View Full Version : Alberta soldier speaks Pukhto


Wrayun
02-25-2011, 11:09 PM
Alberta soldier draws stares in Afghanistan by speaking local language

EDMONTON — It was a hot and dusty July day and Master Cpl. Shawn Grove was stuck in a traffic jam on a narrow, crowded road in Kandahar City.

His upper body out the roof of a Light Armoured Vehicle, at the gunner position, he turned to an Afghan family in an open-box cargo truck in the next lane. A farmer and his two young sons sat among sacks of grapes and raisins.

“How you guys doing?” Grove asked in Pashto, the dominant language in southern Afghanistan. “Is traffic always like this?”

The farmer’s jaw dropped. His sons scrambled over their grapes to gawk at the foreign soldier who spoke their language. Between the truck and the LAV, an Afghan boy skidded his bike to a clumsy stop and stared at Grove, wide-eyed.

Across the gap, the farm boy from Barrhead, Alta., shook hands with the Afghans. He passed the boys candies mailed from Canada, and was rewarded with a bag of grapes in return. Traffic finally moved, and Grove told them to have a good day, again in Pashto.

Everyone within earshot stared.

That quick conversation leaped the language barrier between Canadian soldiers and those they protect.

Pashto is spoken by more than 50 million people worldwide, and is well-known as a difficult language to learn. For the past nine years, the Canadian Forces have relied heavily on local Afghan translators.

But halfway through his second tour in the country, Grove decided there was a better way.

Partly, it was boredom. Partly, he wanted to crack a joke to Afghan National Army members he saw every day.

“I just decided it would be interesting to hear what they were saying all the time. It started with me writing a couple sentences down and having them slowly translate them. I would write it the way I heard, making up my own punctuation. It rolled from there, it was learning by immersion.”

At nights, the soldier studied in his bunk. He spent his free time with Afghan army members and police officers, drinking chai tea and teaching them English in exchange for new Pashto phrases he carefully printed in a dog-eared notebook.

By the end of his 2008 tour, the member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, 1st Battalion, could converse. But it wasn’t until he returned to Edmonton that his studies took off. Grove bought a computer program and sought out local Afghans to talk with. He watched Pashto videos on YouTube and covered the subtitles with his hands. He’d never learned a second language before, no classes in high school, and had no previous interest.

“I didn’t follow any learning pattern, and military-wise there is no language training. They give us an afternoon, here and there, but it’s for the basics, like greetings or ‘Stop or I’ll shoot.’ There was no real program in place, so I did my own thing.”

When he returned to Afghanistan in 2009, Grove was determined to hold full conversations with Afghan people. When Canadians arrived in a new village, approaching nervous families, it was often Grove who smoothed over those first crucial minutes.

“It’s such an icebreaker. If you can walk into a village and say hello, that’s one thing, but it’s another to say it’s nice to meet you and crack a few jokes. You get everybody smiling and you’re on a better foot already. It breaks down a lot of barriers. People are way more receptive and remember you the next time you arrive.”

Grove would show off pictures of his family and aerial shots of the farm where he grew up.

He discovered that a Captain Black cigar from Canada bought him 20 minutes of conversation while the smoke drifted.

Lifelong Afghan soldiers had never met a foreign uniform they could discuss their personal lives with. Even the Afghans who made it obvious that Canadians were unwanted surrendered to their curiosity about Grove.

He didn’t learn to read and write the language, as many of the Afghans he spoke to were illiterate.

Grove, 28, smiles when he recalls the missteps and confusion that accompanied his learning — such as the time a translator tricked him into calling his commanding officer an a—hole. He learned the hard way that Afghans have little concept of sarcasm. Often, he was encouraged to convert to Islam, which he politely declined.

Grove once translated between a Canadian medic and an Afghan boy with a gash on his head. When they were done, Grove stood, and in his rough accent, said: “It’s sad when children are hurt. I don’t like to see this.”

The assembled locals put their hands over their hearts in reply.

Over his three tours, Grove has seen his language skills grow in importance as the mission has progressed from firefights with the Taliban to a more structured counter-insurgency.

“In 2006, on my first tour, I didn’t even give it a thought. Now, a counter-insurgency is basically a popularity contest, you want to be more popular than the adversary. You’re a lot more popular if you can tell a joke.”

Capt. Cole Peterson, also from 1PPCLI, met Grove before and during their 2009 tours of the country. He applauded Grove’s efforts, both for the dedication they require and the benefits they bring.

“Over there, it’s completely obvious how foreign we are. We look different, walking around in all our gear. For one of us to speak like them, it immediately gets us in the door.”

Most soldiers “bash a few phrases” into their heads to make their jobs easier, but few have the natural aptitude for the language Grove has, Peterson said.

“It is a completely different language than anything we’re used to. There’s a lot of distinct noises you have to make with your throat.”

Grove plans to leave the military soon for a more “normal life,” having experienced everything he imagined when he joined at age 19 in 2002. The military was his dream since childhood and it led to 20 months in Afghanistan. Now, his battered, torn Pashto-English dictionary is the prize souvenir of his three tours.

“In hindsight, it’s a simple thing,” he said. “It’s a sign of respect to learn someone else’s language.”

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/4275366.bin

Read more: Alberta soldier draws stares in Afghanistan by speaking local language (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Alberta+soldier+draws+stares+Afghanistan+speaking+ local+language/4275343/story.html#ixzz1F1xLGUOx)

emkhan
02-25-2011, 11:18 PM
Raymond Davis can also speak pashto even naswar was there in his pocket.
Hehehehehe

Wrayun
02-26-2011, 12:52 AM
Raymond Davis can also speak pashto even naswar was there in his pocket.
Hehehehehe

Not only that, he also shot to Punjaabi ISI agents, what else can you ask for? :wub:

Nokia_Apridy
02-26-2011, 04:40 AM
he said. “It’s a sign of respect to learn someone else’s language.”

Da Hate Sar..........da har da zan sra kagda awo oza zmung da khawray na

Janana
02-26-2011, 04:53 AM
MashAllah! I own the same phrasebook he's displaying :)

شمله ور خراساني
02-26-2011, 07:25 AM
There use to be British troops back in the 19th century who wrote even books in Pashto.

Any invader will try hard to learn the local language. Because many stupid people, espcially fascists and nationalists will even allow foreigners to sleep with their daughter if the foreigner does the effort th speak their language. Even if it is a kaafir crusader who is occupying our land.

Wrayun
02-26-2011, 09:41 AM
There use to be British troops back in the 19th century who wrote even books in Pashto.

Any invader will try hard to learn the local language. Because many stupid people, espcially fascists and nationalists will even allow foreigners to sleep with their daughter if the foreigner does the effort th speak their language. Even if it is a kaafir crusader who is occupying our land.

Same thing with religious people, many of them bribed foreigners with their daughters if they accepted Islam. There was a documentary where a journalist was offered a 14 year old girl by her father if he became Muslim in Kandahar. Many soviet soldiers, and other hippies during the 80's and 90's became "Muslims" just to get laid and live in the region. Many foreigners who settled in the region, who come for "jihaad", the first thing they want is "Akkhiii, I need a wife!". And the simple people, blackmailed by religion, happily provide them one, even if the person is going to live for a week in the region before moving on or dying on the field.

شمله ور خراساني
02-26-2011, 08:07 PM
Same thing with religious people, many of them bribed foreigners with their daughters if they accepted Islam. There was a documentary where a journalist was offered a 14 year old girl by her father if he became Muslim in Kandahar. Many soviet soldiers, and other hippies during the 80's and 90's became "Muslims" just to get laid and live in the region. Many foreigners who settled in the region, who come for "jihaad", the first thing they want is "Akkhiii, I need a wife!". And the simple people, blackmailed by religion, happily provide them one, even if the person is going to live for a week in the region before moving on or dying on the field.



You see it as a problem to follow the custom of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alayhi wasalam by arranging marriages for new Muslims?

Are you again mocking the religion in defense of your murtad friends, Wrayun?


An Ansaari Sahabi who was appointed as a brother and companion to Abdurrahman Ibn Awf radiallahu anhu offered to divorce one of his wives and to have her marry Abdurrahman.

There is nothing blameworthy in giving your daughter into marriage to someone who pronounces laa illaha il allah.

However, pimping your country because of language is. Since engaging in kinship ties with muslims is a virtuous act in Islam and an act that confirms allegiance and enmity for the sake of Allah.

Wrayun
02-26-2011, 08:16 PM
You see it as a problem to follow the custom of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alayhi wasalam by arranging marriages for new Muslims?

Are you again mocking the religion in defense of your murtad friends, Wrayun?


An Ansaari Sahabi who was appointed as a brother and companion to Abdurrahman Ibn Awf radiallahu anhu offered to divorce one of his wives and to have her marry Abdurrahman.

There is nothing blameworthy in giving your daughter into marriage to someone who pronounces laa illaha il allah.

However, pimping your country because of language is. Since engaging in kinship ties with muslims is a virtuous act in Islam and an act that confirms allegiance and enmity for the sake of Allah.


Right now in Pakistan there are certain groups operating in our areas where poor families are fooled by men dressed in authentic Muslim attire, long beards, and claiming to be holy figures across the Indus. Once they marry these poor girls, they are put into prostitution, and some are sent abroad to be slaves, particularly Gulf States.

You can now see how customs, like such, can be abused using "authentic" hadiths and the Sunnat of the Prophet SAW.



My initial point was that religious people, just like fascists and nationalists, do pimp out their females, most of the time the girls have no say in it, to achieve their objectives.

It has nothing to do with pleasing my murtad friends, have none on this site, they all think since I'm a Muslim, I'm a Sangar in the closet. I'm doing Taqqiyah :-/

Though it's about using your common sense.

شمله ور خراساني
02-26-2011, 08:30 PM
Right now in Pakistan there are certain groups operating in our areas where poor families are fooled by men dressed in authentic Muslim attire, long beards, and claiming to be holy figures across the Indus. Once they marry these poor girls, they are put into prostitution, and some are sent abroad to be slaves, particularly Gulf States.

You can now see how customs, like such, can be abused using "authentic" hadiths and the Sunnat of the Prophet SAW.

My initial point was that religious people, just like fascists and nationalists, do pimp out their females, most of the time the girls have no say in it, to achieve their objectives.

It has nothing to do with pleasing my murtad friends, have none on this site, they all think since I'm a Muslim, I'm a Sangar in the closet. I'm doing Taqqiyah :-/

Though it's about using your common sense.


Common sense is something everybody can appeal to when one runs out of sound arguments. Even if it isnt.



I dont know about your area in Pakistan. And People can abuse religion. That does not invalidate a religious custom.

Giving your daughters away to Russian diplomats and giving your granddaughters to American diplomats by socialists turned into democrat is however, not only against Islam, but even against liberal Western morality.

Wrayun
02-26-2011, 08:41 PM
Common sense is something everybody can appeal to when one runs out of sound arguments. Even if it isnt.

I dont know about your area in Pakistan. And People can abuse religion. That does not invalidate a religious custom.

Giving your daughters away to Russian diplomats and giving your granddaughters to American diplomats by socialists turned into democrat is however, not only against Islam, but even against liberal Western morality.

It's very simple.

They marry their daughters or grand daughters to like minded people and Muslims do the same. Now if you mean that they actually pimp out their daughters as prostitutes against their will, without marriage, for that you need to provide evidence and not hearsay.

شمله ور خراساني
02-26-2011, 08:50 PM
It's very simple.

They marry their daughters or grand daughters to like minded people and Muslims do the same. Now if you mean that they actually pimp out their daughters as prostitutes against their will, without marriage, for that you need to provide evidence and not hearsay.


Likeminded people? I didn't mention marriage. I said letting their daughters sleep with foreign men as the supporters of Karmal did when RUssians entered Kabul. I happen to know people who even have children from those one night stands.

There are a few of those Comradezai's here in Holland.


A muslim and a kafir are not like minded. And one night stands are not marriages, unless you are Shi'ite of course.

Muslims do not pimp their daughters. And if they force their daughters into marriage then they are sinning. But if the daughter consents into marriying a new Muslim, then it is wrong of you to compare the pimping of secularists with that.

I advice you as a Muslim for your own good to just read what I have to say to you: do not show off to your secularists friends by attacking Islam.

If you have a problem with me, attack me and my personality. I don't care. But don't say trash about the Prophet saww's marriage, or Muslim custom of arranging marriages for new Muslims. Because your anger and rage against me, and your desire to distinguish yourself from my kind and present yourself as a "moderate wimp" you might say something that will take you outside the fold of Islam.

Wrayun
02-26-2011, 09:21 PM
Likeminded people? I didn't mention marriage. I said letting their daughters sleep with foreign men as the supporters of Karmal did when RUssians entered Kabul. I happen to know people who even have children from those one night stands.

There are a few of those Comradezai's here in Holland.


A muslim and a kafir are not like minded. And one night stands are not marriages, unless you are Shi'ite of course.

Muslims do not pimp their daughters. And if they force their daughters into marriage then they are sinning. But if the daughter consents into marriying a new Muslim, then it is wrong of you to compare the pimping of secularists with that.

I advice you as a Muslim for your own good to just read what I have to say to you: do not show off to your secularists friends by attacking Islam.

If you have a problem with me, attack me and my personality. I don't care. But don't say trash about the Prophet saww's marriage, or Muslim custom of arranging marriages for new Muslims. Because your anger and rage against me, and your desire to distinguish yourself from my kind and present yourself as a "moderate wimp" you might say something that will take you outside the fold of Islam.

Thanks but no thanks. As long as you remain in your fold and I remain in mines, we'll be okay. I am not angry at you, you haven't done anything to get me angry. You are just annoying, and I consider what you say at times as a disservice to Muslims all over. What I am stating is not a new gig, or a sudden change of perspective. Those who knew me, know this. When I first joined here, and you were quick to endorse me, I told you it was too early for you to like me. I knew that once you got to actually know me, you'll be quick to issue your fatwas against me because I don't think like you. You only like those who kiss your arse. I don't kiss arse's, not yours, or the secular nationalists. Look up my threads and posts. They got it more than you, far longer than you were on the internet scene defending Islam as a Muslim or a Pukhtoon.

You don't have to use an apologetic tone to kiss and make up. I never insulted the Prophet SAW or his practices, I criticized those who use his practices for their own objectives and give Muslims a bad name since they do these things as supposed "true, authentic, and real" Muslims.

Now, as for those one night stand's, I don't know. If they were communists, socialists, according to their understanding and beliefs, it was fine. I'm not sure if it was forced or not, that's another thing. Do I approve of it? Absolutely not.

You brought up a totally irrelevant subject into the topic, and I considered it necessary to present you the other side of the equation i.e. everyone uses their females to further their causes. Now you argue if they were done by Muslims without the consent of their daughters, using force, that would be against Islam and wrong. I am sure that would be the exact positions of the communists and socialists, if forced was involved.

Common sense.

شمله ور خراساني
02-26-2011, 09:51 PM
Thanks but no thanks. As long as you remain in your fold and I remain in mines, we'll be okay. I am not angry at you, you haven't done anything to get me angry. You are just annoying, and I consider what you say at times as a disservice to Muslims all over.The problem is that you think that I am doing a disservice by remaining consistent with the orthodox interpretation of Islam.

Yet I think your twitching and shifting and playing with words and even at sometimes rejecting Shari'i rulings such as "rajm" is a grave sin.

We are not in the business of being a service to others. I am not in anyway. I just serve Allah and try to do whatever pleases Allah as I understand by studying Shariah.



When I first joined here, and you were quick to endorse me,Thats because as a Muslim I am suppose to endorse a Muslim. Especially when Islam was being attacked by the secularists. And you spoke out against them. I as a muslim didn't need to check you out. For me, it was sufficient to endorse you.

But later I learned that you are not much better than the people you were arguing with.

Anyway, I have stayed true to Islamic principles of being loyal to Muslims. Little did I know that you will crawl from the same rathole as Toramana and Baygham singh.

I told you it was too early for you to like me.A Muslim likes people for the sake of Allah. An Abdullah is by default liked and loved untill he sins, and starts mocking the religion to score points with murtads.

I knew that once you got to actually know me, you'll be quick to issue your fatwas against me because I don't think like you.I have not issued any fatwas. Stop being such a drama queen.

You only like those who kiss your arse. I don't kiss arse's, not yours, or the secular nationalists. I dont like people kissing my private parts. Please keep this discussion within the boundaries of decency. You can have discussions about your sexual preferences and desires with people of your own kind.

Look up my threads and posts. They got it more than you, far longer than you were on the internet scene defending Islam as a Muslim or a Pukhtoon. This is not a popularity contest. But since you do want to mention your achievements, please do also mention your biggest achievement, the pimping thread you made which backfired on your face.


You don't have to use an apologetic tone to kiss and make up.I don't and I never do. But I dont want to be the reason for you to commit kufr akbar on a silly forum because you happen to be so sensitive.

I never insulted the Prophet SAW or his practices, I criticized those who use his practices for their own objectives and give Muslims a bad name since they do these things as supposed "true, authentic, and real" MuslimsDon't lie. I read what you said. You were mocking. And you can't deny something you posted and I read it. Would it be something from "hearsay" than you would have the benefit of doubt. But I read what you said.

Now, as for those one night stand's, I don't know. If they were communists, socialists, according to their understanding and beliefs, it was fine. I'm not sure if it was forced or not, that's another thing. Do I approve of it? Absolutely not.
Then why did you mock the practice of arranging marriage for new Muslims? It seemed as you were offended somehow and you were retaliating in order to score points with the secularist camp in order to appear as a "moderate wimp" rather than a blood thirsty extremist like moi.

I posted that about pimping because I know people who gave their sister as a toy to Russian diplomats who spoke a few words of farsi and pashto and were there to make Afghanistan as beautiful as Moskow. And similarly, in Kabul there are families who are now doing the same thing with the Americans.


You brought up a totally irrelevant subject into the topic, and I considered it necessary to present you the other side of the equation i.e. everyone uses their females to further their causes.
It wasn't irrelevant. And you are lying. You are comparing the pimping of secular nationalists that I mentioned with the muslim custom of arranging marriage for new Muslims.

Just like you mocked the marriage of Rasul Allah sal allahu alayhi wasalam with the 6 year old Aayisha radiallahu anha.

You have no self-control. This is why I adviced you not to commit sins or leave the fold of Islam out of rage.

Now you argue if they were done by Muslims without the consent of their daughters, using force, that would be against Islam and wrong. I am sure that would be the exact positions of the communists and socialists, if forced was involved. You see, you are defending COmmies now.

The woman who gave birth to boy who is now a singer here in Holland never chose to sleep with the Russian dude. In fact, there are many cases of abuse and misery among women who were taken advantage of by western guests in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan. Women have commited suicide because of what they have experienced.


Common sense.No. Thats called desperately trying to cover up the kufr you keep committng by talking trash about Islam and Islamic valid customs.

qunduz92
02-26-2011, 09:55 PM
i strongly doubt the giving away in marriage of pashtun women to foreign men is a common practice there. rather, it is very frowned upon. especially to those nasty-looking whites. pakhtuns there are very prejudiced by nature of whites and ethnic slurs for them are very common even amongst the very religious.

as for arabs, the temporary marriages were with tajik women living in regions that fell under their control after fighting. most likely, it was not very common due to the limited amount of arabs to begin with. in more genuine marriages to them however, i dont see an issue.

and i havn't heard of marriage to punjabis, maybe someone could shed some light by providing evidence.

شمله ور خراساني
02-26-2011, 10:01 PM
i strongly doubt the giving away in marriage of pashtun women to foreign men is a common practice there. rather, it is very frowned upon. especially to those nasty-looking whites. pakhtuns there are very prejudiced by nature of whites and ethnic slurs for them are very common even amongst the very religious.

as for arabs, the temporary marriages were with tajik women living in regions that fell under their control after fighting. most likely, it was not very common due to the limited amount of arabs to begin with. in more genuine marriages to them however, i dont see an issue.

and i havn't heard of marriage to punjabis, maybe someone could shed some light by providing evidence.


There are Qandaharis here in Holland who's daughter was given as a present to Russians durign the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

And please do not philosophize.

Many Pashtuns gave their daughters to Chechens, Arabs, Somalis, Sudanis even German Mujahideen.

There is nothing in Islam that says that as a Pashtun you are not suppose to allow your daughter to marry a mujahid from another ethnicity or race.

In tribal area and many parts of Afghanistan there are widows of the mujahedeen with children. Some of those widows were killed by the current government soldiers.

qunduz92
02-26-2011, 10:05 PM
There are Qandaharis here in Holland who's daughter was given as a present to Russians durign the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

And please do not philosophize.

Many Pashtuns gave their daughters to Chechens, Arabs, Somalis, Sudanis even German Mujahideen.

There is nothing in Islam that says that as a Pashtun you are not suppose to allow your daughter to marry a mujahid from another ethnicity or race.

In tribal area and many parts of Afghanistan there are widows of the mujahedeen with children. Some of those widows were killed by the current government soldiers.

yeah i'm not arguing about that. i was referring to the types of nasty people the article is about or random journalists/americans/british.