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Report on a Linguistic Mission to Afghanistan

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9780923891091: Report on a Linguistic Mission to Afghanistan
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Afghanistan is generally thought of as a nation of two languages, Farsi and Pashto. In reality, 47 languages are spoken in Afghanistan. In 1924, the Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne (1892-1978) undertook the first of his two major linguistic expeditions. He arrived in Kabul with a personal letter of introduction to the King of Afghanistan from the King of Norway. The importance of this letter cannot be underestimated. Afghans have long been paranoid, xenophobic and suspicious of outsiders. An adventurer who undertakes to travel into the remote tribal areas of Afghanistan has virtually guaranteed himself a short life. Morgenstierne's resulting work, Report on a Linguistic Mission to Afghanistan, remains the only study by a qualified linguist of that region. As it turns out, the area of the greatest linguistic study by Georg Morgenstierne is the exact area where Osama bin Laden was believed to be hiding.

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Georg Morgenstierne was a Norwegian Linguist, one of the last of the old school of Linguists. He was associated with the University of Oslo in Norway and today there is Georg Morgenstierne's house in his honor located at Blindernveien 31, entr. From Moltke Moes vei. Morgenstierne was born in 1892. In 1924, he undertook the first of his two major linguistic expeditions. He arrived in Kabul with a personal letter of introduction to King Amanullah of Afghanistan from the King of Norway for permission to conduct his linguistic researches. The importance of this letter cannot be underestimated. Afghans have long been paranoid, xenophobic and suspicious of outsiders. An adventurer who undertakes to travel into the remote tribal areas of Afghanistan has virtually guaranteed himself a short life. King Amanullah had prisoners brought from the jails of Kabul to Morgenstierne so that he could interview them and learn about their languages. In this way he was able to learn about many languages spoken in Afghanistan plus he was able to learn about the Khowar Language which was spoken in Chitral on what is now the Pakistan side of the border. In 1929, Morgenstierne wished to return to Kabul to continue his research but he could not do so because by then King Amanullah had been overthrown. Therefore, Morgenstierne went to what is now the Pakistan side of the border after which he wrote another book, Report on a Linguistic Mission to North-Western India ISBN 0923891145. Morgenstierne took extensive notes and after these two visits he spent the next nearly 50 years of his life studying his notes and researching the languages he had studied there. Morgenstierne died in Oslo in 1978 with a manuscript in Khowar on his desk that he had been researching at the time of his death.

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Georg Morgenstierne
Published by Ishi Pr (2007)
ISBN 10: 0923891099 ISBN 13: 9780923891091
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