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The Pamir languages are an areal group of the
Eastern Iranian languages The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages emerging in Middle Iranian times (from c. the 4th century BC). The Avestan language is often classified as early Eastern Iranian. As opposed to the Middle Western Iranian diale ...
, spoken by numerous people in the
Pamir Mountains The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignme ...

Pamir Mountains
, primarily along the
Panj River The Panj ( fa, رودخانه پنج) (; tg, Панҷ, پنج), also known as ''Pyandzh'' or ''Pyanj'' (derived from its Russian name "Пяндж"), is a tributary of the Amu Darya. The river is long and has a basin area of . ...

Panj River
and its tributaries. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Pamir language family was sometimes referred to as the Ghalchah languages by western scholars.In his 1892 work on the
Avestan language Avestan , also known historically as Zend, comprises two languages: Old Avestan (spoken in the 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (spoken in the 1st millennium BCE). The languages are known only from their use as the language of Zoroastrian ...
Abraham Valentine Williams Jackson, The later Iranian languages, New Persian, Kurdish, Afghan, Ossetish, Baluchi, Ghalach and some minor modern dialects."
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 The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sove ...
linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...

linguist
Ivan Ivanovich Zarubin.


Geographic distribution

The Pamirian languages are spoken primarily in the
Badakhshan Province Badakhshan Province ( fa, بدخشان ولایت, ''Badaxšān wilāyat'') is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region. It shares ...
of northeastern
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
and the
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Autonomous Region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative div ...
of eastern
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
. Pamirian languages are also spoken in Xinjiang and the Pamir language Sarikoli is spoken beyond the Sarikol Range on the Afghanistan-China border and thus qualifies as the easternmost of the extant Iranian languages. Wakhi communities are also found in the adjacent
Chitral District Chitral District ( ur, ) was the largest district in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, covering an area of 14,850 km², before splitting into Upper Chitral District and Lower Chitral District in 2018. Part of the Malakand Divis ...
,
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (; ps, خیبر پښتونخوا; ), often abbreviated as KP or KPK and formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province, is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. It is located in the Geo ...

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
and in
Gojal Gojal (), also called Upper Hunza, is situated in the far north of Pakistan. It borders China at the Khunjerab Pass and Afghanistan at the Chapursan valley. In 2019, Gojal Valley became the second Sub-Division within the Hunza District. It is ge ...
,
Gilgit Baltistan Gilgit (; Shina: ; ur, ) is the capital city of Gilgit–Baltistan Gilgit-Baltistan (, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakista ...

Gilgit Baltistan
in
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
. The only other living member of the Southeastern Iranian group is
Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family. It is known in Persian language, Persian literature as Afghani (, ). Spo ...
.


Classification

No features uniting the Pamir languages as a single subgroup of Iranian have been demonstrated.Antje Wendtland (2009), ''The position of the Pamir languages within East Iranian''
Orientalia Suecana LVIII
"The Pamir languages are a group of East Iranian languages which are linguistically quite diverse and cannot be traced back to a common ancestor. The term Pamir languages is based on their geographical position rather than on their genetic closeness. Exclusive features by which the Pamir languages can be distinguished from all other East Iranian languages cannot be found either."
The
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicat ...
lists the Pamir languages along with Pashto as Southeastern Iranian, however, according to
Encyclopedia Iranica An encyclopedia (American English), encyclopædia (archaic spelling), or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discipline. ...
, the Pamirian languages and Pashto belong to the North-Eastern Iranian branch.Nicholas Sims-Williams
Eastern Iranian languages
in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 2010. ''"The Modern Eastern Iranian languages are even more numerous and varied. Most of them are classified as North-Eastern: Ossetic; Yaghnobi (which derives from a dialect closely related to Sogdian); the Shughni group (Shughni, Roshani, Khufi, Bartangi, Roshorvi, Sarikoli), with which Yazghulyami (Sokolova 1967) and the now extinct Wanji (J. Payne in Schmitt, p. 420) are closely linked; Ishkashmi, Sanglichi, and Zebaki; Wakhi; Munji and Yidgha; and Pashto."''
Members of the Pamirian language area include four reliable groups: a Shughni-Yazgulyam group including Shughni, Sarikoli, and Yazgulyam; Munji and
Yidgha The Yidgha language () is an Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern Iranian language of the Pamir languages, Pamir group spoken in the upper Lotkoh Valley (Tehsil Lotkoh) of Chitral District, Chitral in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Yid ...
; Ishkashimi and related dialects; and Wakhi. They have the subject-object-verb
syntactic In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
typology Typology is the study of types or the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics. Typology is the act of finding, counting and classification facts with the help of eyes, other senses and logic. Ty ...
. Václav Blažek (2019) suggests that the Pamir languages have a
Burushaski Burushaski (; ) is a language isolate Language isolates are languages that cannot be classified into larger language families with any other languages. and are two of the most commonly cited language isolates, but there are many others. A ...
-like
substratum In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the m ...
. Although
Burushaski Burushaski (; ) is a language isolate Language isolates are languages that cannot be classified into larger language families with any other languages. and are two of the most commonly cited language isolates, but there are many others. A ...
is today spoken in Pakistan to the south of the Pamir language area, Burushaski formerly had a much wider geographic distribution before being assimilating by Indo-European languages.Blažek, Václav. 2019.
Toward the question of Yeniseian homeland in perspective of toponymy
'. 14th Annual Sergei Starostin Memorial Conference on Comparative-Historical Linguistics. Moscow: RSUH.


Subgroups


Shughni-Yazgulami branch

The Shughni, Sarikoli, and Yazgulyam languages belong to the Shughni-Yazgulami branch. There are about 75,000 speakers of languages in this family in
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
and
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
(including the dialects of Rushani, Bartangi, Oroshori, Khufi, and Shughni). In 1982, there were about 20,000 speakers of Sarikoli in the Sarikol Valley located in the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang Province, China. Shughni and Sarikoli are not mutually intelligible. In 1994, there were 4000 speakers of Yazgulyam along the Yazgulyam River in
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
. Yazgulyam is not written. The Vanji language was spoken in the Vanj river valley the
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Autonomous Region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative div ...
in
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
, and was related to Yazgulyam. 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 language, Tajik Persian. Most language speakers and others in Tajikistan refer to languages in this group as 'Pamirski" or 'Pamir'. (e.g. "I can speak Pamir, Ishkashem and Wakhi")


Munji-Yidgha branch

The Munji and
Yidgha The Yidgha language () is an Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern Iranian language of the Pamir languages, Pamir group spoken in the upper Lotkoh Valley (Tehsil Lotkoh) of Chitral District, Chitral in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Yid ...
languages are closely related. There are about 6,000 speakers of
Yidgha The Yidgha language () is an Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern Iranian language of the Pamir languages, Pamir group spoken in the upper Lotkoh Valley (Tehsil Lotkoh) of Chitral District, Chitral in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Yid ...
in Upper Lotkoh Valley,
Chitral District Chitral District ( ur, ) was the largest district in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, covering an area of 14,850 km², before splitting into Upper Chitral District and Lower Chitral District in 2018. Part of the Malakand Divis ...
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
, and in 1992 there were around 2,500 speakers of Munji in the Munjan Valley, Munjan and Mamalgha Valleys of
Badakhshan Province Badakhshan Province ( fa, بدخشان ولایت, ''Badaxšān wilāyat'') is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region. It shares ...
, northeastern
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
. Munji-Yidgha shares with Bactrian language, Bactrian a development *ð > , absent from the other three Pamir groups


Sanglechi-Ishkashimi

There are about 2,500 speakers of Sanglechi and Ishkashimi language, Ishkashmi in
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
and
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
(dialects: Sanglechi, Ishkashimi language, Ishkashmi, Zebaki). They are not written languages.


Wakhi

There are around 58,000 speakers of the Wakhi language in
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
,
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
, China,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
, and Russia.


Status

The vast majority of Pamir speakers in Tajikistan and Afghanistan also use Tajik language, Tajik (Persian) as a literary language, which is—unlike the languages of the Pamir group—a Southwestern Iranian language, Southwestern Iranian tongue. The language group is endangered, with the total number of speakers roughly around 100,000 in 1990.


See also

*Wakhan


Bibliography

*Payne, John, "Pamir languages" in ''Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum'', ed. Schmitt (1989), 417–444.


References


External links


Ethnolinguistic map of Tajikistan


*[http://www.angelfire.com/sd/tajikistanupdate/engpamirlanguages.html English-Ishkashimi- Zebaki-Wakhi-Yazghulami Vocabulary]
A Short List of Yazghulami Words

Grierson G. A. Ishkashmi, Zebaki, and Yazghulami, an account of three Eranian dialects. (1920)
{{DEFAULTSORT:Pamir Languages Pamir languages, Eastern Iranian languages Endangered Iranian languages