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People and culture

The Lurs constitute part of the Southwestern branch of the Iranian peoples and part of the Indo-Iranian linguistic group, spread across the Iranian plateau, stretching from the Hindu Kush to central Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf - a region that is sometimes termed Greater Iran.[3] Their language (called Luri or Lurish language ) is closely related to Persian, and there are two distinct dialects of this language. "Lur-e-Bozourg" (Greater Lur), which is spoken by the Bakhtiaris, and "Lur-e-Kuchik" (Lesser Lur), spoken by the Lurs themselves. People in Borujerd speak in Borujerdi Dialect, a local Lori Persian dialect which is extracted from Luri. Northwest of Lorestan Province is dominated by Laki speakers. "Luri and Bakhtiari are much more closely related to Persian, than Kurdish."[4] The overwhelming majority of Lurs are Shia Muslims. In Khuzestan, Lur tribes are primarily concentrated in the northern part of the province, while in Ilam they are mainly in the southern region.

Prior to the 20th century the majority of Lurs were nomadic herders, with an urban minority residing in the city of Khorramabad. There were several attempts by the Pahlavi governments to forcibly settle the nomadic segment of the Lur population. Under Reza Shah, these campaigns tended to be unsuccessful. The last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, used less forceful methods along with economic incentives, which met with greater, though not complete, success. By the mid-1980s the vast majority of Lurs had been settled in towns and villages throughout the province, or had migrated to the major urban centres.

A number of nomadic Lur tribes continue to exist in the province. Amongst the settled urban populace the authority of tribal elders still remains a strong influence, though not as dominant as it is amongst the nomads. As in Bakhtiari Lurs and Kurdish societies, Northern Lur women have had much greater freedoms than women in other Iranian groups.

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