A Linguistic Assessment of the Munji Language in Afghanistan

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ISSN: 1934-5275

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Beyer, Daniela; Beck, Simone
Munji; Afghanistan; Dari; sociolinguistic assessment; language development
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This paper presents a sociolinguistic assessment of the Munji (ISO: mnj) speech variety based on data collected in the Munjan area of northern Afghanistan. The goal was to determine whether a national language is adequate for primary school education and literature, or whether the Munji people would benefit from language development, including literature development in the vernacular. The survey trip entailed administering questionnaires to village elders,sociolinguistic questionnaires as well as Dari proficiency questionnaires to men and women of various age groups, eliciting word lists, and observing intelligibility of Dari and language use. In this way we aimed to determine the vitality of Munji, the different varieties of Munji, the use of Munji and Dari in the different domains of life, attitudes toward the speaking community’s own speech variety and toward Dari, and to investigate their intelligibility of Dari. In this paper we aim to show that the Munji people would benefit from Munji language development as a basis for both primary school material and adult literacy material in the mother tongue. In the long term, this is likely to raise the education level as well as the Munji people’s ability to acquire Dari literacy.