Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Chorasmian, also known as Khwarezmian or Khwarazmian, is the name of an extinct northeastern Iranian language closely related to Sogdian. The language was spoken in the area of Chorasmian/Khwarazm on the northern banks of the river Jaxartes in Transoxiana (part of the modern Republic of Uzbekistan).
Our knowledge of Khwarezmian is limited to its Middle Iranian stage and much like Sogdian, we are not sure of its ancient form. Before the advancement of Islam in Transoxiana (early 8th century AD), Khwarezmian was written in a script close to that of Sogdian and Pahlavi with its roots in the Aramaic alphabet. From the few remaining pieces of this script (from coins and artifacts), we know that it included Ideograms or Hozvaresh.
After the advancement of Islam, Khwareazmian adapted a version of the Perso-Arabic alphabet with a few extra signs to reflect the specific Khwarezmian sounds such as 'ts' and 'dz'. A version of this script survives and is used by modern speakers of Pashtu.
Other than the astronomical terms used by Biruni, our other sources of Khwarezmian include Zamakhshari's Arabic-Persian-Khwarezmian dictionary and several legal texts that use Khwarezmian terms to explain certain legal concepts.
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