Dari (Persian dialect)

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Dari
Afghan Persian
دری
Dari lang.jpg
Dari in Persian alphabet
(Nasta`liq style)
Pronunciation[dæˈɾi]
Native toAfghanistan, Eastern Iran
Native speakersca. 15–18 million[1]  (1992–2000)
Spoken by more than 25% (lowest estimates) to 50% (highest estimates), and understood by over 90% of Afghanistan's population.[2] Also spoken and understood by around 2.5 million people in Pakistan and Iran with communities who speak Dari as their primary language, but understood by every Iranian.[3]
Language family
DialectsKaboli, Mazari, Herati, Badakhshi, Panjshiri, Laghmani, Sistani, Aimaqi, Hazaragi[4]
Writing systemPersian alphabet
Official status
Official language in Afghanistan
Regulated byAcademy of Sciences of Afghanistan
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
prs – Dari, Afghan Persian
aiq – Aimaq
haz – Hazaragi
Linguasphere58-AAC-ce (Dari) + 58-AAC-cdo & cdp (Hazaragi) + 58-AAC-ck (Aimaq)
 
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Dari
Afghan Persian
دری
Dari lang.jpg
Dari in Persian alphabet
(Nasta`liq style)
Pronunciation[dæˈɾi]
Native toAfghanistan, Eastern Iran
Native speakersca. 15–18 million[1]  (1992–2000)
Spoken by more than 25% (lowest estimates) to 50% (highest estimates), and understood by over 90% of Afghanistan's population.[2] Also spoken and understood by around 2.5 million people in Pakistan and Iran with communities who speak Dari as their primary language, but understood by every Iranian.[3]
Language family
DialectsKaboli, Mazari, Herati, Badakhshi, Panjshiri, Laghmani, Sistani, Aimaqi, Hazaragi[4]
Writing systemPersian alphabet
Official status
Official language in Afghanistan
Regulated byAcademy of Sciences of Afghanistan
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
prs – Dari, Afghan Persian
aiq – Aimaq
haz – Hazaragi
Linguasphere58-AAC-ce (Dari) + 58-AAC-cdo & cdp (Hazaragi) + 58-AAC-ck (Aimaq)
Persian language

Regional and social varieties:

Grammar:

Language features:

Writing systems:

Geographic distribution:

Dari (دری pronounced [dæˈɾi]) or Fārsī-ye Darī (Persian: فارسی دری‎, [fɒːɾsije dæˈɾi]) refers to a modern form of Persian that is the standard language used in administration, government, radio, television, and print media in Afghanistan, as well as in parts of Iran and Tajikistan (where the Cyrillic script is used in place of Perso-Arabic). Because of preponderance of Dari native speakers, who normally refer to the language as Farsi, it is also known as Afghan Persian in some Western sources.[5][6] Dari is the term officially recognized and promoted in 1964 by the Afghan government for the Persian language.[7] As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan; the other is Pashto.[8] Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the native language of approximately 50%[5][9][10][11][12] of the population, serving as the country's lingua franca.[10] The Iranian and Afghan types of Persian are highly mutually intelligible, with differences found primarily in the vocabulary and phonology. In historical usage, Dari refers to the Middle Persian court language of the Sassanids.[13]

Dari, spoken in Afghanistan, should not be confused with Dari or Gabri of Iran, a language of the Central Iranian sub-group, spoken in some Zoroastrian communities.[14][15]

Contents

History and origin of the word[edit]

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, Al-Muqaddasi, and Ibn Hawqal) and Persian texts.[7]

There are different opinions about the origin of the word Dari. The majority of scholars believes that Dari refers to the Persian word dar or darbār (دربار), meaning "Court", as it was the formal language of the Sassanids.[7] The original meaning of the word dari is given in a notice attributed to Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ (cited by Ibn al-Nadim in Al-Fehrest).[16] 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.[7] 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 and the east, the language of the people of Balkh is predominant.”[7]

The origin of Dari comes from the middle Persian which was spoken during the rule of the Sassanid dynasty. Persian is an Iranian language belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. In general, Iranian languages are known from three periods, usually referred to as Old, Middle, and New (Modern) periods. These correspond to three eras in Iranian history; Old era being the period from sometime before Achaemenids, the Achaemenid era and sometime after Achaemenids (that is to 300 BC), Middle era being the next period, Sassanid era and part of the post-Sassanid era, and the New era being the period afterwards down to present day.[17][18][19]

Research Sir John Malcolm did 200 years ago is based on a work from Italy in 1650 Lingua Corteggiana when he wrote (Dari was written in Europe Deri):

The name Deri is derived from Der, a word which runs through so many languages, and is to be traced in the Greek Θύρα, the German Thur, and our door. For it was [...] the usage of the Persians, as it is of the Ottoman Porte, to name what approaches royalty from the gate, while we name it from the court within the gate: so that the Deri language may be rendered precisely by the lingua corteggiana of the Italians. In earlier times, after the dialect of Bactria had been established at court by Baharam, this received the honour of being called the Deri. Subsequently, under the early Sassanidae, the title might have been given with propriety to the Pehlevee; since the medals and inscriptions seem to prove, that the Pehlevee was then the favorite of royalty: the name of Deri, however, does not appear ever to have been assigned to it. And perhaps the superior melody of the Farsee had obtained for it the preference as the language of conversation, even before Baharam Ghoor enacted that it should be adopted in all public documents. For such was the sweetness and elegance of the Deri, that there is a tradition of Mahomet having declared, that "if God says any thing kind or gentle to the angels around him, he speaks in Deri; if anything harsh or hard, in Arabic." "For (says Ibn Fakereddin) the language of the inhabitants of Paradise will be either the Arabic or the Persian Deri.[20]

But it is thought that the first person in Europe to use the term Deri for Dari was Thomas Hyde, at Oxford, in his chief work, Historia religionis veterum Persarum (1700).[21]

Dari has two meanings:

گرچہ هندی در عذوبت شکر است 1[22]

garche Hindi dar uzūbat2 shekkar ast

طرز گفتار دري شيرين تر است

tarz-e goftar-e Dari shirin tar ast

Translation according to literature and poetry: Even though in euphonious Hindi* is sugar – (but) Rhyme method in Dari (Persian) is sweeter *

Qandi Parsi or [Ghand e Parsi] (Rock candy of Parsi) is an allegory for the Persian language and poetry

This poem as a poetic statement of the poet Iqbal respect to the poem of Hafez 600 years ago, when Hafiz wrote:

شکرشکن شوند همه طوطیان هند

Shekker schekan shavand hameh Totiyan e Hend

زین قند پارسی که به بنگاله می‌رود

ze en Qand e ke ba Bengale meravad

Translation according to literature and poetry:

All the parrots of India will crack sugar

Through this Persian Candy which is going to Bengal[23][24]

Geographical distribution[edit]

Dari, which is sometimes called Farsi (Persian), is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan (the other being Pashto). In practice though, it serves as the de facto lingua franca among the various ethno-linguistic groups.

Dari is spoken by ca. 50% of the population of Afghanistan as a first language.[5][9][10][11][12] Tajiks who comprise approximately 27% of the population are the primary speakers, followed by Hazaras (9%) and Aymāqs (4%). Moreover, many Pashtuns living in Tajik and Hazara concentrated areas also use Dari as a first language. About 2.5 million people in Iran and Pakistan also speak Dari as one of their primary languages.[3]

Dari dominates the northern, western and central areas of Afghanistan, and is the common language spoken in cities such as Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Fayzabad, Panjshir, Bamiyan, and the Afghan capital of Kabul where all ethnic groups are settled. Dari-speaking communities also exist in southwestern and eastern Pashtun-dominated areas such as in the cities of Ghazni, Farah, Zaranj, Lashkar Gah, Kandahar, and Gardez.

Cultural influence[edit]

Dari has contributed to the majority of Persian borrowings in other Asian languages, such as Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, etc., as it was the administrative, official, cultural language of the Persocentric Mughal Empire and served as the lingua franca 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 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 and cultural concepts, items, or ideas that were historically unknown outside the South Asian region, as it is the case with the aforementioned "borrowings". The Dari language has a rich and colorful tradition of proverbs that deeply reflect Afghan culture and relationships, as demonstrated by U.S. Navy Captain Edward Zellem in his bilingual books of Afghan Dari proverbs collected in Afghanistan.[25][26]

Differences between Iranian and Afghan Persian[edit]

There are phonological, lexical,[27] and morphological[19] differences between Dari and western Persian. There are no significant differences in the written forms, other than regional idiomatic phrases.

Phonology[edit]

Phonetically, Dari generally resembles a more formal and classical form of Persian (Farsi). The differences in pronunciation of Iranian and Afghan Persian can be considerable, on par with Scottish and Cockney 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 diphthongs of early Classical Persian "aw" (as "ow" in Engl. "cow") and "ay" (as "i" in English "ice"), which are pronounced [ow] (as in Engl. "low") and [ej] (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 /naχejr/ in Iranian and /naχajr/ in Afghan Persian.
  3. The high short vowels /i/ and /u/ tend to be lowered in Iranian Persian to [e] and [o].
  4. The pronunciation of the labial consonant و, which is realized as a voiced labiodental fricative [v], but Afghan Persian still retains the (classical) bilabial pronunciation [w]; [v] is found in Afghan Persian as an allophone of [f] before voiced consonants.
  5. The convergence of voiced uvular stop [ɢ] (ق) and voiced velar fricative [ɣ] (غ) in Iranian Persian (presumably under the influence of Turkic languages like Azeri and Turkmen),[28] 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.
  8. [æ] and [e] in word-final positions are separate in Dari, [e] is a word-final allophone of [æ] in Iranian Persian.

Vocabulary[edit]

There are some words that differ in Persian-Dari as to Persian-Farsi. Some examples are listed below.

EnglishPersian-FarsiPersian-Dari
to tryسعی کردنسعی کردن/کوشش کردن
to speakحرف زدنحرف زدن/گپ زدن
to seeدیدنسیل کردن/دیدن
to understandفهمیدنفامیدی/فهمیدن

All the above words in the Persian language. Gap zadan (گپ زدن) is an old Persian word. Harf zadan (حرف زدن) is from Arabic word Harf and auxiliary zadan. Gapidan (گپيدن) to speak was correct, but now outdated. These words don't differ in Iran and Afghanistan in informal conversations. The differences refer to the frequency of using in formal texts. For example, Iranians use"gap zadan" (گپ زدن) in informal conversations but rarely use in formal texts.

Dialect continuum[edit]

The dialects of Dari spoken in Northern, Central and Eastern Afghanistan, for example in Kabul, Mazar, and Badakhshan, 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 Herati dialect shares vocabulary and phonology with both Dari and Iranian Persian. Likewise, the dialect of Persian in Eastern Iran, for instance in Mashhad, is quite similar to the Herati dialect of Afghanistan.

The Kabuli dialect has become the standard model of Dari in Afghanistan, as has the Tehrani dialect in relation to the Persian in Iran. Since the 1940s, Radio Afghanistan has been broadcasting its Dari programs in Kabuli Dari, which ensured the homogenization between the Kabuli version of the language 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 using the Kabuli variety.

Political views on the language[edit]

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. The local name for Persian language was officially changed from Farsi to Dari in 1964.[29][30] Within their respective linguistic boundaries, Dari and Pashto are the medium of education.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tajiks ca. 11m; Hazaras 2.5–5.5 m; Aymāqs 1.4 m
  2. ^ Shaista Wahab (2006), Beginner's Dari, Page 1
  3. ^ a b "Dari language, alphabet and pronunciation". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  4. ^ Iranica, "Afghanistan: v.Languages", Table 11
  5. ^ a b c CIA – The World Factbook, "Afghanistan", Updated on 8 July 2010
  6. ^ Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: prs
  7. ^ a b c d e Lazard, G. "Darī – The New Persian Literary Language", in Encyclopædia Iranica, Online Edition 2006.
  8. ^ "The Afghans – Language Use". United States: Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). June 30, 2002. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "AFGHANISTAN v. Languages". Ch. M. Kieffer. Encyclopædia Iranica, online ed. Retrieved 10 December 2010. "Persian (2) is the language most spoken in Afghanistan. The native tongue of twenty five percent of the population ..." 
  10. ^ a b c "Dari". UCLA International Institute: Center for World Languages. University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Languages of Afghanistan". SIL International. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 2005. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "Dari language". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  13. ^ Frye, R.N., "Darī", The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brill Publications, CD version
  14. ^ "Parsi-Dari" Ethnologue
  15. ^ "Dari, Zoroastrian" Ethnologue
  16. ^ Ebn al-Nadim, ed. Tajaddod, p. 15; Khjwārazmī, Mafātīh al-olum, pp. 116–17; Hamza Esfahānī, pp. 67–68; Yāqūt, Boldān IV, p. 846
  17. ^ "Farsi, the most widely spoken Persian Language, a Farsi Dictionary, Farsi English Dictionary, The spoken language in Iran, History of Farsi Language, Learn Farsi, Farsi Translation". Farsinet.com. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  18. ^ "Persian alphabet, pronunciation and language". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  19. ^ a b By: UCLA, Language Materials Projects. "Persian Language". Iranchamber.com. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  20. ^ The History of Persia: From the Most Early Period to the Present Time, Vol. 1, pg, London, no year, in writing 1806 or 1810, P. 482
  21. ^ HYDE, Thomas. Veterum Persarum et Parthorum et Medorum Religionis Historia. Editio Secunda, MDCCLX., Pg 107, 423, 429, 431
  22. ^ Asrar e Khodi of Iqbāl-e Lāhorī
  23. ^ http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3518055?uid=3737864&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21101550438873
  24. ^ http://www.allamaiqbal.com/publications/journals/review/apr73/5.htm
  25. ^ Zellem, Edward. 2012. "Zarbul Masalha: 151 Afghan Dari Proverbs". Charleston: CreateSpace. 
  26. ^ Zellem, Edward. 2012. "Afghan Proverbs Illustrated". Charleston: CreateSpace. 
  27. ^ "Ethnologue report for language code: prs". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  28. ^ A. Pisowicz, Origins of the New and Middle Persian phonological systems (Cracow 1985), p. 112-114, 117.
  29. ^ Willem Vogelsang, "The Afghans", Blackwell Publishing, 2002
  30. ^ Declassified, Dr. Zaher said there would be, as there are now, two official languages, Pashto and Farsi, though the latter would henceforth be named Dari.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]