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Dari Persian

Dari, which is also simply called Farsi (Persian) by its native-speakers, refers to the dialects of modern Persian spoken in Afghanistan, and is hence also known as Afghan Persian in some Western sources. It is the term officially recognized and promoted in 1964 by the Afghan government for the Persian language. As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan; the other is Pashto. Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the mother-tongue of approximately 27% of the population, serving as the country's lingua franca.

The Iranian and Afghan dialects of Persian are highly mutually intelligible, with differences found primarily in the vocabulary and phonology. But in historical usage, Dari refers to the Middle Persian court language of the Sassanids.

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.

Dari is spoken by almost 27% of the population as a first language. 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 Pakistan also speak Dari as one of their primary languages.

Dari dominates in the northern, western and central areas of Afghanistan, and is the common language spoken in cities such as Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Fayzabad, Panjshir, and Bamiyan. Smaller Dari-speaking communities also exist in southern Pashtun-dominated areas such as in the cities of Kandahar, Lashkar Gah and Tarin Kowt. Dari is sometimes the primary language even in regions dominated by Pashtuns, such as Farah, due to the regional history and influence of Persian culture. Dari is also widely spoken in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and by a sizable population in Balochistan, Pakistan and various communities in Western Punjab.

Cultural influence

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 and 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.

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.

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dari_(Persian)]

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