Semantic Changes of "Var / Bar"

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics Allame Tabataba’i Universiy

2 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Linguistics, Allame Tabataba’i Universiy


Some linguistic forms may become polysemous through language changes and lose their core meaning. Sometimes these forms may stay as relics in different constructions and their core meaning is not understandable without historical studies. In Persian language, “var / bar” means “side, beside”. “var / bar” has been varah- in Avestan language, and "war" in Middle Persian, which used to mean "chest". In Dari Persian (prose and poetry in  the Islamic era), meaning of "bar" has changed to "embrace, side, beside, in somebody’s presence" and also "front" through broadening and metonymy. Today, “var / bar” is used to construct words such as “barobazu” (shoulders and arm), baroru (face)" and phrases such “dar bar dâštan” (include), and although it is morphologically distinguishable for Persian speakers, it is semantically opaque. These compounds and syntactic structures are in primary stages of lexicalization in Persian. In “vare dele kasi nešastan” (being with someone), “var” is a preposition and its grammaticalization process is in intermediate stage.


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Volume 9, Issue 2
January 2019
Pages 89-107
  • Receive Date: 03 March 2018
  • Revise Date: 20 May 2018
  • Accept Date: 28 July 2018
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2018