The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Iranian hypocorism

I've seen a lot of Iranian words, mostly Persian, ending -ak. Arabic loanwords from Iranian roots can end -aq or -aj. So we get Babak, Mazdak, al-Farazdaq, maybe even istabraq. Gharaniq might count as well.

After some hunting I found that Late Achaemenid Persian used -k(es) as a hypocorism - an affectionate dimunitive. Arsaces was a term of endearment for the actual Persian name, which had *Arshu in it. I'm sure this feature lingered in the language.

Babak would then be, quite literally, "Papa". Mazdak will have been *Mazda-something or other; he probably wasn't named the Zoroastrian equivalent of "Little Allah", unless his enemies were being sarcastic. As for Hammam "the Farazdaq", Steingass tells me Farâzîd meant scrapings of bread in the plural - "cakes", in nineteenth-century English; Hammam's biographers tell us Farazdaq meant "lump of dough". But affectionately!

posted by Zimri on 16:50 | link | 0 comments

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