|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Classification and DialectsEdit
Bactrian is an Iranian language spoken in Bactria and shares a lot of vocabulary and grammar with the Persian language, precisely with Farsi, and has also a lot of words coming from Ancient Greek (e.g.: xelj - sun; from Ancient Greek ἥλῐος / hḗlios), Armenian (e.g.: kamj - wind; from Armenian քամի / k'ami) or even French (e.g.: otobus - bus; from French autobus). Standard Bactrian (called in Bactrian "Pârse Bâtris"; translated in English as "Persian Bactrian") is based partly on the dialect spoken in Antiochopolis (in Bactrian Ântjoxopolj), the capital city of Bactria, and the classical language used in older literature.
There are four cases in Bactrian : nominative (who?), accusative (whom?), dative (whom to/for?) and genitive (whose?). There are three numbers in Bactrian : singular (a woman), plural (women) and paucal (two women - used if there are numbers before the noun).
In Bactrian there are some defective cases, which can only be used in some contexts for some nouns :
- Locative cases : To show position in a country, region, city or island, the noun is marked by the genitive case, e.g. E-Bâtristâni âm. (=I am in Bactria. - position); to show motion to a country, region, city or island, the noun is marked by the accusative case, e.g. Bâtristânân miravâm. (=I am going to Bactria. - motion to); to show motion out of a country, region, city or island, the noun is marked by the dative case, e.g. E-Bâtristân âm. (=I am from Bactria. - motion out).
- Partitive case : Nouns for eating and drinking can be put in the partitive case, mostly translated in English with the adverb "some". The partitive case does only exist for the singular and is formed by adding -u to the noun, e.g. Çaju nuşân mixaştâm. (=I want to drink some tea.)
- Instrumental case : Nouns describing human beings (like their profession, gender, family order etc.) can be put in the instrumental case formed by the ending -âm (singular), -es (plural) and -as (paucal). The instrumental case takes the preposition "be" (=with), although it normally follows the dative case, e.g. Pe sinemân be seşterâm mân miravâm. (=I am going to the cinema with my sister.)
There are also a few phonetic rules applying to the case endings :
- The dative and the genitive case precede the noun with the clitic e-, so nouns beginning in a vowel change the clitic into ej-, e.g. ej-otobus (=to/for the bus - dative case of "otobus")
- Nouns ending in a vowel exchange their initial final vowel with the vowel fitting the case ending, e.g. sinemân (=cinema - accusative case of "sinema")
There are four ways to define a noun in Bactrian :
- The noun added by no pronoun is qualified as undefined (translated as "a" in English), e.g. Kamjân partim. (=I threw a stone.)
- The noun added by the defining pronoun "de" is qualified as defined (translated as "the" in English), e.g. Eruz otân de araştaştâm. (=Today I am going to drive the car.)
- The noun added by the demonstrative pronoun "ge" is qualified as proximal and/or laudative, e.g. Poşt derâtân ge maştâj! (=Hide behind this tree! - proximal) / Geruz virân ge vinim. (=I saw yesterday this man. - laudative)
- The noun added by the demonstrative pronoun "le" is qualified as distal and/or pejorative, e.g. Domân le mividâşt ne? (=Do you see that house? - distal) / Geruz virân le vinim (=I saw yesterday that man. - pejorative)
Verbs in Bactrian have two verb stems; the first one is derived from the infinitive present (like ravân = to go) and the second one is derived from the infinitive perfect (like raftân = to have gone). Both can be found by taking the infinitive ending -ân away. Those stems do not follow any logical grammatical rule and are just inherited elements from the Proto-Indo-European irregular present and aorist forms. The verb "budân" (=to be) is the only highly irregular verb in Bactrian.
The present tense uses the infinitive present stem added by the prefix mi-.
|Present||ravân (=to go)||budân (=to be)|
|şe, şoha, şo||miravâ||âst|
- The present tense is used to describe a present action or state, e.g. Picu mixorâm. (=I am eating pizza. - present action) / Gore ge hoşgele ând. (=These flowers are beautiful. - present state)
- The present tense is used to describe a scheduled future action, e.g. Otobus de pe 8:30 e-sata mjamâm. (=The bus comes at 8:30.)
- The prefix mi- changes in the negation to ni-, e.g. Picu nixorâm. (=I am not eating pizza.)
- The prefix mi- and ni- change into mj- and nj- following a vowel, e.g. Otobus de pe 8:30 e-sata mjamâm. (=The bus comes at 8:30.) / Gore ge hoşgele njând. (=These flowers are not beautiful.)
The perfect tense uses the perfect participle derived from the infinitive perfect stem and followed by the verb "budân" in the present tense.
|Perfect||ravân (=to go)||budân (=to be)|
|âz||raftâde âm||budâde âm|
|du||raftâde âşt||budâde âşt|
|şe, şoha, şo||raftâde âst||budâde âst|
|nân||raftâde âme||budâde âme|
|ve||raftâde âde||budâde âde|
|şa||raftâde ând||budâde ând|