Khowar Language
Get Khowar Language essential facts below. View Videos or join the Khowar Language discussion. Add Khowar Language to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Khowar Language

Khowar language.png
Khowar written in the Arabic script
Native toPakistan
RegionChitral District
Native speakers
290,000 (2004)[1]
Khowar alphabet (Arabic script)
Language codes
Minor languages of Pakistan as of the 1998 census.png
Khowar is a minor language of Pakistan which is mainly spoken in Chitral, it is given a space in this map.
Khowar special letter

Khowar (), is an Indo-Aryan language of the Dardic group spoken in Chitral and Gilgit region of Pakistan.[2]

Khowar is spoken by the Kho people in the whole of Chitral, as well as in the Gupis-Yasin and Ghizer districts of Gilgit, and in parts of Upper Swat (Mateltan Village).[] Speakers of Khowar have also migrated heavily to Pakistan's major urban centres with Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, having significant populations. It is spoken as a second language in the rest of Gilgit region.


The native name of the language is Kh?-w?r,[3] meaning "language" (w?r) of the Kho people. During the British Raj it was known to the English as Chitr?l? (a derived adjective from the name of the Chitral region) or Q?shq?r?.[3] Among the Pathans and Badakshis it is known as Kashk?r.[4] Another name, used by Leitner in 1880, is Arnyiá[5] or Arniya, derived from the Shina language name for the part of the Yasin (a valley in Gilgit-Baltistan) where Khowar is spoken.[3]


Morgenstierne noted that "Khowar, in many respects [is] the most archaic of all modern Indian languages, retaining a great part of Sanskrit case inflexion, and retaining many words in a nearly Sanskritic form."[6]:3


Khowar has a variety of dialects, which may vary phonemically.[7] The following tables lay out the basic phonology of Khowar.[8][9][10]


Khowar may also have nasalized vowels and a series of long vowels /?:/, /?:/, /i:/, /?:/, and /u:/. Sources are inconsistent on whether length is phonemic, with one author stating "vowel-length is observed mainly as a substitute one. The vowel-length of phonological value is noted far more rarely."[7] Unlike the neighboring and related Kalasha language, Khowar does not have retroflex vowels.[8]


Allophones of /x ? h ? ?/ are heard as sounds [? ? ? w ?].[10]


Khowar, like many Dardic languages, has either phonemic tone or stress distinctions.[11]

Writing system

Since the early twentieth century Khowar has been written in the Khowar alphabet, which is based on the Urdu alphabet and uses the Nasta'liq script. Prior to that, the language was carried on through oral tradition. Today Urdu and English are the official languages and the only major literary usage of Khowar is in both poetry and prose composition. Khowar has also been occasionally written in a version of the Roman script called Roman Khowar since the 1960s.


  • Standard Khowar
  • Chitrali Khowar(Torkhow and Mulkhow Valley)
  • Chitrali Khowar (Chitral Town)
  • Swati Khowar (Swat Kohistan)
  • Lotkuhiwar (Lotkuh Valley/ Gramchashma Valley)
  • Gherzikwar (Ghizer Valley)
  • Gilgiti Khowar (Gilgit-Baltistan), spoken by a few families in Gilgit city.

Khowar media

Television channels

TV Channel Genre Founded Official Website
Khyber News TV (? ? ? ?) News and current affairs
AVT Khyber TV ( ?) Entertainment
K2 TV ( ) Entertainment, news and current affairs
Zeal News ( ?) News and Current Affairs 2016


These are not dedicated Khowar channels but play most programmes in Khowar.

Radio Channel Genre Founded Official Website
Radio Pakistan Chitral FM93 Entertainment
Radio Pakistan Peshawar Entertainment
Radio Pakistan Gilgit Entertainment
FM97 Chitral Entertainment


Newspaper City(ies) Founded Official Website
Chitral Vision ( ) Karachi, Chitral, Pakistan
Chitral Today


  1. ^ Khowar at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ "DARDEST?N - Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  3. ^ a b c Grierson, George A. (1919). Linguistic Survey of India. Volume VIII, Part 2, Indo-Aryan family. North-western group. Specimens of the Dardic or Picha languages (including K?shmiri). Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, India. p. 133.
  4. ^ O'Brien, Donatus James Thomond (1895). Grammar and vocabulary of the K?h?owâr dialect (Chitrâli). Lahore: Civil and military gazette press. p. i.
  5. ^ Leitner, Gottlieb William (1880). Kafiristan. Section 1: the Bashgeli Kafirs and their language. Lahore: Dilbagroy. p. 43. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Morgenstierne, Georg (1974). "Languages of Nuristan and surrounding regions". In Jettmar, Karl; Edelberg, Lennart (eds.). Cultures of the Hindukush: selected papers from the Hindu-Kush Cultural Conference held at Moesgård 1970. Beiträge zur Südasienforschung, Südasien-Institut Universität Heidelberg. Bd. 1. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner. pp. 1-10. ISBN 978-3-515-01217-1.
  7. ^ a b Edelman, D. I. (1983). The Dardic and Nuristani Languages. Moscow: Institut vostokovedenii?a? (Akademii?a? nauk SSSR). p. 210.
  8. ^ a b Bashir, Elena L. (1988), "Topics in Kalasha Syntax: An areal and typological perspective" (PDF), Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan: 37-40
  9. ^ Bashir, Elena L.; Nigah, Maula; Rahmat Karim, A Digital Khowar-English Dictionary with Audio
  10. ^ a b Liljegren, H.; Khan, A. (2017). "Khowar". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 47: 219-229.
  11. ^ Baart, Joan L. G. (2003), Tonal features in languages of northern Pakistan (PDF), National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University and Summer Institute of Linguistics, pp. 3, 6

Additional references

  • Bashir, Elena (2001) "Spatial Representation in Khowar". Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.
  • Decker, D. Kendall (1992). Languages of Chitral. ISBN 969-8023-15-1.
  • L'Homme, Erik (1999) Parlons Khowar. Langue et culture de l'ancien royaume de Chitral au Pakistan. Paris: L'Harmattan

  • Morgenstierne, Georg (1936) "Iranian Elements in Khowar". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. VIII, London.
  • Badshah Munir Bukhari (2001) Khowar language. University publisher. Pakistan
  • Morgenstierne, Georg (1947) "Some Features of Khowar Morphology". Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap, Vol. XIV, Oslo.
  • Morgenstierne, Georg (1957) Sanskritic Words in Khowar. Felicitation Volume Presented to S. K. Belvalkar. Benares. 84-98 [Reprinted in Morgenstierne (1973): Irano-Dardica, 267-72]
  • Mohammad Ismail Sloan (1981) Khowar-English Dictionary. Peshawar. ISBN 0-923891-15-3.
  • Decker, Kendall D. (1992). Languages of Chitral (Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan, 5). National Institute of Pakistani Studies, 257 pp. ISBN 969-8023-15-1.
  • Zeal News


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes