The Sogdian language belongs to the eastern group of the middle iranian languages, along with Sacian, or Saka (spoken in Khotan, China), Bactrian (spoken in present-day Afghanistan) and Chorasmian (spoken in present-day Northern Uzbekistan). It was originally spoken in Sogdiana, a historical region situated around Samarkand. Other languages of this group are Avestan in the old times and Pashto and Ossetian in the modern times. In the first millennium A.D. it has served as a lingua franca of Central Asia, and it was used both as a means of oral communication and for written purposes, in fact since the beginning of the XX century many excavations have brought to light numberless documents composed in this language, that testify its outmost importance and diffusion in that area. It was a literary language for Buddhism in Central Asia, but also for Nestorian Christianism and Manichaeism.
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