Kalasha-ala language

Kalasha-ala language

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Waigali or Waigeli is a language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 spoken by the Kalasha of the Nuristan Province in a few villages in the central part of the Kunar Province
Kunar Province
Kunar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. Its capital is Asadabad. It is one of the four "N2KL" provinces...

 of Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. The native name is Kalasa-Alâ or simply Kalasa. The word "Kalasha" describes the people on both sides of the Durand line
Durand Line
The Durand Line refers to the porous international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has divided the ethnic Pashtuns . This poorly marked line is approximately long...

 although it is now used less in Afghanistan as the people have been largely subsumed into the larger group known as Nuristanis and were converted at swordpoint to Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 by Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901.The third son of Mohammad Afzal Khan, and grandson of Dost Mohammad Khan, Abdur Rahman Khan was considered a strong ruler who re-established the writ of the Afghan government in Kabul after the disarray that followed the second...

, king of Afghanistan, in 1893, following the imposition of the Durand line.

The descriptor "Ala" means "red" in the language and it differentiates the Red Kalasha on the Afghan side of the Durand line from the Kalasha-mun, or "Black" Kalasha on the Pakistani (originally Indian) side. The color specifications refer to the colors of the traditional dresses worn by the Kalasha women. Following the forced conversion of the Red Kalasha, some fled to Pakistan and in Pakistan's three valleys in which Kalasha people now live, there are a few Red Kalasha to this day and their native dress clearly may be observed in its difference from the surrounding Black Kalasha although they have now adopted Kalasha-mun as their language and ironically, most of them have now converted to Islam.

Waigali belongs to the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

, and is on the Nuristani
Nuristani languages
The Nuristani languages are one of the three groups within the Indo-Iranian language family, alongside the much larger Indo-Aryan and Iranian groups. They are spoken primarily in eastern Afghanistan...

 group of the Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...


According to the Badshah Munir Bukhari
Badshah Munir Bukhari
Badshah Munir Bukhari Badshah Munir Bukhari Badshah Munir Bukhari (Urdu: بادشاہ منیر بخاری; is a linguist from Northern Pakistan. A native of Chitral, he is an Professor in linguistics and a member of the Department of Urdu, University of Peshawar....

 that Its speakers have been estimated at 1,500 (2000, Van Driem) and are overwhelmingly Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

. Literacy rates are low: below 1% for people who have it as a first language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

, and between 15% to 25% for people who have it as a second language
Second language
A second language or L2 is any language learned after the first language or mother tongue. Some languages, often called auxiliary languages, are used primarily as second languages or lingua francas ....


It has a lexical similarity of approximately 76% to 80% with the Tregami language
Tregami language
Tregami, Trigami or Gambiri is a language spoken by the Tregami people in the villages of Gambir and Katar in the Watapur District of Kunar Province in Afghanistan....


Note, there is no close connection between Kalasha-ala and Kalasha-mun. These two languages descend from different branches of the Indo-Iranian language
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

. According to linguist Richard Strand the Kalasha of Chitral
Kalasha or Kalash may refer to:*Kalash people of Chitral, northern Pakistan**Kalasha **Kalash language, also known as Kalasha-mondr**Kalasha Desh, their valleys*Nuristani people of Nuristan, Afghanistan...

 apparently adopted the term of the former Kafiristan
Kāfiristān or Kāfirstān was a historic name of Nurestan , a province in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, prior to 1896. This historic region lies on, and mainly comprises, basins of the rivers Alingar, Pech , Landai Sin, and Kunar, and the intervening mountain ranges...

 Kalash, who at some unknown time extended their influence into the region of Chitral
Chitral or Chetrar , translated as field in the native language Khowar, is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River , in Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, high...