Persian: بیستون mountain, village, area


Senior Member
اُردو Urdu
Dear all,

First of all I'd like to know how the name of a mountain and an area named بیستون is pronounced.

Because in English, it's Behistun as far as I know, I'm curious why this difference (surmising historical linguistics at play).

In Persian dictionaries the only vowel suggestion is a zammah on siin.

I thank you in advance.
  • I have heard both the pronunciations, but mostly "bistun" (without zammah).

    Bisotun literally means without any column, بی + ستون which means بدون پایه.
    بدان آهن که او سنگ آزمون کرد
    تواند بیستون را باستون کرد.

    This could be worth reading:

    این واژه در عصر باستان ابتدا به « بغستان » ( Bagastan(
    یعنی جایگاه خدایان شهرت داشته است. سپس از بغستان به « بَهیستان » و سپس « بَهیستون » در زبان پهلوی تبدیل شد. این واژه در سده‌های نخست اسلامی « بهستون » و امروزه در زبان محاوره ای به بیستون خوانده می‌شود. از آنجا که در آیین مهر [ میتراپرستی ] و مذهب زرتشت [ مزداپرستی ]، به روحانیون، ابتدا بَغ و سپس مُغ گفته می شد، لذا قبل از آن که خسرو پرویز قصد نماید تا این منطقه را به علت زیبایی فوق العاده اش و اِشراف بر مناطق بسیار و همچنین استفاده از کوه ها به عنوان دژی نظامی و نفوذ ناپذیر، به قصر خود بدل نماید، این منطقه دارای معابد و آتشکده های بسیاری بوده و مکانی مذهبی و عبادی برای روحانیون [ بغ ها یا مغ ها ] محسوب می شد
    As explained in the “Iranica” article, the spelling بيستون , however you pronounce it, represents a folk etymology according to which the name was reinterpreted to mean “without columns”. The older NP form بهستون is also the result of a folk etymology, “having good columns”. The Old Persian name was *Bagastāna- “place of the gods”, of which the expected New Persian outcome would be *Bayistān.
    Although I thanked all in advance but would like to be repetitive because I got all information I needed from @Treaty's response and referral, from Nile and eli7 bits about pronunciation like
    و امروزه در زبان محاوره ای به بیستون خوانده می‌شود

    The etymology part has been covered by Iranica article with extra commentary from @fdb. My last question, in the light of the following quote
    بغستان »
    ....یعنی جایگاه خدایان شهرت داشته ... the spelling in Persian writing of the OPers. *bagastāna traditional or has some other reason?
    The Old Persian word for “god” is baga-. In Middle Persian this becomes bay, but in Parthian it is baγ. I think the most straitforward explanation of the NP form is *bagastāna- > *baγestān >*bayestān > bēsutūn or bihsutūn. A Persian غoccurs in the second stage only.
    bagastāna- > *baγestān >*bayestān > bēsutūn or bihsutūn. A Persian غoccurs in the second stage only.
    Hi fdb, بغداد (Baghdad) is made up of baga- plus dāda and it hasn't followed the same pattern of changes and has kept the Persian غ, is this because بغداد, as a place, was in contineous use with no break so the name stayed, mostly, in tact?