Linguistic dating

This distribution does not, however, represent distinct dialects, but rather regional varieties that had been spread widely and recently, due to the mobility of Persian-speaking Jewish merchants, scholars, and travelers of Sasanian and early Islamic times.

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In terms of age, quantity, and linguistic importance, the EJP variety comes next to ENP written in Arabic script; the Manichean and Christian varieties offer only a small number of short texts.

There was also an early Zoroastrian literature written in New Persian, written partly in Middle Persian and partly in Avestan script, of which there are left some substantial texts.

A further distinction may be made between a formative phase of ENP which lasted until the early/mid-11th century, when Persian had more or less attained the status of a language of literature, administration, and science, and the ENP of thriving classical literature between the mid-11th and early 13th century.

Even after the 13th century, Persian did not become fixed or standardized.

Henning, 1957) and a fragmentary letter from Dandan Öilïq probably from 760 (ed. Most other EJP documents are later, from the 10th century onwards; a large part of them originate from southwest Iran, but there are also substantial texts from northern regions, including recent finds from Afghanistan.

The few extant Manichean NP texts are from northeast Iran (the region of Samarkand?

Each text of each variety of ENP betrays dialectal features from the region where it was found or written, or from where the author originated.

The date of many of the Jewish, Manichean, Christian, and Zoroastrian NP texts is not exactly known; some of them may even postdate the 12th century, but due to the remoteness of their speakers from the development of mainstream (Muslim) Persian, they preserved linguistic features that had disappeared from the latter. The linguistic “value” that can be attributed to the various ENP texts and varieties depends, not only on the time when and the region where these texts were composed, but also on their transmission.

Hardly any ENP works written in Arabic script have come down to us in the form of an autograph, i.e., a manuscript written by the author himself.

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