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Wakhi (Wakhi: /В̌aхi, ) is an
Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
in the
Eastern Iranian The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the in the that are spoken natively by the . The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (u ...
branch of the language family spoken today in
Wakhan District Wakhan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossro ...
, northern
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 also 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
, northern
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 China.


Classification and distribution

Wakhi is one of several languages that belong to the areal Pamir language group. It is believed to be a descendant of the Scytho-Khotanese language that was once spoken in the
Kingdom of Khotan The Kingdom of Khotan was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian Saka Buddhism, Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the southern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin (modern Xinjiang, China). The ancien ...

Kingdom of Khotan
. The
Wakhi peopleWakhi may be: * Wakhi language Wakhi (Wakhi: ) is an Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the nort ...
are occasionally called
Pamiris The Pamiris ( fa, پامیری; tg, помирӣ; russian: Пами́рцы; zh, c=帕米尔人, p=Pàmǐ'ěrrén) are an Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern Iranian peoples, Iranian ethnic group who are native to the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous ...
and Guhjali. It is spoken by the inhabitants of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, parts of
Gilgit–Baltistan Gilgit-Baltistan (, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English language, English as , ...
(the former NAs) of Pakistan, Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, and Xinjiang in western
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. The Wakhi use the self-appellation ‘X̌ik’ (ethnic) and suffix it with ‘wor’/’war’ to denote their language as ‘X̌ik-wor’ themselves. The noun ‘X̌ik’ comes from ''*waxša-ī̆ka-'' (an inhabitant of ''*Waxša-'' ‘Oxus’, for Wakhan, in Wakhi ‘Wux̌’. There are other equivalents for the name Wakhi (Anglicised) or Wakhani (Arabic and Persian), Vakhantsy (Russian), Gojali/Gojo (Dingrik-wor/Shina), Guyits/Guicho (Burushaski), Wakhigi/Wakhik-war (Kivi-wor/Khow-wor) and Cert (Turki). The language belongs, as yet to be confirmed according to studies and sources, to the southern group of the Pamir languages, in the Iranian group of the Indo-European family (450) of languages, where the Ishkashmi, Shighni/…nani and Wakhi languages are included. A very rough estimate of the population of Wakhis is 58,000 worldwide. The Wakhi live in six countries. In the Gilgit–Baltistan region of
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 Wakhi people mainly live 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 ...
, Ishkoman, Darkut and in Chitral District's
Broghol Broghil, also spelled Broghol (el. 3798 m./12,460 ft), is a high mountain pass along the Durand Line border that crosses the Hindu Kush mountain range and connects Wakhan District of Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan with Chitral District of Kh ...
. They also live in some parts of
Wakhan Wakhan, or "the Wakhan" (also spelt Vakhan; Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated ...

Wakhan
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
,
Gorno-Badakhshan , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Regions of Tajikistan, Region , image_skyline = Lac Karakul (754379539).jpg , image_alt = , image_caption = Lake Zorkul , flag_alt = , ...
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
, the
Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County (also known as Taxkorgan County, sometimes spelled Tashkurgan, Tashkorgan and Tash Kurghan Tadzhik Autonomous Hsien) is an autonomous county Autonomous counties and autonomous banners are county-level autono ...
in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
.


In Afghanistan

In the
Wakhan Corridor The Wakhan Corridor ( ps, واخان دهلېز, translit=wāxān dahléz, fa, دالان واخان, translit=dâlân vâxân) is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ) ...

Wakhan Corridor
of Afghanistan, Wakhi is spoken from Putur, near Ishkashim, to the upper reaches of the
Wakhan River Wakhan River ( fa, اب واخان), ''Abe Vâxân'' ( ps, واخان سیند) Вахондарё, ''Vaxondaryo''), also known in English as Ab-i-Wakhan, is the name of the Sarhadd branch of the Panj River along its upper length in Wakhan, Afgh ...
.


In Tajikistan

In Tajikistan, the Wakhi and other communities that speak one of the
Pamir languages The Pamir languages are an areal group of the Eastern Iranian languages The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European l ...
refer to themselves as Pamiri or Badakhshani and there has been a movement to separate their identity from that of the majority
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
-speaking
Tajiks Tajiks ( fa, تاجيک، تاجک, ''Tājīk, Tājek''; tg, Тоҷик) are a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethni ...

Tajiks
.
Linguists 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 ...

Linguists
universally refer to Wakhi as an East Iranian language independent of Tajik Persian, but many Tajik
nationalists Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
insist that Wakhi and other Pamir languages are actually dialects of Tajik.


In Pakistan

In
Gilgit-Baltistan Gilgit-Baltistan (; , Balti language, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constitutes the no ...

Gilgit-Baltistan
, Wakhi is spoken in the sparsely populated upper portions of five of the northernmost valleys:
Hunza
Hunza
,
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 ...
, Ishkoman, Yasin,
Gupis
Gupis
and Yarkhun. The Hunza valley has the largest Wakhi population in Pakistan. The Wakhis of Ishkoman live primarily in the Karambar valley, in the town of Imit and beyond. In Yasin, they live mostly in the vicinity of Darkot and in Yarhkun, they are found in Baroghil and in a few other small villages in the high, upper portion of valley. In Pakistan, the central organization of the Wakhi is the Wakhi Cultural Association Pakistan (WCA), an organization that is registered with the
Government of Pakistan The Government of Pakistan ( ur, , translit=hakúmat-e pákistán) abbreviated as GoP, is a federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group ...
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 language and culture, as well as documenting their
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poetry
and
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
.
Radio Pakistan Radio Pakistan serves as the national Public broadcasting, public broadcaster for radio in Pakistan. Although some local stations predate Radio Pakistan's founding, it is the oldest existing broadcasting network in Pakistan. The network was esta ...
Gilgit 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
relays the Wakhi radio programme "Sadoyah Boomy Dunyo", the voice of the roof of the world. The Wakhi 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 Pakistan Television Corporation ( ur, ; reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They provide unambi ...
. In 2000, the WCA won a "Best Programme" organizer award in the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
Festival A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or Muslim holidays, eid. A festiva ...

Festival
from the
President of Pakistan The President of Pakistan ( ur, , translit=s̤adr-i Pākiṣṭān), officially the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is the ceremonial head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (p ...
,
Pervez Musharraf Pervez Musharraf ( ur, , Parvez Muśarraf; born 11 August 1943) is a Pakistani politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, ...

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 History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
.


In China

Wakhi is also spoken in the
Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County (also known as Taxkorgan County, sometimes spelled Tashkurgan, Tashkorgan and Tash Kurghan Tadzhik Autonomous Hsien) is an autonomous county Autonomous counties and autonomous banners are county-level autono ...
, in Xinjiang of China, mainly in the township of
Dafdar Dafdar or Davdar or Daftar or via Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ) ...
.


In Russia

There are approximately 6,000 Wakhi in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, Most of them have migrated from
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
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
.


In Turkey

There are some Wakhi villages in
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
in the eastern regions, where they have migrated from Afghanistan in 1979 during the Afghan and Russian war.


Orthography

Traditionally, Wakhi was not a written language. Writing systems have been developed for the language using
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
,
Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is ...
and
Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequ ...

Latin script
s.


Arabic script

This Arabic alphabet is mainly used in Afghanistan:


Cyrillic script

When Wakhi is written in Cyrillic, the sounds are usually represented by these letters:


Latin script

A Latin alphabet was developed in 1984 by Haqiqat Ali:


Sample text

Sample text from a Bible translation published in 2001 is shown below:
Title pagepassages in Roman alphabet
http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/kuhl1/wakhani-rom-2.jpg]
passages in Cyrillic alphabet
http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/kuhl1/wakhani-cyr-2.jpg]


Vocabulary

The Wakhi lexicon exhibits significant differences with the other Pamir languages. Gawarjon's comparison of the dialects of Sarikoli language, Sarikoli and Wakhi spoken in China is reproduced below.


Phonology


Vowels


Consonants


Publications

In Pakistan two books of Wakhi poetry have been published so far using Latin, modified IPA, script. The first book is a collection of Nazir Ahmad Bulbuls poetry entitled "Beyoz-e-Bulbul". The second book is a collection of old and new poems and folklores compiled by Bulbulik Heritage Center, Gulmit.


See also

*
Wakhi peopleWakhi may be: * Wakhi language Wakhi (Wakhi: ) is an Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the nort ...


References


Further reading

*


External links


English-Ishkashimi-Zebaki-Wakhi-Yazghulami Vocabulary

Wakhi poetry
{{DEFAULTSORT:Wakhi Language Eastern Iranian languages Pamir languages Pamir languages of Afghanistan
Languages of China {{Commons cat, Languages of China Chinese culture Languages by country, China Languages of East Asia, China Languages of Asia by country, China ...
Languages of Gilgit-Baltistan Languages of Tajikistan Endangered Iranian languages Wakhan