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Kashmiri language

Kashmiri language

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Kashmiri is a language from the Dardic sub-group
Dardic languages
The Dardic languages are a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken in northern Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, and the Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir...

 and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

. There are approximately 5,554,496 speakers in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000 speakers or so in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 are émigrés from the Kashmir Valley after the partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

. They include a few speakers residing in border villages in Neelum District
Neelum District
Neelum District is one of the eight districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. Until recently it was part of Muzaffarabad District. It is bound by the Gilgit to the North, with Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipore Districts of Indian-administered Kashmir in India to the South and Southeast,...

.

The Kashmiri language is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, and is a part of the Sixth Schedule in the constitution of the Jammu and Kashmir. Along with other regional languages mentioned in the Sixth Schedule, as well as Hindi and Urdu, the Kashmiri language is to be developed in the state. Some Kashmiri speakers frequently use Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

  as a second language, though the most frequently used second language is Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

. Since November 2008, the Kashmiri language has been made a compulsory subject in all schools in the Valley up to
the secondary level.

Literature


In 1919 George Abraham Grierson
George Abraham Grierson
Sir George Abraham Grierson OM KCIE was born to a prominent Dublin family in 1851. His father and grandfather, both also named George, were well-known printers and publishers.-Biography:Educated at St...

 wrote that “Kashmiri is the only one of the Dardic languages
Dardic languages
The Dardic languages are a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken in northern Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, and the Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir...

 that has a literature”. Kashmiri literature dates back to over 750 years, this is, more-or-less, the age of many a modern literature including modern English.

The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica stated that "The language spoken in Kashmir is akin to that of the Punjab, though marked by many peculiarities. It possesses an ancient literature, which is written in a special character." Both Kashmiri and Punjabi are Aryan languages but Kashmiri is extremely far from Punjabi in use of words. Kashmiri and Shina are very close.

Writing system


There are three orthographical systems
Orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

 used to write the Kashmiri language—these are the Sharada script, the Devanagari script and the Perso-Arabic script; additionally, due to internet technology, the Roman script is sometimes used to write Kashmiri, especially online. The Kashmiri language was traditionally written in the Sharada script after the 8th Century A.D. This script however, is not in common use today, except for religious ceremonies of the Kashmiri Pandit
Kashmiri Pandit
The Kashmiri Pandits are a Hindu Brahmin community originating from Kashmir, a mountainous region in South Asia.-Background:The Hindu caste system of the region was influenced by the influx of Buddhism from the time of Asoka, around the third century BCE, and a consequence of this was that the...

s. However, today, it is written in Devanagari script and Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

 (with some modifications). Among languages written in the Perso-Arabic script, Kashmiri is one of the very few
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

 which regularly indicates all vowel sounds. This script has been in vogue since the Muslim conquest in India
Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent
Muslim conquest in South Asia mainly took place from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into the region, beginning during the period of the ascendancy of the Rajput Kingdoms in North India, from the 7th century onwards.However, the Himalayan...

 and has been used by the people for centuries, in the Kashmir Valley. However, today, the Kashmiri Perso-Arabic script has come to be associated with Kashmiri Muslims, while the Kashmiri Devanagari script, has come to be associated with the Kashmiri Hindu community, who employ the latter script.

Phonology


Kashmiri has the following vowel phonemes:
  Front
Front vowel
A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...

Central
Central vowel
A central vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a central vowel is that the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel...

Back
Back vowel
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

High
Close vowel
A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close vowel is that the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.This term is prescribed by the...

[i]/[i:] [ɨ]/[ɨ:] [u]/[u:]
Upper Mid
Close-mid vowel
A close-mid vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close-mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned two-thirds of the way from a close vowel to a mid vowel...

[e]/[e:] [ə] / [əː] [o]/[o:]
Low
Open vowel
An open vowel is defined as a vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth. Open vowels are sometimes also called low vowels in reference to the low position of the tongue...

[a] / [aː] [ɔ]

Grammar


Kashmiri, like German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and Old English and unlike other Indo-Aryan languages, has V2 word order
V2 word order
In syntax, verb-second word order is the rule in some languages that the second constituent of declarative main clauses is always a verb, while this is not necessarily the case in other types of clauses.- V2 effect :...

.

There are four cases in Kashmiri: nominative
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

, genitive
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

, and two oblique case
Oblique case
An oblique case in linguistics is a noun case of synthetic languages that is used generally when a noun is the object of a verb or a preposition...

s: the ergative and the dative case.

Vocabulary


Though Kashmiri has few loan words (mainly from Arabic etc.) due to the arrival of Islam in the Vale, however, it remains mainly a Dardic language close to Rigvedic Sanskrit. There is a minor difference between the Kashmiri spoken by a Hindu and a Muslim. A traditional Hindu will use the word Agun for fire while a Muslim more often will use the Arabic word Nar for fire. ref name="ref16muduc"> Kasref> In reference, Shashishekhar Toshkhani, a scholar on Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

's heritage, provides a detailed analysis where he shows extensive linguistic relationship between the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 language and the Kashmiri language, and presents detailed arguments contesting George Grierson's classification of the Kashmiri language as a member of the Dardic sub-group
Dardic languages
The Dardic languages are a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken in northern Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, and the Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir...

 (of the Indo-Aryan group
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 of languages). Kashmiri has strong links to Rigvedic Sanskrit. For example Cloud is Abhur, Rain is Roode from the Rigvedic Aryan God Rudra.

Preservation of old Indo-Aryan vocabulary


Kashmiri retains several features of Old Indo-Aryan that have been lost in other Modern Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi. For instance, it preserves the dvi- form for prefixes in numbers which is found in Sanskrit, but has been replaced entirely by ba-/bi- in other Indo-Aryan languages. Seventy-two is dusatath in Kashmiri and dvisaptati in Sanskrit, but bahattar in Hindi-Urdu and Punjabi. Some vocabulary features that Kashmiri preserves clearly date from the Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 era and had already been lost even in Classical Sanskrit. This includes the word-form yodvai (meaning if), which is mainly found only in Vedic Sanskrit texts. Classical Sanskrit and modern Indo-Aryan render the word as yadi. Certain words in Kashmiri even appear to stem from Indo-Aryan even predating the Vedic period. For instance, there was a 's' to 'h' consonant shift in some words that had already occurred with Vedic Sanskrit (this tendency is even stronger in the Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian), yet is lacking in Kashmiri equivalents. The word rahit in Vedic Sanskrit and modern Hindi-Urdu (meaning excluding or without) corresponds to rost in Kashmiri. Similarly, sahit (meaning including or with) corresponds to sost in Kashmiri.

First personal pronoun


Both the Indo-Aryan and Iranian branches of the Indo-Iranian family have demonstrated a strong tendency to eliminate the distinctive first person pronoun ("I") used in the nominative (subject) case. The Indo-European root term for this is believed to be "eghom", which is preserved in Sanskrit as "aham" and in Avestan Persian as "azam." This contrasts with the "m-" form ("me", "my") that is used for the accusative, genitive, dative, ablative cases. Sanskrit and Avestan both used forms such as "ma(-m)." However, in languages such as Modern Persian, Baluchi, Hindi-Urdu and Punjabi, the distinct nominative form has been entirely lost and replaced with "m-" in words such as "ma-n" and "mai." However, Kashmiri belongs to a relatively small set that preserves the distinction. "I" is "bi/ba/boh" in various Kashmiri dialects, distinct from the other "me" terms. Mine is moen in Kashmiri. Other Indo-Aryan languages that preserve this feature are Dogri ("aun" vs "me-") and Gujarati ("hu-n" vs "ma-ri"). Pashto preserves it too ("za" vs "maa").

See also


  • Dardic languages
    Dardic languages
    The Dardic languages are a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken in northern Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, and the Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir...

  • Kashmiri literature
    Kashmiri literature
    Kashmiri literature has a history of at least 2,500 years, going back to its glory days of Sanskrit. Early names include Patanjali, the author of the Mahabhashya commentary on Pāṇini's grammar, suggested by some to have been the same to write the Hindu treatise known as the Yogasutra, and...

  • List of topics on the land and the people of “Jammu and Kashmir”
  • List of Kashmiri poets
  • Neab International Kashmiri Magazine
  • States of India by Kashmiri speakers
    States of India by Kashmiri speakers
    This is a list of States and Union Territories of India by speakers of Kashmiri as of . Gross population figures are...


External links