Dari (Afghanistan)


Dari, also known as Eastern or Afghanistan Persian, is the language spoken by 50% of the population in Afghanistan and is considered the lingua franca in Afghanistan. It is an archaic language variety of standard Persian, and shares an alphabet with Farsi, also known as Iranian Persian. Dari is the dominant language in the northern and western parts, as well as in the capitol, Kabul, to the east.


  • There are no “majhul” vowels in Farsi. The long vowels /ē/ & /ī/ and /ō/ & /ū/ have merged in Farsi, but they remain separate in Dari. For example, the words /šīr/ for “lion” and /šēr/ for “milk” are pronounced the same in Farsi.
  • The Classical Persian dipthongs “aw” and “ay” are pronounced as “ow” and “ey” in Farsi; whereas, Dari keeps the traditional pronunciation.
  • The high short vowels “i” and “u” are lowered to “e” and “o” in Farsi.
  • The labial consonant /و/ is pronounced similarly to the English /v/ in Farsi and is pronounced similarly to the English /w/ in Dari. This is another example of Dari remaining more true to Classical Persian.
  • The voiced uvular stop and the voiced velar fricative have merged in Farsi, but remain separate in Dari.
  • The pronunciation of the final short “a” as “e” and the non-final short “a” to /æ/ in Farsi compared to Dari.


  • In Farsi, the auxiliary verb “to have” is placed before the main finite verb to indicate a continuous action; whereas, in Dari, a phrase meaning “at the moment of” is used and the main verb is kept in the infinitive.


  • The people in Iran, who speak Farsi, consider Dari to be a rural language. Interestingly, the people in Afghanistan, who speak Dari, consider Farsi a mispronounced version of Classical Persian.