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Ethno-linguistic analysis of the vocabulary associated with the wedding ceremony (on the basis of the Pamiri languages)

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2015. Vol. 4. No. 6. Pp. 471-486.
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Nazarova Z. O.
Institute of Linguistics of Russian Academy of Sciences
1/12 Bolshoy Kislovsky Ln., 125009 Moscow, Russia


In the article, the vocabulary related to the wedding ceremony in the Pamiri languages is discussed. In particular, vocabulary reflecting the wedding ceremony in Ishkashimi language (one of the minor Pamiri languages) is almost unknown. In the Pamiri languages are still preserved all the traditional wedding ceremonies. The vocabulary associated with them is well-kept in full and is indigenous and sometimes borrowed. For the most, the terminology applied in the ritual is borrowed. Often the term is borrowed from Badakhshan dialect of the Tajik language. At the same time, some Tajik words are used in specific meaning that is typical only to the dialect of Badakhshan and Dari language of Badakhshan in Afghanistan. This is mainly the vocabulary associated with traditional ways and procedures of the wedding ceremony. Some other words, such as sarbьzьrg ‘to give respect, attention to mourners’, can be observed only in classical Persian literature. In view of the Islamization of the region the Arab terms are frequently used in rituals; they are associated with official terminology applied during the marriage process and designate its legal aspects. There are also Turkic lexis that was included into the dictionary because of language and cultural contacts in the region. It is significant that in the lexicon predominate metaphorical and descriptive ways of designation of the ceremonies. Remarkable specific vocabulary with original meaning is of particular use in the local minor Iranian languages in comparison with such major written national languages as Tajik language of Tajikistan and Dari Afghanistan. For example, in Ishkashimi language (in Tajikistan and Afghanistan) the word dumod is used only in the sense of “son-in-law”, and in the meaning of “bridegroom” - only šamard . Since the marriage and wedding ceremony has a special place in the spiritual culture of the people, the symbolic function is included into almost all the rites and ritual objects of it. During the ceremony, people wish of fertility, happiness, coming together and family well-being for the whole family and for the newlyweds. Thus, the terminology associated with these rites is preserved for a long time in the language; equally strong are numerous ritual prohibitions related to marriage.


  • • Ethno-linguistic analysis
  • • Pamiri languages
  • • Ishkashimi language
  • • Badakhshan dialect
  • • Tajik language
  • • vocabulary
  • • wedding ceremonies
  • • traditional
  • • rituals
  • • taboo
  • • indigenous vocabulary


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