Scythian languages

The Scythian languages (/ˈsɪθiən/ or /ˈsɪðiən/ or /ˈskɪθiən/) are a group of Eastern Iranian languages of the classical and late antique period (the Middle Iranian period), spoken in a vast region of Eurasia by the populations belonging to the Scythian cultures and their descendants. The dominant ethnic groups among the Scythian-speakers were nomadic pastoralists of Central Asia and the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Fragments of their speech known from inscriptions and words quoted in ancient authors as well as analysis of their names indicate that it was an Indo-European language, more specifically from the Iranian group of Indo-Iranian languages.

The approximate distribution of Eastern Iranian languages in 100 BC appears in orange.[citation needed]
Native toSarmatia, Scythia, Sistan, Scythia Minor, Alania
RegionCentral Asia, Eastern Europe
EthnicityScythians, Sarmatians, and Alans
EraClassical antiquity, late antiquity
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
xsc  Scythian
xln  Alanian
oos  Old Ossetian
xsc Scythian
 xln Alanian
 oos Old Ossetian
Glottologoldo1234  Old Ossetic
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Most of the Scythian languages eventually became extinct, except for modern Ossetian (which descends from the Alanian dialect of Scytho-Sarmatian), Wakhi (which descends from the Khotanese and Tumshuqese forms of Scytho-Khotanese), and Yaghnobi (which descends from Sogdian). Alexander Lubotsky summarizes the known linguistic landscape as follows:[1]

Unfortunately, we know next to nothing about the Scythian of that period [Old Iranian] – we have only a couple of personal and tribal names in Greek and Persian sources at our disposal – and cannot even determine with any degree of certainty whether it was a single language.

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