The condition of English in multilingual Afghanistan

29th November 2019

Hywel Coleman
British Council

Afghanistan faces many challenges in the years ahead, with insecurity still a major issue. Efforts to strengthen civil society, employment and skills will need to continue, along with scrutiny from international governments to hold the Afghan government to account. The British Council’s portfolio of work matters, as it builds hope through offering opportunities for young Afghans seeking to make their contribution to a stable country with a peaceful and prosperous future. But we need to be patient. This is not a quick fix. Winning hearts and minds can only be done through long-term relationships, sustained dialogue and safe spaces, not quick speed-dating and instant results.

A key part of this cultural discourse is understanding the linguistic landscape and the role of English, and its relationship and interplay with local languages. The condition of English in multilingual Afghanistan is the result of two years of research lead by Hywel Coleman and a team of 24 Afghan language professionals. It describes the linguistic context of the country and helps us have a better understanding of the issues facing local languages, the complexity of teaching and learning of English, and importantly, recommendations for the future.

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