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Old Iranian Online

Lesson 6: Young Avestan

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

Reading and Textual Analysis

This hymn glorifies Haoma -- on the one hand a yellow, milky liquid, on the other a priest serving Mithra. Highly prominent in the Rigveda as Soma, he is described in stanzas 88 to 90 of the Hymn to Mithra as a "healer, beautiful, majestic and golden-eyed, worshipped on the highest peak of Hara the high, ...whom Ahura Mazda installed as promptly-sacrificing, loud-chanting priest. He was the first mortar-priest to elevate the star-decked, supernaturally fashioned Haoma-stalks on the high Hara" (Gershevich 1967: 115-117). This hymn praises the liquid, its source in the mountains, and its effects. The Rigvedic hymn to Soma, 8:48, is laudatory, as in the first stanza followed by fourteen more: "I have partaken wisely of the sweet food that stirs good thoughts, best banisher or care, to which all gods and mortals, calling it honey, come together" (Macdonell 1917:155). Presumably created as stated here by a god, it may have been a center of worship already in Indo-Iranian, possibly even in Indo-European, times. Many attempts have been made to identify its source. According to some it was the juice of the rhubarb whose leaves turn yellow; to others, it was some kind of honey mead. But neither identification seems to accord with the description in this hymn, where it is a liquid that is derived from a plant pressed between two stones, and neither suggestion is likely for an intoxicating liquid with healing properties. With no historical record of its role in either Indian or Iranian worship, we can do little but interpret the words of the hymns.

2 - frataremcit t havanem vaca upa-staomi huxratv y sush haneurvayeiti uparemcit t havanem vaca upa-staomi huxratv yahmi nighne narsh aojanha

  • frataremcit -- adverb; <fratarem> 'opposite' + indefinite marker; <cit> gives indefinite or emphatic sense -- lower
  • t -- enclitic pronoun; genitive singular <tvm-> 'you' -- your
  • havanem -- noun; accusative singular masculine <havana-> 'pressing stone' -- pressing stone
  • vaca -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <vacah-> 'speech, word' -- with speech
  • upa-staomi -- verbal prefix; <upa> 'near, up on/to, etc.' + verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- I praise
  • huxratv -- prefix; <hu> 'well, good, beautiful' + noun; vocative singular masculine <xratu-> 'will, intention, vision' -- O you who are filled with inspiration
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • sush -- noun; accusative plural masculine <ahu-> 'existence, life, breath' -- forces of life
  • haneurvayeiti -- verbal prefix; <ham> 'together' + 3rd person singular present indicative active causative <ru> 'flow' -- presses together
  • uparemcit -- adverb; <uparem> 'above' + indefinite marker; <cit> gives indefinite or emphatic sense -- upper
  • t -- enclitic pronoun; genitive singular <tvm-> 'you' -- your
  • havanem -- noun; accusative singular masculine <havana-> 'pressing stone' -- pressing stone
  • vaca -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <vacah-> 'speech, word' -- with speech
  • upa-staomi -- verbal prefix; <upa> 'near, up on/to, etc.' + verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- I praise
  • huxratv -- prefix; <hu> 'well, good, beautiful' + noun; vocative singular masculine <xratu-> 'will, intention, vision' -- O you who are filled with inspiration
  • yahmi -- relative pronoun; locative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- with which
  • nighne -- verbal prefix; <ni> 'down' + verb; 1st person singular present indicative middle <gan> 'smite, strike' -- pound
  • narsh -- noun; nominative singular masculine <nar-> 'man' -- a man
  • aojanha -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <aogah-> 'power, strength' -- forcefully

3 - staomi maghemca vremca y-t kehrpem vaxshayat barshnush paiti gairinm staomi garay berezant yathra haoma urrudhusha

  • staomi -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- I praise
  • maghemca -- noun; accusative singular masculine <magha-> 'cloud' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- both the cloud
  • vremca -- noun; accusative singular masculine <vra-> 'rain' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and the rain
  • y-t -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' + enclitic pronoun; genitive singular <tvm-> 'you' -- by which you acquire
  • kehrpem -- noun; accusative singular feminine <kehrp-> 'form, body, outward appearance' -- bodily form
  • vaxshayat -- present participle active; accusative plural masculine <vaxshaya-> 'cause to grow' -- causing growth
  • barshnush -- noun; accusative plural masculine <barshnu-> 'high point, peak' -- the peaks
  • paiti -- preposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- around
  • gairinm -- noun; genitive plural masculine <gairi-> 'mountain' -- of mountains
  • staomi -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- I praise
  • garay -- noun; accusative plural masculine <gairi-> 'mountain' -- the mountains
  • berezant -- present participle active; accusative plural masculine <berez-> 'be high, elevated' -- high
  • yathra -- adverb; <yathra> 'where, in order to' -- where
  • haoma -- noun; vocative singular masculine ' <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- O Haoma
  • urrudhusha -- perfect active participle; instrumental singular masculine <raod> 'grow, sprout' -- with growth

4 - staomi zm perethvm pathanm verezyanxvm xvparm barethrm t haoma ashum staomi zem yathra raodhahe hubaoidhish aurv carnem uta mazd huruthma haoma raose gara paiti

  • staomi -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- I praise
  • zm -- noun; accusative singular feminine <zam-> 'earth, ground' -- the earth
  • perethvm -- adjective; accusative singular feminine <perethu-> 'wide, broad' -- broad
  • pathanm -- adjective; accusative singular feminine <pathana-> 'spacious' -- vast
  • verezyanxvm -- adjective; accusative singular feminine <verezyah-> 'working, productive' -- fertile
  • xvparm -- prefix; <hu> 'well, good, beautiful' + adverb; <param> 'far, away, opposite, across' -- far and wide
  • barethrm -- noun; accusative singular feminine <barethri-> 'mother, womb' -- womb
  • t -- enclitic pronoun; genitive singular <tvm-> 'you' -- your
  • haoma -- noun; vocative singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- O Haoma
  • ashum -- noun; accusative singular feminine <ashavan-> '(in accordance with) Truth' -- noble
  • staomi -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- I praise
  • zem -- noun; genitive singular feminine <zam-> 'earth, ground' -- of the earth
  • yathra -- adverb; <yathra> 'where, in order to' -- where
  • raodhahe -- verb; 2nd person singular present indicative middle <raod> 'grow, sprout' -- you grow
  • hubaoidhish -- prefix; <hu> 'well, good, beautiful' + noun; nominative singular masculine <baoidhi-> 'smell' -- fragrant
  • aurv -- noun; vocative singular masculine <aurvant-> 'swift, runner, steed' -- O swift
  • carnem -- noun; accusative singular neuter <carana-> 'moving, feet, support' -- mountain
  • uta -- conjunction; <uta> 'and' -- and
  • mazd -- noun; genitive singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- wisdom
  • huruthma -- prefix; <hu> 'well, good, beautiful' + noun; nominative singular masculine <ruthma-> 'growth, increase' -- increase
  • haoma -- noun; vocative singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- O Haoma
  • raose -- verb; 2nd person singular aorist subjunctive middle <raod> 'grow, sprout' -- may you grow
  • gara -- noun; locative singular masculine <gairi-> 'mountain' -- upon that mountain
  • paiti -- preposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- ...

5 - varedhayanuha mana vaca vspsca paiti varshajsh vspsca paiti frasparegh vspsca paiti fravxsh

  • varedhayanuha -- verb; 2nd person singular present imperative middle <verez> 'do, make, perform' -- may you grow
  • mana -- personal pronoun; instrumental singular masculine <azem-> 'I' -- my
  • vaca -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <vacah-> 'speech, word' -- through words
  • vspsca -- adjective; locative singular masculine <vspa-> 'all, every' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and every
  • paiti -- preposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- ...
  • varshajsh -- noun; locative singular masculine <varshak-> 'root, tree' -- in root
  • vspsca -- adjective; locative singular masculine <vspa-> 'all, every' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and every
  • paiti -- preposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- ...
  • frasparegh -- noun; locative singular masculine <frasparak-> 'sprout' -- in sprout
  • vspsca -- adjective; locative singular masculine <vspa-> 'all, every' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and every
  • paiti -- preposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- ...
  • fravxsh -- noun; locative singular masculine <fravxsh-> 'stalk, branch, penis' -- branch

6 - haom uxshyeiti stavan ath n y dim staoiti verethrajstar bavaiti nitemacit haoma hitish nitemacit haoma stitish nitemacit haoma xvareitish hazanraghnyi asti davanm

  • haom -- noun; nominative singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- Haoma
  • uxshyeiti -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative passive <vaxsh> 'grow' -- grows
  • stavan -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <stavana-> 'praising, being praised' -- when praised
  • ath -- adverb; <ath> 'so, thus, likewise' -- so
  • n -- enclitic personal pronoun; instrumental singular masculine <azem-> 'I' -- we
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • dim -- personal pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- him
  • staoiti -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- would praise
  • verethrajstar -- noun; <verethra-> 'attack, victory' + root noun; <gan-> 'slayer' + comparative suffix; nominative singular masculine <-tara-> 'more, better' -- more victorious fighters
  • bavaiti -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <bu> 'be, become' -- become
  • nitemacit -- adjective; <nitema-> 'lowest' + indefinite marker; <cit> gives indefinite or emphatic sense -- even the lightest
  • haoma -- noun; vocative singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- O Haoma
  • hitish -- noun; nominative singular feminine <hiti-> 'pressure' -- touch
  • nitemacit -- adjective; <nitema-> 'lowest' + indefinite marker; <cit> gives indefinite or emphatic sense -- even the faintest
  • haoma -- noun; vocative singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- O Haoma
  • stitish -- noun; nominative singular feminine <stiti-> 'song of praise, prayer' -- praise
  • nitemacit -- adjective; <nitema-> 'lowest' + indefinite marker; <cit> gives indefinite or emphatic sense -- even the smallest
  • haoma -- noun; vocative singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- O Haoma
  • xvareitish -- noun; nominative singular feminine <xvareiti-> 'nourishment' -- sip
  • hazanraghnyi -- adjective; <hazara-> 'thousand' + noun; <ganya-> 'slaying, killing, destroying' -- for the sake of death by the thousands
  • asti -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active <ah-> 'be, become' -- is
  • davanm -- noun; genitive plural masculine <dava-> 'divine being' -- of daevas

7 - nasyeiti hathra frkeresta ahmat hac nmnt hitish yathra bdha upzaiti yathra bdha upstaoiti haomahe bashazyehe cithrem bashazem

  • nasyeiti -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active <nas> 'be lost, disappear' -- disappears
  • hathra -- adverb; <hathra> 'together, at the same place/time' -- straight away
  • frkeresta -- verbal prefix; <fra> 'forward, toward' + past participle passive; instrumental singular masculine <kar> 'do, make' -- by means of the prepared
  • ahmat -- adverb; <ahmat> 'henceforth' -- forever
  • hac -- adposition; <hac> 'from, out of' -- from
  • nmnt -- noun; ablative singular neuter <nmna-> 'abode, house' -- the house
  • hitish -- noun; nominative singular feminine <hiti-> 'defilement, pollution -- corruption
  • yathra -- conjunction; <yathra> 'where, in order to' -- wherein
  • bdha -- adverb; <bdha> 'true, reliable' -- always
  • upzaiti -- verbal prefix; <upa> 'near, up on/to, etc.' + verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <zan> 'bear, give birth' -- one would bear up
  • yathra -- conjunction; <yathra> 'where, in order to' -- wherein
  • bdha -- adverb; <bdha> 'true, reliable' -- always
  • upstaoiti -- verbal prefix; <upa> 'near, up on/to, etc.' + verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <stu> 'praise, laud, extol, celebrate' -- one would extol
  • haomahe -- noun; genitive singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- of Haoma
  • bashazyehe -- adjective; genitive singular masculine <bashazya-> 'generative, curative' -- restorative
  • cithrem -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <cithrem> 'manifest, clear, visible, plain' -- manifest
  • bashazem -- noun; accusative singular neuter <bashaza-> 'remedy, poison' -- healing property

8 - vspe z any maidhynh ashma hacinte xrvm-drv at h y haomahe madh asha hacaite

  • vspe -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <vspa-> 'all, every' -- all
  • z -- emphatic particle; <zi> 'for, indeed' -- for
  • any -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <anya-> 'other' -- other
  • maidhynh -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <maidhyah-> 'madness-inducing' -- intoxicants
  • ashma -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <ashma-> 'anger, fury, wrath' -- madness
  • hacinte -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative middle <hak> 'instigate, strive for' -- with instrumental 'go after, follow, partake of' -- brings on
  • xrvm-drv -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <xrvi-> 'bloody' + noun; genitive singular masculine <drav-> 'wood' -- of the bloody club # The compound is formulaic; the accusative singular declension of the first member is clearly a grammatical error.
  • at -- adverb; <at> 'then, thereupon, therefore, and, but' -- but
  • h -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- that
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • haomahe -- noun; genitive singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- belongs to Haoma
  • madh -- noun; nominative singular masculine <madha-> 'intoxication' -- intoxication
  • asha -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' -- Truth
  • hacaite -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative middle <hak> 'instigate, strive for' -- with instrumental 'go after, follow, partake of' -- bring about

10 - aurvantem thw dmidhtem bagh tatashat xvp aurvantem thw dmidhtem bagh nidathat xvp haraithy paiti barezay

  • aurvantem -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <aurvant-> 'swift, runner, steed' -- swift steed
  • thw -- personal pronoun; accusative singular masculine <tvm-> 'you' -- you
  • dmidhtem -- noun; <dmi-> 'creation' + past participle passive; accusative singular masculine <d-> 'give, put' -- given to creation
  • bagh -- noun; nominative singular masculine <bagha-> 'god, deity' -- the god
  • tatashat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <tas> 'carve, create, fashion, shape' -- created
  • xvp -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <xvapah-> 'dream-like' -- inspired
  • aurvantem -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <aurvant-> 'swift, runner, steed' -- swift steed
  • thw -- personal pronoun; accusative singular masculine <tvm-> 'you' -- you
  • dmidhtem -- noun; <dmi-> 'creation' + past participle passive; accusative singular masculine <d-> 'give, put' -- given to creation
  • bagh -- noun; nominative singular masculine <bagha-> 'god, deity' -- the god
  • nidathat -- verbal prefix; <ni> 'down' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <d-> 'give, put' -- set down
  • xvp -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <xvapah-> 'dream-like' -- inspired
  • haraithy -- noun; genitive singular feminine <harait-> name of a mountain -- on Haraiti
  • paiti -- preposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- ...
  • barezay -- adjective; genitive singular feminine <barez> 'high, exalted, loud' -- high

11 - at thw athra spenta fradaxshta meregha vzxvanca vbaren

  • at -- adverb; <at> 'then, thereupon, therefore, and, but' -- then
  • thw -- personal pronoun; accusative singular masculine <tvm-> 'you' -- you
  • athra -- indeclinable; <athra> 'here, there' -- there
  • spenta -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <spenta-> 'beneficent, holy, sacred' -- beneficent
  • fradaxshta -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <fradaxsht-> 'guiding, instructive' -- tutelary
  • meregha -- noun; nominative plural masculine <meregha-> 'forest animal, bird' -- birds
  • vzxvanca -- adverb; <vzxvanca> 'in every direction' (?) -- in every direction
  • vbaren -- verbal prefix; <vi> 'wide, apart' + verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative <bar> 'bear, carry' -- carried off

12 - at xva paurvatxva pouru-saredh vraodhahe haom gaoma zairi-gaon -t bashaza irrathare vanghush manangh

  • at -- adverb; <at> 'then, thereupon, therefore, and, but' -- and
  • xva -- indeclinable; <athra> 'here, there' -- there
  • paurvatxva -- noun; accusative plural neuter (?) <paurvat-> 'mountain' + demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter (?) <hva-> 'this' -- on those mountains
  • pouru-saredh -- adjective; <pouru-> 'many' + noun; nominative singular masculine <saredha-> 'kind, sort, species' -- have many varieties
  • vraodhahe -- verbal prefix; <vi> 'wide, apart' + verb; 2nd person singular present indicative middle <raod> 'grow, sprout' -- you spread out
  • haom -- noun; nominative singular masculine <haoma-> plant whose juice was used as a ritual intoxicant -- Haoma
  • gaoma -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <gaoman-> 'possessed of milk' -- milky
  • zairi-gaon -- adjective; <zairi-> 'yellow' + noun; nominative singular masculine <gaona-> 'hair' -- yellow-haired
  • -t -- preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' + enclitic pronoun; <tvm-> 'you' -- your
  • bashaza -- noun; accusative plural neuter <bashaza-> 'remedy, poison' -- invigorating juices
  • irrathare -- verb; 3rd person plural perfect indicative active <ratha-> 'rush upon, mix with' -- overflow
  • vanghush -- adjective; genitive singular masculine <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manangh -- noun; genitive singular masculine <manah-> 'mind' -- (for those) of mind

Lesson Text

2 frataremcit t havanem vaca upa-staomi huxratv y sush haneurvayeiti uparemcit t havanem vaca upa-staomi huxratv yahmi nighne narsh aojanha 3 staomi maghemca vremca y-t kehrpem vaxshayat barshnush paiti gairinm staomi garay berezant yathra haoma urrudhusha 4 staomi zm perethvm pathanm verezyanxvm xvparm barethrm t haoma ashum staomi zem yathra raodhahe hubaoidhish aurv carnem uta mazd huruthma haoma raose gara paiti 5 varedhayanuha mana vaca vspsca paiti varshajsh vspsca paiti frasparegh vspsca paiti fravxsh 6 haom uxshyeiti stavan ath n y dim staoiti verethrajstar bavaiti nitemacit haoma hitish nitemacit haoma stitish nitemacit haoma xvareitish hazanraghnyi asti davanm 7 nasyeiti hathra frkeresta ahmat hac nmnt hitish yathra bdha upzaiti yathra bdha upstaoiti haomahe bashazyehe cithrem bashazem 8 vspe z any maidhynh ashma hacinte xrvm-drv at h y haomahe madh asha hacaite 10 aurvantem thw dmidhtem bagh tatashat xvp aurvantem thw dmidhtem bagh nidathat xvp haraithy paiti barezay 11 at thw athra spenta fradaxshta meregha vzxvanca vbaren 12 at xva paurvatxva pouru-saredh vraodhahe haom gaoma zairi-gaon -t bashaza irrathare vanghush manangh

Translation

2 I praise with speech, O you who are filled with inspiration, your lower pressing stone, which presses together the forces of life. I praise with speech, O you who are filled with inspiration, your upper pressing stone, with which I, a man, pound forcefully.
3 I praise both the cloud and the rain by which you acquire bodily form, causing [your] growth around the peaks of mountains. I praise the high mountains where, O Haoma, [you are infused] with growth.
4 Far and wide I praise the earth -- broad, vast, fertile -- [that is] your noble womb, O Haoma. I praise the earth's mountain where, O swift [intoxicant?], you grow fragrant. And [thus] may you grow upon that mountain, O Haoma, [bringing] the increase of wisdom...
5 Through my words may you grow in every root, every sprout, and every branch.
6 When praised, Haoma grows, so we who would praise Him become more victorious fighters. Even the lightest touch, O Haoma, even the faintest praise, O Haoma, even the smallest sip, O Haoma, is [carried out] for the sake of deaths by the thousands of daevas.
7 By means of the prepared [stalk], corruption disappears forever from the house wherein one would always bear up, wherein one would always extol, the manifest healing property of restorative Haoma.
8 For all other intoxicants bring on the madness of a bloody club, but that intoxication which belongs to Haoma brings about the Truth...
10 Inspired, the god created you, a swift steed given to creation. Inspired, the god set you down on high Haraiti, a swift steed given to creation.
11 Then the tutelary birds there carried you off in every direction...
12 And there on those mountains you, the milky, yellow-haired Haoma, are spread out. Your invigorating juices overflow for those of good mind.

Grammar

26. Root Nouns and Sibilant-Stems

Avestan exhibits a class of root nouns to whose endings an inflection is added directly. Root nouns appear in all three genders, with masculine and neuter declensions that vary only slightly. The feminine stem adds the final vowel and declines accordingly.

Neuter nouns in h are also found, deriving from Proto-Indo-Iranian s-stems, which some phonological contexts preserve (e.g., manah nominative singular 'mind', but manas ca 'and mind'). Such nouns are commonly, though not necessarily, root nouns, and thus decline similarly, but nasalizing the stem's final syllable in strong cases. Adjectival forms appear, as do perfect active participles in vah and comparatives in yah. These decline in all three genders according to the root noun paradigm, excepting the nominative singular which lengthens the vowel in the final syllable (e.g., sumanh 'having a good mind').

26.1. Root Nouns, Masculine and Feminine
Singular:   druj- 'deceit'
Nom.   druxsh
Acc.   drujem
Instr.   *druj
Dat.   *druji
Gen.   drujah, druj
Loc.   *druji
Plural:    
Nom.   *drujah, *druj
Acc.   *drujah, *druj
Instr.   *drugbish
Dat/Abl.   *drugbyah
Gen.   *drujm
Loc.   *druju
26.2. h-Stem Nouns, Neuter
Singular:   manah- 'mind'
Nom.   manah, man
Acc.   mananhem
Instr.   mananh
Dat.   mananhai
Abl.   mananhat
Gen.   mananhah, mananh
Loc.   manahi
Dual:    
Nom/Acc/Voc.   mananha, mananh
Gen.   mananh
Plural:    
Nom/Voc.   mananhah, mananh
Acc.   mananhah, mananh
Instr.   manahbish
Dat/Abl.   manahbbyah, manahby
Gen.   manahm
Loc.   manahu, manahva
27. The Future Passive Particple and the Infinitive

27.1 Avestan builds a future passive participle, or gerundive, by adding the suffix -tva or -ya directly to the root and declining accordingly. The form may be translated as 'to be done' (e.g., varya- 'the thing to be chosen' or 'the right choice'), or more fluidly (e.g., aujya- 'praiseworthy').

27.2 An infinitive is a verbal noun expressing tenseless action as an abstract concept. For example, in the English sentence "I want to read Avestan texts," the infinitive 'to read' -- a generalized action that takes place at no particular time -- is the object of the verb. Avestan forms its infinitive by adding one of a number of consonantal or syllabic endings to a present or aorist stem, and occasionally to a desiderative (see Section 28); this new stem is then declined as a dative singular masculine. Since the dative form is consistent, it may be easier to think of infinitive endings as a set of suffixes added to a verbal stem: -dyai, -ai, -tai, -hai, -sai, manai, and vai.

Some examples:

dar   'hold, support'   drdyai   present stem
p   'protect'   pai   present stem
gam   'go'   gatai   present stem
vac   'speak, say'   vaucahai   thematic aorist stem
debz   'support'   dibzadyai   desiderative stem

A rare nominative singular infinitive form in -h is also found; e.g., ava 'help', avah 'to help'.

28. The Future Tense and Derivative Conjugations
28.1. Future Tense as Action

The future tense conveys action that will occur some time after the speaker verbalizes it. As with the present tense, it may be translated using either a general sense, as in "Very soon Zarathustra will sing," or with a continuous sense, "At noon, Zarathustra will be singing."

Though rare in Old Avestan, which typically uses a subjunctive form to express future time, the future tense becomes somewhat more frequent in the younger language. Stems of the future system are built very simply by adding either -hya- or -sya- to a verbal root, which is usually found in its middle grade. The stems take primary endings.

Future Paradigms: vac- 'speak, say'

    Active   Middle
1 sg.   vaxshmi, vaxsh (Gathic only)   unattested
3 sg.   unattested   vaxshete
         
3 pl.   unattested   vaxshente
28.2. Future Active and Middle Participles

Future active and middle participles are formed by adding -ant- and -amna- or -ana-, respectively, to the future stem. The form is relatively rare, though found based on several roots. E.g., saushyant- '(the one who) will be saving', or 'savior', from s 'save'.

28.3. Causatives, Desideratives, and Intensives

Several verbal forms that can appear in any tense are derived by augmenting a stem to form a distinctive base. Causatives, desideratives, and intensives are seen.

The causative is formed by adding the suffix -aya- to the stem in its strongest grade: tap 'be hot', present stem tpaya- 'cause to be hot', 'heat'; var 'believe', aorist stem vauraya- 'cause to believe', 'convince'.

The desiderative is formed by reduplicating the root and adding the suffix -sa: ji 'conquer', jijisha- 'desires to conquer'. With a few exceptions, the form is confined to the present stem, appearing in various roots in the indicative, imperative, and subjunctive moods, as well as the participle.

The intensive is formed differently for thematic and athematic roots. Both are reduplicated. Thematic roots and their reduplication take their strongest grade; athematic roots appear in the weak grade, with the reduplicated syllable in the middle: thematic dis 'show', daidais- and athematic kar 'do, make', karker. As the name suggests, the form is translated to convey an intensified or urgent sense.

29. Avestan Texts, Grammars, and Dictionaries

A compact survey of handbooks on the texts and other works on the Iranian languages is "The Iranian Languages," by Nicholas Sims-Williams, in The Indo-European Languages, ed. by Anna Giacalone Ramat and Paolo Ramat (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), pp. 125-153. It includes numerous references. Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, ed. by Rüdiger Schmitt (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1989) provides a fuller survey of the field, including essays by Manfred Mayrhofer on the pre-history of the Iranian languages (pp. 4-24, in German), by Jean Kellens on Avestan (pp. 32-55, in French), and by Schmitt on Old Persian (pp. 56-85, in German), among many others. And the Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, vols. I and II, ed. by Wilhelm Geiger and Ernst Kuhn (Strassburg: Trübner, 1895-1904) is still worth consulting.

Among works on the texts, The Gathas of Zarathustra by Stanley Insler (Leiden: Brill, 1975) provides translations as well as commentary. The Gathas of Zarathushtra and Other Old Avestan Texts, by Helmut Humbach (2 vols., Heidelberg: Winter), is more inclusive. See also The Avestan Hymn to Mithra, by Ilya Gershevitch (Cambridge University Press, 1967); and Avesta: The Sacred Books of the Parsis by Karl F. Geldner (3 vols., Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1886-1896), with the text in the original script, is still considered the standard edition. The standard grammar, if limited to phonology and morphology, is An Avestan grammar in comparison with Old Indian. Part I, Phonology, Inflection, Word-formation, with an introduction to the Avesta by A. V. Williams Jackson (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1892). Jackson also published A Short Grammar of Old Persian (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1936). More recent works are A Grammar of Gatha-Avestan, by Robert S. P. Beekes (Leiden: Brill, 1988) and Avestische Laut- und Flexionslehre, by Karl Hoffmann and Bernhard Forssman (Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck, 1996).

The standard dictionary is Altiranisches Wörterbuch, by Christian Bartholomae (Strassburg: Trübner, 1904).

30. The Avestan Legacy

The Old Persian materials, which will be taken up in the next lesson, are of primary interest for their historical and linguistic information. By contrast, the Avestan texts, which provide the works of Zoroaster, have given rise to a massive set of publications; they are also the basis of the present-day Parsee religion. A work devoted to the figure himself is A. V. Williams Jackson's Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancient Iran (New York, 1899). A broader work is The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, by R. C. Zachner (1961).