Hazaragi Dialect
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Hazaragi Dialect

Hazaragi (Persian: ‎, Hazaragi: ‎, Azargi) is an eastern variety of Persian[5][6] that is spoken by the Hazara people, primarily in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, as well as other Hazara-populated areas of their native living ground of Afghanistan. It is also spoken by the Hazaras of Pakistan and Iran and also by Hazara diaspora living elsewhere. It is mutually intelligible with Dari,[7] one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.[8]


Hazaragi is an eastern variety of Persian closely related to Dari. Historically it has been classified as a dialect of Persian with significant loanwords from Mongolic and Turkic.[9][10] It is a member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family, and is closely related to Dari language, another eastern variety of Persian and one of the two main languages in Afghanistan. The primary differences between Dari and Hazaragi are the accents[8] and Hazaragi's greater array of Mongolic and Turkic loanwords.[11] Despite these differences, they are mutually intelligible.[7]

In Daykundi Province, Hazaragi has a significant admixture of Altaic influence in the language via Karluk.

Geographic distribution and diaspora

Hazaragi is spoken by the Hazara people, who mainly live in Afghanistan (predominantly in the Hazarajat region, as well as in major urban areas), with a significant population in Pakistan (particularly Quetta) and Iran (particularly Mashhad),[12] and by Hazara diaspora in eastern Uzbekistan, northern Tajikistan, the Americas, Europe, and Australia.[13]

In recent years, a substantial population of Hazara refugees have settled in Australia, prompting the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to move towards an official recognition of the Hazaragi language. Currently, NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) holds interpreting tests for Hazaragi as a distinct language, noting in test materials that Hazaragi varies by dialect, and that any dialect of Hazaragi may be used in interpreter testing as long as it would be understood by the average speaker. The test materials also note that Hazaragi in some locations has been significantly influenced by surrounding languages, and that the use of non-Hazaragi words assimilated from neighboring languages would be penalized in testing.[14]


The history of the language of the Hazara people has been an issue of some debate. While some well-established scholars like Bacon[15] and Schumann[16] believe that the original language of the Hazaras was Dari from the beginning.

During the time of king Babur, who came to Afghanistan in the 16th century, some Hazaras spoke the Mongolic language. A distinct Hazara Persian dialect began to emerge amongst the people of the Hazarajat in the late 18th century. According to G. K. Dulling,[17] "they ceased to be Mongolic speakers by the end of eighteenth century at the latest, and were then speaking Tajik of a sort."[18]

Persian and Islam

One of the reasons behind the demise of Mongolic was the religion of Islam. The Persian language became so much part of the religion of Islam that it almost went wherever Islam took roots.[] Persian entered, in this way, into the very faith and thought of the people embracing Islam throughout South Asia.[19]

Timur, though he committed many depredations,[clarification needed] was brought up according to the Iranian culture and patronized the learned to such an extent that Samarkand and Herat became seats of Iranian learning.[20]

Similarly, the Ilkhanate Mongol rulers became so involved with Persian that after Iskan Khan,[clarification needed] when the Mongols went to the mountains of present Hazarajat, they took the Persian language and Shia Islam with them.[21]

There are some Mongolic-speaking Mongols, mainly in Karez and Kundur between Maymana and Herat (northwestern and western Afghanistan), who still speak the Mongolic language that Hazaras do not understand.[when?][22]

Mongolic and Turkic influence

Over time, the Mongolic and Turkic languages died out in Afghanistan as living languages amongst the Hazara people. However, Hazaragi contains a considerable number of Mongolic and Turkic words.[19][23]

According to Dulling, "Grammatically, the Mongolian was probably fairly pure, it contained a certain amount of original language, Persian and its substratum. It would seem, too, that because the long period that separated the initial and final Mongol settlements, the Mongolic language itself was not homogeneous, containing as it did not only Middle Mongol but also modern Mongol elements."[24]

Grammatical structure

The grammatical structure of Hazaragi[25][26][27] is practically identical with that of Kabuli and Herati Persian.[28][29]


As a group of eastern Persian varieties which are considered the more formal and classical varieties of Persian,[] Hazaragi retains the voiced fricative [?], and the bilabial articulation of [w] has borrowed the (rare)[clarification needed] retroflexes [?] and [?]; as in bu? (meaning "boot") vs. but (meaning "idol") (cf. Persian bot); and rarely articulates [h].[30] The convergence of voiced uvular stop [?] (?) and voiced velar fricative [?] (?) in Western Persian (probably under the influence of Turkic languages)[31] is still kept separate in Hazara.

Diphthongs include [aj], [aw], and [?w] (cf. Persian ab, ?b, ûw). The vocalic system is typically eastern Persian, characterized by the loss of length distinction, the retention of mid vowels, and the rounding of [?] and [å/o], alternating with its merger with [a], or [û] (cf. Persian ?n).[30][clarification needed]

Stress is dynamic and similar to that in Dari[32] and Tajik varieties of Persian,[33] and not variable.[34] It generally falls on the last syllable of a nominal form, including derivative suffixes and a number of morphological markers. Typical is the insertion of epenthetic vowels in consonant clusters (as in pa?m to pó?um; "wool") and final devoicing (as in ?ût; "self, own").[30]

Nominal morphology

The most productive derivative marker is -i, and the plural markers are -o for the inanimate (as in kitab-o, meaning "books"; cf. Persian -h?) and for the animate (as in birar-û, meaning "brothers"; cf. Persian -?n). The emphatic vocative marker is û or -o, the indefinite marker is -i, and the specific object marker is -(r)a. The comparative marker is -tar (as in kalû-tar, meaning "bigger"). Dependent adjectives and nouns follow the head noun and are connected by -i (as in kitab-i mamud, meaning "the book of Ma?mud"). Topicalized possessors precede the head noun marked by the resumptive personal suffix (as in Zulmay ayê-?i, literally "Zulmay her mother"). Prepositions include, in addition to the standard Persian ones, ?un(i) (meaning "with, by means of", da (meaning "in"; cf. Persian dar); the latter often replaces ba (meaning "to") in dative function. Loaned postpositions include comitative -qati (meaning "together with") and (az) -worî (meaning "like"). Interrogatives typically function also as indefinites (as in kudam, meaning "which, someone").[30]

Pronouns in Hazaragi[30][English] (Persian - Ironik)
Singular/Plural First person Second person Third person
singular ma [me, I] (man) tu [you] (tu) e/u [this/that] (w)
plural [we, us] (mo) ?imû/?umû (cumo) yo/wo [these/those] (icon)
singular -um [mine] -em -it/khu/-tû [your/yours] (-et) -i?/-(i)?i [his/hers] (-ec)
plural -mû [ours] (-emon) -tû/-?imû/?umû [your/yours] (-eton) -i?/-(i)?i [their] (-econ)

Particles, conjunctions, modals, and adverbials

These include atê/arê, meaning "yes"; amma or wali, meaning "but"; balki, meaning "however"; ?aydi, meaning "perhaps"; ale, meaning "now"; and wu?t-a, meaning "then". These are also marked by distinctive initial stress.[30]

Hazaragi particles, conjunctions, modals, and adverbials
Hazaragi Persian/Dari English
Amyale aknun now
dalil'dera dalil darad maybe

Verb morphology

The imperfective marker is mi- (assimilated variants: m-, mu-, m-, mê-; as in mi-zan-um, "I hit, I am hitting"). The subjunctive and imperative marker is bi- (with similar assimilation). The negation is na- (as in na-mi-zad-um, "I was not hitting"). These usually attract stress.[30]


The tense, mood, and aspect system is typically quite different from western Persian. The basic tense system is threefold: present-future, past, and remote (pluperfect). New modal paradigms developed in addition to the subjunctives:

  • The non-seen/mirative that originates in the resultative-stative perfect (e.g., zad-?m; cf. Persian zada(e) am), which has largely lost its non-modal use;
  • the potential, or assumptive, which is marked by the invariant ?ot (cf. Persian x?h-ad or x?d, "it wants, intends") combined with the indicate and subjunctive forms.

Moreover, all past and remote forms have developed imperfective forms marked by mi-. There are doubts about several of the less commonly found, or recorded, forms, in particular those with ?ot.[35] However, the systematic arrangement of all forms according to their morphological, as well as semantic, function shows that those forms fit well within the overall pattern. The system may tentatively be shown as follows (all forms are 1st sing), leaving out complex compound forms such as zada ?ot mu-buda ba?-um.[30]

In the assumptive, the distinction appears to be not between present versus past, but indefinite versus definite. Also, similar to all Persian varieties, the imperfective forms in mi-, and past perfect forms, such as mi-zad-um and zada bud-um, are used in irreal conditional clauses and wishes; e.g., ka?ki zimi qulba kadagi mu-but, "If the field would only be/have been plowed!" Modal verbs, such as tan- ("can"), are constructed with the perfect participle; e.g., ma bû-r-um, da ?aman rasid-a ?ot tanist-um, "I shall go, and may be able to get to ?aman". Participial nominalization is typical, both with the perfect participle (e.g., kad-a, "(having) done") and with the derived participle with passive meaning kad-ag-i, "having been done" (e.g., zimin-i qulba kada-ya, "The field is ploughed"; zamin-i qulba (na-)?uda-ra mi-ngar-um, "I am looking at a plowed/unplowed field"; imrûz [u ?ondagi] tikrar mu-kun-a, "Today he repeats (reading) what he had read"). The gerundive (e.g., kad-an-i, "to be done") is likewise productive, as in yag ?iz, ki uftadani ba?-a, ma u-ra qad-dist-?u girift-um, tul?a kad-um, "One object, that was about to fall, I grabbed, and held it". The clitic -ku or -?u topicalizes parts of speech, -di the predicate; as in i-y?i raft, ma-?u da ?ona mand-um, "He himself left; I, though, I stayed".[30]

See also


  1. ^ Emadi, Hafizullah (2005). Culture and Customs of Afghanistan. ISBN 9780313330896.
  2. ^ https://www.omniglot.com/writing/hazaragi.htm
  3. ^ https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/58210
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Hazaragi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. ^ "HAZ?RA iv. Haz?ragi dialect". Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "Attitudes towards Hazaragi". Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Attitudes Towards Hazaragi". Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ a b Schurmann, Franz (1962) The Mongols of Afghanistan: An Ethnography of the Moghôls and Related Peoples of Afghanistan Mouton, The Hague, Netherlands, page 17, OCLC 401634
  9. ^ "Language of the "Mountain Tribe": A Closer Look at Hazaragi - Languages Of The World". Languages Of The World. 2011-12-12. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "A Sociological Study of Hazara Tribe in Balochistan (An Analysis of Socio-Cultural Change) University of Karachi, Pakistan July 1976 p.302". Eprints.hec.gov.pk. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Charles M. Kieffer, "HAZ?RA iv. Haz?ragi dialect," Encyclopedia Iranica Online Edition, December 15, 2003, available at [1]
  12. ^ Area Handbook for Afghanistan, page 77, Harvey Henry Smith, American University (Washington, D.C.) Foreign Area Studies
  13. ^ Barbara A. West. "Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania". pp 272. Info base Publishing, 2009. ISBN 1438119135
  14. ^ Accreditation by Testing: Information booklet. NAATI, VERSION 1.10- August 2010
  15. ^ Bacon E: The Hazara Mongols of Afghanistan: A study in social organization, PhD Dissertation, University of California, 1951, page 6.
  16. ^ H.F. Schurmann: The Mongols of Afghanistan: an ethnography of the Mongols and related people of Afghanistan, University of California 1962, page 25-26
  17. ^ Dulling G.K. The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian. London, Central Asian Research Center 1973
  18. ^ Dulling G.K. (1973), The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian, London, Central Asian Research Center, p. 13
  19. ^ a b "A Sociological Study of Hazara Tribe in Balochistan (An Analysis of Socio-Cultural Change) University of Karachi, Pakistan July 1976". Eprints.hec.gov.pk. Retrieved .
  20. ^ Iranian Magazine (Sukhan, no. ix Khurdad 1325 solar, Khanlari 1325:3) under the title Ba Deedar e Yaran
  21. ^ A Sociological Study of Hazara Tribe in Balochistan (An Analysis of Socio-Cultural Change) University of Karachi, Pakistan July 1976 p.305
  22. ^ Elphinstone, Mountstuart (Kingdom of Caubul) with a new introduction by Sir Olaf Caroe, London and New York, Oxford University press, 1972
  23. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica II p.199.
  24. ^ Dulling, G. K. The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian. London: Central Asian Research Center, 1973: 13.
  25. ^ Valentin Aleksandrovich Efimov, Yazyk afganskikh khazara: Yakavlangskii dialect, Moscow, 1965. pp. 22-83
  26. ^ Idem, "Khazara yazyk," in Yazyki mira. Iranski? yazyki I: yugo-zapadnye iranski? yazyki, Moscow, 1997, pp. 154-66.
  27. ^ G. K. Dulling, The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian: A Preliminary Study, Central Asian Monograph 1, London, 1973. pp. 29-41
  28. ^ A. G. Ravan Farhadi, Le persan parlé en Afghanistan: Grammaire du kâboli accompagnée d'un recuil de quatrains populaires de région de Kâbol, Paris, 1955.
  29. ^ Idem, The Spoken Dari of Afghanistan: A Grammar of K?boli Dari (Persian), Compared to the Literary Language, Kabul, 1975
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i Charles M. Kieffer. "HAZ?RA iv. Haz?ragi dialect". Iranica. p. 1. Retrieved 2011.
  31. ^ A. Pisowicz, Origins of the New and Middle Persian phonological systems (Cracow 1985), p. 112-114, 117.
  32. ^ Farhadi, Le persan parlé en Afghanistan: Grammaire du kâboli accompagnée d'un recuil de quatrains populaires de région de Kâbol, Paris, 1955, pp. 64-67
  33. ^ V. S.Rastorgueva, A Short Sketch of Tajik Grammar, tr. Herbert H. Paper, Bloomington, Ind., and The Hague, 1963, pp. 9-10
  34. ^ G. K. Dulling, The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian: A Preliminary Study, Central Asian Monograph 1, London, 1973. p. 37
  35. ^ G. K. Dulling, The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian: A Preliminary Study, Central Asian Monograph 1, London, 1973. pp. 35-36

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