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IOL 2019 Problem #3 Book Pahlavi script

Here are some words in Middle Persian written in the Book Pahlavi script:


Scholars employ two systems of rendering Middle Persian words using Roman characters. The system that reflects the Pahlavi spelling is called scientific transliteration. In turn, the system that represents the tentative pronunciation of the words is called transcription.

Some words could be spelt in multiple ways in the Pahlavi script. For example, the word dīdan ‘to see’ could be alternatively spelt as Word1.jpg (scientific transliteration: HẔYTWN-tn') or as Word2.jpg (scientific transliteration: dytn').

(a) Match each word above with its scientific transliteration and transcription. Note that the words written in the Pahlavi script may correspond to multiple Middle Persian words.

1. ɔslwn' āsrōn priest
2. sydɔ syā black
3. DMYA xōn blood
4. AHTE xwah sister
5. blbwt' barbut lyre
6. gyɔh giyāh grass
7. ALBA čahār four
8. dwt' dūd smoke
9. mwd mōy hair
10. gdk' gēg thief
11. hmyšk' hamēšag always
12. LK thou
13. gwklt' gōgird sulfur
14. wɔcɔl wāzār market
15. MLKTA bāmbišn queen
16. HZWLYA hūg pig
17. zwzk' zūzag hedgehog
18. whɔl wahār spring (season)
19. APLA xāk earth, dust
20. gwn' gōn color
21. LCDr' tar over, through, across
22. mng mang henbane (type of plant)
23. lwlk' rūrag medicinal plant, herb
24. ẔWẔN' drahm drachm (unit of weight)
25. dlmnk' dramanag wormwood (type of plant)
26. NKSWN-tn' kuštan to kill
27. ɔwzmbwlt' uzumburd emerald
28. glmwk' garmōg warm, hot
29. ɔhlmn' Ahreman the evil spirit
30. ɔylɔnštr' Ērān-šahr land of the Aryans
31. ywdtɔk' ǰudāg separate, different
32. dhšk' daxšag mark, sign; memory
33. nhɔl nihāl sapling, young tree
34. lwcynk' lawzēnag almond sweetmeat

(b) In Book Pahlavi, one Middle Persian word is usually written with a certain graphic peculiarity. Identify this word.

(c) The following words are alternative spellings of some of the words above.

Identify them and provide their scientific translations.

(d) Write in Book Pahlavi script:

KK. DKRA muɣ date-palm
LL. dlwnd druwand evil, sinful, unrighteous
MM. stwl stōr horse
NN. cmbl čambar circle, hoop

(!) No additional explanation besides the answers is required, nor will be marked.

⚠ Middle Persian belongs to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. It was spoken in the Sasanian Empire and survived through centuries as a written language, especially in translations of the Zoroastrian canon. The transcription used here corresponds to the reconstructed pronunciation of the 3rd century CE. The mark ˉ indicates that the vowel is long. č = ch in church; h = h in hat; ǰ = j in judge; š = sh in sheesh; w = w in win; xch in Scottish loch; ɣ like x but voiced; y = y in yum; z = z in zigzag. Knowledge of Modern Iranian languages is irrelevant for solving this problem.

—André Nikulin (consultant: Miguel Ángel Andrés Toledo)