin”).

Adjectives (e.g., mazan “big” and bad “bad”) can also function as nouns (mazanteray gap “what the elders say” (lit. “the speech of the older”) and as adverbs (bad dar a=kay “it turns out bad”).

Adpositions. Prepositions and postpositions are both found in Koroshi. Like other dialects of Balochi in contact with Persian (see Jahani and Korn 2009, p. 657), Koroshi has a preference for prepositions. The head of the prepositional object is found with the oblique case (a šāhay logā “from/than the king’s house,” be ē ḡars o bārgāhā “to this palace”) or, occasionally, the unmarked nominative case (go naxče “with the pattern”). Prepositions that correspond to postpositions in other Balochi dialects normally employ the eẓāfe construction in Koroshi (had=e šū=ay “with/to her husband,” sar=e šayā “on the slope”). Prepositions borrowed from Persian are normally, but not always, constructed as in Persian (dawr=e šāhay janekay gardenā “around the neck of the kings daughter” (P. dawr=e “around”), ḡayr=e xodā “except for God” (also attested as: ḡayr az xodā) (P. ḡayr az “except”). Postpositions—with the object in the genitive case—are also occasionally employed (čāh=ay tōxā “in the well”).

Personal pronouns. Typical personal pronouns are found for the singular and plural 1st and 2nd persons (Table 4). The 3rd person is referred to using demonstrative pronouns (see below). Koroshi is pro-drop: personal pronouns appear as a marked construction.

Demonstratives. Koroshi has two-way deixis (proximal/distal) marked by demonstrative articles and pronouns (Table 5). There is a preference in discourse for proximal demonstratives (see also Roberts, 2009, p. 233). Demonstratives are often preceded by the additive particle ham.

Enclitic pronouns have diverse syntactic functions in Koroshi (Table 6). They are used to:

  • mark verb agreement for transitive verbs in the past temporal field (see also “Past verb forms,” below): nawešt=ī “he/she wrote,” manā koštag=eš “they (will) have killed me,” man gašt=om ta gōš=et ke? “I told (you); did you listen?” bōā=yam gašay=ad=ī bāhā bemeray “my father had said: you must die …”;
  • denote a non-canonical (dative) subject (see also Jahani et al., 2012): ya payḡāme assen=om bahr=at “I have a message (lit. to me is a message) for you,” čōn=en=et? “how are you? (lit. how is it to you?)”;
  • denote a possessor: badan=am “my body,” mā bāḡ=at “in your garden,” del=ī “his/her heart,” lāšay (< lāšā=ī) bezo “take its meat (lit. carcass)”;
  • denote a direct object: nābūd=en a=kant “he/she will destroy us,” bāmard loh=e a=dā “the man pushes her,” a=warān=et “I will eat you”;
  • denote an indirect object: beday=om “give (her) to me,” a=dān=et “I will give (her) to you,” a=dān=ō “I will give (it) to you”;
  • denote the object of a preposition: bahr=am “for me,” gōn=et “with you,” berren had=ī “let’s go to him/her”;
  • mark certain adverbials: šām=ī “in the evening,” zohr=ī “at noon”; and
  • specify the referent of a reflexive pronoun (see below).

 Reflexive pronoun. There is one reflexive pronoun, wad, in Koroshi. It is combined with an enclitic pronoun, which specifies the person, and it can be used as the subject (wad=ī sar=ay a=borrī “he slaughters it himself” (lit. “himself cuts its head”), object (wad=e a=pēčī dawr=e šāhay janekay gardenā “it wraps itself around the neck of the king’s daughter”), or object of a preposition (ba wad=et “for yourself”).

The eẓāfe construction. Although the eẓāfe construction is not part of inherited Balochi morphology, many Balochi dialects—especially those which are spoken in Iran—have borrowed it from Persian (see Jahani and Korn, 2009, p. 652). In Koroshi, this construction binds together:

  • noun + attributive adjective: ay del=e ḡāfel “O you fool” (lit. “O unaware heart”), ye ādam=e bīčāra “a poor fellow”;
  • preposition + prepositional object (common, see also above): čēr=e ya deraxt=e “under a tree,” had=e šāhā “with/to the king”;
  • noun + genitive attribute (very limited): banne=ye xodā “the poor fellow” (lit. “God’s servant”); and
  • various other head + attribute relations: awāyel=e enḡelāb “at the beginning of the revolution,” tamām=e joḡlābār “all the boys,” hodūt=e panjā o haft sāl “approximately fifty-seven years,” por=e šamšīr “full of swords,” īŋar=e šahrā “at this side of the town,” ye swār=e asb=ī “a rider on a horse,” mōred=e nazar “under discussion” (lit. “the issue of attention”), nūr=e nūr “all shining” (lit. “light of light”), be nām=e ahmad “called Ahmad” (lit. “by the name of Ahmad”), manūčēr=e samsānīyān “Manuchehr Samsanian,” man=e yek=ī “as for me” (lit. “me of a one”).

Verb morphology.

Koroshi verbs are either simple (e.g., kafag “to fall”), constructed with a preverb (e.g., dar kafag “to leave”), or complex. Complex predicates may have a noun or an adjective as their first element (e.g., rāh kafag “to set out” (lit. “to fall road”), bār kanag “to load” (lit. “to do load”), mazan kanag “to raise (person or animal) (lit. “to make big”).

Stem types. Each Koroshi verb has two stems: (a) the unmarked non-past stem (e.g., kaf- “fall,” kan- “do,” war- “eat”), which is used for non-finite forms, indicative non-past forms, subjunctive forms and imperatives; and (b) the marked past stem (kaft-, kod-, wārt-), which is reserved for indicative past forms.

Non-finite forms. The infinitive is formed by adding the suffix -ag to the non-past stem (kanag “to do,” kafag “to fall,” warag “to eat”). In periphrastic verb forms that make use of the infinitive, the suffix is more commonly realized as -ay (makanay=ant/makanag=ant “they do”). Another non-finite form is a verbal adjective (or “gerundive”), which adds to the infinitive and denotes what can/should be done (gašagī “say-able”). The past participle is formed by adding -a(g)/-ay to the past stem (koda/koday “done,” bodag “been”). It is used in present and past perfect verb forms, as well as to construct a backgrounding imperfective verb form and to construct passives.

Finite verb forms. Finite verbs are marked for person and TAM (tense/aspect/mode). The basic set of person-marking suffixes (personal endings), which is shown in Table 7, is used for indicative and subjunctive non-past forms, and for past forms. In the 3rd person singular, non-past and past suffixes differ, but for the rest of the suffixes there is no tense distinction. The suffixes are more or less identical to the copula, except for the 3rd person singular forms.

Verb forms based on the non-past stem. The indicative non-past and the subjunctive are the two basic non-past finite verb forms, and distinct imperative forms are found for the 2nd person (Table 8).

The non-past indicative is formed by the clitic a=/ā=/ar=/az= + non-past stem + person-marking suffix (ahmadā ā=kārant “they bring Ahmad”; man emšaf ar=rān wad=am a=pēčān dawr=e šāhay janekay gardenā “tonight I will go and wrap myself around the neck of the king’s daughter”). In contrast to previously described Balochi dialects, where the imperfective aspect clitic is found as an enclitic (=a) and omitted under certain conditions, for example, clause initially and after the individuation clitic (Buddruss, 1977, pp. 9-13; 1988, pp. 62-65; Axenov, 2006, pp. 166-70), in Koroshi it is a proclitic and is normally retained in all positions (Nourzaei and Jahani, 2013). The non-past indicative is negated by na-/nā-/nay- inserted between the clitic and the stem (ā rōč zohrī xorākā ā=nawā “that day at noon he doesn’t eat the food”).

The subjunctive is formed by the prefix be-/bo-/bī-/bīy-/by-/b-/ber-/bez-/m- + non-past stem + person-marking suffixes (byay “he/she should come,” benennī “he/she should sit down,” bekafī “he/she should fall,” bemerīt “he/she should die”). The prefix can be omitted (Ø-prēnān “I should throw”) and is, as in Persian, often left out in complex predicates (mazan Ø-kant “he/she should raise [it]). Contrary to other dialects of Balochi, where the subjunctive is negated by ma-, in Koroshi the negation na- is used, possibly due to Persian influence (rū=ye ġālīyā nanennay “you should not sit down on the carpet”).

The imperative is formed similarly to the subjunctive, with a be- prefix (including variants) that is omitted in some cases. The two verb forms differ in that, while the prefix na- is used to negate the subjunctive (nakanet “may you (pl.) not do”), ma- negates the imperative (makanet “don’t (pl.)!”). The 2sg imperative also lacks the personal ending (byā “come (sg.)!).”

In addition to the basic indicative non-past described above, which employs the verb clitic a=, there is a non-past indicative formation consisting of the prefix ma-/me-/m-/mah-/māh- + non-past stem + person-marking suffix. There is no obvious aspectual distinction between the two indicative non-past formations, as both constructions are employed for iterative and durative actions. The construction with ma- is, however, more restricted and is not used for future time reference in the corpus. It appears to be a recent copy from the Persian present indicative structure, a possibility also supported by the fact that the 3rd person singular suffix in this construction is -a (cf. colloquial P. -e) rather than -ī(t) or -t (barḡ majana “it is shining”; ahmad=ī ke xayle nārāhat=a hālā makanna “Ahmad, who was very worried, is now laughing”; oštorobār marawa mā īšī fekrā “the camels are entranced by her” (lit. “going into her thought”); ta ba če maraway korrag=at maprēnē mā daryāhā “why do you go and throw your foal into the sea?” It is negated by adding the negation prefix na- before ma- (ta namatānay ē joḡlā bokošay “you cannot kill this boy”).

Past verb forms. A distinction that must be taken into account for past verb forms is that the agreement markers for transitive verbs in the past tense are the enclitic pronouns (a remnant of an earlier ergative construction with agent clitics) rather than the person-marking suffixes. The agreement marker is normally attached either to the verb (gašt=om “I said”) or, in the case of complex predicates, to the non-verbal element of the complex predicate (gōš=et ke “did you listen?”).

Alignment in Koroshi is, however, always non-ergative. The case marking on both nouns and pronouns groups the agent (A) of transitive verbs and subject (S) of intransitive verbs together against the patient (P) of transitive verbs. Agreement is between the S/A and the verb, even if the agreement marker is not always attached to the verb itself.

In the past tense, the main distinction is between the perfective (raftān “I went (perf.),” gašt=om “I said (perf.)”), which does not contain an imperfective aspect clitic, and the imperfective (ar=raft=adan kōhā “they went (imperf.) to the mountain, a=gašt=ad=ī “he said (imperf.)”), which does contain this imperfective aspect clitic.

The perfective past (Table 9) is formed by the past stem + person-marking suffix for intransitive verbs (man nayākān “I didn’t come”), and the past stem + enclitic pronoun for transitive verbs (geft=om “I took”). Negation is expressed with the prefix na-, which precedes the stem (nayākay “you didn’t come,” nakod=eš “they didn’t do”).

The imperfective past (Table 10) is formed by the verb prefix a=/ā=/ar= + past stem + past copula with a person-marking suffix for intransitive verbs (harjā āšoḡ a=bod=ad “he used to fall in love with many girls (lit. everywhere)”), and a=/ā=/ar=/az= + past stem + 3sg past copula + enclitic pronoun for transitive verbs (tawār=e a=nakod=ad “he would keep quiet (lit. not make sound)”).

Perfect forms. In addition to basic non-past and past forms, there are two perfect verb forms. The present perfect consists of the past participle + non-past copula with a person marking suffix for intransitive verbs (hīška ham mānta-Ø “is there anyone (lit. no one) left?”) and the past participle + enclitic pronoun for transitive verbs (harčī pakkag=et bīyār “bring what you have cooked,” man ḡōl=om dāda bahr=ay “I have promised him”). The past perfect consists of the past participle + past copula with a person marking suffix for intransitive verbs (raft=adon “I had gone”) and the past participle + 3sg past copula + enclitic pronoun for transitive verbs (a dass=eš namak=en wārt=ad “we had been helped by them” [lit. “we had eaten salt from their hand”]).

Marked imperfective forms. There are two types of marked imperfective forms. The first consists of the prefix ma- + infinitive + non-past copula for the non-past tense (oštorobār lāgar mabīyag=en “the camels are getting thinner and thinner,” ta ēdān čōn makanag=ay “what are you doing here”) and the prefix ma- + infinitive + past copula for the past tense (namatānay=adān berrān “I could not go”). This type of construction has also been reported for Lashari Balochi (see Yūsefīān, 1383 Š./2004, p. 181). The second type consists of the prefix ma- + non-past stem + -ā (3sg.)/-ēn (3pl.) + boda (the past participle of “to be, to become”). This form is used both in non-past- and past tense-based narratives, mainly for background information: azziat=e šū=ay makanā boda “she keeps giving her husband a hard time,” har waxt bokān=ī boda bezzay marawā boda korrag=ī maprēnā boda mā daryāhā “every time it is giving birth, it keeps going and throwing the foal into the sea,” mawḡeī … gōn aspā marawēn boda … “when … they go with the horses …” (these examples are in non-past based narratives, thus translated with the non-past tense); magašā boda na “he kept saying no” (in a past based narrative, thus translated with the past tense).


Basic clause structure.

The basic constituent order in the Koroshi clause is SOV: bāmard ya čāh=ī pēdā a=kant “the man finds a well,” man aždahāā ā=bōjān “I will unwrap (lit. open) the dragon.” Adverbials of time and manner precede the verb, whereas place adverbials most commonly follow the verb: marō zahr=eš rētka mā xorāk=at “today they have poured poison into your food,” yehaw fekrī kār a=kant “he suddenly gets an idea” (lit. “suddenly his thought works”), alamdār šāmī ēšān ā=bā kōhā “in the evening Alamdar takes them to the mountain.”


Clauses in Koroshi are coordinated through juxtaposition of clauses or the use of coordinating conjunctions.

Juxtaposition. In Koroshi, juxtaposition is the most common way of coordinating clauses: joḡla byay rū=ye ḡālīyā benennī, bekafī mā čāhā, bemerīt “the boy should come, sit down on the carpet, fall down into the well, [and] die.”

Coordinating conjunctions. While not as commonly found as juxtaposition, conjunctions are also used to coordinate clauses in Koroshi. The most common coordinating conjunction, the enclitic =o “and,” seems to be the only original Balochi coordinating conjunction (ar=rant=o ī am ā=kārant “they go and bring him as well”). The disjunctive coordinator “or” and the adversative coordinator wālī “but,” as well as wa ~ wo “and,” are copied from Persian.


Subordinating conjunctions. Koroshi makes use of the general subordinating conjunction ke to introduce complement clauses, relative clauses, and adverbial clauses. A number of compound conjunctions, copied from Persian and composed of other elements plus ke, such as hamī ke “as soon as” and be šartī ke “on the conditon that,” are also used. Additional subordinating conjunctions include ~ ta “until, so that” and agar ~ aga ~ aya “if.”

Complement clauses. There are two types of nominal complement clauses in Koroshi: predicative complements and direct object complements. They follow the main clause and are linked to it by juxtaposition or with the subordinating conjunction ke: bāz ham=ī a=bī ke sāde ham begāfen “we can also weave in a plain way (i.e., without a pattern)” (lit. “it also becomes that we weave simple”); ya rōč=ē šū=ay a=šī ke ay golī ī hāmmo mardom marawa sawzā āŋa īŋa “one day her husband says: Hey, Goli, all these people go (to pick) green herbs here and there”; a=gennī ya pīremard=e īdānākō=en “he sees (that) there is an old man there (lit. right here).”

Relative clauses. Relative clauses are similarly introduced after the main clause with the subordinating conjunction ke (ā ke kōr boda gōš=e mēškonā boda “the one that was blind was hearing [lit. its ear heard]”). In restrictive relative clauses, the head noun is marked by a demonstrative and/or the individuation clitic /(similar to the Persian individuation clitic ): ham=ā kačal=ī ke mā bāḡ=at kār makana ham=ā mānta “that bald (fellow) who is working in your garden, he is left (lit. has remained).”

Adverbial clauses. Adverbial (or “adjunct”) clauses express the same types of functions as adverbs: temporal, causal, purposive, conditional, concessive, consecutive, and replacive. While most kinds of adjunct clauses follow the main clause, there are some that precede it.

For temporal clauses that precede the main clause, the most common type of connection to the main clause is with ke (aždahā čamm=e ke a=kafī ahmad ḡazabī a=bī “when the dragon’s eye falls on Ahmad, it gets angry”). The same type of construction is common in Persian and also in other Balochi dialects spoken in Iran, most likely due to Persian influence. Temporal clauses are found following the main clause as well (korrag mawarā boda tā mazzan a=bī “the foal drinks [the milk] until it grows big”).

Causal clauses are connected to the main clause with the conjunction ke, in which case they follow the main clause (harčē=ī bokān bahr=ay beden ke ē nābūd=en a=kant “let’s give him whatever he wants, because [otherwise] he will destroy us”) or with a compound conjunction, in which case they precede the main clause (be xātere ke ay dar=ī fāyeda nē tawār=e a=nakod=ad “because there was nothing to gain [lit. there is no use] from it, he would not say anything”).

Purposive clauses follow the main clause and are usually linked to it by means of the conjunctions ta/tā or ke. The verb in purposive clauses is always in the subjunctive (ay golī bannā aga zenne=y bege ta man bekešān=et bālād “Goli, if you are alive take hold of the rope in order for me to pull you up”; zahrā a=rēčī mā xorāk=ī ke bokošīd=ī “she pours the poison into his food to kill him”). Purposive clauses can also be connected to the main clause by juxtaposition (man nayākān begašān bōjag bay “I didn’t come to tell you to unwrap [yourself]”).

Conditional clauses, which normally precede the main clause, but are occasionally embedded in the main clause, are usually linked to it by means of the conjunction aga ~ aya “if” (aga bokān=ī bī gōn=et jaŋ kan nābūd=et a=kant “if he wants to go to war with you, he will destroy you”; ay golī bannā aga zenne=y bege “Goli, if you are alive take hold of the rope”), or by juxtaposition (ē bokān=ī bīd nābūd=en kant nābūd=en a=kant “[if] he wants to destroy us, he will destroy us”).

Concessive clauses, which precede the main clause, are signalled by adverbs (hālā man rašīdter=ān be har sūrat ā xān=en “even if (lit. now) I am taller, anyway, he is the khan”).

Consecutive clauses follow the main clause and are connected to it with ke (bāmard loh=e a=dā ke dāzan ar=ra mā čāhā “the man pushes her so that she (lit. the woman) falls into the well”).

Replacive clauses precede the main clause and describe an alternative (irrealis) event that is replaced by another (realis) event. The verb in the replacive clause is in the subjunctive (be jā=ī ke begašī allāho akbar a=šī allāo haf marg “instead of saying, ‘Allah is greater,’ he says, ‘Allah, damn it’ [lit. and seven deaths]”).


Typical vocabulary items include (N = northern dialect, S = southern dialect): mūd “hair,” pōz “nose,” xolk (N)/holk “throat,” lāf “stomach (belly),” nāfag/nāfa “navel,” kōn (N)/kōnd (S) “knee,” moč(č) (N)/hadd (S) “bone,” mardīn (N)/mardēn/bāmard “man,” jannīn (N)/janēn/dāzan “woman,” azzāb “unmarried,” kočok “dog,” gox/gōx “cow,” pot “feather,” zom/zūm (N)/agrab (S)/aḡrab “scorpion,” rōč “sun,” bolūt (N)/abr (S) “cloud,” hawr “rain,” alaf (N)/ (S) “grass,” lōg/lō “house,” fād “salt,” hayx (N)/toxmorg (S) “egg,” šodīg “hungry,” šehīd (N)/tonnī (S) “thirsty,” jarr “fight (n.),” parčal (N)/sahār (S) “dirty,” got (N)/mazan (S) “big,” kassān “small,” āk (N)/ātk (S) “he/she came,” aškontī (N)/aškodī (S) “he/she heard,” waft/faw kapt “he/she slept,” wārtī “he/she ate,” zāntī “he/she knew,” kannedī (N)/kanda īja (S) “he/she laughed,” gaštī (N)/waštī (S) “he/she said,” jadī “he/she hit,” šaštādī “he/she sent,” ōdān “there,” “yesterday,” kad “when?” ta “you (sg.),” wad “self.”

There are a few loanwords from Bandari (e.g., bāmard “man,” dāzan “woman”), and in the northern dialect, numerous Qašqā’i loanwords are also found, including ālmay “apple,” bāšlōḡ “bridewealth” (gift from the groom to the bride’s mother), bīčāḡ “knife,” bolūt “cloud,” galen “bride,” ḡayaḡačma “reception for newlyweds,” ḡelej “sword,” joḡla “boy,” sārōlōḡ “jaundice,” ḡolūn “foal,” and yel “tribal confederation.”

SAMPLE TEXT (northern dialect)

As is evident from the following text, Koroshi uses the present tense as the main verb form for narration of past events in traditional oral narratives; however, the verbs in the English gloss are translated here using the past tense—the main verb form for narration of past events in English.

… zorr agī ke ham oštorā agīto ham karā. har donī abarant, bār akanant.
[The people in the caravan] turned around and took both the camel and the donkey. They took both of them [and] loaded them up.

bār akananto arran. arrant, ta ažanant ye sarābālāīyā.
They loaded them up and went. They went, until they had to climb (lit. hit) a hill.

ažanant ye sarābālāīyā, karok soss akant.
They climbed a hill, [and] the donkey slowed down.

anatwānt bārā bebā. soss akant. karokā ham ēr akanant rū hamā oštorokā.
It couldn’t carry the load, it slowed down. So they put the donkey on the camel.

oštor hamē ke arasīt sare šayā, ašīt ay kar!
As soon as the camel arrived at the slope, it said, hey there, donkey!

ašī bale?
[The donkey] said, what do you want (lit. yes)?

hālā wadet bege, manī nawbaten. ašī, manī bowoay layt kanagom ham yādom mahā, haway layt kanagī.
[The camel said,] stop (lit. take yourself) now, it’s my turn. It continued (lit. said), I remember how my father played, how he played haw (a game with sticks).

kar ašī, ay makan čō, ēdā sare šayen, man xord abān.
The donkey said, hey there, don’t act like this, we are on a slope here, I will be shattered.

ašī, nabē. man gaštom, ta gōšet ke?
[The camel] said, you won’t, [and, by the way] I told you [not to stop the caravan]; did you listen?

xolāsa oštoram āŋa ateŋīo īŋa ateŋī, karā ā bālād berr adā, darmadāḡūn abīt mā ē kohūlankīyā.
Well, then the camel swayed to and fro [and] threw the donkey down from up there. It got shattered among the rocks.

hālā ham došmanen bī čō hamā karā, dōssen ham čō oštorā.
Now may it happen to our enemy as to the donkey and to our friend as to the camel.

(Selection from “Karok o oštorok” [The donkey and the camel], recounted by Alamdār Samsāniān; Nourzaei et al., 2015, pp. 123-29)


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(Maryam Nourzaei, Carina Jahani, and Erik Anonby)

Cite this article:

Maryam Nourzaei, Carina Jahani, and Erik Anonby, "KOROSH ii. Linguistic Overview of Koroshi," Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/korosh-people-02 (accessed on 29 April 2016).