In Afghanistan, the strengthened ethnic consciousness that bears the attempts of achieving more linguistic distinctiveness comes along with a paradigmatic change to the understanding of what language is. Language is first of all, less associated with a certain type of culture than it is seen as a criterion for demarcation. Accordingly, the term ‘mother tongue’ (Dari: zaban-e madari, Pashto: moranai zheba) started its political career as a highly emotionalized ideological catch-phrase.
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