Friday, October 28, 2011

Languages of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is home to many languages. The two official languages are Pashto and Dari. Pashto is spoken by approximately 50% of the population and Dari by approximately 40%. Other languages with a considerable number of speakers are Uzbek and Turkmen.

Pashto is an important language not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan where it is spoken by approximately 15% of the population. Pakistan is a southern neighbour of Afghanistan.

Dari is a language which is closely related to Persian, also known as Farsi. Persian is the first language of approximately 55% of the population of Iran. Iran is a western neighbour of Afghanistan.

Uzbek is spoken by approximately 9% of the population of Afghanistan. The largest number of Uzbek speakers are found in Uzbekistan, a northern neighbour of Afghanistan.

Turkmen is spoken by approximately 2% of the population of Aghanistan. The largest number of Turkmen speakers are found in Turkmenistan, a northern neighbour of Afghanistan.

Though Afghanistan has only two official languages, many are spoken. The official languages, Pashto and Dari, are also spoken outside of Afghanistan. Pashto has many speakers in Pakistan and Dari is similar to Persian, the first language of most Iranians. In addition to these two languages, many Afghans speak Turkmen and Uzbek, the official languages of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In fact, most speakers of Turkmen and Uzbek are found in those countries. The fact that they are also spoken in Afghanistan attests to the multicultural nature of Afghanistan.

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