Dari (دری, Darī, [dæɾiː]), or Dari Persian (فارسی دری, Fārsī-yi Darī), is a political term used for the various dialects of the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan.[4][5] Dari is the term officially recognised and promoted since 1964 by the Afghan government for the Persian language,[6][7] hence it is known as Afghan Persian or Eastern Persian in many Western sources.[8][9][10][11] As Professor Nile Green remarks "the impulses behind renaming of Afghan Persian as Dari were more nationalistic than linguistic" in order to create an Afghan state narrative.[12] Apart from a few basics of vocabulary, there is little difference between formal written Persian of Afghanistan and Iran. The term "Dari" is officially used for the characteristic spoken Persian of Afghanistan, but is best restricted to formal spoken registers. Persian-speakers in Afghanistan prefer to still call their language “Farsi,” while Pashto-speakers may sometimes refer to it as "Parsi."[13][14] Farsi Dari serves as the lingua franca for inter ethnic communications in Afghanistan.

Dari Persian
Farsi, Afghan Persian, Eastern Persian
PronunciationDari pronunciation: [daɾiː]
Native toAfghanistan
Native speakers
20.5 million (2000–2011)[1]
Official language of 35 million Afghan population[2]
Persian alphabet
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byAcademy of Sciences of Afghanistan
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
prs  Dari, Afghan Persian
aiq  Aimaq
haz  Hazaragi
Glottologdari1249  Dari
aima1241  Aimaq
haza1239  Hazaragi
Linguasphere58-AAC-ce (Dari) + 58-AAC-cdo & cdp (Hazaragi) + 58-AAC-ck (Aimaq)
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As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan; the other is Pashto.[15] Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the native language of approximately 40–45%[9][16][17][18] of the population.[17] Dari serves as the lingua franca of the country and is understood by up to 78% of the population.[19]

Dari served as the preferred literary and administrative language among non-native speakers, such as the Pashtuns and Mughals, for centuries before the rise of modern nationalism. Also, like Iranian Persian and Tajiki Persian, Dari Persian is a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sassanian Empire (224–651 AD), itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids (550–330 BC).[20][21] In historical usage, Dari refers to the Middle Persian court language of the Sassanids.[22]

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