Make your own free website on
.::Home | History | People | Geography | Provinces | Culture | Museum | Photos | Links | Contact us::. | Ariana
:-:  Afghanistan Languages  :-:
Pashtoo Language: Also called PUSHTU, PAKHTO, or AFGHAN, Indo-European language spoken by the Pashtoon in Afghanistan and northern-western and western Pakistan. Its dialects fall into two main divisions: the southern, which preserves the ancient sh (as in "Pashtu"), and the northern and eastern, which has kh (as in "Pakhtu") sound. Written in a modified Arabic alphabet, Pashtu shows strong Sansicrit influence, some Arabic and Persian loanwords, and numerous archaic Sinsicrit features. It has been attested from the beginning of the 16th century and became prominent after the creation of the Afghan state in the 18th century. In 1936 Pashtu was declared the national and official language of Afghanistan, and instruction in it is now compulsory. Dari was the other official languge. Pashto literature exists from the 7th century The first Psshtu poem that has bee documented was writen in the 7th century by Amir Karoor (Le Ma Atal Nashta). The national poet of Afghanistan, Khushhal Khan (1613-94), chief to the Khatak clan, wrote spontaneous and forceful poetry of great charm. His grandson Afdal Khan was the author of a history of the Pashtoon. Popular mystical poets were 'Abd ar-Rahman and 'Abd al-Hamid, in the late 17th or early 18th century, and Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the modern Afghan nation, was himself a poet. The Pashtu Academy publishes a variety of literary works. Dari Laguage: Member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian family of languages; it is, along with Pashto, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan. Dari is the Afghan dialect of Farsi (Persian). It is written in a modified Arabic alphabet, and it has many Arabic and Persian loanwords. The syntax of Dari does not differ greatly from Farsi, but the stress accent is less prominent in Dari than in Farsi. To mark attribution, Dari uses the suffix -ra. The vowel system of Dari differs from that of Farsi, and Dari also has additional consonants. About one-third of the population of Afghanistan, i.e., about 5,000,000 people (Tadzhik, Uzbak, Turkman, Hazarah, Some Pashtoon), speak Dari. It is the primary language of the Tadzhik, Hazara, and Chahar Aimak peoples. Dari, rather than Pashto, serves as the means of communication between speakers of different languages in Afghanistan. Balochi Language: Also spelled BALUCHI, or BELUCHI, modern Iranian language of the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European language family. Balochi speakers live mainly in an area now composed of parts of southeastern Iran and southwestern Pakistan that was once the historic region of Balochistan. They also live in Central Asia (near Merv, Turkmenistan) and southwestern Afghanistan, and there are colonies in Oman, southern Arabia, and along the east coast of Africa as far south as Kenya. Balochi is a Western Iranian language that is closely related to Kurdish. Despite the vast area over which it is spoken, its six dialects (Rakhshani, Sarawani, Kechi, Lotuni, the Eastern Hill dialects, and the coastal dialects) are all believed to be mutually intelligible. There are an estimated 4,800,000 worldwide speakers of Balochi Mostly in (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran). Turkic Language: Group of closely related languages that form a subfamily of the Altaic languages. The Turkic languages show close similarities to each other in phonology, morphology, and syntax, though Chuvash, Khalaj, and Yakut differ considerably from the rest. The earliest linguistic records are Old Turkic inscriptions, found near the Orhon River in Mongolia and the Yenisey River valley in south-central Russia, which date from the 8th century AD. (see also Index: Orhon inscriptions) Classification: The Turkic languages may be classified according to linguistic, historical, and geographic criteria into the following branches: 1. The southwestern, or Oguz, branch includes Turkish (Ottoman Turkish), Gagauz, Azeri (Azerbaijani), Turkmen, and Khorasan Turkic. (see also Index: Southwestern Turkic languages, Turkish language, Gagauz language, Azerbaijani language, Turkmen language) 2. The northwestern, or Kipchak, branch includes Kazak, Karakalpak, Nogay, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Bashkir, West Siberian dialects, Crimean Tatar, Kumyk, Karachay-Balkar, and Karaite. 3. The southeastern, or Uighur-Chagatai, branch includes Uzbek, Uighur, Yellow Uighur, and Salar (of Oguz origin). 4. The northeastern, or Siberian, branch includes Yakut (Sakha), Dolgan, Altay, Khakas, Shor, Tuvan, and Tofa. 5. Chuvash, a strongly divergent language of the Volga region. 6. Khalaj, a strongly divergent language of central Iran. The development of distinct Turkic literary languages began in the 8th century in Central Asia. The Uighur literary language flourished in the 9th-14th century, and the Qarakhanid literary language came into existence in the 11th century. Khwarezmian (13th-14th century) and Chagatai (15th-16th century), the latter with its postclassical products of the 17th-19th century, were the antecedents of the modern Uzbek and Uighur (New-Uighur) literary languages. In the Oguz group, Turkish has the most significant literary tradition. Its antecedent is the Ottoman Turkish language, which developed from the Old Anatolian Turkish literary language (13th-15th century) of the Seljuq Turks, the first Turkish conquerors of Anatolia (11th century). The Arabic script was generally used by all Turkic peoples writing Turkic languages until the early 1920s, when the Latin script began to be introduced to the Turkic peoples of the Soviet Union. After 1939 the Latin script was almost completely replaced in the Soviet Union by modified forms of the Cyrillic alphabet. Turkey officially adopted a Latin script in 1928. Currently, the Arabic alphabet is used only by Turkic peoples living in China, Iran, and the Arab countries. Linguistic characteristics: One notable characteristic of the Turkic languages is vowel harmony. The vowels are of two kinds--front vowels, which are produced at the front of the mouth (e,i,ö,ü), and back vowels, produced at the back of the mouth (a,i,o,u). Purely Turkic words can contain only all front or all back vowels, and all suffixes and affixes must conform to the vowel of the syllable preceding them in the word. Thus, Turkish kül 'ash,' kül-ler 'ashes,' kül-ler-i 'its ashes,' kül-ler-in-den 'from its ashes,' as opposed to kul 'slave,' kul-lar 'slaves,' kul-lar-i 'his slaves,' kul-lar-in-dan 'from his slaves.' Besides this "palatal harmony," most Turkic languages also adopt a "labial harmony" between syllables with respect to rounded and unrounded vowels. Only rounded vowels may occur after an initial rounded vowel in a word, with the same pattern holding true for unrounded vowels--e.g., Turkish pul-u 'his stamp,' versus pil-i 'his battery.' These harmony rules vary considerably across the various languages. Due to foreign influence, harmony is phonetically differently realized, though far from lost, in the Karaite, Gagauz, and Uzbek languages. The morphology of the Turkic languages is agglutinative; i.e., it offers rich possibilities of expanding word stems by means of relatively unchangeable suffixes, many of which designate grammatical notions. For example, the word evlerimde 'in my houses' is composed of ev 'house,' ler = plural suffix, im = possessive suffix 'my,' and de = locative suffix 'in.' When attached to a word with back vowels, such as oda 'room,' these suffixes change their vowels according to the law of vowel harmony but retain their meaning: odalarimda 'in my rooms.' The Turkic languages mostly lack subordinative conjunctions and relative pronouns, using verbal nouns, participles, and converbs instead. Thus the sentence 'I know that the person who had come went away' is rendered in Uzbek Kelgän kisining ketgänini bilämän, literally 'Having-come person-of having-gone-his know-I.'
Pashtuns:  Mostly living in south and eastern Afghanistan.  People living in the western regions of Pakistan (previously Afghan territories) are also Pashtuns.  Pashtu (Pakhtu) is the language spoken by Pashtuns.

Tajiks: They speak Dari and mostly live in northern and western half of Afghanistan.  Tajiks also live in Tajikistan, the northern neighbor of Afghanistan, an ex-Soviet republic.

Hazaras:  They live in the central mountainous areas of Afghanistan and are known to be very talented and hardworking group of people. They speak Hazaragee, which is almost the same as Dari.

Uzbeks:  It is mostly the Uzbek riders who play Buzkashi, the Afghan national sport.  Living mostly in the northern areas of Afghanistan, they speak Uzbeki, a language also spoken in Uzbekistan, an ex-Soviet republic north of Afghanistan.  Uzbeks are famous for their round breads and red rugs.

Turkmens:  Also living in the north, they speak Turkmeni. 

There are also other smaller ethnic groups living in Afghanistan such as Sikhs, Hindus and  Jews.

[ Go to Top ]

::: Advertisement :::