Kalasha

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A language of Pakistan

Alternate Names
Kalash, Kalashamon, Kalashamond, Kalashamondr, Kalashi
Autonym
Kal’as’amon
Population

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

Location

Khyber Pakhtunkwa province: south Chitral district, Urtsun valley (southern Kalasha dialect); Birir, Bumboret, and Rumbur valleys (northern Kalasha dialect).

Language Maps
Language Status

6a* (Vigorous).

Dialects

Southern Kalasha (Urtsun), Northern Kalasha (Birir, Bumboret, Rumbur). 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. Also use Kati [bsh], especially in the south, in the home, and for in-group communication. Also use Khowar [khw], in the south in the home, for in-group communication and elsewhere but with low proficiency; men in Birir do not speak it, but women there are learning the language. Also use Urdu [urd], especially by women.

Language Development
Literature. Dictionary. Texts.
Writing

Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab]. Arabic script, Nastaliq variant [Aran]. Latin script [Latn], used since 2000, primary usage.

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.

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