In-Person at Harvard University, 6 Divinity Avenue, Room 201, Cambridge, MA
ROBIN MEYER, Assistant Professor of Historical Linguistics at the University of Lausanne
For almost four centuries, the Parthians served as the rulers of the Armenian kingdom, even after their own kingdom had fallen to the Sasanians in 223 CE. Yet, as far as the documents from this period attest, it was not Parthian, the language of the ruling class, but Armenian that served as the main language of the kingdom. Parthian, shortly after the fall of the Arsacid Parthian Empire, effectively ceases to exist, it would appear.
It does not, however, disappear without trace: the Armenian language, in its late antique form, is replete with Parthian loans, far exceeding the learned borrowings one might find, e.g., from Greek or Syriac, both in kind and number. In this lecture, we will take a close look at the kinds of Parthian loanwords, calques, and other influences on the Armenian language, and what they can tell us about the likely relationship between speakers of Parthian and Armenian, and the fate of the Parthian language as a whole.
Robin Meyer has been Assistant Professor in Historical Linguistics at the University of Lausanne since 2020. He completed his doctorate on language contact between West Middle Iranian and Classical Armenian at Oxford in 2017. Author and editor of a number of volumes on historical linguistics and Armenian Studies, his latest book Iranian Syntax in Classical Armenian is due to appear with Oxford University Press in December 2023.
Mashtots Chair in Armenian Studies at Harvard University
Harvard University Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Society for Armenian Studies (SAS)
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)
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