Posted on March 17th, 2010by
In Dari, Language acquisition, Pashto, Translation | Leave a Comment »
Most of what we hear and see about Afghanistan is war-related. The Taliban, the troops, roadside bombs, insurgents.
So it’s heartening to hear about someone who is trying to make a difference by connecting with Afghan culture.
Corporal “Taff” Edwards, a Welsh soldier, has learned to speak Dari, one of the languages spoken in Afghanistan, so he can help train men serving in their National Army.
A Welsh and English speaker, Edwards decided to start learning Dari as he wanted to learn a useful skill that would take him to the war.
Cpl Edwards underwent intensive training to prepare him for the demands of being a linguist in a war zone, and he said it was difficult to pick up.
“The training involved a lot of classroom time. All the teachers were trying their utmost but it is a very difficult language to learn,” he added.
“One of the reasons is that nothing is produced in the language – there is no Dari dictionary, there is no literature. These guys have been fighting for so long, producing books and things hasn’t been high on their list of priorities.
“So all the resources that we try and find all come from Iran as Parsi is very similar, but it is not exactly the same.”
Pashto and Dari are the two official languages of Afghanistan. Pashto was declared the National Language but Dari is probably more widely used, according to a UN estimate. There are a number of minority languages also spoken, including Nuristani and Pashai, and many Afghanis are bilingual.
Let’s hope people like Cpl Edwards can help connect with Afghan people and help them find peace and stability so they can write down their languages and encourage people to visit this incredible country.