Dari (Eastern Persian)

Dari (Eastern Persian)

:"For Zoroastrian Dari see Dari (Zoroastrian)."Dari (PerB|دری - "Darī"; pronounced [IPA|dæˈɾi] ) or Dari Persian (PerB|فارسی دری - "Fārsīye Darī"; pronounced [IPA|fɒːɾsije dæˈɾi] ), also known as Eastern Persian, [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=prs] is a historical name for the Persian language and, in contemporary usage refers to the dialects of the Persian language that are spoken in Afghanistan [http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?LangID=191&menu=004] [http://original.britannica.com/eb/article-9028772/Dari-language] and is the term recognized and promoted by the Afghan government for the language. As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan, Dari is an official language of Afghanistan and is, according to various sources, spoken by most of its population.

Origin of the word "Dari"

There are different opinions about the origin of the word Dari. The majority of scholars believe that "Dari" refers to the Persian word "darbār", meaning "Court", as it was the formal language of the SassanidsLazard, G. " [http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v7f1/v7f131.html Darī - The New Persian Literary Language] ", in Encyclopædia Iranica, Online Edition 2006.] . This opinion is supported by medieval sources and early Islamic historians [Ebn al-Nadim, ed. Tajaddod, p. 15; Khwārazmī, "Mafātīh al-olum", pp. 116-17; Hamza Esfahānī, pp. 67-68; Yāqūt, Boldān IV, p. 846] .

Geographical distribution

In Afghanistan Dari Persian ("Fārsi e Dari") is also simply called Persian ("Fārsi"), as are all languages in the Persian sub-group of languages. It is not to be confused with Dari or Gabri of Iran, a language of the Central Iran sub-group, spoken in some Zoroastrian communities. [ [http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=prd "Parsi-Dari" Ethnologue] ] [ [http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=gbz "Dari, Zoroastrian" Ethnologue] ]

Iranian languages are widely used language in Central Asia both by native speakers and as trade languages. Many of these languages are frequently mutually intelligible.

Dari Persian is a dialect of Persian, which forms a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, a subfamily of the Indo-European languages. There are three different phases in the development of Persian language: Old, Middle, and Modern. Old Persian and the Avestan language represents the old stage of development and were spoken in ancient Bactria.Fact|date=October 2007 The Avestan language is called Avestan because the sacred scriptures of Zoroastrianism, Avesta, were written in this old form. Avestan died out long before the advent of Islam and except for scriptural use not much has remained of it. Old Dari, however, survived and there are many written records of old Dari, in cuneiform called Maikhi, in Khorasan.Fact|date=October 2007 Old Dari was spoken until around the third century BC. It was a highly inflected language.Fact|date=December 2007

Modern Dari Persian is a major language of Afghanistan, and is spoken in the northern and western parts, and the capital, Kabul, in the east. Approximately 55% of the population of Afghanistan are native speakers.Fact|date=December 2007

Also, due to large emigration from Afghanistan, there are hundreds of thousands of Dari speakers around the world, notably in North America, Australia and many European countries. There are also a significant number of Dari speakers in Pakistan (mainly in NWFP) as well as native Persian/Dari dialect languages in Pakistani Balochistan, Chitral district and in the country's urban centres such as Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.


The syntax of Dari Persian does not differ greatly from Iranian Persian. The stress accent in Dari Persian is different and can have some similarity of spelling but difference in pronunciation of certain words, as that of British English and American English. Hence before a person approaches Dari Persian and Iranian Persian, although the grammar and vocabulary structure is quite similar, he will find that the pronunciation creates a difference in the two sister languages. This has encouraged different language developments. For example, the spoken greeting in Iranian Persian 'Shomā Khub hastin?' (How are you doing?), differs from Dari only slightly 'Shumā khub astin?' but the written form of both are equal (شما خوب هستید؟) . The vowel system also differs from that of Iranian Persian, to some degree. To mark attribution, both Persian-Dari and Persian-Farsi use the object marker "-ra" in the written and spoken language.

In addition, the major grammatical difference is the usage of continuous tense. In Iranian Persian, the verb “to have” ( _fa. dāshtan) is used before any other verb to indicate a continuous action. While in Dari, the expression "dar hāle" ("at the moment of"), is used with the simple present or past tense to express a continuous state. e.g. to expressing that "I am going" in Iran it is said "Man dāram miravam" while in Afghanistan it is said "Man dar hāle raftan hastam". Nevertheless, some Dari speakers in Afghanistan have recently adopted the structure used by Iranians, besides both forms are trans-intelligible.Fact|date=October 2007


Dari was the official language of the Sassanids' court. It emerged as the language of the Persians after the defeat of the Parthians by Ardeshir I in 226 CE. Dari is also referred to as Middle Persian, or as a classic style of Persian language. The term "middle" Persian suggests the existence of an Old Persian and a New Persian. Old Persian was the language of the Achaemenids, which was overshadowed by Greek after the conquests of Alexander the Great. Fact|date=December 2007

The Muslim conquests broke the continued chain of the Persian language and Arabic (for two hundred years, i.e. 7–8 century CE) became the official language. The Persians, however, did not forget their own language and gradually, Middle Persian was being shaped into New Persian (or Dari) while influenced by Arabic loanwords and was written in Arabic script. New Persian (or Dari) became the main language of people of Transoxiana and Khorasan in 9th century, and later, it became widespread in other parts of Iran, as well as non-Iranian regions such as India, and Anatolia. [Dr. Jalal Matini, Iranshenasi Magazine, No.2, Year 2002, [http://www.iranshenasi.net LINK] ] . Therefore, Transoxiana and Khorasan are regarded by many as the birthplace of Persian language and Persian literature [Dr. Jalal Matini, Iranshenasi Magazine, No.2, Year 2002, [http://www.iranshenasi.net LINK] ] .

The Old, Middle, and New Persian are and represent the same language at three stages of its history. The New Persian language is what is called today as Iranian Persian or Dari Persian (so called "Farsi e Dari") or Tajik Persian (so called "Farsi e Tajiki"). "Farsi" is the local name of the Persian of Iran and "Dari or "Farsi e Dari" is the local name of the Persian spoken in Afghanistan. The New Persian remains close to the Middle Persian in many respects. However, New Persian has taken many Arabic loanwords, as opposed to Middle Persian which was influenced, to a lesser degree, and by Aramaic. The grammatical structure has also undergone minor changes, mainly in relations to verbal morphology and syntax; As an instance an educated Persian speaker can understand literary texts of the previous millennium almost with ease while it is not the case for many other languages.

Opinions about emergence of the Dari Persian

There are different opinions concerning how Dari was formed and developed, and concerning the region where Dari came into existence.

Mohammad Taqi Bahar, a famous Iranian poet and scholar, writes in his book "Sabk-Shenasi": [Sabk-Shenasi (Vol.1), Taqi Mohammad Bahar, Amir Kabir's Publications, 1337 Tehran]

:Some people say that Dari is the same old Persian, others believe that Dari is a dialect of the Soghdi language common in the north of Amu Darya and Samarkand. While others, relying on the statements of Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa, believe that Dari was the language of Capital. It was the most fluent language of the Sassanid period and contained a large number of Eastern words, especially those of Balkh.

He continues: :As the people of Samarkand and Bukhara narrated books and poetries in Dari language after Islam and the poets of Khorasan also narrated their poems in this language, Dari came step by step from Khorasan to Persia (modern day Iran). I can say as a conclusion that Dari is the language of the people of Bukhara and Balkh.

Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa (d. 706) writes in his book Al-fehrest:"Pahlavi refers to Pahla, which is the name of five cities: Isfahan, Ray, Hamadan, Mah-Nahawand and Azerbaijan. But Dari is the language of citizens and that of Court. It is one of the languages of Khorasan and eastern regions (of Persia). While "Dari" is the language of Zoroastrian religious leaders, and the people of Persia (Iran) spoke in this language. [History of the Philosophical Sciences of Iran", Haqiqat Abdul Rafi, Komash Publications, 1372 Tehran, page 39]

Despite the confusing explanation of Ibn Muqaffa about Pahlavi, Dari and Farsi, we can still conclude that Dari was the language of eastern regions of Persia, i.e. Balkh. Parsi was the official language of the Zoroastrian religion, which is said to be the vehicle of literature later known as Dari. The differences between Iranian Persian and Dari Persian in accent, vocabulary, and expressions have evolved over time and is mostly like American English and British English. Today, Iranian Persian and Dari Persian are considered as two different dialects. By the 9th century, the Dari of Khorasan was the dominant speaking language of the Sassanian empire. In the Middle of the 8th century, Abu Muslim's Arab armies spoke Dari Persian. And it was this language which kept a sense of unity among the Arabicized Persians and thus emerged as a national identity through literature.

According to Prof. Shahrestani, former president of the Faculty of Persian literature of Kabul University, Dari was formed during the rule of "Behman son of Espandyar", one of the Kavi Kings in Balkh, who ruled probably before the Common Era. In several old books including "Burhan e Qāté", it is mentioned that "“At the period of Behman’s ruling, son of Espandyar, people came from different regions to his court and did not understand each others’ languages. Therefore, he ordered the scholars to make a fluent Persian language, and named it Dari.”" [Shahrestani, Shah Ali Akbar, "Emergence and Development of Farsi-Dari language", 1999, New Delhi, India] Hence, we can say with most certainty that Dari Persian is almost a 2000-year-old language.

In all over Greater Iran (Persia) people called their spoken language "Farsi", whereas they attributed the word "Dari" for a pure, original language with a correct structure. Zabihullah Safa, an Iranian scholar, reporting from the book "Burhān e Qāte'" says: "Any word which does not have any error/mistake is called Dari e.g." اشکم و شکم، بگوی و گوی، اشتر و شتر, "etc. So" اشکم، بگوی and اشتر "are Dari words. And some people believe that it was the language of some cities like Balkh, Bukhara, Badakhshan, and Merv"." Another example can be Hafez of Shiraz, a famous Persian poet who lived in Shiraz his whole life. He has called his language "Parsi" but has also called it "Dari" when trying to attribute his poems to a rich language.

Dari Persian after Islam

With the advent of Islam, Arabic slowly replaced the Persian language. Pre-Islamic Persia is said to have had a strong poetic tradition, but little of it has survived, according to M. Boyce, because most of it was not written down. When Arabic became the scholarly language, Persian fell into disuse. Today, both Iranian Persian and Dari Persian contain equal combination of Arabic and Turkish vocabulary. The reason that Dari Persian reserved its pure and original language style and expressions, while Iranian Persian could not, is that the people of the eastern regions of Persia, i.e. Khorasan, had less contact and interaction with other foreign languages, although the language of the people of Transoxiana was affected by Russian. Iranian Persian was influenced by some European languages — particularly by French — in the late years of the Qajar Dynasty and during the Pahlavi dynasty.

An important difference between Dari Persian and Iranian Persian can be noticed after the 18th century. Before the 17th century, we do not observe any remarkable difference between the works written in different regions of Persia. Works written in Dari Persian in Hindostan (present day Pakistan and Northern India) during the Moghul Empire had a different language style and usage of expressions than the works written in Iranian Persian, whereas the language of the people of Khorasan reserved its old Dari style. Three distinct schools were created in Persian poetry and literature: Khorasani, and Iraqi.

The earliest Dari Persian writing goes back to 752 in letter form. However, by the 10th century, a tremendous amount of literature was written and translated into Dari Persian. The first attempts to revive Persian were in poetic form. Among the first poets according to "Tarikh e Sistan", were "Abu Hafas Soghdi", "Mohammad ibn Wasif", and "Hanzala e Badqisi". The Lubab El Albāb of Zahiriddin Nasr Muhammad Aufi claims one Abbas of Merv as the first poet, who composed a poem in honor of Khalifa al-Ma'mun on the occasion of his entry into that city of Merv in 809 A.D.

Ibn Wasif, a secretary of "Ya'qub Bin Laith As Saffāri" of the Saffarid dynasty, praised the sultan on his recent victory in Herat and Foshanj in Arabic verses. Not understanding his secretary of chancery, Yaqub asked: "Why must something be recited that I can't understand?" Thus, Ibn Wasif, to please the sultan, began writing in Dari Persian. Hanzala and Ibn Wasif were the leading men, in local Persian courts, who led the way for a patriotic literary revival.

Much credit also goes to dynasties of Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids and Seljukids who encouraged poetry and had hundreds of poets in their courts. Most of the well-known Persian poets lived during those periods.

Political views on the language

Some people do not consider the Persian spoken in Afghanistan to be a separate dialect.Fact|date=October 2007 They consider it to be just Persian. "Dari" is used by certain scholars in Tajikistan and Iran, including Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, to refer to the Persian language.Fact|date=October 2007 It is also believed by some that "Dari Persian" should not be called "Afghanistani Persian", because it already existed centuries before the creation of Afghanistan, or the use of the word "Afghanistani". Linguists prefer the terms "Western Persian" (Farsi) for the spoken Persian in Tehran, and "Eastern Persian" (Dari) for the Persian spoken in most of Afghanistan, eastern Iran & in Pakistan. The language name of Afghanistan was officially changed from Farsi to Dari due to political reasons in 1964. [Willem Vogelsang, "The Afghans",Blackwell Publishing, 2002] [ [http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/pakistan/ashford23may1964.htm Declassified] , Dr. Zaher (Pashtun) said that There would be, as there is now, two official languages, Pashtu and Farsi, but the latter henceforth would be Dari.]

Further reading

* Lazard, G. " [http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v7f1/v7f131.html Darī - The New Persian Literary Language] " "in" "Encyclopædia Iranica" Online Edition.
* Sakaria, S. (1967) "Concise English - Afghan Dari Dictionary" Ferozsons, Kabul, [http://worldcat.org/oclc/600815 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, [http://worldcat.org/oclc/24699677 OCLC 24699677]


External links

* [http://www.afghan-web.com/language/dari.html Dari Alphabet (www.afghan-web.com)]
*fa icon [http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/tajikistan/story/2006/03/060309_rm_5persian_congress.shtml "International Symposium of Masters of Persian language" discusses the name of this language]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/tajikistan/story/2006/07/060722_er_persian_language.shtml Persian speaking people and the names of persian language]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Eastern Iranian languages — Eastern Iranian Geographic distribution: Scythia, Central Asia Linguistic classification: Indo European Indo Iranian Iranian Eastern Iranian …   Wikipedia

  • Dari — may refer to:* Dari (Eastern Persian), a historical literary language and the Persian language variant of Afghanistan * Dari (Zoroastrian), an ethnolect of the Zoroastrians of Yazd and KermanDari may also refer to: * Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors… …   Wikipedia

  • Dari language — may refer to Dari (Zoroastrian), an ethnolect of the Zoroastrians of Yazd and Kerman Dari (Eastern Persian), a modern variety of Persian language, spoken in Afghanistan Persian language This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the… …   Wikipedia

  • Dari (Afghanistan) language — #REDIRECT Dari (Eastern Persian) …   Wikipedia

  • Dari (Persian) — Dari redirects here. For other uses, see Dari (disambiguation). Dari (Afghan Persian) دری Dari in Persian alphabet (Nasta liq style) …   Wikipedia

  • Persian language — Farsi redirects here. For other uses, see Farsi (disambiguation). Persian فارسی, دری, تاجیکی Wri …   Wikipedia

  • Persian people — Persians redirects here. For the Athenian tragedy, see The Persians. Persian identity, at least in terms of language, is traced to the ancient persian people, or Indo European Aryans who arrived in parts of Greater Iran circa 2000 1500 BCE.… …   Wikipedia

  • Eastern Farsi — noun Dari, the dialect of the Persian language as spoken by approximately one third of the population of Afghanistan; also referred to as Eastern Persian, Afghan Persian, or simply Persian …   Wiktionary

  • Dari — noun a) A variety of Middle Persian, the court language of the late Sassanid period and of classical Persian poetry. b) The dialect of the Persian language as spoken by approximately one half of the population in Afghanistan; also referred to as… …   Wiktionary

  • Dari (Zoroastrian) — Dari Spoken in Yazd and Kerman, (Iran) Region Central Iran Native speakers 8,000 15,000 native speakers  (date missing) …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.