Definitions

Dardic language

Dardic languages

The Dardic languages are a group of Indo-Iranian languages spoken in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, and in India in the region of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Dardic group has traditionally been defined as a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages which experienced strong influence from the Nuristani and Iranian languages. Nuristani, a group of languages spoken in northeast Afghanistan, has sometimes been included in Dardic, but is today generally regarded as an independent group, as one of the three sub-groups of Indo-Iranian, following the studies of G. Morgenstierne (1973, 1975).

The Norwegian Iranist Georg Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. Although the Dardic Khowar is the predominant language of Chitral, more than ten other languages are spoken here. These include Kalasha-mun, Palula, Dameli, Gawar-Bati, Nuristani, Yidgha, Burushaski, Gujar, Wakhi, Kyrgyz, Persian and Pashto. Since many of these languages have no written form, letters are usually written in Urdu or Persian.

Except for Kashmiri, all of the Dardic languages are small minority languages which have not been sufficiently studied. In many cases they are spoken in areas difficult to access due to mountainous terrain and/or armed conflicts in the region. All of the languages (including Kashmiri) have been historically influenced by more prominent (non-Dardic) neighboring languages, which blurs their classification.

References

  • Morgenstierne, G. Irano-Dardica. Wiesbaden 1973;
  • Morgenstierne, G. Die Stellung der Kafirsprachen. In Irano-Dardica, 327-343. Wiesbaden, Reichert 1975
  • Decker, Kendall D. Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan, Volume 5. Languages of Chitral.

National Institute of Pakistani Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University & Summer Institute of Linguistics

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