Re: Sarmatian, Alanic, Ossetic

From: Håkan Lindgren
Message: 7101
Date: 2001-04-16

I haven't been following this thread since the beginning, so I'm sorry if I'm asking something that you have already talked about.... but, does this mean that the origin of the words "Iran", "Iranian" is "aryan"?

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Dear Alexander,

The Ossetic change *-rj- > *-l- is very well evidenced and perfectly regular. I have no Ossetic etymological dictionary to consult, but I suspect Ossetic <Ir, Iron> are loans, borrowed after the shift, from a different Iranian dialect -- one that had a diphthongised vowel in the first syllable: *airja:na- (as in Avestan) "Aryan, Iranian" > Pre-Oss. *eran- > Oss.(Ir.) Iron; the Ossetes were formerly known as the As ("Alani sive Assi" 1245). Tribal names change hands rather easily in multiethnic areas.

On internal evidence, <Sarmátai> appears to be the Greek version of an Iranian ethnonym like *sarmá:- (no *-i-, and therefore no lambdacism) with the collective ending *-ta:- that is still used in Ossetic to form plurals. I don't think an etymological connection with Sairima- or any such (Serri etc.) is warranted by historical or linguistic evidence.