Lori is genealogically classified as a southwest Iranian language. It is divided into a northern and a southern dialect group including many local dialects within both groups. Lori is spoken by c. 3 – 4 Mil. people in a large area of southwest Iran covering several Iranian provinces. Although many studies on Lori have already been published, reliable and comprehensive descriptions of most Lori dialects are still missing.
On the basis of published studies, and with the help of the documentation of three rather ‘conservative’ but yet understudied dialects (Bahma‘ī – region Likak, Mamasanī – region Nurabad and Rūmeškanī – region Ceghabal), we study the evolution and formation of Lori in historical linguistic terms. Thereby, we attempt to lay the foundation for a historical dialectology of Lori.
This includes the analysis of the separation of southwest Iranian languages from West Iranian and the later separation of Lori from Southwest Iranian. These separations happened continuously and started in the early 1st cent. BCE; they are still ongoing. Important preliminary studies exist on the separation of Lori from west Iranian. However, very few studies are available on the separation of Lori from southwest Iranian and its relation to other southwest Iranian languages and dialects, such as Persian and Fars dialects.
Also, internal Lori dialect distinctions have to be analysed, and also Lori’s close relation to its northern neighbours Laki and Kurdish. The latter seems to be more recent, and has to be studied separately from the innersouthwestern developments. All mentioned linguistic relations to Lori will be discussed in the context of cultural relations and historical developments.