Languages

Old Persian

Fact corner

Introduction


Behistun inscription

The Old Persian language is one of the two attested Old Iranian languages (besides Avestan).

Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, seals of the Achaemenid era (c. 600 BCE to 300 BCE). Examples of Old Persian have been found in present-day Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun inscription (dated to 525 BCE).

Old Persian Verb

There are

  • 3 voices: active, middle, and passive
  • 3 numbers: singular, dual, and plural

Verbs are divided in athematic and thematic verbs according to the conjugation.

Sample verbs

PRESENT IMPERFECT
Athematic

'to be'

Thematic

'to bring'

Athematic

'to do, make'

Thematic

'to be, become'

Sg.1 aʰmiy barāmiy akunavam abavam
Sg.2 ?
Sg.3 astiy baratiy akunauš abava
Du.1-3 ?
Pl.1 aʰmahiy barāmahiy akumā abavāmā
Pl.2 ?
Pl.3 hatiy baratiy akunava abava

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