A language of Afghanistan

Alternate Names
Khik, Khikwar, Vakhan, Wakhani, Wakhigi

17,000 in Afghanistan (2011 S. Beck), increasing. Population total all countries: 58,000. Ethnic population: 17,000.


Badakhshan Province, Wakhan district, along the Panj river as far as Sarhad village. 42 villages. The center of the Wakhi-speaking area is Khandud village.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Dialect intelligibility reportedly not a serious problem even with those in other countries, although intelligibility may not be complete on initial contact between speakers from different countries. Lexical similarity: 84% with Ishkoman and Gojal dialects, 89% with Yasin and Gojal, 91% with Ishkoman and Yasin.



Language Use

Vigorous. Home, community, work. All ages. Positive attitudes. 5,000 also use Dari [prs]. Men are bilingual in Dari in order to function in every-day situations. Very few women are bilingual.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 3%–15%. Pilot L1 literacy project ongoing (2012). Poetry. New media. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2001.

Arabic script [Arab], used in Afghanistan. Cyrillic script [Cyrl], used in Tajikistan. Latin script [Latn], used in Tajikistan, preferred script, not firmly established.

Other Comments

Muslim (Ismaili).

Also spoken in:

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