Dehi of Aran and Bidgol: A Central Iranian Language
|Depositor||Alireza Hamidi Madani|
Summary of the deposit
This deposit is documentation of Dehi, an Iranian language spoken in some neighborhoods of Aran o Bidgol city in the north of Kashan, in the Isfahan province of Iran. Dehi is a severely endangered language from which the two dialects of Bidgoli and Arani are recognized, both of which are approximately identical. Dehi speakers beget a negligible society. As a matter of fact, they are an insignificant minority amidst the highest population of Aran o Bidgol city. This issue has exacerbated the process of vanishing this language.
This documentation is done by Alireza Hamidi Madani which encompasses Linguistic and cultural documentation of Dehi speaking community. This includes at about 25 hours of video and audio recording of which 5 hours are transcribed, annotated and translated in English and Persian with ELAN and then 2 hours of them are glossed by FLEx.
There are two dialects in this deposit both of which are approximately identical. The two dialects of Dehi Language are Bidgoli and Arani. The closest dialect to Bidgoli and Arani is Judeo-Kashani, which is vanished by now in Kashan.
Dehi, which is also denominated equally “Di”, as well as “Zebu Mahalli” (local Language) amid speakers, pertains to the Central Group of Northwestern Iranian Languages and is spoken in 3 neighborhoods of Bidgol and 2 neighborhoods of Aran in the north of Kashan in Isfahan province of Iran. Dehi is a severely endangered language out of which the two dialects of Bidgoli and Arani are recognized, both of which are approximately identical. The number of speakers of Dehi is not aright obvious. As the speakers are scattered in some quarters, their population is estimated at less than 1000 in Bidgol and nearly 2000 individuals in Aran.
Dehi Language belongs to the Central group of Northwestern Iranian languages. This group of Iranian languages covers a range of wide area in the center of Iran. The Northeastern class of Central Iranian Languages is widespread along with the cities of Kashan and Natanz. The Dehi Language belongs to this class.
Dehi is spoken in some neighborhoods of Aran o Bidgol city in the north of Kashan, in the Isfahan province of Iran. The population of Aran o Bidgol city surpasses 80,000 individuals who speak Persian. They speak Persian with Arani and Bidgoli accent, but there are few neighborhoods in Bidgol and Aran with a language different from Persian which is called Dehi. There is almost no one in Kashan or other cities around Aran o Bidgol who would be aware of the existence of the Dehi Language. There are hardly any people in Aran o Bidgol who are informed of such a language in their city. Accordingly, scanty researches have been done on this language, and even many linguists are unaware of the existence of such a language.
In the prior few decades, the utmost rural community -with languages different from Persian- in Kashan region (Kashan linguistic region) has rapidly been shifting to Persian and their language has already been going to extinction partly or entirely. Dehi language is likewise severely endangered in a way that in the last half-century, the number of people speaking Dehi has remarkably been decreasing; In the other words, this language, like its counterpart, the extinct Judeo-Kashani, is going to vanish.
This rapid vanishing is due to the low population of Dehi native speakers who are surrounded by the rest of the Persian speaking population of Aran o Bidgol. Dehi speakers inevitably speak Persian in their own city and talking Dehi is limited to the elderly people in the home environment. As a matter of fact, in Aran o Bidgol County, all the 42 neighborhoods speak Persian, whereas only five neighborhoods – three in Bidgol and two in Aran – speak differently from Persian that is called Dehi. It means that out of 80,000 people in Aran o Bidgol City, all the 42 neighborhoods speak Persian, whereas only five neighborhoods – three in Bidgol and two in Aran – speak differently from Persian that is called Dehi. It means that out of 80,000 people in Aran o Bidgol, only fewer than 3,000 people speak the Dehi language. For the reasons mentioned, the documentation of the Dehi language is urgent.
By documenting Dehi, many aspects of the language and culture of this small population, which is thoroughly distinguished from the other neighborhoods, will be manifested. The results of this scheme could be beneficial for literary scholars, linguists, cultural and ancient languages researchers, dialectologists and public media producers to manufacture native programs.
The documentation of Dehi is very attention-grabbing in terms of cultural visages. There is a traditional religious ceremony called Sanjzani which is worth documenting. In this ceremony, men play a type of percussive musical instrument called a Sanj, which includes two wooden plates used in mourning ceremonies with dance-like movements. The ceremony has not been held in the last few years and given that it may become fully forgotten in the coming years, it is urgent to be documented. There are a few videos from these events. This ceremony is going to be performed for this project with the permission of the community in a specific religious setting. Documenting this ceremony would be significant from the cultural point of view.
This deposit encompasses Dehi Language with its two dialects and more than 20 hours, video and audio recording of which 3 hours are transcribed and translated into Persian with ELAN. 2 hours of recordings are annotated and glossed with English translation provided in FLEx.
The data for this deposit is accumulated in fieldwork by an independent scholar (Alireza Hamidi Madani).
These data will be collected from August 2019 to November 2019 in fieldwork in Aran o Bidgol, and then will endure in Kashan from December 2019 to April 2020 with transcription and translation and glossing, and repeat some multiple recording and revising, and on Jun 2020 the final report will be submitted to ELDP.
Acknowledgement and citation
Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Alireza Hamidi Madani as the principal investigator, the data collector and the researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by respective name(s). Any other contributor who has collected, transcribed or translated the data or was involved in any other way should be acknowledged by name. All information on contributors is available in the metadata.
To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:
Hamidi Madani, Alireza. 2019. Dehi of Aran and Bidgol: A Central Iranian Language. London: SOAS University of London, Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/00-0000-0000-0014-0ED5-6. Accessed on [insert date here].