Kalasha

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A language of Pakistan

Alternate Names
Kalashamon, Kalashi
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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