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Milad Abedi

Milad Abedi, M.A.

  • SNF-Projektangestellter
  • Doktorand Linguistik


2020–Present PhD candidate in linguistics, Co-tutuelle University of Zurich and Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, Paris.
Provisional thesis title: “The cultural history of Sino-Iranian lexical contacts”, Supervisors: Prof. Paul Widmer, Prof. Wolfgang Behr, and Prof. Agnes Korn (CNRS)
2015–2019 MA in ancient languages and cultures of Iran, Allameh Tabataba'i University (ATU), Tehran
Thesis title: “Language contact between Elamites and Persians based on the inscriptions of Naqsh-e Rostam” (Highest distinction)
Supervisors: Prof. Henkelman (EPHE) Prof. Monshizadeh (ATU), and Prof. Changizi (ATU)
2010–2015 BSc in cellular-molecular biology, Islamic Azad University, Tehran

Academic Experiences

2020–Present SNSF project “Sino-Indo-Iranica rediviva – Early Eurasian migratory terms in Chinese and their cultural implications”. Here I am responsible for investigating possible Iranian backgrounds of loanwords in Chinese.
2019–2022 Editor of “PAHLAVICA”, an online glossary for Zoroastrian Middle Persian from PIE to New Persian
2019–June Visiting scholar at Freie Universität Berlin
2018–2019 Student assistant at the ATU Department of Linguistics
2017–2018 President of the ATU Student Association for Linguistics

Research Interests

Language contact in Ancient Iran (Elamite-Iranian language contact, Sino-Iranian lexical contact, Middle Persian-Arabic lexical contact, Greek-Iranian lexical contact, Persian-Turkish language contact), Ancient Iranian manuscripts (Pahlavi, Avestan, and classical Persian), Historical grammar of Persian, Old Persian, Zoroastrian Middle Persian, Avestan, Classical Persian literature and poetry, cuneiform epigraphy, language documentation and dialectology



‘‘Iranian terms for footwear and their naming motivation’’, Silk Road Conference, National Tsing Hua University, Hinchu, Taiwan, December 1st.

‘‘Donkey-eared or Rabbit-eared, that’s the question – Trans-Himalayan zoonyms as seen in relation with their neighbouring languages’’, (joint presentation with Samira Müller), 55th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL-55), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, September 15th.

‘‘A new perspective on a supposed sound change between Middle and New Persian’’, The 34th Deutsche Orientalistentag, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany, September 14th.

‘‘The Emergence of Arabic Scientific Terminology at the Eastern Contact Zone: Calque and Loanword in Early ʿAbbāsid Time (750–861CE)’’, (Joint presentation with Johannes Thomann), the third conference of Doha historical dictionary of the Arabic language, Doha Institute of higher education, Doha, Qatar, May 10th.


“Secondary kinship terms: an investigation from Indo-European to New Iranian languages and dialects”, (joint presentation with Mohsen Mahmoudi), Fourth International Conference of Languages and Dialects of Iran, Tehran, Iran, March 5th.


“Later phase of language contact between Old Persian and Achaemenid Elamite”, International Colloquium on Loanwords and Substrata in Indo-European languages, University of Limoges, Limoges, France, June 7th.


‘‘Three Pahlavi diacritics and their significance in research and instruction,’’, The international conference of linguistics Heritage, Tehran, Iran, October 20th.

Courses currently taught at the University of Zurich



Start / End





Zoroastrian Middle Persian (Pahlavi) I: A Course on Language, Script, and Pre- Islamic Iran

from 25.02.2022

to 03.06.2022

Tue 12:15-13:45, Thu 10:15-12:00

Milad Abedi




from 23.02.2021

to 01.06.2021

Tue 16:15-18:00

Prof. Paul Widmer

Milad Abedi


Selected Lectures


‘‘Following the donkey’s trail: A linguistic and archaeological study on the introduction of domestic donkeys to China’’ (joint presentation with Wolfgang Behr, Samira Müller, and Patrick Wertmann) in Before the Golden Peaches: Fresh Perspectives on Early Eurasian Exchanges, University of Zurich, Switzerland, June 1st.


‘‘Migrating lexical terms and Sino-Iranian lexical contacts’’, in Hellenistic Central Asia Research Network, online, June 9th.


“Introduction to the Old Persian language and its epigraphy”, Seventh Iranian Summer School for Linguistics, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran, September 7th.


‘‘The history of Avestan studies’’, Centre for translation, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran, December 19th.

Selected Publications



‘‘Pahlavi tōšn (tušn) in Denkard VII’’, (Joint publication with Amir Zamani), in Asiatische Studien.


‘‘Secondary kinship terms a lexical analysis from Indo-European to new Iranian’’, (joint publication with Mohsen Mahmoodi), in Iranian Studies Series, Vol. 5, 419-458, Encyclopedia of the Great Islam, Tehran.


‘‘The Survey of two Metonymic phrases of Achaemenid Elamite’’, (joint publication with Sina Abbaslou), in Journal of Ancient Culture and Languages, 2(2):45-54.


‘‘On the later phase of Elamite-Iranian language contact’’, in: Garnier, Romain. Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, 1-25, Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck.


“A Newly Discovered Old Persian Inscription in Russia” in Gozare, 2: 70-73.

Book reviews


“A grammar of Old Persian: a review of Changizi’s book”, in Gozare, 4: 122-129.


“The Elamite version of Darius the Great’s inscription at Bisotun: a review of Aliyari’s book” in Gozare, 1: 54-55.



“Annual Report of the Linguistic Association of Allameh Tabataba'i University” in Gozare 3: 6-9.


“The Report of the Eleventh Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics” in Gozare, 2: 57-62.

Media contributions

Newspaper notes


“To the Memory of Prof. Samareh” in Iran Newspaper, Tehran, No. 7022, 14 March.


‘‘To the Memory of Prof. Helmut Humbach” in Iran Newspaper, Tehran, No. 6470, 15 April.


“Review of the First biennial Conference on Ancient Iranian Languages” in Iran Newspaper, Tehran, No.6506, 28 May.


“To the Memory of Prof. Beekes” in Iran Newspaper, Tehran, No.6603, 25 September.

Article cited in Newspaper


‘‘The diachronic dictionary of the Arabic language’’, in Al-Arabi Newspaper Wednesday, May 11 th , London, UK, 2022. Cited Abedi & Thomann (2022).



‘‘Biweekly live radio lessons on Shahnameh, the emergence of the Persian language, and Iranian studies’’, Radio Lora, Zurich, Switzerland.  The program archive

TV Documentaries


‘‘Iran’s past and present art of Epigraphy’’, Press TV, Iran, January 10 th The program file

TV Interviews


Iran News Channel, ‘‘on the awards of the linguistic student association of Allameh Tabataba'i University’’, November 18 th .

Special pieces of training


‘‘Teaching Persian to non-Persian speakers’’, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Summer and autumn.


‘‘Teaching training course’’, Center for Foreign Language, University of Tehran.


‘‘Elamite language and culture’’, Tehran and Leiden.


‘Methodology of correction and editing historical manuscripts’’, library of the Iranian parliament.

Digital Humanities

  • Elan software and language documentation
  • Geographic information system
  • Structured Query Language

Awards and travel grants


Travel grant for travelling from Verband der Studierenden der Universität Zürich.


Travel grant from Allameh Tabataba'i University for attending the 11 th Leiden Summer School in Languages and linguistics.


Top student in the first semester of master’s study in ancient languages and cultures of Iran.


Selected Conferences, lectures, and workshops co-organised


‘‘First Swiss Workshop on Sociolinguistics, Language Contacts and Historical Linguistics in the Ancient World’’: Prof. Paul Widmer, Dr. Marwan Kilani, Milad Abedi, Samira Müller.


‘‘Before the golden peaches: Fresh Perspectives on Early Eurasian Exchanges’’: Wolfgang Behr, Samira Müller, Patrick Wertmann, Milad Abedi.


‘‘10 th International conference of Iranian linguistics’’: organising committee, 26–25 September, Allameh Tabataba'i University (ATU), Tehran.

Teaching Activities

  • Old Persian
  • Middle Persian
  • Classical Persian literature and poetry
  • New Persian and academic Persian
  • Historical grammar of Persian
  • Shahnameh


Modern languages

Persian (Mother language), Academic Persian, Azari Turkish (Mother language), Arabic (independent user), English (C1: Academic IELTS), High German and Zurich German (independent user)

Ancient languages

Old Persian, Elamite, Middle Persian, Avestan, Classical Persian