Dari (Eastern Persian)

Dari (Eastern Persian)

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Dari (Eastern Persian)'
Start a new discussion about 'Dari (Eastern Persian)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Dari or Fārsī-ye Darī (}, fɒːɾsije dæˈɾi) in historical terms refers to the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 court language of the Sassanids. In contemporary usage, the term refers to the dialects of modern Persian language spoken in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and hence known as Afghan Persian in some Western sources. It is the term officially recognized and promoted in 1964 by the Afghan government
Politics of Afghanistan
The politics of Afghanistan consists of the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly, with a president serving as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the military. The nation is currently led by the Karzai administration under President Hamid Karzai who is backed by two vice...

 for the Persian language. As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan
Constitution of Afghanistan
The Constitution of Afghanistan is the supreme law of the state Afghanistan, which serves as the legal framework between the Afghan government and the Afghan citizens...

, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan; the other is Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

. Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the mother-tongue
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

 of approximately 50% of the population
Demography of Afghanistan
The population of Afghanistan is around 29,835,392 as of the year 2011, which is unclear if the refugees living outside the country are included or not. The nation is composed of a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, reflecting its location astride historic trade and invasion routes between...

, serving as the country's lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

. The Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian and Afghan dialects of Persian are highly mutually intelligible, with differences found primarily in the vocabulary and phonology.

Dari, spoken in Afghanistan, should not be confused with Dari
Dari (Zoroastrian)
Dari is a Northwestern Iranian ethnolect spoken as a first language by an estimated 8,000 to 15,000 Zoroastrians in and around the cities of Yazd and Kerman in central Iran...

 or Gabri
Dari (Zoroastrian)
Dari is a Northwestern Iranian ethnolect spoken as a first language by an estimated 8,000 to 15,000 Zoroastrians in and around the cities of Yazd and Kerman in central Iran...

 of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, a language of the Central Iranian sub-group, spoken in some Zoroastrian communities.

History and origin of the word


Dari is the name given to the New Persian literary language at a very early age and was widely used in Arabic (cf. Al-Estakhri
Estakhri
Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Farisi al Istakhri was a medieval Persian geographer in the 10th century.-Career:...

, Al-Muqaddasi
Al-Muqaddasi
Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shams al-Din Al-Muqaddasi , also transliterated as Al-Maqdisi and el-Mukaddasi, was a medieval Arab geographer, author of Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim .-Biography:Al-Muqaddasi, "the Hierosolomite" was born in Jerusalem in 946 AD...

, and Ibn Hawqal
Ibn Hawqal
Muḥammad Abū’l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal was a 10th century Muslim writer, geographer, and chronicler. His famous work, written in 977, is called Ṣūrat al-’Arḍ ....

) and Persian texts.

There are different opinions about the origin of the word Dari. The majority of scholars believe that Dari refers to the Persian word dar or darbār (دربار), meaning "Court", as it was the formal language of the Sassanids. The original meaning of the word dari is given in a notice attributed to Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ (cited by Ibn al-Nadim
Ibn al-Nadim
Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad bin Is'hāq al-Nadim , whose father was known as al-Warrāq was a Shia Muslim scholar and bibliographer. Some scholars regard him as a Persian, but this is not certain. He is famous as the author of the Kitāb al-Fihrist...

 in Al-Fehrest). According to him, "Pārsī was the language spoken by priests, scholars, and the like; it is the language of Fars." It is obvious that this language refers to the Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

. As for Dari, he says, "it is the language of the cities of Madā'en; it is spoken by those who are at the king’s court. [Its name] is connected with presence at court. Among the languages of the people of Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

 and the east, the language of the people of Balkh
Balkh
Balkh , was an ancient city and centre of Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan. Today it is a small town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some south of the Amu Darya. It was one of the major cities of Khorasan...

 is predominant.”

The origin of Dari comes from Persian (Farsi), it is called middle persian which was spoken during the rule of the sassanid dynasty. At that time afghanistan was under the rule of the persian empire, therefore, adopting the language at that time. You can also look at the right side of this page to see the language family tree which describes its origin.

Iranian languages have been and are still widely used in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 both by native speakers and as trade languages. Whereas in the past, East Iranian languages, such as Bactrian
Bactrian language
The Bactrian language is an extinct Eastern Iranian language which was spoken in the Central Asian region of Bactria. Linguistically, it is classified as belonging to the middle period of the East Iranian branch...

, Sogdian
Sogdian language
The Sogdian language is a Middle Iranian language that was spoken in Sogdiana , located in modern day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan ....

 and Khotanese, and West Iranian languages, notably Parthian
Parthian language
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire....

 and Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 were prominent. New Persian (Dari) has supplanted most of these languages.

Note that the term Iranian as used here is a linguistic term and does not refer to the nation of Iran.

Geographical distribution


Dari, which is also simply called Farsi (Persian) by its native-speakers, is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan (the other being Pashto). In practice though, it serves as the de facto lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 among the various ethno-linguistic groups.

Dari is spoken by almost 50% of the population as a first language. Tajiks who comprise approximately 27% of the population
Ethnic groups in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a multiethnic society. The population of the country is divided into a wide variety of ethnolinguistic groups. The ethnic groups of the country are as follow: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Arab, Brahui, Pamiri and some others.-Ethnic...

 are the primary speakers, followed by Hazaras (9%) and Aymāqs (4%). Moreover, many urbanized Pashtuns also use Dari as a first language.

Dari dominates in the northern, western and central areas of Afghanistan, and is the common language spoken in cities such as Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

, Mazar-i-Sharif, Fayzabad
Fayzabad, Badakhshan
See also: Faizabad Fayzabad is the provincial capital and largest city in Badakhshan Province, in northern Afghanistan, with around 50,000 people. It is situated in Fayzabad District and is at an altitude of 1,200 m. It is located in the northeast of Afghanistan, on the River Kokcha...

, Panjshir
Panjshir
Panjshir may refer to:* Panjshir Valley* Panjshir Province* Panjshir River...

, and Bamiyan
Bamiyan
Bamyan , also spelt Bamiyan and Bamian, at an altitude of about 9,200 feet and with a population of about 61,863, is the largest town in the region of Hazarajat in central Afghanistan and the capital of Bamyan Province. It lies approximately 240 kilometres north-west of Kabul, the national capital...

. Smaller Dari-speaking communities also exist in southern Pashtun-dominated areas such as in the cities of Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

, Laghman
Laghman
Laghman can refer to:* Laghman Province in Afghanistan* Laghman, a place in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan* Lamian and variants thereof as soup...

, Gardez, Farah
Farah, Afghanistan
Farah is a city in western Afghanistan, situated at 650 m altitude, and located on the Farah River. It is the capital of Farah Province, and has a population of approximately 109,409....

, and Jalalabad
Jalalabad
Jalalabad , formerly called Adinapour, as documented by the 7th century Hsüan-tsang, is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul River and Kunar River near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately of highway with...

.

Cultural influence


Dari has contributed to the majority of Persian borrowings in other Asian languages, such as Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

, Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

, Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

, etc., as it was the administrative, official and cultural language of the Persocentric
Indo-Persian culture
"Indo-Persian culture" refers to those Persian aspects that have been integrated into or absorbed into the culture of the Indian subcontinent, and in particular, into North India and modern-day Pakistan....

 Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 and served as the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 throughout the South Asian subcontinent for centuries. The sizeable Persian component of the Anglo-Indian loan words in English and in Urdu therefore reflects the Dari pronunciation. For instance dopiaza
Dopiaza
Dopiaza is a South-Asian curry dish. It is prepared with a large amount of onions, both cooked in the curry and as a garnish. Onions are added at two stages during cooking, hence the name...

 or pyjama come from the Dari pronunciation, while in the Iranian Persian they're pronounced do-piyāzeh and pey-jāmeh. Persian lexemes and certain morphological elements ( e.g. the "ezāfe") have often been employed to coin political, cultural etc. concepts, items or ideas that were historically unknown outside the South Asian region, as it is the case with the aforementioned "borrowings".

The cultural dominance of Iran (especially in the media) ensures that the specific features of Iranian Persian are also understood by the majority of Dari Persian speakers within Afghanistan. The opposite is also true, to a point. At a formal level especially, whether spoken or written, Dari Persian is usually understood by the Persian speakers of Iran.

Differences between Iranian and Afghan Persian


There are phonological, lexical, and morphological differences between Dari and western Persian.

Phonology


Phonetically, Dari generally resembles a more archaic form of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 (Farsi). The differences in pronunciation of Iranian and Afghan Persian can be considerable, on par with Scottish
Scottish English
Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not be considered distinct from the Scots language. It is always considered distinct from Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language....

 and Cockney
Cockney
The term Cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End...

 English, although educated speakers generally have no difficulty understanding each other (except in the use of certain lexical items or idiomatic expressions). The principal differences between standard Iranian Persian, based on the dialect of the capital Tehran, and Afghan Dari, as based on the Kabul dialect, are:
  1. The merging of "majhul" vowels "ē" / "ī" and "ō" / "ū" into "ī" and "ū" respectively in Iranian Persian, whereas in Afghan Persian, they are still kept separate. For instance, the identically written words شیر 'lion' and 'milk' are pronounced the same in Iranian Persian as [šīr], but [šēr] for 'lion' and [šīr] for 'milk' in Afghan Persian. The long vowel in زود 'quick' and زور 'strong' is realized as [ū] in Iranian Persian, in contrast, these words are pronounced as [zūd] and [zōr] respectively by Persian speakers in Afghanistan.
  2. The treatment of the diphthong
    Diphthong
    A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

    s of early Classical Persian "aw" (as "ow" in Engl. "cow") and "ay" (as "i" in English "ice"), which are pronounced as [ow] (as in Engl. "low") and [ey] (as in English "day") in Iranian Persian. Dari, on the other hand, is more archaic, e.g. نوروز 'Persian New Year' is realized as [nowrūz] in Iranian, and [nawrōz] in Afghan Persian, and نخیر 'no' is uttered as [naχejr] in Iranian, and as [naχajr] in Afghan Persian.
  3. The high short vowels "i" and "u" tend to be lowered in Iranian Persian, as "e" (similar to "i" in English "fit", "hit"), and "o" (as in British English "Ron").
  4. The pronunciation of the labial consonant و, which is realized as a voiced labiodental fricative
    Voiced labiodental fricative
    The voiced labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is v....

     [v], but Afghan Persian still retains the (classical) bilabial pronunciation [w].
  5. The convergence of voiced uvular stop [ɢ] (ق) and voiced velar fricative
    Voiced velar fricative
    The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in various spoken languages. It is not found in English today, but did exist in Old English...

     [ɣ] (غ) in Iranian Persian (presumably under the influence of Turkic languages like Azeri), is still kept separate in Dari.
  6. The realization of short final "a" (-ه) as [e] in Iranian Persian.
  7. The realization of short non-final "a" as [æ] in Iranian Persian.

Vocabulary



There are some words that differ in Persian-Darsi as to Persian-Farsi. Some examples are listed below.
ٍEnglish Persian-Farsi Persian-Dari
to try سعی کردن سعی کردن/کوشش کردن
to speak حرف زدن حرف زدن/گپ زدن
to see دیدن سعی کردن/دیدن
to userstand فهمیدن دیدن/فهمیدن

Dialect continuum


The dialects of Dari spoken in Northern, Central and Eastern Afghanistan, for example in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Mazar, and Badakhshan
Badakhshan Province
Badakhshan is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, consisting of 28 districts. It is located in the north-east of the country, between the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya. It is part of the Badakhshan region.-Geography:...

, have distinct features compared to Iranian Persian. However, the dialect of Dari spoken in Western Afghanistan stands in between the Afghan and Iranian Persian. For instance, the Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

i dialect shares vocabulary and phonology with both Dari and Iranian Persian. Likewise, the dialect of Persian in Eastern Iran, for instance in Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

, is quite similar to the Herati dialect of Afghanistan.

The Kabuli dialect has become the standard dialect of Dari in Afghanistan, as has the Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

i dialect in relation to the Persian in Iran. Since the 1940s, Radio Afghanistan has been broadcasting its Dari programs in the Kabuli dialect, which ensured the homogenization between the Kabuli dialect and other dialects of Dari spoken throughout Afghanistan. Since 2003, the media, especially the private radio and television broadcasters, have carried out their Dari programs in the Kabuli dialect.

Political views on the language


The native-speakers of Dari usually call their language Farsi. However, the term Dari has been officially promoted by the government of Afghanistan for political reasons, and enjoys equal official status alongside Pashto in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. The local name for Persian language was officially changed from Farsi to Dari in 1964. In respective linguistic boundaries, Dari is the medium of education with Pashto being taught as a second language. Dari is considered a more prestigious language.

See also


  • Middle Persian
    Middle Persian
    Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

  • Persian language
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

  • Samanids
  • Tajik language
    Tajik language
    Tajik, Tajik Persian, or Tajiki, is a variety of modern Persian spoken in Central Asia. Historically Tajiks called their language zabani farsī , meaning Persian language in English; the term zabani tajikī, or Tajik language, was introduced in the 20th century by the Soviets...



Further reading

  • Lazard, G. "Darī – The New Persian Literary Language" in Encyclopædia Iranica
    Encyclopædia Iranica
    Encyclopædia Iranica is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language encyclopedia about the history, culture, and civilization of Iranian peoples from prehistory to modern times...

    Online Edition.
  • Sakaria, S. (1967) Concise English – Afghan Dari Dictionary Ferozsons, Kabul, OCLC 600815
  • Farhadi, Rawan A.G. (1975) The Spoken Dari of Afghanistan: A Grammar of Kaboli Dari (Persian) Compared to the Literary Language Peace Corps, Kabul, OCLC 24699677

External links