Wakhi language

Wakhi language

Infobox Language
nativename="IPA|x̌ik zik"
states=Afghanistan (9,600), China (6,000), Pakistan (9,100), Tajikistan (7,000)
speakers=approximately 31,700
fam4=Eastern Iranian
fam5=Southeastern Iranian
script=Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin

Wakhi is an Indo-Iranian language in the sub-branch of Southeastern Iranian languages (see Pamir languages).

Classification and Distribution

Wakhi is one of several languages that belong to the Pamir language group. A reflection of this is the fact that the Wakhi people are occasional called Pamiris. The origin of this language is Wakhan, an area divided between in the extreme northeast of Afghanistan and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan. A very rough estimate of the population of Wakhi Tajiks is 50,000 worldwide. The Wakhi live in four different countries. In the northern areas of Pakistan the Wakhi people mainly live in Gojal, Ishkoman, Darkut, and Broghol. They also live in many parts of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and China. The religion of the Wakhi is Shia Ismaili Islam; they are followers of Aga Khan IV.

In Tajikistan

There is some controversy surrounding the ethnic and linguistic designation of the Wakhi. In Tajikistan the Wakhi and other communities that speak one of the Pamir languages refer to themselves as Pamiri or Badakhshani and there has been a movement to separate their identity from that of the majority Tajiks. Conversely, in Pakistan the Wakhi refer to themselves as Tajiks. Whether Wakhi is a separate language from Tajik or a dialect of Tajik has been equally controversial. Linguists universally refer to Wakhi as an Iranian language independent of Tajik, but many Tajik nationalists insist that Wakhi and other Pamir languages are actually dialects of Tajik. [cite book
coauthors=Lauri Vahtre
title=The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
publisher=NGO Red Book
id=ISBN 9985-9369-2-2

In Pakistan

In Pakistan, the central organization of the Wakhi is the Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association Pakistan (WTCA), an organization that is registered with the Government of Pakistan and which works with the collaboration of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Lok Virsa Pakistan. The Association is working for the preservation of the Wakhi Tajiki language and culture, as well as documenting their poetry and music. The literacy rate among Wakhi Tajiks in the northern areas of Pakistan is about 60%.

Radio Pakistan Gilgit relays the Wakhi radio programme "Sadoyah Boomy Dunyo", the voice of the roof of the world. The Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association has arranged more than twenty programmes since 1984, which includes cultural shows, musical nights, and large-scale musical festivals with the collaboration of Lok Virsa Pakistan, the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP), and Pakistan television. In 2000, the WTCA won a "Best Programme" organizer award in the Silk Road Festival from the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf. A computerized codification of the Wakhi script has been released, which will help to promote the language development programme and documentation of Wakhi poetry, literature, and history. [cite book
title=Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association report 1991–2001
publisher=Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association

In China


Sample text from a Bible translation published in 2001 is shown below. [cite book|title=unicode|Luqo Inǰil (Gospel of Luke)|language=Wakhi|date=2001|publisher=unicode|Bəzыrg Kitob tarǰimacrakыzg institute Title page: [http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/kuhl1/wakhani-rom-source.jpg] , passages in Roman alphabet [http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/kuhl1/wakhani-rom-1.jpg] [http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/kuhl1/wakhani-rom-2.jpg] , passages in Cyrillic alphabet [http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/kuhl1/wakhani-cyr-1.jpg] [http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/kuhl1/wakhani-cyr-2.jpg] ]


The Wakhi lexicon exhibits significant differences with both Western Iranian languages such as Persian or Tajik, and also with the other Pamir languages. Gawarjon's comparison of the dialects of Sarikoli and Wakhi spoken in China and the Western Iranian languages is reproduced below.





ee also

* Wakhi (ethnic group)

External links

* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=wbl Ethnologue data: Languages of the World, 15th Edition]
* [http://www.ismaili.net/mirrors/pamir_001/wakhs.shtml The Wakhis: Article from the Ismaili dot net]
* [http://www.angelfire.com/sd/tajikistanupdate/engpamirlanguages.html English-Ishkashimi-Zebaki-Wakhi-Yazghulami Vocabulary]

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