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227

Language

CONTENTS

Dari 227 Pashto 231

Dari and Pashto are the official languages of Afghanistan, but Dari is the one most commonly used as a lingua franca (linking or market language). Like Farsi, Dari and Pashto are written using a modified alpha- bet of the cursive Arabic script (see p228). Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen, Kyrgyz and Wakhi are all spoken by minorities in northern Afghanistan. All these languages (along with Pashto) are covered in Lonely

Planet’s Central Asia Phrasebook.

DARI

Dari is so similar to Farsi (the language of Iran) that even Afghanis will often refer to it as Farsi. The principal difference between the two is that Farsi contains more loan words from Arabic and Turkish. Dari is an Indo-Iranian language and a member of the Indo-European language family. While it is written in Arabic script, and runs from right to left, it isn’t related to Arabic at all. For a more comprehensive guide to the language, pick up a copy of

Lonely Planet’s Farsi Phrasebook.

PRONUNCIATION & TRANSLITERATION

Transliterating Dari from its non-Roman script into the Roman alphabet is a tricky affair. In this language guide the system used is designed to be as simple as possible for spoken communication, even at the ex- pense of absolute accuracy.

In general, the last syllable of a multi- syllable word is stressed.

Vowels

Like Arabic, Dari script has only one letter (alef) dedicated solely to cover vowel sounds, and many vowels that would oth- erwise be represented in written English are

simply left out. It is some consolation that the English vowel sounds i (as in ‘marine’) and u (as in ‘rule’) are represented in the script by the letters ye () and ve (و) respect- ively (which are also used to repersent the consonant sounds y and v/w respectively). Some vowel sounds do have long variants, but pronouncing them short won’t overly affect meaning. We transliterate Dari and Pashto using the following five English vowel equivalents.

a

e as in ‘bed’

i

Consonants

Dari consonants sounds are shown in the alphabet table on p228. There are many consonants represented in the script with only subtle sound differences; the translit- erations in this book reduce these variants to their closest English equivalent. The fol- lowing are the only really tricky sounds:

gh a guttural sound like a heavy French ‘r’ pronounced at the back of the mouth

’ a very weak glottal stop, like the sound made between the words ‘uh- oh’ or the ‘tt’ in Cockney ‘bottle’

ACCOMMODATION

Do you have any rooms available?

otagh khali darin?

I’d like a ... room. yak otagh e ... mikhaham single shared

yak nafara chand nafara

How much is it for ...? baraye ... cheghadr misha? one night a week

two people

yak shab yak hafta du nafar

CONVERSATION & ESSENTIALS

The all-purpose Dari greeting is salam aleykom, which does duty for ‘good morn- ing’, ‘good afternoon’ and ‘good evening’.

o as in ‘mole’ u as in ‘rule’

as in ‘father’ as in ‘marine’

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