A Sociolinguistic Assessment of the Darwāzi Speech Variety in Afghanistan

Date:
2013
Part Of Series:
Linguistic Discovery, 11.1
Extent:
pages 22-82
Abstract:
This paper presents a sociolinguistic assessment of the Darwāzi speech varieties (including Tangshewi) based on data collected during a survey conducted between August 31st and September 19th 2008 in the Darwāz area. The research was carried out under the auspices of the International Assistance Mission, a Non-Governmental Organization working in Afghanistan. The goal was to determine whether Dari, one of the two national languages, is adequate to be used in literature and primary school education, or whether the Darwāzi people would benefit from language development, including literature development and primary school education in the vernacular. The researchers administered sociolinguistic group questionnaires to groups of men and women, as well as questionnaires to village elders, elicited word lists and tested and observed intelligibility of Dari. In this way we aimed to determine the domains of language use, the peoples' attitudes towards their own speech variety and Dari, and to investigate intelligibility of Dari. The Darwāzi speak only their vernacular in the home and in the community, and they use it in the religious domain, and with some guests. They speak Dari when travelling outside the area, with some guests, with government officials and partly in school. School is the only domain that exposes girls and young women to Dari; older women have only very little contact with Dari. Dari was found to be mostly intelligible to the Darwāzi speakers. Acquired comprehension seems to be growing rapidly as the middle and younger generation is more and more exposed to Dari radio broadcasting and television. Also, almost all Darwāzi children now go to school, where they are exposed to written Dari materials. The Darwāzi people display a positive attitude towards Dari. Their attitude towards the vernacular is somewhat divided. Many people insist that they speak Dari, just with a different pronunciation. As intelligibility of Dari is high after a short time of getting used to it, and the attitude towards Dari is highly positive, our opinion is that there is no need for a literacy program in the Darwāzi speech variety. In fact, people themselves do not see the need for such a program.
Publication Status:
Published
Country:
Afghanistan
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Entry Number:
54297