The Talysh language originated from a group of ancient Iranian languages and is close to Kurdish, Tajik, Farsi, Baluchi. The self-name of the people who speak this language is “tolysh” or “tolyshon”. In the scientific community, there are 2 versions about its origin. Some linguists consider it a descendant of the ancient Azerbaijani language that existed before the era of Turkization, while others consider it, although related to Azerbaijani, but unique in genealogy.
General characteristics and history of study
The Talysh language is one of the languages of the large Caucasian group. The history of its study began not so long ago - from the 19th century. The first monograph was published in 1842 by the Russian Iranist A. Khadzkon. The development of this language is inextricably linked with the culture of Azerbaijan. There is an opinion among linguists that it is a "splinter" of the ancient Azerbaijani language of the Iranian branch. In terms of vocabulary, he is one of the richest in the world.
Many researchers consider it unwritten. In Iran, the Arabic script is used to transmit Talysh speech. In Azerbaijan, with the advent of Soviet power, inlate 1920s the Latin alphabet was introduced to write the letters of the alphabet of the Talysh language, and in 1939 an attempt was made to translate it into Cyrillic.
In the 30s. 20th century many textbooks and fiction were published in this language, its dialects were studied. In recent years, interest in it has increased due to the growth of the national identity of this nation.
Until the 17th century. in the south of Azerbaijan lived an ancient people who spoke Azeri, which belongs to the northwestern subgroup of Iranian languages. Starting from the XI century. the number of this nation began to gradually decline, and its language began to give way to Turkic dialects. By the end of the Mongol era, the indigenous Iranian population almost completely adopted the Turkic language.
Besides the Turkic roots, Talysh also has a Median component. The Median language in ancient times was very close to Persian. Evidence of the influence of the culture of the Medes are round dance songs in the Talysh language - "halai" and "hollo". Since ancient times they have existed among women of this nationality. According to ancient legend, earlier men also took part in them, dancing in one of the sides of the round dance. They were arranged in honor of Lo (or Lu, Lotani) - the dragon, personifying the elements of fire and water. Armenians in ancient times called the Medes "draconians", descended from the clan of Azhdagak (from the Persian "adzhaga" - "dragon"). Subsequently, the tradition of leading such round dances was preserved in the wedding ceremony of the Talysh.
In the words of the Talysh language, parallels with other languages can be distinguished:Arabic, Russian, Iranian, Persian.
Information about the number of Talysh is contradictory. According to the official 2009 census, there are about 130 thousand of them in Iran, and about 92 thousand people in Azerbaijan (slightly more than 1% of the population). The Azerbaijani government does not conduct special studies in this direction. The above figures are considered by some researchers to be underestimated, since during the collection of demographic data, the Talysh are recorded as Azerbaijanis. According to other estimates, the total number in both countries exceeds 1 million people.
The main group of speakers of this language lives in the southwest of the Caspian coast, in the border zone between Iran and Azerbaijan. Anthropologically, they belong to the southern type of Caucasians. In Azerbaijan, the Talysh are concentrated in 4 regions with a mild subtropical climate:
- Lenkoransky (administrative center - Lankaran).
- Astara (Astara).
- Lerik (Lerik).
- Masallinsky (Massaly).
There is a fairly large community of Talysh in Baku and in the city of Sumgayit, where their number reaches 1/3 of the total population. In Iran, this people also lives in a compact group, in the low-lying part of the Caspian coast (the provinces of Gilan and Ardabil).
Features of the Talysh language are the following archaic moments inherent in many Turkic languages:
- weak distinction between tenses and modalities of verbs;
- low differentiationinclinations;
- fuzzy time division;
- no difference in collateral;
- polysemy of verbs;
- fuzzy distinction between singularity and plurality.
In this language, 4 dialects are distinguished according to the names of the regions of Azerbaijan in which the Talysh live. Massalinsky is very close to Lankaran. In these two dialects, in the group of letters "st" the "t" disappears. The difference between dialects also lies in the different phonetic appearance of single-root words and in the formation of a negative form of verbs.
At present, the Talysh language has been studied quite well, several dictionaries have been published, among which one can single out the 1976 edition by L. A. Pireiko. This dictionary contains 6600 words, proverbs and aphorisms collected in the areas of residence of the people are given. In 2002, A. Abdoli's book "A Comparative Dictionary of the Talysh, Tat and Ancient Azeri Language" was also published, and in 2006, a Russian-Talysh dictionary with more than 140,000 words.
Despite this, this language is not widely used in the media of Azerbaijan. Several periodicals are published. The language is taught in elementary grades and as an optional subject in schools, but it still remains more of a means of oral communication in everyday life.