Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Andrew M. Byrd

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Stump


The Proto-Indo-European causative/iterative suffix *-ei̯e- was inherited by Old Iranian and persists in almost all Middle and Modern Iranian languages as -aya- and -ēn- (-Vn-) respectively. Comparably, in the Indic branch -aya- functions as a causative suffix in Sanskrit beside another suffix -āpaya which became the productive causative suffix -āvē- in Middle Indic and still used in Modern Indic today. Evidence shows eight Eastern Iranian languages- †Khotanese, †Khwarazmian, Parachi, Wakhi, Munji, Pashto, Ormuri, and Yidgha- using the morphological causative suffix in addition to the expected Iranian one -aya- or -Vn-. This alternative causative suffix is reconstructible as *-au̯ai̯a- and its attested reflexes have the forms -VwV-, -Vv-, and -wV-. Moreover, in two dialects of the Northwestern Iranian language Gilaki, Dakhili and Langaroudi, the causative suffix is not -Vn- but is rather -be(ː)- in the present tense. In this study I examine the synchronic function of the Gilaki causative suffix -be(ː)- as well as its diachronic origins. I show that Gilaki -be(ː)- primarily functions as a causative suffix and that it is a form which cannot be explained as an innovation within Gilaki itself through phonological or analogical change. As a matter of fact, I demonstrate that this suffix is better explained as deriving from PIr.*-au̯ai̯a- and is connected to the aforementioned Eastern Iranian suffixes. I also argue the reason for realization of /p/ and */u̯/ in -āpaya and *-au̯ai̯a- is phonological and probably goes back to some stages of PIIr.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)