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Sogdian language
One of the dead East Iranian languages, Sogdian was once spoken in ancient Sogdiana, the historical region along the upper Zeravshan river, having the center in Samarkand (then Marakanda). The region named Sogd is mentioned already in Avesta. By the 9th and 8th centures AD, when, as Chinese sources state, Sogdiana was powerful enough to control vast territories of east Cetral Asia, the most valuable written documents in Sogdian were created. At this time this language acted as official among many nations of the region. Later Sogdian was assimilated by classic Persian and mostly by languages of Turkish nomadic tribes.

The language of Sogdian documents represents the western dialects of the tongue, while the eastern branch gave birth to another Iranian language, Yagnobi, spoken nowadays. Sogdian phonetics showed 5 long and 5 short Indo-European vowels, also 2 pairs of diphthongs (ai, au), had the Indo-European schwa, 19 consonant sounds (while l was used only in loanwords, but absent in Sogdian words). The ancient combinations *ft, *ht became voiced bd, gd, which was common among some East Iranian speech.

The grammar, though simplified by new analytic forms, preserved many archaic features, existing in ancient inflected Proto-Indo-European language. Especially those inflections were strictly kept in verbs. A specific trait of Sogdian was losing or preserving the ending depending on the length of stem vowels.

Three varieties of Sogdian script go back to Aramaic alphabets.

Indo-European Tree