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DOI: 10.23671/VNC.2019.73.43110

COMMON IRANIAN HERITAGE IN THE OSSETIAN LEXICAL FUND

Gutieva, Elmira T.
Izvestia SOIGSI. 2019. IIS 34 (73).
Abstract:
The significance of the Ossetian language for linguistics is determined by the complexity of its
historical fate. Its archaic character and early divergence from other Iranian languages arouses the
interest of Iranian scholars, and convergent processes with other Indo-European languages attract
the attention of Russian and European scientists. The Proto-Ossetian language can be considered
as a transmitter of Iranian influence into the European area during the Great Migration of Peoples
(in the IVth – VIIth centuries). Of all the tribes that shattered the order of the Roman Empire in
late antiquity, the only Iranian-speaking were the Sarmatians and Alans, ancestors of the modern
Ossetians. Common Iranian vocabulary has been the analyzed by many researchers, but still there
is a number of issues that need clarification, development, a number of etymologies can be subjected
to revision. A number of words that have traditionally referred to the Caucasian stratum should
be analyzed in greater detail. The work focuses on the degree of preservation of the Iranian lexical
fund in the Ossetian language. Different scenarios of the processes of development of common Iranian
vocabulary, which are illustrated with examples, are considered. The possibilities of advancing
alternatives to already existing etymologies are illustrated by the example of reflexes of the common
Iranian root *hwar- (*xwar-) ‘eat’. Some lexemes could have been preserved in both languages, but
due to semantic and phonetic changes they are no longer identifiable, they could have been fossilized
in compound words, in phraseological units. In addition, common roots could be lost, and can be
restored only via related words in other Iranian languages.
Keywords: linguistics, Iranian studies, semantics, generalization, semantic narrowing, cognates, etymology.
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