Crash Course: Afghanistan’s Languages and Culture


In this Crash Course prepared by Mr. Fraidoon Saadat, languages spoken in Afghanistan and the afghan culture was presented to the participants. The course started with true or false questions about Dari and Pashto, the two languages spoken in Afghanistan. After this, Mr. Saadat clarified that Dari and Pashto, often misunderstood as one of the Arabic language branches, are actually three different languages with different grammar rules. Dari and Pashto are actually a member of Indo-European languages that are close to Latin languages in root, then to Arabic. Dari language, a dialect of Persian language, in fact is very similar to English in grammar. Dari and Pashto use Arabic alphabet and it is written right to left. Besides Dari and Pashto, there are 33 other languages that are spoken in Afghanistan, but Dari and Pashto are considered that national languages of the country. The afghan government mainly uses Dari in capital Kabul other famous province capital’s offices, courts and universities.

Dari and Pashto alphabets were shown, followed by how the alphabets change in written words taking full and half forms. Mr. Saadat also showed a map of Afghanistan’s Ethno-linguistic groups, explaining where the majority and minority of different ethnic groups live and what languages they speak. Physical appearances and clothing of different ethnic groups living in Afghanistan was also discussed to include how people in cities and suburbs look and what type of clothes they wear.

In the end, participants asked questions about the history of Afghanistan’s and how old the name Afghanistan is. Answers to the questions led to some interesting short discussions about conquests and invasions of Afghanistan by world’s superpowers and how the region changed culturally and politically over the past two thousand years.

Some of the slides shown during this presentation can be viewed below.