Mother language day- Written by Nader Musavi- February 21st, 2018
Today was the international mother language day and kids had a plan to read Shahname1. Then I told them about this day. First, I asked them whether they can speak any other language? Some rose their hands. I told them to come and stand on the top of the stairway, where they could tell other children about that language and speak that language a bit. Sharif and his brother who were Turkmens, spoke Turkmen. Mahdi and Milad spoke Pashto. Aryana spoke Turkish2 and said that he had learnt Turkish from one of his Iranian friends.
The cheerful and well-spoken Soheila fluently spoke Luri, which she has learnt from her mother’s relatives as she said. Abolfazl who is the only student with an Iranian mother and an Afghan father, has been here since the first grade. His mother is from Ardabil3, Iran and his father is from Daikundi4, Afghanistan. He spoke lots of Turkish for kids and he enjoyed it the most! As I have been in Bandar Abbas and I recall the Bandari accent with all of its details, like Alahchapani5 Persian, I spoke lots of Bandari for the kids and I told them about sea, fish, lots of other stuff and also Singo6! I had previously told them about the differences between a language, a dialect and an accent for the kids. I told them that we all speak Persian and Bandari, Kabuli, Herati, Mashadi, Tehrani, Hazaragi are all branches of the Persian language. We are all Persephone, with diverse and sweet accents and dialects. It was an instructive day for the kids, especially for those whom each of them were from one province of Afghanistan, with divergent and different accents. Whenever a kid was speaking, the others were carefully listening and it was very interesting for them. I was soothed because of my hearing of those kids’ speaking other languages, and also about myself, speaking Bandari dialect, renewing my long-life aged words from the times when I was a kid myself. “wish I knew the unique art of dance and Bandari chamak7 too, so I could perform a panjah8 Bandari dance for my students while I was speaking it!” I thought.
1: A thousand years old epic book written in Persian, regarded as a national heritage in Iran.
2: Azeri has been referred to as Turkish in this essay.
3: An Azeri speaking city in the northwestern region of Iran, near the border with republic of Azerbaijan.
4: A Hazaragi speaking province in the central region of Afghanistan.
5: officially known as Alichoopan, author’s childhood village near Mazar-i-sharif, Balkh province, Afghanistan.
6: “crab” in Bandari dialect.
7: dance, from the Persian root chamidan, “to walk with a proud gate”.
8: a round. Used for a round of dance or singing in Afghanistan.