A sociolinguistic profile of English in Afghanistan: The perspectives of Kabul academics

Freshta Sediqi, Purdue University


Afghanistan is considered one of the Expanding Circle countries and has witnessed the spread of English in many different sectors. However, due to the unstable political situation and conflicts associated with the civil war in the country, there has been little or no research conducted in Afghanistan in the field of language and linguistics, particularly on the English language. Thus, English and its utility, power, and dominance need to be studied and reviewed in Afghanistan. With globalization and socioeconomic changes all over the world, English has come to be seen as a very important tool to connect people worldwide. Drawing from this perception of the spread of English, the present study investigates the role of English in Afghanistan, an Expanding Circle county. Following previous research, it will be conducted using Kachru’s (1985) paradigm of functional allotment of English in intricate sociolinguistic contexts. Kachru’s paradigm focused on the four so-called functions of English; instrumental, interpersonal, regulative, and creative. These functions will be applied to the sociocultural context of Afghanistan. The present study is also devoted to an exploration of the influences of English on Dari, one of the official languages in Afghanistan. In particular, the study looks at the uses of English from two different dimensions. First, it focuses on the role of English in business, education, economics, government, employment, and mass media. Second, it reveals some of the negative consequences of the English language on Afghan society, culture, language, and life. The two major research strategies applied are: (1) a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data; and (2) a review of the literature, which consists of several case studies. Data have been collected from survey questionnaires, interviews, newspapers, archives, and published articles/papers.




Berns, Purdue University.

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