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iranian languages

Iranian languages are spoken over a vast geographical area from Turkey in the west to Pakistan and Tajikistan in the east. The estimated number of speakers is between 150 and 200 million. The largest New Iranian languages are Persian, with the variants Farsi (Iran), Dari (Afghanistan) and Tajik (Tajikistan), Kurdish, Pashto and Balochi.

The main focus of the research in Iranian languages at Uppsala University is on structural linguistics, linguistic contact and sociolinguistics, but there is also research on the literatures of different Iranian languages. We work on describing the grammar of Classical Persian and of both spoken and written Modern Persian. There is also a particular focus on other Iranian langauges, particularly on Balochi, but also on, e.g., Kurdish, Pashto, Gilaki and Mazandarani.

Another focus is research on the sociolinguistic milieu of Iranian languages (inside and outside Iran) and on languages of Iran (belonging to various language families, e.g. Iranian, Semitic, Turkic, Dravidian). Issues in focus are particularly contact induced grammatical changes, language maintenance versus language shift, codeswitching and conversational analysis as well as orthographies of different Iranian languages.

As for literature, we work both on modern literature in Persian, Kurdish, Pashto and Balochi, on classical and post-classical Persian literature and on oral literature (folktales, oral poetry etc).

Courses on BA- and MA-level are offered in Old, Middle and New Persian, Avestan, Parthian, Balochi, Gilaki-Mazandarani, Kurdish and Pashto, where New Persian and Kurdish are majors. The Ph.D. programme is entitled Iranian Languages.

Iranian Languages

Active researchers (May 2007):

Professor Carina Jahani

Professor emeritus Bo Utas

Dr. Helena Bani-Shoraka

Dr. Mehrdad Fallahzadeh

Dr. Forogh Hashabeiky

Dr. Guiti Shokri

Ph.D. cand. Behrooz Barjasteh


Ph.D. cand. Dariush Kargar

Ph.D. cand. Ferhad Shakely

Ph.D. cand. Anders Widmark

Research projects:

Languages in contact and conflict in West Asia, 1998-2002.

Financed by the Swedish Research Council

Project members:

Iranian languages: Associate prof. Carina Jahani (project leader), Ph.D. cand. Helena Bani-Shoraka

Semitic languages: Prof. Bo Isaksson, Dr. Sven-Olof Dahlgren, Ph.D. cand. Ablahad Lahdo

Language, identity and society – a documentation of minority languages in Iran, their sociolinguistic milieu and

the role of the language in individual and group identity, 2007-2009.

Financed by the Swedish Research Council, Swedish Research Links

Project members:

In Sweden: Prof. Carina Jahani, Dr. Helena Bani-Shoraka, Ph. D. cand. Behrooz Barjasteh Delforooz

In Iran: Prof. Mohammad Dabir Moghaddam, Dr. Moosa Mahmoudzahi, Dr. Abbas Ali Ahangar

Associate member: Dr. John Roberts, SIL International

Bilingualism as a resource in students’ socialization process in multilingual contexts in higher education, 2007-2009.

Financed by the Swedish Research Council

Project members: Associate prof. Gunilla Jansson, Dept. of Scandinavian Languages, Stockholm University

(project leader), Dr. Helena Bani-Shoraka, Ph.D. cand. Olle Poignant

Conferences with publications

Mini-conference on the Balochi language,

August 1997.

Proceedings: Jahani, Carina (2000). Language in Society – Eight Sociolinguistic Essays on Balochi. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Studia Iranica Upsaliensia, 3. Uppsala: Uppsala University.

1st International Conference on Balochistan: Linguistic Contact in Balochistan. August 2000.

This conference was organised together with Dr. Agnes Korn, Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Proceedings: Jahani, Carina, and Korn, Agnes (2003). The Baloch and Their Neighbours. Ethnic and Linguistic Contact in Balochistan in Historical and Modern Times.Wiesbaden: Reichert.

2nd International Conference on Balochistan: Pluralism in Balochistan.

August 2005.

This conference was organised together with Dr. Agnes Korn, Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Proceedings under publication.

Planned conference:

Languages and dialects in Iran. International conference on documentation of minority languages in Iran and their sociolinguistic milieu. In cooperation with the University of Sistan and Balochistan, Zahedan, Iran, and other international researchers. To be held in Zahedan, Iran, April. 2008.

Cooperative agreement with the University of Sistan and Balochistan, Zahedan, Iran

General objectives:

*Promoting research and documentation of Iranian languages.

*Facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise between staff and students of the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, and staff and students of the University of Sistan and Balochistan, and the wider academic community with an interest in Iranian languages.

*Fostering active cooperation between Asian and Western scholars committed to the study of these languages and between the academic institutions to which they belong.

Other partners in Iran

*University of Mazandaran, Sari-Babolsar, Iran

*Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

*Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

*The Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran, Iran

Prof. Carina Jahani, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Box 635, S-751 26, Uppsala, Sweden.

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