Pashayi, Southeast


A language of Afghanistan

Alternate Names

180,000 (2011 Pashai Language Development Project), increasing. 100,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 400,000–450,000 for all Pashayi languages and dialects.


Upper and Lower Darrai Nur valley, Damench, Shale (Shari); Nangarhar Province, north of Shewa; south Laghman Province, Alingar valley area.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous). Statutory language of provincial identity in Nangahar, Laghman provinces (2004, Constitution, Article 16(2)).


Somewhat intelligible of Southwest Pashayi [psh]; hardly intelligible of Northeast Pashayi [aee] and Northwest Pashayi [glh]. Lexical similarity: about 30% with Southwest Pashayi [psh], Northeast Pashayi [aee], and Northwest Pashayi [psh].



Language Use

Vigorous. Home, market, all informal settings. All ages. Positive attitudes. Most children learn Pashto in school and become bilingual. Some adult men also are bilingual. Southern Pashto [pbt] is used in school textbooks, but Northern Pashto [pbu] spoken in the area.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: Less than 20%. Many books for early readers have been produced by the Pashayi people as part of their literacy program. The Afghanistan Ministry of Education plans to produce Pashayi Language textbooks for 1st through 12th grades. The 1st grade textbook is in progress. Poetry. Radio programs. Dictionary.
Arabic script.
Other Comments

Muslim (Sunni).