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Hazāragi, Āzargi and Azargi written in the Perso-Arabic script
Native toAfghanistan,[1] Pakistan
RegionHazaristan and other Hazara-populated areas
Native speakers
4.0 million (2017)[2]
Perso-Arabic Script, Latin alphabet[3][4]
Language codes
ISO 639-3haz

Hazaragi (Persian: هزارگی, romanizedhəzārəgi; Hazaragi: آزرگی, romanized: āzərgi) is an eastern dialect and variety of the Persian language that is spoken by the Hazara people.[5][6]


Hazaragi is a member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is an eastern variety of Persian and closely related to Dari, one of the two official Languages of Afghanistan. The primary differences between Dari and Hazaragi are the accents[7] and Hazaragi's greater array of many Turkic and a few Mongolic words and loanwords.[8][9][10][11] Despite these differences, the two dialects are mutually intelligible.[12]

In Daykundi (former Uruzgan), Hazaragi has a significant admixture of Turkic influence in the language via Karluk.[13]

Geographic distribution and diaspora

See also: Hazara diaspora

Hazaragi is spoken by the Hazara people, who mainly live in Afghanistan (predominantly in the Hazarajat (Hazaristan) region of central Afghanistan, as well as other Hazara-populated areas of Afghanistan), with a significant population in Pakistan (particularly Quetta) and Iran (particularly Mashhad),[14] and by Hazaras in eastern Uzbekistan, northern Tajikistan, the Americas, Europe, and Australia.[15] The number of Hazaragi speakers in Iran increased significantly due to the influx of refugees from Afghanistan where there are an estimated 399,000 speakers in the country as of 2021.[16]

In recent years, a substantial population of Hazara refugees has settled in Australia, prompting the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to move towards 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.[17]


Persian and Islam

See also: Muslim conquest of Persia

The Persian language became so much part of the religion of Islam that it almost went wherever Islam took roots.[citation needed] Persian entered, in this way, into the very faith and thought of the people embracing Islam throughout South Asia.[18]

Turkic and Mongolic influence

Over time, Turkic and Mongolic languages penetrated as living languages amongst Hazaras, and Hazaragi contains many Turkic and a few Mongolic loanwords.[18][10]

Grammatical structure

The grammatical structure of Hazaragi[19][20][21] is practically identical to that of the Kabuli dialect of Persian.[22][23]


Vowel phonemes of Hazaragi[24]
Front Back
High i u
Mid e ɔ
Low a

/a/ can also approach the sound [æ] or [ɛ].[24]

As a group of eastern Persian varieties which are considered the more formal and classical varieties of Persian,[citation needed] Hazaragi retains the voiced fricative [ɣ], and the bilabial articulation of [w] has borrowed the (rare)[clarification needed] retroflexes [ʈ] and [ɖ]; as in buṭ (meaning "boot") vs. but (meaning "idol") (cf. Persian bot); and rarely articulates [h].[25] The convergence of voiced uvular stop [ɢ] (ق) and voiced velar fricative [ɣ] (غ) in Western Persian (probably under the influence of Turkic languages)[26] is still kept separate in Hazara.

Diphthongs include [aj], [aw], and [ēw] (cf. Persian ab, āb, ûw). The vocalic system is typically eastern Persian, characterized by the loss of length distinction, the retention of mid vowels, and the rounding of [ā] and [å/o], alternating with its merger with [a], or [û] (cf. Persian ān).[25] [clarification needed]

Stress is dynamic and similar to that in Dari[27] and Tajik varieties of Persian,[28] and not variable.[29] It generally falls on the last syllable of a nominal form, including derivative suffixes and several morphological markers. Typical is the insertion of epenthetic vowels in consonant clusters (as in pašm to póšum; "wool") and final devoicing (as in ḵût; "self, own").[25]

Consonant phonemes of Hazaragi[24][25]
Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palato-
Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n
voiceless p ʈ k q
voiced b ɖ ɡ
Flap/Trill r
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x (h)
voiced z ʒ ɣ
Approximant w l j

[h] only occurs infrequently and among more educated speakers. /r/ can be heard as either a trill [r] or a tap [ɾ]. /x, ɣ/ can also range to uvular sounds [χ, ʁ].

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 -hā) and for the animate (as in birar-û, meaning "brothers"; cf. Persian -ān). 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 Maḥmud"). Topicalized possessors precede the head noun marked by the resumptive personal suffix (as in Zulmay ayê-ši, literally "Zulmay her mother"). Prepositions include, in addition to the standard Persian ones, ḵun(i) (meaning "with, using", 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 indefinite (as in kudam, meaning "which, someone").[25]

Pronouns in Hazaragi[25] [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) šimû/šumû (cumo) yo/wo [these/those] (icon)
singular -um [mine] -em -it/khu/–tû [your/yours] (-et) -iš/-(i)ši [his/hers] (-ec)
plural -mû [ours] (-emon) –tû/-šimû/šumû [your/yours] (-eton) -iš/-(i)ši [their] (-econ)

The inflection (u,o) that Hazaras use to pluralize nouns is also found in Avesta, Yashts such as Aryo.

Particles, conjunctions, modals, and adverbials

These include atê/arê, meaning "yes"; amma or wali, meaning "but"; balki, meaning "however"; šaydi, meaning "perhaps"; ale, meaning "now"; and wuḵt-a, meaning "then". These are also marked by distinctive initial stress.[25]

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.[25]


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:

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 ḵot.[30] 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 ḵot mu-buda baš-um.[25]

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., kaški 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 čaman rasid-a ḵot tanist-um, "I shall go, and may be able to get to Čaman". 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-)šuda-ra mi-ngar-um, "I am looking at a plowed/unplowed field"; imrûz [u ḵondagi] 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 čiz, ki uftadani baš-a, ma u-ra qad-dist-ḵu girift-um, tulḡa kad-um, "One object, that was about to fall, I grabbed, and held it". The clitic -ku or -ḵu topicalizes parts of speech, -di the predicate; as in i-yši raft, ma-ḵu da ḵona mand-um, "He himself left; I, though, I stayed".[25]

See also


  1. ^ Emadi, Hafizullah (2005). Culture and Customs of Afghanistan. ISBN 9780313330896.
  2. ^ Hazaragi at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024) Closed access icon
  3. ^ "Hazaragi language, alphabet and pronunciation".
  4. ^ Mai ve siyah: [milli] roman [Blue and Black : A national novel]. Hilminin koleksiyonu. Vol. 43. Hilmi Kitabevi. 1938.
  5. ^ "HAZĀRA iv. Hazāragi dialect". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Attitudes towards Hazaragi". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ "Language of the "Mountain Tribe": A Closer Look at Hazaragi – Languages Of The World". Languages Of The World. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  9. ^ "A Sociological Study of Hazara Tribe in Balochistan (An Analysis of Socio-Cultural Change) University of Karachi, Pakistan July 1976 p.302". Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  10. ^ a b Monsutti, Alessandro (2017-07-01), "Hazāras", Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Brill, retrieved 2021-10-08
  11. ^ Charles M. Kieffer, "HAZĀRA iv. Hazāragi dialect," Encyclopedia Iranica Online Edition, December 15, 2003, available at [1]
  12. ^ "Attitudes Towards Hazaragi". Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  13. ^ دلجو, عباس (2014). تاریخ باستانی هزاره‌ها. کابل: انتشارات امیری. ISBN 978-9936801509.
  14. ^ Area Handbook for Afghanistan, page 77, Harvey Henry Smith, American University (Washington, D.C.) Foreign Area Studies
  15. ^ Barbara A. West. "Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania". pp 272. Info base Publishing, 2009. ISBN 1438119135
  16. ^ "Hazaragi". Ethnologue. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  17. ^ Accreditation by Testing: Information booklet. NAATI, VERSION 1.10- August 2010
  18. ^ a b "A Sociological Study of Hazara Tribe in Balochistan (An Analysis of Socio-Cultural Change) University of Karachi, Pakistan July 1976". Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  19. ^ Valentin Aleksandrovich Efimov, Yazyk afganskikh khazara: Yakavlangskii dialect, Moscow, 1965. pp. 22–83
  20. ^ Idem, “Khazara yazyk,” in Yazyki mira. Iranskiĭ yazyki I: yugo-zapadnye iranskiĭ yazyki, Moscow, 1997, pp. 154–66.
  21. ^ G. K. Dulling, The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian: A Preliminary Study, Central Asian Monograph 1, London, 1973. pp. 29–41
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Idem, The Spoken Dari of Afghanistan: A Grammar of Kāboli Dari (Persian), Compared to the Literary Language, Kabul, 1975
  24. ^ a b c Efimov, V. A. (2008). Xazara. In V. A. Efimov (ed.), Sredneiranskie i novoiranskie Jazyki: Moskva: Izdatel'stvo Firma Vostočnaya Literatura RAN. pp. 344–414.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Charles M. Kieffer. "HAZĀRA iv. Hazāragi dialect". Iranica. p. 1. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  26. ^ A. Pisowicz, Origins of the New and Middle Persian phonological systems (Cracow 1985), p. 112-114, 117.
  27. ^ 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
  28. ^ V. S.Rastorgueva, A Short Sketch of Tajik Grammar, tr. Herbert H. Paper, Bloomington, Ind., and The Hague, 1963, pp. 9–10
  29. ^ G. K. Dulling, The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian: A Preliminary Study, Central Asian Monograph 1, London, 1973. p. 37
  30. ^ G. K. Dulling, The Hazaragi Dialect of Afghan Persian: A Preliminary Study, Central Asian Monograph 1, London, 1973. pp. 35–36