IRAN vii. NON-IRANIAN LANGUAGES (2) In Pre-Islamic Iran

IRAN vii, continued

(2) Non-Iranian Languages in Pre-Islamic Iran

Of the three known pre-Islamic languages (i.e., Urartian, Kassite, and Elamite) only Urartian and Elamite are fairly well known. Geographically they represent the northwestern and the southwestern corners of the plateau. Perhaps not surprisingly, the two are typologically almost diametrically opposed in terms of inflectional strategies and their verbal systems: Chart 1.

Whether these exerted substrate pressure on the incoming Iranian speakers is difficult to answer. At least it is clear that in Azerbaijan the highly inflectional and ergative (q.v.) Iranian languages superimposed themselves on a similarly inflectional and ergative, but quite different typological continuum.

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(Gernot L. Windfuhr)

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