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Pashayi languages

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Title: Pashayi languages  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dardic languages, Languages of Afghanistan, Shughni language, Nuristan Province, Brahui language
Collection: Dardic Languages, Languages of Afghanistan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pashayi languages

Native to Afghanistan
Ethnicity Pashayi people
Native speakers
400,000 (2000–2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
aee – Northeastern
glh – Northwestern
psi – Southeastern
psh – Southwestern
Glottolog pash1270[2]
Linguasphere 59-AAA-a

Pashayi or Pashai is a group of languages spoken by the Pashai people in parts of Kapisa, Laghman, Nuristan, Kunar, and Nangarhar Provinces in Northeastern Afghanistan. It belongs to the Dardic branch of the Indo-Aryan languages.[3] Most speakers are bilingual in Pashto with a literacy rate of about 25%, with the Pashayi languages having no written form prior to 2003.[4] There are four mutually unintelligible varieties, with only about a 30% lexical similarity:[1]

  • Northeastern: Aret, Chalas (Chilas), Kandak, Kurangal, Kurdar dialects
  • Northwestern: Alasai, Bolaghain, Gulbahar, Kohnadeh, Laurowan, Najil, Nangarach, Pachagan, Pandau, Parazhghan, Pashagar, Sanjan, Shamakot, Shutul, Uzbin, Wadau dialects
  • Southeastern: Damench, Laghmani, Sum, and Upper and Lower Darra-i-Nur dialects
  • Southwestern: Ishpi, Isken, Tagau dialects

A grammar of the language was written as a doctoral dissertation in 2014.[5]


  1. ^ a b Northeastern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Northwestern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Southeastern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Southwestern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Pashayi".  
  3. ^ Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 440. 
  4. ^ Yun, Ju-Hong (2003). "Pashai Language Development Project: Promoting Pashai language, literacy and community development" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Lehr, Rachel. 2014. A descriptive grammar of Pashai: The language and speech of a community of Darrai Nur. Phd dissertation, University of Chicago.

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