Turkic replacing Iranian Languages in Asia.

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by killerbee256, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. killerbee256 Senior Member

    American English
    The post a few weeks ago about indo-Iranian languages and the more resent one about the Turkish word Ayran got me thinking about something. In antiquity central Asia had a large population of Iranian speakers of languages such as Scythian, at some point most of these peoples shifted over or were replaced by speakers of Turkic language(s), so what was the catalyst for this? And are there many loan words in Turkic languages that can be traced back to languages like Scythian?
  2. ancalimon Senior Member

    Scythian is not an Iranian language. Actually Scythian is not even a language. It's a group of people who adapted the steppe lifestyle. Many different people including Persians and Chinese migrated to Central Asia and adapted to the steppe lifestyle.

    Herodotus speaks of Scythians as being bilingual people speaking many different languages and we have absolutely very little idea at the moment about what the most common language could have been among Scythians. It was certainly not an Iranian dialect. If it was so, Herodotus would have certainly recorded this. So there is no such a thing as Turkic replacing Iranian. It's exactly the same thing as what happened to Turkish people who migrated to Germany. Many of them forgot Turkish language. The same can be said about the disappearance of languages other than Turkic in Central Asia.

    Calling what Scythians spoke as an Indo-European language is even more farfetched than calling Sumerian as a Turkic dialect.

    Here's what we have at hand regarding your question:

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  3. killerbee256 Senior Member

    American English
    A few years ago I read a few books about the history of the steps, it was for a class was about Islamic history and in this case the books were about the background of the Turks. And I agree with you, but they did make the more traditional point about Iranian languages having been "well represented" in antiquity. One of the main points was the close trade/cultural relationship between the Persians and peoples of the steps, with the point being made in earlier times there was an ethnic commonality with some of the groups. At the same time I’m aware that the ethno-linguistic relations of people from the steps are completed, due to rapid language shift and migration. I know for instance by the time the Huns reached the Roman Empire they had taken to speaking Gothic. I can only assume the process was faster due to lower population.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  4. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Ancalimon is right to say that the term “Scythian” is very vague. Probably some of those whom the Greeks called Scythians and the Achaemenid Persians called Saka were speakers of Iranian languages, but some were probably not. There is, however, lots of evidence for Eastern Iranian languages (Sogdian, Choresmian) in what is now Turkic Central Asia. Old Turkish borrowed quite a few words from Sogdian.

    The Huns have nothing to do with this. The Huns were not Iranians, and probably not Turks either.
  5. killerbee256 Senior Member

    American English
    I brought this up only because the Huns came from the asian steps.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012

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