Sohrab Dolatkhah (freelance researcher, Paris) “Subordinate Clauses in Qashqay: Evidence for Typological Shift”


The aim of this paper is to show the evolution of subordinating strategies in Qashqay (a Turkic language of South Oghuz spoken in Iran), which has been in intensive contact with the Iranian languages, especially Persian and Lori, for several centuries. This evolution consists of a typological shift from a mainly prenominal (non-finite) subordinate clause to a postnominal (finite) one. Ki-based constructions using sometimes other Persian linking elements, such as the particle tä / ta and the enclitic =i, the marker of indefinite in Persian, are currently widespread in all Qashqay varieties and in the speech of speakers of all generations, though still exhibiting certain non-finite constructions, typical of Turkic, such as participial forms in relative clauses, and verbal nouns and converbial forms in other subordinate clauses (Dolatkhah 2012, 2016, Csato 2014), Qashqay seems to be in line with some other Irano-Turkic languages (Kıral 2000, Bulut 2005) in adapting finite subordinate constructions—typical of Iranian. Several studies provide evidence that this is an areal contact phenomenon involving several co-existing language families with different degrees of dominancy (Stilo 2008). Further observation of Qashqay through field works could provide data for the evaluation of the intensity and extent of this typological shift.


Bulut Christiane, 2005. Iranian Influences in Sonqor Turkic. In: Csató, Isaaksson. and Jahani, eds. Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion, pp. 241-69.

Csato, A. Eva. 2014. Turkic relatives revisited. Paper presented in the 17th International Conference on Turkish Linguistics (ICTL’17), Rouen, France.

Dolatkhah, Sohrab, 2016. Grammaire qashqay: langue turcique de l’Iran. Charleston, SC : CreateSpace (an Amazon Company).

Dolatkhah, Sohrab. 2012. Elements for a grammar of Kashkay. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Paris : Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE).

Kıral, Fılız (2000). Copied relative Constructions in Khalaj. In A. Göksel & C. Kerslake (Ed.), Studies in Turkish and Turkic languages: proceedings of the 9th International Conference onTurkish Linguistics, (p. 181-188). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Lazard, Gilbert, 2006. Grammaire du Persan Contemporain, Institut Français de Recherche en Iran, Téhéran.

Lewis, Geoffrey, 2000. Turkish Grammar, Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition.

Stilo, Don. 2008. An introduction to the Araxes-Iran linguistic area. Presented at SOAS, December 2008. iranlinguistic-area.html