A Sociolinguistic Assessment of the Roshani Speech Variety in Afghanistan

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ISSN: 1934-5275

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Beck, Simone
Sociolinguistics, Roshani, Dari, Afghanistan
article description
This paper presents the results of a sociolinguistic assessment conducted in September 2007 in the Roshan area in Afghanistan, where the vernacular Roshani is spoken (ISO: sgh, for Shughni). The goal of the assessment was to determine whether the Roshani people will benefit from a language development project, opening the possibility for literature development and primary school education in the vernacular. The objectives were to assess whether the national language Dari (ISO: prs, for Persian) or the closely related speech variety Shughni would be adequate to be used in literature and primary school education. This was achieved by administering sociolinguistic questionnaires and village elder questionnaires, eliciting word lists, testing intelligibility of the Shughni speech variety, and observing and asking about bilingualism with Dari. In this way the domains of language use, attitude towards Roshani, Shughni and Dari, and bilingualism with Dari, and intelligibility of Shughni were determined. This paper aims to show that due to low bilingualism with Dari, Dari literature cannot serve the Roshani speech community adequately. Because of high intelligibility with Shughni and a neutral attitude, it will be recommendable that Shughni reading material will be tested in Roshan as soon as it is ready.

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