Mazandarani Language
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Mazandarani Language
Native toIran (Province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Alborz, Tehran, Semnan and Golestan)
RegionSouth coast of the Caspian Sea
EthnicityMazanderani People
Native speakers
2.320 million (2019)[2] (2016)
  • Mazandarani (Main)
  • Mazandarani (Royan)
  • Shahmirzadi
  • Mazandarani-Gilaki
  • Gorgani+
Persian alphabet
Official status
Regulated byNone. But the Linguistic faculty of Mazandaran University officially gathers materials and resources about it.
Language codes
mzn - Mazandarani
srz - Shahmirzadi
Mazandarani Language Map.PNG
Areas where Mazandarani is spoken as the mother tongue
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Mazandarani (), or Tabari (?),[1] is an Iranian language of the Northwestern branch spoken by the Mazandarani people. As of 2019, there were over 2,320,000 native speakers.[2] As a member of the Northwestern branch (the northern branch of Western Iranian), etymologically speaking, it is rather closely related to Gilaki and also related to Persian, which belongs to the Southwestern branch. Though the Persian language has influenced Mazandarani to a great extent, Mazandarani still survives as an independent language with a northwestern Iranian origin.[3][4]

Mazandarani is closely related to Gilaki, and the two languages have similar vocabularies.[5] The Gilaki and Mazandarani languages (but not other Iranian languages)[6] share certain typological features with Caucasian languages (specifically the non-Indo-European South Caucasian languages),[6][7][8] reflecting the history, ethnic identity, and close relatedness to the Caucasus region and Caucasian peoples of Mazandaranis and Gilak people.[9][10]


The name Mazanderani (and variants of it) derives from the name of the historical region of Mazandaran (Mazerun in Mazanderani), which was part of former Kingdom of Tapuria. People traditionally call their language Tabari, as the Tabari themselves do.[11]

The name Tapuri / Tabari (which was the name of an ancient language spoken somewhere in former Tapuria) is now used in preference to the name Mazandarani by the young.

However, both Gilan and Mazanderan formed part of the state known as Tapuria.

The earliest references to the language of Mazandaran, called Tabari, are to be found in the works of the early Muslim geographers. Al-Muqaddas? (or Moqaisi, 10th century), for example, notes: "The languages of Komish and Gurgan are similar, they use h?, as in h?-dih and h?k-un, and they are sweet [to the ear], related to them is the language of Tabaristan, [similar] save for its speediness."[12]


Among the living Iranian languages, Mazanderani has one of the longest written traditions, from the tenth to the fifteenth century. This status was achieved during the long reign of the independent and semi-independent rulers of Mazandaran in the centuries after the Arab invasion.[13]

The rich literature of this language includes books such as Marzban Nameh (later translated into Persian) and the poetry of Amir Pazevari. Use of Mazanderani, however, has been in decline for some time. Its literary and administrative prominence had begun to diminish in favor of Persian by the time of the integration of Mazandaran into the national administration in the early seventeenth century.[14]


The Mazanderani language is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies. In 1993, according to Ethnologue, there were more than three million native speakers of Mazanderani.[15]

The dialects of Mazanderani are Saravi, Amoli, Baboli, Ghaemshahri, Chaloosi, Nuri, Shahsavari, Ghasrani, Shahmirzadi, Damavandi, Firoozkoohi, Astarabadi and Katouli.

Furthermore, an extinct variety, Gorgani, was documented back to the 14th and 15th centuries, from the writings of the Horufi movement.[16]

Mazandaranis in Iran


Mazanderani is an inflected and genderless language.[17] It is SOV, but in some tenses it may be SVO, depending on the particular dialect involved.[18][19]



Like other modern Iranian languages there is no distinction between the dative and accusative cases, and the nominative in the sentence takes almost no indicators but may be inferred from word order (depending on dialect it may end in a/o/e). Since Mazanderani lacks articles, there is no inflection for nouns in the sentence (no modifications for nouns). For definition, nouns take the suffix e (me d?tere meaning The daughter of mine while me d?ter means my daughter). The indefinite article for single nouns is a-t? with t? for determination of number (a-t? kij? meaning a girl). There exist some remnants of old Mazanderani indicating that, in the nominative case, female nouns used to end in a, while male nouns ended in e (as in j?n? meaning the woman and m?rd? meaning the man). Grammatical gender is still present in certain modern languages closely related to Mazandarani such as Semnani, Sangesari and Zazaki.

Notable postpositions

Adpositions in Mazanderani are after words, while most of other languages including English and Persian have preposition systems in general. the only common postpositions that sometimes becoming preposition are ?e and t?. Frequently used postpositions are:

postposition meaning
d?le in
re of / to
je from / by
v?se for
t? to
h?mr? / j? with
s?ri on / above
b?ne under / below
p?li near / about
v?ri/ tar? like
der? among / inside


The list below is a sample list obtained from the Online Mazanderani-Persian dictionary.



Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a ?

/a/ may also range to a more back [?].


Bilabial Labio-
Dental Alveolar Palato-
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stop voiceless p t k q (?)
voiced b d ? (?)
Affricate voiceless t
voiced d
Fricative voiceless f s ? x h
voiced v z ? (?)
Nasal m n
Approximant (w) l j
Tap/Flap ?

/w/ appears as an allophone of /v/ in word-final position. /?/ may appear as a voiceless trill in word-final position [r?]. An occasional glottal stop /?/ or voiceless uvular fricative /?/ or voiced plosive /?/ may also be heard, depending on the dialect.[20][21]


Mazanderani is commonly written in the Perso-Arabic script.[22] However, some use the Roman alphabet, for example in SMS messages.[]


Spoken in a territory sheltered by the high Alborz mountains, Mazanderani preserves many ancient Indo-European words no longer in common use in modern Iranian languages such as Persian. Listed below are a few common Mazanderani words of archaic, Indo-European provenance with Vedic cognates.

English Mazanderani Persian Vedic Proto-Indo-European Example of
new neo no / now návas *néwos adjective
great gat gozorg, gonde, got adjective
better better behtar adverb
been bine budeh auxiliary verb
being bien budan bh?- *b?uH- infinitive of verb
moon moong / mong mâh ms *m?h?n?s noun
daughter deter dokhtar dúhit? *d?ugh?t?r noun
cow go / gu / guw gâv gáu? *gws noun
my me / mi (before the noun) am (after the noun), om máma *méne verb
gab gab gap verb
right rast râst adjective

Mazandarani is rich in synonyms, some such nouns also retaining the gender they possessed in Indo-European times: for instance the words mi?, gal, gerz all have the meaning of mouse, although they are not all of the same gender. While many Indo-Iranian languages use a masculine noun taking such related forms as mu? or muska or mu?k, in Mazandarani the most commonly used name for the mouse is the feminine noun gal.[vague]

Another example relates to the cow, the most important animal in the symbolism of Indo-European culture: in Mazanderani there are more than 1000 recognized words used for different types of cow. The table below lists some specimens of this rich vocabulary. In Mazandaran there are even contests held to determine those with the greatest knowledge of this bovine nomenclature.

Mazanderani name Meaning Mazanderani name Meaning
ahl Bull subdued[clarification needed] n? d Young plough bull used for the first time
?hy Black-eyed cow paei varz? Single bull used for ploughing
ala?t Miner's tool, ending in two wooden arcs par? Cattle for ploughing
baKhte b?ri Bullock and traces raji A cow that is ready to mate
b?reng Reddish-brown cow ra? go Crimson cow with black spots
batkoniye Castrated male bovine cattle to eliminate it from washing down[clarification needed] ra? j?nk? Young bull with red and black streaks
b?r gele Yellow / red cow ra? kamer Brown-and-white cow
b?r x Sharp, red points of a cow's horns s?r? Bull with a white forehead
b?rek Light yellow bull s?r? Bull with a white forehead
b?reng Blonde cow ?el?b beze goz?r The new wide calf rain caused a sharp volley crumbled[clarification needed]
b?rmango Fawn cow seln?z Cow streaked with white from nose to tail
das kare Place where bull fights held sembe band Ox bearing a wooden yoke
de jet Rust-coloured cow killed by two bulls serxe sel Red cow with a white stripe from neck to tail
demes m?r Cow with a two-year-old calf set?re Black-and-white-spotted cow
demis m?r Two-year-old bull calf sey? bare Black cow with a white forehead.
dt h?kerden Provoke a bull to attack sey? kachal Black cow with black spots on the tail end of the frontal[clarification needed]
el? el? Cow with horns growing in opposite directions sey? sel Black cow with a white line running along its spine to its tail
el? kal Cow with large open horns seyel White-bellied cow
el? ?iro Cow with spreading horns ?ir vej Gelded calf or bull
elx A bull that has large open horns ?ir? A cow with a white head and tail
em?j Ox that once trained for ploughing k? Pale yellow cow
e?te Pair of cows for work t? Miner's cow, only to be closed[clarification needed]
ez?li Cow that is bred to plough ta?r in Pair of four-year-old cows inseminated naturally
fal Cow ready for mating tal go A cow that is ready for ploughing
fares Ox that has not been taught to portage t?le m?r Cow with bells hung around his neck
?alfer Bovine of a yellowish colour tarise Cow whose first calf is female and has reached two years of age
jandek Bull bison that used for mating tersek? Two-and-a-half-year-old cow that is ready to mate
j?nek? Strong, young bull left ungelded for the purposes of breeding or combat te? k?le A young bull
jinek? Young bull te?k Young bull that is not yet ready for ploughing
jonde k? sare Place where young bulls and breeding cattle are raised te?kel Small bull
jone k? kole Bullock less than two years old that has done no work tit?ppeli mango Black and white cow
j?ndek? Bullock more than two years old that has done no work tolom Young cow - heifer
j?nekk? Young bulls t?z kel bull
j?nekk? jang Quarrel between young bulls varz? Bullock
Kh?mod Ox plough x?l d?r Bovine with bicoloured coat
l?ch kal Cow with open horns xes xesi go A cow that lies down on the ground while working
lachchi Open cow horns that grow in opposite directions xet?r Alarmed cow
lase sar g? Cow that goes to everyone xik chaf A cow that refuses to give milk to calves or its owner
l beni Bridegroom's gift cow z?m borde Cow missed after giving birth
m?g? A cow zan? g? Cow fighting with its horns
mango Relating to lactating cows zar x?l Black cow with yellow spots
m?r?an Young cow zargele Yellow cow
m?r? Cow with a white forehead zemess?ni kar Cow that leans due to food shortages in the winter
merem Lovely young cow zing?l Black cow with white legs

Influences exerted by Mazanderani

Modern-day of Iran

In Iran, there are some popular companies and products, like Rika (son) or Kija (daughter), which take their name from Mazanderani words.[23]

In non-Iranian languages

There are some Mazanderani loanwords in the Turkmen language.[24]


áme k?rk? ?únn? n?f?r-sar. n?f?r-sar x?s?nn?. badími n?f?r-sar-e l-o-?u ham? bapíss?n?. b?út?m?, "va j?n! inj?, k?lum-e pali, mé-vesse ?tt? k?rk-k?li d?r?s hk?n!" v? ?m n?mun ke pe dar-bi?rd?, hamun badím? b?mún? s?re pi?r o va. ande-tumi pi?r o va b?mún? s?re, n?m?z k?rd?n?, q?z? x?rd?n?; ba:d ?z n?m?z ?ín? ún-var, st-e r hark?t k?rd?n?.

Our chickens go onto the nef?r and sleep on it. [Once] we noted that the wood of the nef?r was all rotten. I told [my son], "Dear child! Here, next to the stable, make me a chicken coop." In the evening that [my son] was setting the foundation, the father [-in-law] and [his] son came home. As soon as the father and son came home, they would say their prayers, eat something, and then, after the prayers, they would go over there (to the next room); then at four o'clock they would set off.

(from Maryam Borjian and Habib Borjian, "Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran [: Mysterious Memories of a Woman]," Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007, pp. 226-254.)

oz?r?-vâ én? dámbe s?vâí

i?nn? búye d?lbárr? d?v?i
qam o qoss?ye d?l vón? k?nârí
me j?ne g?l dén? búye x?dâí

At break of dawn blows the cool breeze.

Bearing the healing odor of the beloved.
Heart's sorrow will depart.
My dear flower has the sweet savour of God.

basut? sin?ye miónn? h?re?!

tév?sse - n?z?nin! - baím? nâx
t? armúne d?l i, ?y nâz?nin yâr!
tév?sse m?sle b?lb?l zámb? nâl

Behold,a heart's core ravaged by the flame!

For you - O worthy of love! - I am sick with longing.
You are the heart's aspiration, O beloved!
For you, like the nightingale, I moan.


D?l-e armun "Heart's Aspiration"
Rezaqoli Mohammadi Kordekheyli
Transcribed and translated by: Habib Borjian

mosalmunun! m?r? ?abgir var?nn?
?x, m?r? b? kam?r-e haftir var?nn?
m?r? bav?rd?n? T?rk?mun-e dam
T?rk?mun k?f?r o g?lil? be-ra:m
Muslims! They are carrying me off at the crack of dawn.
O, they are taking me away with a pistol on the[ir] waist.
They bear me where the Turkmen [tribes] dwell.
Turkmen [are] unbelievers and the bullet [is] ruthless.
a?un x? badim? m?n ?e Ali-r?
sio dasm?l dav?sso ?e gali-r?
age xnn? bur?n ámi badi-r?
báz?ne x?rus?k me gali-r?
volvol sar-e d?r g?n? ?y z?ri-z?ri
me gol d báio sarb?z-e S?ri
He would say,
Last night I dreamed of my Ali.
He [had] wrapped a black kerchief [round] his throat.
If it chance they wish us harm,
May croup-cough seize your throat!
The nightingale on the tree constantly bemoans (?)
My dear brother drafted in S?ri.

Quatrains sung by Sabura Azizi, transcribed and translated by Habib Borjian; Ref. Habib Borjian and Maryam Borjian, "Mysterious Memories of a Woman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran," Iran and the Caucasus 11/2, 2007.


In dates given below, A.P. denotes the Iranian calendar, the solar calendar (365 days per year) which is official in Iran and Afghanistan.

  1. ^ a b c Eberhard, David M.; Gary F. Simons; Charles D. Fennig, eds. (2021). "Mazandarani". Ethnologue (24th ed.). SIL International. Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Mazandarani: Language of the Day for 28 February 2020". Ethnologue. SIL International. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 2021.
  3. ^ Coon, "Iran:Demography and Ethnography" in Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume IV, E.J. Brill, pp. 10,8. Excerpt: "The Lurs speak an aberrant form of Archaic Persian" See maps also on page 10 for distribution of Persian languages and dialect
  4. ^ Kathryn M. Coughlin, "Muslim cultures today: a reference guide," Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 89: "...Iranians speak Persian or a Persian dialect such as Gilaki or Mazandarani"
  5. ^ Dalb, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. Columbia University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-231-11568-1.
  6. ^ a b Nasidze, Ivan; Quinque, Dominique; Rahmani, Manijeh; Alemohamad, Seyed Ali; Stoneking, Mark (2006). "Concomitant Replacement of Language and mtDNA in South Caspian Populations of Iran". Current Biology. 16 (7): 668-673. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.02.021. PMID 16581511.
  7. ^ Academic American Encyclopedia By Grolier Incorporated, page 294
  8. ^ The Tati language group in the sociolinguistic context of Northwestern Iran and Transcaucasia By D.Stilo, pages 137-185
  9. ^ "Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence with Persian". CiteSeerX Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "M?zandar?n: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 295. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  11. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "M?zandar?n: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 289-291. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  12. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "M?zandar?n: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 291. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  13. ^ Windfuhr, G. L. 1989. New Iranian languages: Overview. In Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 246-249.
  14. ^ Borjian, Maryam. 2005. Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence With Persian Archived September 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Language, Communities and Education. Languages, Communities & Education: A Volume of Graduate Student Research. New York: Society for International Education Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, Teachers College, Columbia University. pp. 65-73.
  15. ^ "Mazandarani".
  16. ^ {{glottolog|gurg1241|Gurgani
  17. ^ Fakhr-Rohani, Muhammad-Reza. 2004. She means only her 'husband': politeness strategies amongst Mazanderani-speaking rural women. (Conference abstract) CLPG Conference, University of Helsinki, Finland, PDF
  18. ^ Johanson, Lars. Turkic-Iranian Contact Areas Historical and Linguistic Aspects. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.
  19. ^ Csató, Éva Ágnes, Bo Isaksson, and Carina Jahani. Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion: Case Studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.
  20. ^ Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. S?r? Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.
  21. ^ Shokri; Jahani; Barani, Guiti, Carina, Hossein (2013). When Tradition Meets Modernity: Five Life Stories from the Galesh Community in Ziarat, Golestan, Iran. Uppsala Universitet.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ " - language-keyboard Resources and Information".
  23. ^ , ?. "? ".
  24. ^ Nasri-Ashrafi, Jahangir-e (ed.). Farhang-e veg?n-e Tabar? [A Dictionary of Tabari]. v. 5, p. 5, Tehran: E?y?'-ket?b": 2002/1381 A.P. A comparative glossary containing lexical units from almost all major urban and rural centers of the region of the three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan. Reviewed in Iran and the Caucasus, 2006, 10(2). Volume 4 contains a Persian-Mazanderani index of approximately 190 pp. Volume 5 includes a grammar of the Mazanderani language.

Further reading

  • Borjian, Habib (2006). "The Oldest Known Texts in New Tabari: The Collection of Aleksander Chodzko". Archiv Orientální. 74 (2): 153-171.
  • ______________. 2006. A Mazanderani account of the Babi Incident at Shaikh Tabarsi. Iranian Studies 39(3):381-400.
  • ______________. 2006. Textual sources for the study of Tabari language. I. Olddocuments. Guyesh-shenâsi 4.
  • ______________. 2008. Tabarica II: Some Mazanderani Verbs. Iran and the Caucasus 12(1):73-82.
  • ______________. Two Mazanderani Texts from the Nineteenth Century. Studia Iranica 37(1):7-50.
  • Borjian, Habib; Borjian, Maryam (2007). "Ethno-Linguistic Materials from Rural Mazandaran: Mysterious Memories of a Woman". Iran and the Caucasus. 11 (2): 226-254. doi:10.1163/157338407X265469.
  • Borjian, Habib; Borjian, Maryam (2008). "The Last Galesh Herdsman: Ethno-Linguistic Materials from South Caspian Rainforests". Iranian Studies. 41 (3): 365-402. doi:10.1080/00210860801981336.
  • Le Coq, P. 1989. Les dialects Caspiens et les dialects du nord-ouest de l'Iran. In Rüdiger Schmitt (ed.), Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden: L. Reichert. pp. 296-312.
  • Nawata, Tetsuo. 1984. M?zandar?ni. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Asian and African Grammatical Manual; 17. 45 + iii pp.
  • Shokri, Giti. 1990. Verb Structure in S?ri dialect. Farhang, 6:217-231. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • _________. 1995/1374 A.P. S?r? Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Shokri, Giti. 2006. Ramsar? Dialect. Tehran: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.
  • Yoshie, Satoko. 1996. S?r? Dialect. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Series: Iranian Studies; 10.

External links

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