Talysh Language - Geography


In the north of Iran, there are 6 cities that speak Talyshi: Masal, Rezvanshar, Talesh, Fouman, Shaft and Masoleh (in these cities however some people also speak Gilaki and Turkish as well). However the only city whose people speak exclusively Talyshi is the township of Masal and Masouleh. In other cities, in addition to Talyshi language, people speak Gilaki and Azerbaijani. In Azerbaijan there are 8 cities were Talysh is spoken: Astara (79%), Lerik (49%), Lenkoran (35%), Masalli (30%), Belasuvar (24%), Nefchala (13%), Calilabad (9%) and Yardimli (4%).

Talyshi has been under the influence of Gilaki, Azeri Turkic and Persian. In the south (Taleshdula, Masal, Shanderman and Fumanat) Talyshis and Gilaks live side by side, however there are less evidences that a Talyshi family replace Gilaki with its own language. In this region the relation is more of a contribution to each other's language. In the north of Gilan, on the other hand, Azeri Turkic has replaced Talyshi in cities like Astara after the migration of Turkic speakers to the region since decades ago. However the people around Lavandvil and its mountainous regions has retained the language. Behzad Behzadi, the author of "Azerbaijani Persian Dictionary" remarks that: "The inhabitants of Astara are Talyshis and in fifty years ago (about 1953) that I remember the elders of our family spoke in that language and the great majority of dwellers also conversed in Talyshi. In the surrounding villages, a few were familiar with Turkic". From around Lisar up to Hashtpar, Azeri and Talyshi live side by side with the latter mostly spoken in small villages. To the south of Asalem the influence of Azeri is nearly disconnected and the tendency is towards Persian along Talyshi in cities. In Azerbaijan republic, Talyshi is less under the influence of Azeri and Russian than Talyshi in Iran is affected by Persian. Central Talyshi has been considered the purest of all Talyshi dialects.

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