Monday, August 11, 2008

Vocabulary Lesson, Kabul Edition, Issue I.

This is a post that I've been meaning to do for awhile.  Some words that are used very frequently in Afghanistan (and in my blog) need further explanation. Here are a list of common terms/places/words mentioned in my blog and their meanings. 

Kabul: The capital of Afghanistan.  Hopefully you all know that, but we've had people ask.
Dari: A dialect of Persian, spoken in Kabul and most of northern Afghanistan. One of the four official languages
Pashto: The language of the Pashtun tribe, spoken in Kabul and southern Afghanistan, another official language
Shalwar Kameez: The traditional clothing of Pakistan worn in many parts of Afghanistan.  The style worn in Afghanistan consists of a long shirt with long sleeves and long, loose fitting pants.  This is what I usually wear.
Chador, Chadar: The head scarf worn by women when in public.  The Afghanistan style covers the head (not face) and upper body.
Burqa: The complete body covering worn by women in Afghanistan over their clothes.  It covers the face with a small grill or netting material at the eyes that allows for (limited) vision and air.  The burqa was made mandatory by the Taliban and was not used extensively prior to this time.  Although the burqa is no longer required it is still worn by many women.  Often it is worn to protect personal identity and for security.  Burqas are usually light blue, some regions have black or white burqas.
Chakador, chaikador: Doorman/door guard/errand runner.  Chakador literally means "Man who sits in chair."  We have three different chakadors that work at different times of the week.  They are all very nice and we are enjoying getting to know them.
Fixer: Most NGO/Expats have a fixer who does a variety of things for them.  Our fixer helps us with driving, phone cards, and other general questions like "What's the best way to get a visa to India?" Or "What is there to do in Mazar-e-Sharif?"
Salaam: Literally, peace. Shortened form of "Salaam Aleikum" (peace be with you). Used as a greeting in Afghanistan.
Tashakor, tashakur: "Thank you" in Dari. 
Toshak, toushak: Afghans do not sit on couches, they sit (and often sleep) on toshaks.  These are long, flat pillows.  They are very comfy.
Seis: Fine or Ok in Dari.  We can always tell when an Afghan is ready to end a conversation because they begin to say "seis" repeatedly.
Inshallah: "Lord Willing" Afghans say this whenever talking about plans or the future.  Joey and Steve had added it to their pre-flight checklist.


Emily B said...

That reminds me, did you find out how to get a visa for India? I got nothing besides going to the embassy if you're living outside of the US.

Jacob and Carlee Loya said...

Carlee and I were just talking about adding "God willing" to the end of every sentence that is contigent on anything or has any sort of unsure outcome. We are ready to be real liberal with it. We will have to talk about changing it to "inshallah" in order to be a little more authentic. It could be an amazing addition to all conversations and it JUST MAKES SENSE. Thanks for the posts. God willing there will be more to come. (Yeah, that'll catch on.)