The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #27 May / June 2017
Proverbs from the World
Dari (Afghan Persian)
by Tarja Jolma
May / June 2017 | 
Proverbs from the World:
Dari (Afghan Persian)

The world is full of languages, which in turn are full of proverbs, some of which are very culture related, some instead very universal. In this article there is one of each type. The language of choice this time is Dari, the Afghan variety of Persian language.

There are about 12,5 million native speakers of Dari, and it's one of the two official languages of Afghanistan. As an Indo-European language, Dari is related to languages like English, Spanish, Russian and Hindi. The script used is a Perso-Arabic script, which is read from right to left. There is no standardized romanization system, but the one chosen here is rather common.

یک نه و صد آسان
Yak na wa sad aasaan.
Literal translation:
One "no" and a hundred easy.

Some things really are universal, like this first proverb. This refers to a situation when saying "yes" to a request leads to many problems and responsibilities, but saying "no" (نه) saves from all that.

از زیر پلو، مولی برآمد
Az zer-e palau, muli bar aamad.
Literal translation:
From under under the pilaf, a radish came out.

To understand this we need to know something about the culinary culture of Dari speakers. "Palao", in English pilaf, is a typical rice dish, and underneath the rice people expect to see delicious meat. To discover a radish there is a disappointment.

Proverbs inspired by Zarbul Masalha. 151 Afghan Dari Proverbs by Captain Edward Zellem, 2. and bilingual edition in 2012, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, USA

Proverbs from the World - Dari (Afghan Persian)
Writer: Tarja Jolma
Jost Wagner: Afghani Palo

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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