The magic bead of the Ossetians: Philological and linguistic analysis

2023. №5, 101-116

Yury A. Dzittsoity
A. A. Tibilov South Ossetian State University, Tskhinval, South Ossetia;
Alexander I. Falileyev
Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia;


The article provides philological and linguistic analysis of two set phrases which denote a magic bead in Ossetian. They are known in epic texts and are reflected also in folklore narratives. In the Iron dialect the magic bead is called cykurajy færdyg, while in Digor its name is γolaqi færdug / zolaq færdug. The research considers its other nominations occurring sporadically in the language, which allows a discussion of semantic aspects of the attributes used in these collocations. So far they have remained obscure, and various views on their exact meaning have been expressed. This analysis leads to certain etymological conclusions, and the archaic configuration of one of the lexemes discussed here is treated in the context of some difficult and not properly resolved features of historical Ossetic morphology and syntax. The study of the other lexeme points, inter alia, to contacts with Turkic languages. The research considers an important chronological dimension that acknowledges the sporadic preservation of archaisms in Iron rather than Digor, and tentatively dates the two names for magic beads as going back, correspondingly, to the Old or Middle Iranian period and the times of Alano-Turkic contacts.

For citation:

Dzittsoity Yu. A., Falileyev A. I. The magic bead of the Ossetians: Philological and linguistic analysis. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2023, 5: 101–116.