The BBC New website tells us that this mean “together” in Dari, but there seems to be a disagreement between Radio and Television about its pronunciation. Radio 4 newsreaders are all stressing the first syllable, while their television colleagues are stressing the second.

I don’t know if Dari has a strong preference for stress placement, but whether it does or not, shouldn’t they decide on one or the other, and stick to it? Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security analyst, is in Afghanistan at the moment, and reporting for both sets of output. Is he having to either avoid the word altogether, or else adjust his pronunciation according to the programme he’s taking part in?

This isn’t a question of one or other being “correct” (although if Dari is like Iranian Farsi in its stress patterns, the final syllable is likely to be the most prominent), but consistency. Stress placement is one of the questions most frequently raised with me by non-linguists, both in English words and foreign names.

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