Dari Persian
Farsi, Afghan Persian, Eastern Persian
PronunciationDari pronunciation: [daɾiː]
Native toAfghanistan
Native speakers
20.5 million (2000–2011)[1]
Official language of 35 million Afghan population[2]
Persian alphabet
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byAcademy of Sciences of Afghanistan
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
prs – Dari, Afghan Persian
aiq – Aimaq
haz – Hazaragi
Glottologdari1249  Dari
aima1241  Aimaq
haza1239  Hazaragi
Linguasphere58-AAC-ce (Dari) + 58-AAC-cdo & cdp (Hazaragi) + 58-AAC-ck (Aimaq)
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Dari (دری, Darī, [dæɾiː]), or Dari Persian (فارسی دری, Fārsī-yi Darī), is a political term used for the various dialects of the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan.[4][5] Dari is the term officially recognised and promoted since 1964 by the Afghan government for the Persian language,[6][7] hence it is known as Afghan Persian or Eastern Persian in many Western sources.[8][9][10][11] As Professor Nile Green remarks "the impulses behind renaming of Afghan Persian as Dari were more nationalistic than linguistic" in order to create an Afghan state narrative.[12] Apart from a few basics of vocabulary, there is little difference between formal written Persian of Afghanistan and Iran. The term "Dari" is officially used for the characteristic spoken Persian of Afghanistan, but is best restricted to formal spoken registers. Persian-speakers in Afghanistan prefer to still call their language “Farsi,” while Pashto-speakers may sometimes refer to it as "Parsi."[13][14]

As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan; the other is Pashto.[15] Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the native language of approximately 40–45%[9][16][17][18] of the population.[17] Dari serves as the lingua franca of the country and is understood by up to 78% of the population.[19]

Dari served as the preferred literary and administrative language among non-native speakers, such as the Pashtuns and Mughals, for centuries before the rise of modern nationalism. Also, like Iranian Persian and Tajiki Persian, Dari Persian is a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sassanian Empire (224–651 AD), itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids (550–330 BC).[20][21] In historical usage, Dari refers to the Middle Persian court language of the Sassanids.[22]

  1. ^ Dari, Afghan Persian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Aimaq at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Hazaragi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "South Asia :: Afghanistan". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  3. ^ "'Afghanistan: v.Languages', Table 11". Iranica. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  4. ^ Afghan Folktales from Herat: Persian Texts in Transcription and Translation. 2009. ISBN 978-1-60497-652-6.
  5. ^ "11 books". afghanistandl.nyu.edu.
  6. ^ Lazard, G. "Darī – The New Persian Literary Language", in Encyclopædia Iranica, Online Edition 2006.
  7. ^ "Tajikam Portal - Secret documents Reveal Afghan Language Policy". tajikam.com.
  8. ^ "Airgram Farsi to Dari 1964 Embassy Kabul to USA".
  9. ^ a b "Afghanistan". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 8 July 2010. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: prs". SIL International. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  11. ^ Library, International and Area Studies. "LibGuides: Dari Language: Language History". guides.library.illinois.edu.
  12. ^ Green, Nile; Arbabzadah, Nushin (2013). Afghanistan in Ink: Literature Between Diaspora and Nation. Hurst. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-84904-204-8.
  13. ^ "Afghanistan's Persian Linguistic Identity". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2021. Persian speakers in the country say 'the term Dari has been forced on them by the dominant Pashtun ethnic group as an attempt to distance Afghans from their cultural, linguistic, and historical ties to the Persian-speaking world'
  14. ^ "Kāboli". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2021. Persian in Afghanistan is generally called fārsi by Persian-speakers and pārsi in Pashto. The standard written Persian of Afghanistan has officially been called Dari since 1964; apart from a few basics of vocabulary, however (and more Indo-Persian calligraphic styles in the Perso-Arabic script), there is little difference between formal written Persian of Afghanistan and of Iran. The term "Dari" is often loosely used for the characteristic spoken Persian of Afghanistan, but is best restricted to formal spoken registers (poetry, speeches, newscasts, and other broadcast announcements).
  15. ^ "The Afghans – Language Use". United States: Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). 30 June 2002. Archived from the original on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  16. ^ "Afghanistan v. Languages". Ch. M. Kieffer. Encyclopædia Iranica, online ed. Retrieved 10 December 2010. Persian (2) is the most spoken languages in Afghanistan. The native tongue of twenty five percent of the population ...
  17. ^ a b "Dari". UCLA International Institute: Center for World Languages. University of California, Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  18. ^ "The World Factbook". 15 October 2013. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  19. ^ "South Asia :: Afghanistan – The World Factbook – Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  20. ^ Lazard, Gilbert 1975, "The Rise of the New Persian Language"
  21. ^ in Frye, R. N., The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 4, pp. 595–632, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  22. ^ Frye, R. N., "Darī", The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brill Publications, CD version

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