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Languages of Afghanistan

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Republic of Afghanistan, De Afghanistan Jamhuriat. 25,067,000. Includes an estimated 2,500,000 nomads. National or official languages: Eastern Farsi, Southern Pashto. Literacy rate: 31% 15 years and older: male 47%, female 15%. Immigrant languages: Parsi-Dari (350,000), Tatar (350), Urdu, Western Panjabi (35,000). Information mainly from G. Buddruss 1960; A. Farhadi 1967; A. Grjunberg 1968, 1971; T. Sebeok 1970; R. Strand 1973; G. Morgenstierne 1974; L. Dupree 1980; J. R. Payne 1987. Blind population: 200,000 (1982 WCE). The number of individual languages listed for Afghanistan is 49. Of those, 48 are living languages and 1 has no known speakers.
Afghan Sign Language

[afg] 500 (2007). Mainly Jalalabad, Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif, Heart, Kandahar and surrounding areas. Alternate names: Afghan Sign.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Aimaq

[aiq] 480,000 in Afghanistan (1993). Includes 1,000 Jamshidi (1978 MARC). Population total all countries: 650,000. Central northwest Afghanistan, west of Hazara, eastern Iran, and Tajikistan (Jamshidi and Khazara). Also in Iran, Tajikistan. Alternate names: Barbari, Berberi, Chahar-Aimaq, Char Aimaq.  Dialects: Taimuri (Teimuri, Timuri, Taimouri), Taimani, Zohri (Zuri), Jamshidi (Jamshedi, Djamchidi, Yemchidi, Dzhemshid), Firozkohi, Maliki, Mizmast, Chinghizi, Zainal. Dialect names may be ethnic names. Dari Persian dialects with some Turkic and Mongolian elements, possibly quite distinct.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Arabic, Tajiki Spoken

[abh] 5,000 in Afghanistan (Farhadi 1967), decreasing. Takhar Province, villages west of Daulatabad (Khushalabad), near Balkh (Yakhdan), Aq Chah (Sultan Aregh), Shibarghan (Hassanabad), and south of Talukan; 4 northern provinces. Some in Uzbekistan. Dialects: Balkh Arabic.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Ashkun

[ask] 1,200 (2000). Kunar Province, northwest of Asadabad, Pech Valley around Wama. Alternate names: Ashkund, Ashkuni, Wamais, Wamayi.  Dialects: Ashuruveri (Kolata, Titin Bajaygul), Gramsukraviri, Suruviri (Wamai).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Azerbaijani, South

[azb]  Afshari in small groups north of Kabul, Chandaul quarter of Kabul City, Herat City. Alternate names: Azeri.  Dialects: Afshari (Afshar, Afsar).  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Azerbaijani 
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Balochi, Western

[bgn] 200,000 in Afghanistan (1979). Southwest Desert Region, along Helmand River and Zaranj area. Alternate names: Baloci, Baluchi, Baluci.  Dialects: Rakhshani (Raxshani).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Balochi 
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Brahui

[brh] 200,000 in Afghanistan (Dupree 1980). South, from Shorawak to Chakhansoor among the Baluchi [bgn]. Alternate names: Birahui, Brahuiki, Kur Galli.  Classification: Dravidian, Northern 
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Darwazi

[drw] 10,000 (1983). Northernmost tip of Afghanistan, Darwaz town on Amu Darya River. Possibly in Tajikistan. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Domari

[rmt]   Dialects: Churi-Wali.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Dom 
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Farsi, Eastern

[prs] 5,600,000 in Afghanistan (1996). Population total all countries: 7,600,000. Provinces of Herat, Hazarajat, Balkh, Ghor, Ghazni, Budaksham, Panjsher; Galcha-Pamir Mountains; Kabul regions. Dari in Khorasan Province (Iran). Also in Iran, Pakistan. Alternate names: Dari, Parsi, Persian.  Dialects: Dari (Afghan Farsi, Herati, Tajiki, Kaboli, Kabuli, Khorasani), Parsiwan. Radio Afghanistan broadcasts promote a standardized pronunciation of the literary language based on the old dictional tradition of the country, with archaic phonetic characteristics. Phonological and lexical differences between Iran and Afghanistan cause little difficulty in comprehension. Most Afghan dialects are more similar to literary Persian than Iranian dialects are.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Gawar-Bati

[gwt] 8,000 in Afghanistan. Population total all countries: 9,500. Kunar Valley. 8 or 9 villages. Also in Pakistan. Alternate names: Arandui, Gowari, Narisati, Narsati, Satre.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 47% with Shumashti [sts], 44% with Dameli [dml], 42% with Savi [sdg] and Grangali [nli].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar 
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Grangali

[nli] 5,000 (1994). Grangali and Zemiaki, Pech River south side at Kandai, 2 small valleys; Nangalami in Ningalam village where Waigal and Pech rivers meet. Alternate names: Gelangali, Jumiaki.  Dialects: Nangalami (Ningalami), Grangali, Zemiaki (Zamyaki). Zemiaki may be related to Waigali [wbk]. Lexical similarity: 63% with Shumashti [sts], 42% with Gawar-Bati [gwt].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar 
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Gujari

[gju] 2,000 in Afghanistan (1994). Nomads traveling in summer in eastern valleys. Alternate names: Gojari, Gojri, Gujuri Rajasthani.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Rajasthani, Unclassified 
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Hazaragi

[haz] 1,770,000 in Afghanistan (2000). Population total all countries: 2,210,000. Central mountains between Kabul and Herat (Hazarajat); Kabul, between Maimana and Sari-Pul; north from immediately south of Ikoh i Baba mountain range almost to Mazar e Sharif; many refugees. Also in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan. Alternate names: Azargi, Hazara, Hezareh.  Dialects: Related to Dari [gbz]; possibly distinct.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Jakati

[jat] 1,370 in Afghanistan (2000). Kabul, Jalalabad, Charikar. Alternate names: Jat, Jataki, Jati, Jatu, Kayani, Musali.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Lahnda 
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Kamviri

[xvi] 4,000 in Afghanistan (R. Strand 1973). Population total all countries: 6,000. Lower Bashgal Valley, Kamdesh and Kishtoz village areas. Also in Pakistan. Alternate names: Kamdeshi, Kamik, Lamertiviri, Shekhani.  Dialects: Kamviri, Shekhani. Related to Kati [bsh].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Karakalpak

[kaa] 2,000 in Afghanistan. North of Jalalabad; south of Mazar-i Sharif. Alternate names: Qaraqulpaqs.  Dialects: Northeast Karakalpak, Southwest Karakalpak.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
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Kati

[bsh] 15,000 in Afghanistan (1994). Population total all countries: 19,400. Western Kativiri in Ramgal, Kulam, Ktivi, or Kantiwo, and Paruk or Papruk valleys; Mumviri in Mangul, Sasku, Gabalgrom villages in the Bashgal Valley; Eastern Kativiri in upper Bashgal Valley. Also in Pakistan. Alternate names: Bashgali, Kativiri, Nuristani.  Dialects: Eastern Kativiri (Shekhani), Western Kativiri, Mumviri. Mumviri may be separate language.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Kazakh

[kaz] 2,000 in Afghanistan (2000). North, especially Chahar Dara District west of Kunduz; Khanabad and Andkhoi areas. Alternate names: Kazakhi, Qazaq, Qazaqi.  Dialects: Northeastern Kazakh, Southern Kazakh, Western Kazakh.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
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Kurdish, Northern

[kmr] 200,000 in Afghanistan (2004). Kabul area. Alternate names: Kurmanji.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Kurdish 
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Kyrgyz

[kir] 750 in Afghanistan (2000). 445 in the Great Pamir, plus a few in Badakhshan. Extreme northeast, Great Pamir Valley. All from Little Pamir went to Pakistan and then Turkey in 1982. Alternate names: Kirghiz, Kirghizi, Kirgiz.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
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Malakhel

[mld] 2,860 (2000). Southwest of Kabul, Logar north of Baraki. Classification: Unclassified 
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Mogholi

[mhj] 200. Ethnic population: A few thousand. Near Herat, Kundur and Karez-i-Mulla. 2 villages. Alternate names: Moghol, Mogol, Mogul, Mongul.  Dialects: Kundur, Karez-I-Mulla. Unintelligible to other Mongol speakers; linguistically relatively well explored.  Classification: Altaic, Mongolic, Western 
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Munji

[mnj] 3,770 (2000). Northeast, Munjan and Mamalgha Valleys. Alternate names: Munjani, Munjhan, Munjiwar.  Dialects: Northern Munji, Central Munji, Southern Munji, Mamalgha Munji. Lexical similarity: 68% among dialects, 56%–80% with Yidgha [ydg] in Pakistan.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir 
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Ormuri

[oru] 50 in Afghanistan. Ethnic population: 2,000–5,000 in Afghanistan. Logar, Baraki-Barak. Alternate names: Baraks, Bargista, Oormuri, Ormui.  Dialects: Kanigurami, Logar.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Ormuri-Parachi 
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Pahlavani

[phv] 2,100 (2000). Chakhansoor Province, Karim Kushta, Haji Hamza Khan village. Dialects: Similar to Dari [gbz].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Parachi

[prc] 600. Ethnic population: 5,000–6,000. Hindu Kush Valley near Kabul, Nijrau and Tagau villages, Pachaghan, Shutul, Ghujulan. Dialects: Shutul, Ghujulan, Nijrau. Similar affinity to Ormuri [oru]. Dialect diversity seems slight.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Ormuri-Parachi 
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Parya

[paq] 250 in Afghanistan (2008).  Alternate names: Afghana-Yi Nasfurush, Afghana-Yi Siyarui, Laghmani.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Unclassified 
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Pashayi, Northeast

[aee] 54,400 (2000). Kunar Province west of Asadabad, side valleys between Kunar and Pech rivers. Dialects: Aret, Chalas (Chilas), Kandak, Kurangal, Kurdar. Unintelligible to other Pashayi speakers.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashayi, Northwest

[glh]  Kapisa and Laghman provinces, Gulbahar to Nuristan on Alingar River, Alisheng Valley, valleys north of Sarobi. Dialects: Gulbahar, Kohnadeh, Laurowan, Sanjan, Shutul, Bolaghain, Pachagan, Alasai, Shamakot, Uzbin, Pandau, Najil, Parazhghan, Pashagar, Wadau, Nangarach. Unintelligible to other Pashayi speakers.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashayi, Southeast

[psi] 54,400 (2000). Upper and Lower Darrai Nur Valley, Damench, Shale (Shari); Nangarhar Province, north of Shewa; south Laghman Province, Alingar Valley area. Alternate names: Pashai.  Dialects: Darrai Nur, Wegal, Laghman, Alingar, Kunar. Unintelligible to other Pashayi speakers. 10 villages in upper Darrai Nur (including Bamba Kot, Lamatek, and Sutan) form a single group with their own dialect. Residents of lower Darrai Nur (Nur River) are separate and perhaps not ethnically cohesive.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashayi, Southwest

[psh] 108,000 (1982). Includes all Pashayi languages or dialects. Northeast of Kabul, north of Sarobi, Tagau (Tagab) Valley. Dialects: Tagau, Ishpi, Isken. Not intelligible with other Pashayi languages.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashto, Northern

[pbu]  Central Ghilzai area. Alternate names: Afghan, Pakhtoo, Pakhtu, Paktu.  Dialects: Northwestern Pakhto, Ghilzai, Durani.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pashto 
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Pashto, Southern

[pbt] 1,090,000 in Afghanistan (2000). 8,000,000 all Pashto in Afghanistan. Kandahar area. Dialects: Southwestern Pashto, Kandahar Pashto (Qandahar Pashto).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pashto 
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Prasuni

[prn] 1,000 (2000). Nuristan, Prasun (Parun) Valley on upper reaches of Pech River, Shupu (Ishtivi, Shtevgrom), Sech, Ucu, Ushut, Zumu villages. Alternate names: Parun, Prasun, Veron, Verou, Veruni, Wasi-Veri.  Dialects: Upper Wasi-Weri, Central Prasun, Lower Prasun (Ushut). Very closely related to Kati [bsh] but more archaic. The most aberrant Nuristani language.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Sanglechi-Ishkashimi

[sgl] 1,000 in Afghanistan. Population total all countries: 1,500. Ethnic population: 1,000 in Afghanistan (1990 A. Kibrik). Sanglech Valley, Ishkashim area. Ishkashimi in 17 villages; Sanglechi in 2. Also in Tajikistan. Dialects: Zebak (Zebaki), Sanglechi, Ishkashimi (Ishkashmi, Ishkashim, Eshkashimi). Dialects may be separate languages.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir 
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Savi

[sdg] 3,000 in Afghanistan (1983). Kunar River, Sau village. Possibly refugee camps in Pakistan. Also in Pakistan. Alternate names: Sau, Sauji, Sawi.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 56%–58% with Phalura [phl].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Shina 
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Shughni

[sgh] 20,000 in Afghanistan (1994). Both sides of Afghan-Tajikistan border, 50 kms. north of Ishkashim, Pamir Mountains. Dialects: Roshani (Rushani, Rushan, Oroshani), Shughni (Shugni, Shighni, Shughnani, Shugan, Khugni, Kushani, Saighani, Ghorani), Bartangi (Bartang), Oroshor (Oroshori).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir, Shugni-Yazgulami 
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Shumashti

[sts] 1,000 (1994). West side of Kunar Valley between Pech Valley and Jalalabad. Alternate names: Shumasht.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 63% with Grangali [nli], 47% with Gawar-Bati [gwt]. Heavily influenced by Northeast Pashayi [aee].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar 
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Tangshewi

[tnf] 10,000 (1994). Northeast Badakhshan, east of Darwazi on the Amu Darya. Possibly in Turkmenistan. Alternate names: Tangshuri.  Dialects: May be Eastern Iranian. Probably closely related to Darwazi [drw].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Unclassified 
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Tirahi

[tra] 100. Ethnic population: Possibly 5,000. Southeast of Jalalabad, west of Khyber Pass, Nangarhar village. Dialects: Most closely related to Kohistani languages of Pakistan.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kohistani  Nearly extinct.
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Tregami

[trm] 1,000 (1994). Nuristan, Tregam Valley, Katar and Gambir villages. Alternate names: Trigami.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 76%–80% with Waigali [wbk].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Turkmen

[tuk] 500,000 in Afghanistan (1995). Turkmenistan border, Fariab and Badghis provinces; Herat City, Andkhoi town. Alternate names: Trukmen, Turkman, Turkoman.  Dialects: Salor, Teke (Tekke, Chagatai, Jagatai), Ersari, Sariq, Yomut.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Turkmenian 
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Uyghur

[uig] 3,000 in Afghanistan. Badakshan and Abi-i-Barik, a few villages. Possibly in Iran and Taiwan. Alternate names: Uighor, Uighur, Uiguir, Uyghuri, Wighor.  Dialects: Kashgar-Yarkand (Yarkandi), Taranchi.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Eastern 
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Uzbek, Southern

[uzs] 1,400,000 in Afghanistan (WA 1991). Population total all countries: 1,451,980. North, Fariab Province, Maimana town. Possibly in Germany. Also in Pakistan, Turkey (Asia). Alternate names: Usbeki, Uzbak, Uzbeki.  Dialects: Limited comprehension of Northern Uzbek [uzn]. Differences in grammar and loanwords from Western Farsi [pes].  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Eastern 
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Waigali

[wbk] 1,500 (Van Driem 2000). Southeast Nuristan, Central Kunar Province north of Pech. Varjan in north Waigal Valley, Waigal, Zonchigal, Jamach, Ameshdesh villages, and east in Veligal Valley villages; Chima-Nishey in lower valley villages. Alternate names: Kalasha-Ala, Suki, Wai, Wai-Ala, Waigala, Waigalii, Waigeli, Zhonjigali.  Dialects: Varjan, Chima-Nishey. Lexical similarity: 76%–80% with Tregami [trm].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Wakhi

[wbl] 9,570 in Afghanistan (2000). Ethnic population: 18,000 in Afghanistan (A. Kibrik 1990). Pamir Mountains, east of Ishkashim, Panj River left bank in Wakhan Corridor, as far as Sarhad village. 64 villages. Center is Khandud. Alternate names: Guhjali, Khik, Vakhan, Wakhani, Wakhigi.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir 
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Warduji

[wrd] 5,000 (1994). Northeast, Werdoge River area west of Ishkashim. Dialects: Probably a Western Farsi [pes] dialect.  Classification: Unclassified 
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Wotapuri-Katarqalai

[wsv] Extinct. 60 households in Katarqalai in 1935; 1 speaker found in 1955. Nuristan, south of Waigali area, Wotapuri and Katarqalai towns. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kohistani 
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