Kalasha

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A language of Pakistan

Alternate Names
Kalash, Kalashamon
Population

5,000 (Heegård Petersen 2006). 3,200 in Northern Kalasha area; unknown and decreasing number in Southern Kalasha area.

Location

South Chitral district. Southern Kalasha dialect: Urtsun valley; Northern Kalasha: Rumbur, Bumboret, and Birir valleys.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).

Dialects

Northern Kalasha (Birir, Bumboret, Rumbur), Southern Kalasha (Urtsun). Very little contact between northern and southern dialects of Kalasha, so there are difficulties in communication now. Lexical similarity: 75% southern dialect with northern dialects.

Typology

SOV.

Language Use

In the south, Kalasha is being supplanted by Khowar [khw] or Kati [bsh]. Home, in-group communication in the north. In the south Kati [bsh] sometimes used in the home for in-group communication. Speakers have proficiency in Khowar [khw]; in Birir, some men do not speak Khowar. Women are learning Khowar. In the south Khowar sometimes used in the home for in-group communication. Women are learning some Urdu [urd].

Language Development
Poetry. Dictionary.
Writing

Arabic script [Arab].

Other Comments

Originally Kalasha was the language of most of the southern Chitral district. Now Khowar [khw] is the predominant language, with earlier languages just used in villages of the side valleys. Traditional religion, Muslim.