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Old Iranian Online

Lesson 2: Old Avestan

Scott L. Harvey, Winfred P. Lehmann, and Jonathan Slocum

In addition to the 'ahuric' beings that Zarathustra's poetry brings to light, several Gathas also mention Geush Tashan, the 'Creator of the Cow', and Geush Urvan, the 'Soul of the Cow'. Though the ontological status of these two is not clearly spelled out, they do seem to maintain at least a semi-divine status due to their central role in early Iranian social life. Like their Indian cousins, the Eastern Iranians of this period were pastoral nomads. Their economy depended on cattle and, from the earliest times, their sacrificial ritual incorporated this most precious commodity by offering it up to the gods. While Zarathustra seems to have proscribed this older practice, he continued to employ the symbols of the earlier age, even as he refashioned them in keeping with new themes.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Yasna 29 continues with Ahura Mazda's response to Zarathustra's invocation. He appears to ignore Zarathustra himself and address only the cow, whose inquiry began the hymn. Zarathustra, as poet, seems to be using this speech to begin a progression to his main point, i.e. that it is he who is the spokesman who can lead humanity to their god. In verse six, Ahura Mazda declares that there is no one righteous enough to play this role, but then asks, in seven, if this is really so. In verse eight, Good Mind personified determines it is not, for Zarathustra Spitama stands ready to sing the Truth, inspired by the sweetness of right thinking. Verses nine through eleven then show the cow's reluctance to accept Zarathustra, Zarathustra's willingness to accept the responsibility, and finally the cow's acceptance of Zarathustra as her ambassador to the gods and Mazda's ambassador to the world.

6 - at vaocat ahur       mazd vdv vafsh vynay

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- so
  • -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <a-> 'he, this' -- the
  • vaocat -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <vak> 'say, speak, declare' -- says
  • ahur -- noun; nominative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- Lord
  • mazd -- noun; nominative singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- Wise
  • vdv -- perfect active participle; nominative singular masculine <vid> 'see, know, obtain' -- the Knowing One
  • vafsh -- noun; accusative plural masculine <vafu-> 'prophecy, teaching, solemn words' -- solemn words
  • vynay -- noun; instrumental singular feminine <vyna-> 'insight, perception' -- by (his) insight

nit av ah vist       nad ratush asht-ct hac

  • nit -- negative particle; <nit> 'no, none' -- no
  • av -- adjective; instrumental singular masculine <ava-> 'one, alone' -- by one
  • ah -- noun; nominative singular masculine <ahu-> 'lord' -- Lord
  • vist -- past participle passive; nominative singular masculine <vis> 'find' -- found
  • nad -- negative particle; <nada> 'not, nor' -- nor
  • ratush -- noun; nominative singular masculine <ratu-> 'judgement, model, plan' -- paragon
  • asht-ct -- noun; ablative singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' + emphatic particle; <ct> 'indeed, verily, etc.' -- some Truth
  • hac -- adposition; <hac> 'from, out of' -- in accordance with

at z thw fshuyanta-c       vstryi-c thwresht tatash

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- alas
  • z -- emphatic particle; <zi> 'for, indeed' -- ...
  • thw -- enclitic pronoun; 2nd person accusative singular <thwa> 'you' -- you
  • fshuyanta-c -- present participle active; dative singular masculine <fsuya-> 'breed (esp. cattle)' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- for the benefit of the cattle breeder
  • vstryi-c -- noun; dative singular masculine <vstrya-> 'herdsman; pasture' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and the herdsman
  • thwresht -- noun; nominative singular masculine <thwreshtar> 'Fashioner' -- Fashioner
  • tatash -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect indicative active <tas> 'carve, create, fashion, shape' -- has fashioned

7 - tm ztish ahur       mthrem tashat ash hazaosh

  • tm -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- the
  • ztish -- adjective; genitive singular feminine <zuiti-> 'fat, butter' -- for (procuring) butter
  • ahur -- noun; nominative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- the Lord
  • mthrem -- noun accusative singular masculine <mathra-> 'mantra, magic formula' -- magic formula
  • tashat -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <tas> 'carve, create, fashion, shape' -- fashioned
  • ash -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' -- with Truth
  • hazaosh -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <hazaosha-> 'like-minded' -- allied

mazd gavi xshvdem-c       hv urushaiby spent ssnay

  • mazd -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <mazd-> 'wise' -- Wise (One)
  • gavi -- noun; dative singular feminine <gao-> 'cow' -- for the cow
  • xshvdem-c -- noun; accusative singular masculine <xshvid-> 'milk' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and milk
  • hv -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- the
  • urushaiby -- adjective; dative plural masculine <urusha-> 'emaciated' -- toward the emaciated (ones)
  • spent -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <spenta-> 'beneficent, holy, sacred' -- beneficent
  • ssnay -- noun; instrumental singular feminine <ssn-> 'teaching' -- in accordance with the teaching

kast voh manangh       y dyt ev maretaiby

  • kast -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ka-> 'who, what' -- who
  • voh -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manangh -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- by Mind
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • -- enclitic demonstrative pronoun; 3rd person accusative plural masculine <aym-> 'this, that' -- he
  • dyt -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist optative active <d-> 'give, put' -- might set down
  • ev -- preposition; <ev> 'down' -- down
  • maretaiby -- noun; dative plural masculine <mareta-> 'mortal' -- for mortal men

8 - am mi id vist       y n av ssn gshat

  • am -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <aym-> 'this, that' -- this
  • mi -- enclitic pronoun; 1st person dative singular <azem-> 'I' -- for me
  • id -- particle; <id> 'here' -- here
  • vist -- past participle passive; nominative singular masculine <vis> 'find' -- found
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • n -- enclitic pronoun; 1st person genitive plural <azem-> 'I' -- our
  • av -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <ava-> 'one, alone' -- alone
  • ssn -- noun; accusative plural feminine <ssn-> 'teaching' -- teachings
  • gshat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <gush> 'hear' -- hears

Zarathushtr Spitm       hv n mazd vasht ashi-c

  • Zarathushtr -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Zarathushtra-> 'Zarathustra' -- Zarathustra
  • Spitm -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Spitma-> 'Spitama' (clan name of Zarathustra) -- Spitama
  • hv -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- he
  • n -- enclitic pronoun; 1st person dative plural <azem-> 'I' -- for us
  • mazd -- adjective; vocative singular masculine <mazd-> 'wise' -- O Wise One
  • vasht -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active <vas> 'desire, wish' -- wishes
  • ashi-c -- noun; dative singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and for Truth

carekerethr srvayengh       hyat hi hudemm dyi vaxedhrahy

  • carekerethr -- noun; accusative plural neuter <carekerethra-> '(hymns of) praise' -- praise
  • srvayengh -- causative infinitive; dative <srvay-> 'cause to be heard' -- to recite
  • hyat -- conjunction; <hyat> 'if, so, when' -- if
  • hi -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- to him
  • hudemm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <hudema-> 'sweetness' -- sweetness
  • dyi -- verb; 1st person singular present subjunctive passive <d-> 'give, put' -- should be given
  • vaxedhrahy -- noun; genitive singular neuter <vaxedhra-> 'speech organ' -- of voice

9 - at-c gush urv raost       y anashem xshanmn rdem

  • at-c -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and so
  • gush -- noun; genitive singular feminine <gao-> 'cow' -- of the cow
  • urv -- noun; nominative singular masculine <urvan-> 'soul, self' -- the soul
  • raost -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative middle <rud> 'howl, cry out, lament' -- laments
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- (I) who (am)
  • anashem -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <anasha-> 'powerless' -- powerless
  • xshanmn -- infinitive; dative <xsham> 'accept' -- to accept
  • rdem -- noun; accusative singular masculine <rda-> 'provider' -- provider

vcim neresh asrahy       ym vasem sh-xshathrm

  • vcim -- noun; accusative singular feminine <vc-> 'voice' -- voice
  • neresh -- noun; genitive singular masculine <nar-> 'man' -- man's
  • asrahy -- adjective; genitive singular masculine <asura-> 'weak' -- weak
  • ym -- relative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • -- preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' -- ...
  • vasem -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <vas> 'desire, wish' -- I wish
  • sh-xshathrm -- adjective; accusative singular feminine <sh-xshathri> 'powerful' -- strong

kad yav hv anghat       y hi dadt zastavat av

  • kad -- adverb; <kad> 'when' -- when
  • yav -- adjective; instrumental singular masculine <yavan-> 'during life' -- in (my) lifetime
  • hv -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- he
  • anghat -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- will emerge
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • hi -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- to him
  • dadt -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <d-> 'give, put' -- lends
  • zastavat -- possessive adjective; accusative singular neuter <zasta-> 'hand' + possessive suffix <-vat-> '...' -- hand
  • av -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <avah-> 'help, helping' -- helping

10 - yzhm aiby ahur       aog dt ash xshathrem-c

  • yzhm -- pronoun; 2nd person nominative singular <yzhem-> 'you' -- you
  • aiby -- demonstrative pronoun; dative plural <aym-> 'this, that' -- to them
  • ahur -- noun; vocative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- O Lord
  • aog -- noun; accusative singular neuter <aogah-> 'power, strength' -- strength
  • dt -- verb; 2nd person plural aorist imperative active <d-> 'give, put' -- may you give
  • ash -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' -- through Truth
  • xshathrem-c -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xshathra-> 'power' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and power

avat voh manangh       y husheitsh rmm-c dt

  • avat -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter <ava-> 'this, that' -- that
  • voh -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manangh -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- through Mind
  • y -- relative pronoun; instrumental singular neuter <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- by which
  • husheitsh -- noun; accusative plural feminine <hushiti-> 'good dwelling, comfort, safety' -- comfort
  • rmm-c -- noun; accusative singular neuter <rman-> 'peace, tranquility' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and peace
  • dt -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active <d-> 'give, put' -- one may receive

azm-ct ahy mazd       thwm mngh paourvm vadem

  • azm-ct -- pronoun; 1st person nominative singular <azem-> 'I' + emphatic particle; <ct> 'indeed, verily, etc.' -- For I myself
  • ahy -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular <aym-> 'this, that' -- of that
  • mazd -- adjective; vocative singular masculine <mazd-> 'wise' -- O Wise (One)
  • thwm -- pronoun; 2nd person accusative singular <thwa> 'you' -- you
  • mngh -- verb; 1st person singular aorist indicative middle <man> 'know, think' -- I know
  • paourvm -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <paouruya-> 'first, original' -- primordial
  • vadem -- noun; accusative singular masculine <vada-> 'provider' -- provider

11 - kud ashem vohu-c       man xshathrem-c at m mash

  • kud -- adverb; <kud> 'where' -- where
  • ashem -- noun; accusative singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' -- Truth
  • vohu-c -- adjective; nominative singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- good
  • man -- noun; nominative singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- Mind
  • xshathrem-c -- noun; nominative singular neuter <xshathra-> 'power' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and power
  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- ...
  • m -- enclitic pronoun; 1st person accusative singular <azem-> 'I' -- me
  • mash -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <mashya-> 'human being' -- mortal

yzhm mazd frxshnen       mazi magi- pait-znat

  • yzhm -- pronoun; 2nd person nominative singular <yzhem-> 'you' -- you
  • mazd -- adjective; vocative singular masculine <mazd-> 'wise' -- O Wise (One)
  • frxshnen -- noun; locative singular masculine <frxshnena-> 'concern' -- in (Your) concern
  • mazi -- adjective; dative singular masculine <maz-> 'large, great' -- great
  • magi- -- noun; dative singular masculine <maga-> 'gift' + preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' -- for (the) offering
  • pait-znat -- verbal prefix; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' + verb; 2nd person plural present imperative active <xshn> 'know' -- know

ahur n n avar       hm-rtish yshmvatm

  • ahur -- noun; vocative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- O Lord
  • n -- adverb; <n> 'now' -- now
  • n -- enclitic pronoun; 1st person dative singular <azem-> 'I' -- to us
  • avar -- adverb; <avar> 'down' -- down
  • hm-rtish -- pronoun; compound stem form <azem-> 'I' + noun; genitive singular masculine <rta-> 'gift' -- on account of our gift
  • yshmvatm -- pronoun; genitive plural masculine <yzhem-> 'you' + possessive suffix; <vat-> 'like' -- for (those) like you

Lesson Text

6 at vaocat ahur       mazd vdv vafsh vynay
nit av ah vist       nad ratush asht-ct hac
at z thw fshuyanta-c       vstryi-c thwresht tatash

7 tm ztish ahur       mthrem tashat ash hazaosh
mazd gavi xshvdem-c       hv urushaiby spent ssnay
kast voh manangh       y dyt ev maretaiby

8 am mi id vist       y n av ssn gshat
Zarathushtr Spitm       hv n mazd vasht ashi-c
carekerethr srvayengh       hyat hi hudemm dyi vaxedhrahy

9 at-c gush urv raost       y anashem xshanmn rdem
vcim neresh asrahy       ym vasem sh-xshathrm
kad yav hv anghat       y hi dadt zastavat av

10 yzhm aiby ahur       aog dt ash xshathrem-c
avat voh manangh       y husheitsh rmm-c dt
azm-ct ahy mazd       thwm mngh paourvm vadem

11 kud ashem vohu-c       man xshathrem-c at m mash
yzhm mazd frxshnen       mazi magi- pait-znat
ahur n n avar       hm-rtish yshmvatm

Translation

6   So the Wise Lord, the Knowing One, speaks the solemn words [inspired] by [his] insight:
    "There is no lord found by even one [among us], nor a paragon in accordance with any Truth.
    Alas, the Fashioner has fashioned you for the benefit of the cattle breeder and the herdsman.
     
7   "The Lord [who is] allied with Truth fashioned the magic formula
          for [procuring] butter and milk for the cow.1
    This Wise (One) is beneficent towards the emaciated in accordance with the teaching.
    Who is there for you who might set these [things] down for mortals by Good Mind?"
     
8   [Good Mind?: There is] this [one] found here for me who alone hears our [holy] teachings --
    Zarathustra Spitama: he wishes to recite [praises] for us and for Truth, O Wise One,
    If I shall give to him sweetness of voice."
     
9   And so the soul of the cow laments: "I who am to accept a powerless provider,
    A weak man's voice which I wish [to be] strong --
    When during my lifetime will he emerge, [the one] who lends to him a helping hand?"
     
10   [Zarathustra:] "O Lord, may you give strength to them2 through Truth,
    And that power, [which comes] through Good Mind, by which one may receive
          comfort and peace.
    For I myself, O Wise One, know You as the Primordial Provider of that."
     
11   [The Cow:] "Where are Truth, Good Mind, and [their] power? Know me,
          through the mortal one,3
    You, O Wise One, in Your concern for the great offering.
    Come down to us now, O Lord, on account of our gift for those like you."

Grammar

6. Short and Long i- and u-Stem Nouns

Nominal stems in short i and u take identical inflections in all cases of the masculine and feminine, and in the oblique cases of the neuter. Long - and -stems appear primarily in the feminine, with accusative singular rath- 'chariot' and instrumental singular and plural and genitive singular hiz- 'tongue' attested in the masculine.

6.1. i- and u-Stem Nouns, Masculine
Singular:   gairi- 'mountain'   mainyu- 'spirit'
Nom.   gairish   mainyush
Acc.   gairim   mainyush
Instr.   gair   mainy
Dat.   gairayi   mainyav, mainyavi
Abl.   gairot   mainyot
Gen.   gairoish   mainyush
Loc.   gair   mainyu
Voc.   gairiai   mainy
Dual:        
Nom.   gair   mainy
Acc.   gair   mainy
Instr/Dat/Abl.   gairiby   mainyubya
Gen.   unattested   mainivh
Loc.   unattested   mainivau
Plural:        
Nom.   gairayah, agairay   mainavah, mainav
Acc.   gairish   mainyush
Instr.   aspish   unattested
Dat/Abl.   gairiby   mainyubyah, mainyuby
Gen.   gairinm   mainyunm
Loc.   unattested   mainyushu
6.2. - and -Stem Nouns, Feminine
Singular:   vahv- 'good'   tan- 'body'
    (from msc. vohu-)    
Nom.   vanguh   tanush
Acc.   vanghm   tanvm
Instr.   vanghuy   tanv
Dat.   vanghuyi   tanvi
Gen.   vanghuy   tanuvah, tanuv
Voc.   *vanghv   unattested
Dual:        
Nom.   *vanghvish   unattested
Instr/Dat/Abl.   vanghuby   unattested
Plural:        
Nom.   *vanghvsh   tanuvah, tanuv
Acc.   *vanghvsh   *tanuvah, *tanuv
Dat.   *vanghuby   *tanuuby
Gen.   *vanghunm   *tanuunm
Loc.   unattested   tanushu
6.3. i- and u-Stem Nouns, Neuter
    buiri- 'richness'   vohu- 'good'
Nom.Acc.Voc. sg.pl.   buiri   vohu
7. Personal Pronouns

Pronominal forms abound in the Avestan language. The first and second person are unique, while the third person uses primarily the first of three third person pronominal stems. Both full and enclitic forms appear (on the use of clitics, cf. Section 15). The oblique cases of all personal pronouns form a suppletive system, i.e., they are based on a stem different than that of the nominative case.

7.1. First and Second Person Pronouns

The first and second person pronouns have no inherent gender, and no locative or vocative forms appear. Dual forms are rare. The azem- 'I' and tvm- 'you' paradigms are given here, with enclitic forms in parentheses.

Singular:   First Person   Second Person
Nom.   azm   tvm, tm4 (t)
Acc.   (m)   thm (thv)
Instr.   unattested   thv4
Dat.   mabya, mabyah (mai)   tabya, tabyah (tai)
Abl.   mat   that
Gen.   mana   tava (tai)
Plural:        
Nom.   vayam   yzham
Acc.   ahma   (vh)
Instr.   unattested   shm
Dat.   ahmabya (nah)   shmabhya, yushmabya (vah)
Abl.   ahmat   shmat, yushmat
Gen.   (nah)   (vah)
7.2. Third Person/Demonstrative Pronouns

The unique third person pronoun stems hi- and YAv. di- 'he, she, it' are found only as enclitic forms. The demonstrative pronoun ha- 'this', suppletive ta-, doubles as the standard third person pronoun 'he, she, it'.

Singular:   Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
Nom.   h   tat   h
Acc.   tm, (hm), YAv. (dim)   tat   tm, tm
Instr.   t   unattested   unattested
Dat/Gen.   OAv. (hoi), YAv.(he)   unattested   unattested
Dual:            
Nom/Acc/Voc.   t, (h)   unattested   unattested
Plural:            
Nom.   ti, ta   unattested   unattested
Acc.   tng, OAv. (hsh)   t   t
Instr.   tish   unattested   unattested
Dat/Abl.   taiby        
8. Athematic Presents and Ablaut

As noted in Lesson 1, verbs of the present system are based on various stems; thematic stems were discussed there. Five classes of athematic stems are attested, with grades that depend upon ablaut.

8.1. Athematic Classes

The root class stems add an ending directly to the verbal root, e.g. ahmi 'I am', first person singular present indicative active of ah 'be'. The root may appear in its strong or weak grade, depending on the verb's ablaut pattern, on which see Section 8.2 below.

The reduplicating class forms its stem by adding a reduplicated syllable to the beginning of a verbal root. For roots beginning in a consonant, the reduplication usually consists of that consonant plus a, a, i, or u. But if the initial consonant is velar, it is reduplicated with a corresponding palatal (cf. Lesson 1, Section 2 for lists of velars and palatals). For example, jigerez- > gerez. Further, when an original Proto-Indo-Iranian (PII) stop or s has changed in the Avestan, as e.g. *p > f and *s > h, the PII stop and the s are preserved in the root but changed in the reduplication. Thus, hishay- > shi, shay-.

The na- class and nu- class add a form of -na-/-na- or -nau-/-nu- to the root, according to ablaut pattern. A third nasal category, the infix class, has -na- inside the root.

Athematic Present Paradigms: ah 'be' and mr 'speak, say'

Indicative   Active   Middle
1 sg.   ahmi   mruyai
2 sg.   ahi   *mrushai
3 sg.   asti5   mritai, mruyai
         
1 pl.   mahi   mrmaide
2 pl.   st   unattested
3 pl.   henti   *mruvante
         
Imperative        
2 sg.   zdi   mridi
3 sg.   astu   mraot
         
2 pl.   unattested   mraota
3 pl.   hantu   mravtu
         
Subjunctive        
1 sg.   angh, *anhni   *mravi, mravne
3 sg.   anghat   unattested
         
1 pl.   nghm   unattested
3 pl.   anghen   mravaire
         
Optative        
2 sg.   hym   mruvisha
3 sg.   hyt   mruvt
8.2. Vowel Gradation

The Avestan verbal system exhibits evidence of vowel gradation, or ablaut, which occurred earlier in Proto-Indo-European. The vowel in either the root or suffix of a verbal stem may change depending on whether or not that syllable was stressed. When the vowel was stressed, its grade is strong or full. This strong grade is formed by adding a short -a- to the vowel. For example, the third person singular middle imperative of mru is mraot 'let him speak!', where u > o under the influence of added a. If the vowel was unstressed, the grade is weak and the vowel remains unchanged, as in the first person singular middle indicative mruyai 'I say', or it is reduced, as in the third person plural active frinenti 'they satisfy' from the stem frin-. (Here, the final of the stem is reduced to e before the ending is added.) Another example, from the nasal-infix class, may be even more clear: the third person singular active indicative vinasti 'he finds', from the root vid, vs. the third person singlar middle *vindatai 'they find.'

Verbs of the root class also fall into two sub-categories according to their ablaut pattern. Roots of this class having a static ablaut pattern always have the accent on the root, so the verb always appears with the root in the strong grade; roots having a changing, i.e., dynamic ablaut pattern appear in the strong grade in the singular indicative and injunctive active, in the active and middle subjunctive, and in the third person singular imperative active.

9. Causatives and Denominatives

A causative stem is formed by strengthening a root and adding the suffix -aya- to it. The endings of the present system are then added to complete the verb. As its name implies, the causative form changes a verb's meaning to convey the sense of causativity: e.g., vat, vatahi 'you understand' vs. vtayahi 'you cause to understand' = 'you explain'.

A denominative is a verbal stem formed by adding the suffix -ye- to a noun stem. Like the causative, it takes the endings of the present system: vra- msc. 'rain' > vrayemi 'I rain down'.

10. Adverbs, Prepositions, and Preverbs

Avestan adverbs can be analyzed into two types: those that are clearly derivative from inflectional forms, and those that are not.

10.1. Derived Adverbial Forms

The derivation of adverbs from adjectives or other parts of speech was not systematic in Avestan. Some are frozen inflectional forms.

Adverbs based on a-stems, h-stems, and t-stems may be accusative; e.g., arem 'correctly, properly', kh 'certainly' (?), and that 'then, again'.

Adverbs derived from a-stems and t-stems may be instrumental; e.g., t 'thus, in this way, therefore' and yavat 'insomuch as'.

Adverbs with ablative endings are based only on a-stems; e.g., asnt 'nearby'.

There is one locative adverb, durai 'far', with the ablative durt having similar meaning.

Derivative adverbs usually stand after the object of the verb that they modify; in a standard Subject-Object-Verb sentence, between the object and the main verb. This rule is not hard and fast, however.

10.2. Non-derivative Adverbs, including Prepositions and Preverbs

A number of adverbial forms do not appear to be derived from other parts of speech. These may be classed as to whether they function independently, or as prepositions and verbal prefixes.

Some examples of independent non-derivative adverbs include:

    vish visible, manifest
    azd certain
    k where
    n, nrm now

Some adverbs function as prepositions and verbal prefixes. The most common examples are as follows:

    Preposition or Verbal Prefix   Verbal Prefix   Preposition
    antar between   apa away   par before
    api toward   ni down    
    ava down   nish out    
    near, back   fra forth, toward    
    upa up to   vi apart    
    pati toward, against   ham together    
    pairi around        
    par away        

Non-derivative adverbs follow the word order of their derivative counterparts. Those functioning as prepositions and preverbs usually precede the word they modify. Preverbs may commonly be used as postpositions.

Footnotes

1   'Butter and milk' is a metaphor for 'strength and prosperity' often employed by Zarathustra.
2   Insler renders this 'to these mortals' and Humbach 'to those present,' suggesting a request on behalf of all men or just Zarathustra's audience, respectively. I leave the pronoun's reference open.
3   Zarathustra.
4   Young Avestan form.
5   The PII /s/ > Av. /h/ in most environments, but not in consonant clusters. Note here that the /m/ in first person ahmi is considered a resonant -- i.e. a sound that functions as a consonant when in a vocalic environment or a vowel when in a consonantal environment.