LCP News Collection


This is a collection of real-world texts to help you learn to read the news in Dari. When you find an unfamiliar word, you can place your mouse cursor over it to get the pronunciation and meaning of the word. Place your mouse over any abbreviation to get a definition of it—that is to say, there will be a pop-up over Dari word, and then another pop-up to define the abbreviation. (If you're reading with a touch screen, tap the word or abbreviation to see the definition; tap elsewhere to get rid of it.) Words that are underlined have further notes, perhaps about an idiomatic phrase or the nuance of a word.

It might not be obvious from the interface, but this is actually a collection of interlinear texts, so you might want to read the LCP resource “Interlinear texts” (PDF; 70kb; 3pp) to get an idea of how best to make use of them. In brief, your goal is to understand the Dari sentences on their own terms. If a sentence doesn't make sense at first, you must figure the meaning, and then read it until it makes sense to you. (Certain very difficult sentences have been explained in the notes.)

To make the most of your experience, read through the text at least once without checking any of the words. Then go back and fill in the gaps.


Why might it be a good idea to read these stories? There are at least two reasons.

First, because reading the news is part of daily life for many people, and it's good for you to be able to do it as well. News reporting has its own genre: the sentences are long and the paragraphs are short. There is stereotypical vocabulary and sentence construction. (Part of what makes sites like The Onion so funny is that they mimic these conventions so well.) You can use these stories to develop your familiarity with the genre, so that you can read more on your own later.

Second, because these stories will introduce you to a great deal of specific vocabulary. There's no better way to learn new words than in the context of a meaningful story. The stories are grouped under the headings of politics, pop culture, world affairs, and security. If you're interested in a particular topic, you can jump right in. Within each group, the stories are arranged roughly in order of ascending difficulty (i.e., easier stories at the top). If you're looking for an easy entry point, the pop culture stories have the advantage of being culturally familiar to you.


Studying flashcards is an excellent way to retain the vocabulary you'll gain in reading. All of the words (minus a few less important proper nouns) are available in this Anki deck—1273 words in all. Once you have Anki installed, double-click on the file to load the deck. For more information about what Anki is, click here.


Two caveats. As always, you need to be aware of cultural bias. Stories about Bono and George Clooney obviously reflect Western interests, but other stories may also reflect Western perspectives on Afghan affairs. Also keep in mind that many of the words have a literary flavor. Most of the unfamiliarity is because of the formal speech register. In the few cases where specifically Iranian words are used and there are obvious Afghan equivalents, we have noted that.

These texts all come directly from BBC Persian stories published in October 2014, except for the Taliban's Spring 2015 announcement. The latter text was selected in part because of its inherent interest, and also because it features several types of language that doesn't make it into BBC articles. We believe that our use of them here as fodder for language learning constitutes fair use.


Many thanks to teacher Hamidullah Muradi (Hamid) for many hours of patient and skillful explanations.

Last updated December 10, 2016