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Persian is the language spoken in Iran and Afghanistan and in some other countries that had Persian cultural influences. In fact, Persian was the official language of the Muslim rulers in Indian subcontinent before the arrival of the British. Persian is also known as Dari or Farsi. In fact, Dari is the name of the language spoken by a majority of Afghan people, and it is also recognized by the Afghan government as its official language. Farsi is the language of the people of Iran, and it is also referred to as Persian language. However, many people, especially people in the western world confuse between Dari and Farsi because of their similarities. This article attempts to highlight the differences between these two languages.
Dari is the official Afghan language spoken and understood by a vast majority of the population. The other prominent language spoken by Afghans happens to be Pashto. Western world often calls this language Afghan Persian because of the phonetic similarities and grammatical overlapping with the Farsi language, the official language of Iran. Dari is spoken by nearly 5 million people in Afghanistan and happens to be the common language of communication. Though there is no unanimity as to the origin of the word Dari, many scholars are of the view that the word may have come from the fact that the language was used in the Darbar (Persian word for court) of the Sassanid Empire during the 3rd and 4th centuries.
Farsi, also called Persian, is the official language of Iran. The language belongs to the group of Indo-European languages and makes use of Arabic alphabet instead of Latin script. It is more similar to Hindi and Urdu than English. Most of the words in Farsi have been derived from Arabic though there are lots of English and French words in Farsi. There is a province called Fars in Central Iran and is referred to as the cultural capital of the country. The name of the Farsi language is believed to have originated with this place.
What is the difference between Dari and Farsi?
• Technically speaking, Dari is no more than a dialect of the Farsi or the Persian language.
• Farsi is also spoken by people in Afghanistan, and Dari is a variety of Farsi.
• Those who are scholars of Farsi say that the version of the Persian language spoken in Iran can be termed as western Persian or western Farsi whereas Dari, the language spoken in Afghanistan can be termed as the eastern variety of Farsi. Interestingly, there is another variant of Farsi that is spoken in Tajikistan. It is termed as Tajiki Persian.
• The alphabet used in both Farsi and Dari remains the same Arabic alphabet though in a modified form.
• If one looks the vowels, he finds that the vowel system in Dari is different, and there are some consonants in Dari that are not found in Farsi at all.
• As far as spoken versions of Dari and Farsi are concerned, the main difference is in the pronunciation.
• To a westerner, if he listens carefully, there is less stress on accents in Dari than in Farsi.