Pamir languages

Pamir languages

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The Pamir languages are a group of the Eastern Iranian languages
Eastern Iranian languages
The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages emerging in Middle Iranian times .The Avestan language is often classified as early Eastern Iranian. The largest living Eastern Iranian language is Pashto, with some 50 million speakers between the Hindu Kush mountains in...

, spoken by numerous people in the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction or knot of the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains and since Victorian times they have been known as the "Roof of the World" a probable...

, primarily along the Panj River
Panj River
The Panj River , also known as Pyandzh River or Piandj River , is a tributary of the Amu Darya. The river is 1,125 km long and forms a considerable part of the Afghanistan - Tajikistan border....

 and its tributaries. This includes the Badakhshan Province
Badakhshan Province
Badakhshan is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, consisting of 28 districts. It is located in the north-east of the country, between the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya. It is part of the Badakhshan region.-Geography:...

 of northeastern Afghanistan
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...

 and the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province is an autonomous, mountainous province in the east of Tajikistan. Located in the Pamir Mountains, it makes up 45% of the land area of the country but only 3% of the population....

 of eastern Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

. Smaller communities can be found in the adjacent areas of 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...

 where many have settled in recent decades. Sarikoli, one of the languages of the Pamir group, is spoken beyond the Sarikol Range
Sarikol Range
The Sarikol Range is a mountain range in the Pamirs on the border of Tajikistan and the People’s Republic of China. The range divides Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province and China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and it runs parallel with the Muztagh Range to the east. The range...

 on the Afghanistan-China border, and thus qualifies as the eastern-most of the extant Iranian languages. The only other living member of the Southeastern Iranian languages is Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

.

The Ethnologue
Ethnologue
Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International , a Christian linguistic service organization, which studies lesser-known languages, to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language and support their efforts in language development.The Ethnologue...

 lists Pamir languages along with Pashto as Southeastern Iranian, however, according to Encyclopedia Iranica, Pamir languages and Pashto belong to the North-Eastern Iranian branch. Members of the Pamir language group include Shughni
Shughni language
Shughni is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan....

, Sarikoli, Yazgulyam
Yazgulyam language
The Yazgulyam language is a member of the Pamir subgroup of the Iranian languages, spoken by ca. 4,000 native speakers along the Yazgulyam River, Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan. Together with Shugni, it is classified as the Shugni-Yazgulami subgroup of the Pamir languages...

, Munji, Ishkashimi language
Ishkashimi language
The Ishkashimi language is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan, Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan and Chitral region of Pakistan....

, Wakhi
Wakhi language
Wakhi is an Indo-European language in the branch of Eastern Iranian language family and is intimately related to other Southeastern Iranian languages in the Pamir languages group.-Classification and Distribution:...

, and Yidgha. They have the subject–object–verb syntactic typology
Linguistic typology
Linguistic typology is a subfield of linguistics that studies and classifies languages according to their structural features. Its aim is to describe and explain the common properties and the structural diversity of the world's languages...

.

The vast majority of Pamir languages speakers in Tajikistan and Afghanistan also use Tajik
Tajik language
Tajik, Tajik Persian, or Tajiki, is a variety of modern Persian spoken in Central Asia. Historically Tajiks called their language zabani farsī , meaning Persian language in English; the term zabani tajikī, or Tajik language, was introduced in the 20th century by the Soviets...

 (Persian) as literary language, which is—unlike the languages of the Pamir group—a Southwestern Iranian tongue. The language group is endangered, with total number of speakers roughly around 100,000 (as of 1990).

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Pamir language family was sometimes referred to as the Ghalchah languages by western scholars. The term Ghalchah is no longer used to refer to the Pamir languages or the native speakers of these languages.

One of the most prolific researchers of the Pamir languages was Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 linguist
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 Ivan Ivanovich Zarubin
Ivan Ivanovich Zarubin
Ivan Ivanovich Zarubin was a Soviet specialist of Iranian languages, particularly Pamir languages.-Life:...

.

Shugni–Yazgulami branch


The Shughni
Shughni language
Shughni is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan....

, Sarikoli, and Yazgulyam
Yazgulyam language
The Yazgulyam language is a member of the Pamir subgroup of the Iranian languages, spoken by ca. 4,000 native speakers along the Yazgulyam River, Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan. Together with Shugni, it is classified as the Shugni-Yazgulami subgroup of the Pamir languages...

 languages belong to the Shugni–Yazgulami branch. There are about 75,000 speakers of languages in this family in Afghanistan
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...

 and Tajikstan (including the dialects of Rushani
Rushani language
The Rushani language is a dialect of Shughni language, a Pamir language.-Literature:*Zarubin, I.I.. Bartangskie i rushanskie teksty i slovar. Moskva : Izd-vo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1937....

, Oroshani, Bartangi
Bartangi language
The Bartangi language is a Pamir language spoke along the Bartang River from Yemtz to Nikbist. It is typically classified as a dialect of Shughni, but is quite distinct.-References:...

, Oroshor, Khufi
Khufi language
Khufi language is one of the Pamir languages of Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province. It is closely related to, and traditionally considered a dialect of, Shughni...

, and Shughni
Shughni language
Shughni is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan....

). As of 1982, there were about 20,000 speakers of Sarikoli in the Sarikol Valley located in the Tashkorgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 Province, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. Shughni and Sarikoli are not mutually intelligible. In 1994, there were 4000 speakers of Yazgulyam along the Yazgulyam River
Yazgulyam River
The Yazgulyam River is a tributary of the Panj in Vanj district, western Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan....

 in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

. Yazgulyam is not written.

Munji


The Munji language is closely related to Yidgha, and in 1992 there were around 2,500 speakers in the Munjan and Mamalgha Valleys of northeastern Afghanistan
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...

.

Sanglechi and Ishkashimi


There are about 2,500 speakers of Sanglechi and Ishkashmi
Ishkashimi language
The Ishkashimi language is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan, Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan and Chitral region of Pakistan....

 in Afghanistan
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...

 and Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 (dialects: Sanglechi, Ishkashmi
Ishkashimi language
The Ishkashimi language is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan, Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan and Chitral region of Pakistan....

, Zebaki). Sanglechi and Ishkashimi are not written languages.

Wakhi


There are around 31,000 speakers of the Wakhi language
Wakhi language
Wakhi is an Indo-European language in the branch of Eastern Iranian language family and is intimately related to other Southeastern Iranian languages in the Pamir languages group.-Classification and Distribution:...

 in Afghanistan
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...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and 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...

.

Yidgha


There are about 6,000 speakers of Yidgha 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...

. Yidgha is closely related to the Munji
Munji
The Munji language, also Munjani language, is a Pamir language spoken in Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan. It is similar to the Yidgha language which is spoken in the Upper Lutkuh Valley of Chitral, west of Garam Chishma in Pakistan....

 language of Afghanistan
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...

.

Vanji


The Vanji language was spoken in the Vanj
Vanj
Vanj is the capital of the Vanj district in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan. Vanj lies on the lower course of the Vanj River, a tributary of the Panj, separated from the Yazgulyam River to the south by the Vanj Range....

 river valley the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province is an autonomous, mountainous province in the east of Tajikistan. Located in the Pamir Mountains, it makes up 45% of the land area of the country but only 3% of the population....

 in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, and was related to Yazgulyam
Yazgulyam language
The Yazgulyam language is a member of the Pamir subgroup of the Iranian languages, spoken by ca. 4,000 native speakers along the Yazgulyam River, Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan. Together with Shugni, it is classified as the Shugni-Yazgulami subgroup of the Pamir languages...

. In the 19th century, the region was forcibly annexed to the Bukharan Emirate and a violent assimilation campaign was undertaken. By the end of the 19th century the Vanji language had disappeared, displaced by Tajik Persian
Tajik language
Tajik, Tajik Persian, or Tajiki, is a variety of modern Persian spoken in Central Asia. Historically Tajiks called their language zabani farsī , meaning Persian language in English; the term zabani tajikī, or Tajik language, was introduced in the 20th century by the Soviets...

.

External links