Word for the Travel Wise (09/08/06)

Tajikistan FlagLast November when Outside magazine featured Mark Jenkin’s piece on his travel through the Wakhan Corridor I had no clue I would be traveling through the region in less than a year. While my trip is very different than Mark’s the story and pictures fueled my imagination and here I am! Didn’t really plan it this way, but I’m hoping once I have the time to share my own tales they too will ignite someone to go the Wakhan or some place nearby.

Today’s word is a Wakhi word used in the Wakhan:

dishma – I don’t know.

Wakhi is an Iranian language, but from my Iranian studies I’m seeing many differences. (Not that I’m an expert, but you know.) It belongs to the Pamir language group. There are about 50,000 Wakhi Tajiks worldwide. Learning Wakhi will be hard online. If going to Tajikistan stick to either Tajik or Russian.

Tajik is the official language of the country and is closely related to the Persian (Farsi) language spoken in Iran. According to Wiki the most important Tajik-speaking cities of Central Asia are Samarkand and Bukhara which are located in present-day Uzbekistan. In addition to giving interested language learners a taste at some commonly used words and phrases, the Great Game Travel Company has excellent info and short trips for touring the city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Be sure to check out the list of words first. If you’re near the University of Washington look into their Near Eastern Language Programs. Lonely Planet has a pocket-sized phrasebook on Central Asian lingos worth packing along and several other book picks can be found by clicking here.

Past Tajik words: rohi safed, mailesh, rahmat / tashakkur, samolyot