Wakhi language

Wakhi
x̌ik zik
Native to Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Russia
Ethnicity Wakhi
Native speakers
(58,000 cited 1992–2012)[1]
Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3 wbl
Glottolog wakh1245[2]
Linguasphere 58-ABD-c

Wakhi is an Indo-European language in the Eastern Iranian branch of the language family spoken today in Wakhan District, Afghanistan and also in Northern Pakistan, China, and Tajikistan.

Classification and distribution

Wakhi is one of several languages that belong to the areal Pamir language group. Its relationship to the other Iranian languages is not clear; in certain features Wakhi shows affinity to the extinct Saka language in particular.

The Wakhi people are occasionally called Pamiris and Guhjali. The origin of this language is Wakhan and it is, according to many sources, more than four thousand years old. It is spoken by the inhabitants of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, parts of Gilgit–Baltistan (the former NAs) of Pakistan, Gorno-Badkhshan (mountainous-Badakhshan, in Russian) region of Tajakistan, and Xinjiang in western 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 (Borushaski), 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 different 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 different countries. In the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan, the Wakhi people mainly live in Gojal, Ishkoman, Darkut and in Chitral District's Broghol. They also live in some parts of Wakhan in Afghanistan, Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan, Xinjiang in China, Russia and Turkey

In Afghanistan

In the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, Wakhi is spoken from Putur, near Ishkashim, to the upper reaches of the Wakhan River.[3]

In Tajikistan

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 Persian-speaking Tajiks. Linguists universally refer to Wakhi as an East Iranian language independent of Tajik Persian, but many Tajik nationalists insist that Wakhi and other Pamir languages are actually dialects of Tajik.[4]

In Pakistan

In Gilgit-Baltistan Wakhi is spoken in the sparsely populated upper portions of five of the northernmost valleys: Hunza (many ethnic Wakhi of this valley now speak Burushaski), Gojal that including the valleys of Chipursan and Shingshal, (Upper-Hunza—mostly intact), Ishkoman (many ethnic Wakhi speak, now, Shina), Yasin (many ethnic Wakhi of this valley speak, now, Khow-wor or Burushaski/Virchik-wor), Gupis (many ethnic Wakhi speak, now, Shina) and Yarkhun (many ethnic Wakhi of this valley now speak Khow-wor). Yarkhun is located in the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while others are in the Gilgit–Baltistan. Gojal, in the Hunza valley, has the largest Wakhi population of any of the above five areas. 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 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 and music.

Radio Pakistan 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. In 2000, the WCA 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. [5]

In China

Wakhi is also spoken in the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, in Xinjiang of China.

In Russia

There are approximately 6000 Wakhi in Russia, Most of them have migrated from Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

In Turkey

There are some Wakhi villages in Turkey in the eastern regions, where they have migrated from Afghanistan in 1979 during the Afghan and Russian war.[6]

Orthography

Traditionally Wakhi was not a written language. Writing systems have been developed for the language using Arabic, Cyrillic and Latin scripts.

Arabic script

This Arabic alphabet is mainly used in Afghanistan:[7]

Letter اآبپتټثجڃچڇڅځحخدډذرزږژڙس
IPA [a], Ø[o][b][p][t̪][ʈ][θ][d͡ʒ][ɖ͡ʐ][t͡ʃ][ʈ͡ʂ][t͡s][d͡z][h][χ][d̪][ɖ][ð][r][z][ɣ][ʒ][ʐ][s]
Letter ښشڜصضطظعغفڤقکگلمنهوؤوْيی
IPA [x][ʃ][ʂ][s][z][t][z]Ø[ʁ][f][v][q][k][g][l][m][n][h][w], [ə][u][ɨ][i][j], [e]

Cyrillic script

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

Letter А аБ бВ вВ̌ в̌Г гҒ ғГ̌ г̌Д дД̣ д̣Д̌ д̌Е еЁ ёЖ жЖ̣ ж̣З зҘ ҙИ иЙ йК кҚ қЛ лМ мН нО оП п
IPA [a][b][v][w][g][ʁ][ɣ][d̪][ɖ][ð][e], [je][jo][ʒ][ʐ][z][d͡z][i][j][k][q][l][m][n][o][p]
Letter Р рС сТ тТ̣ т̣Т̌ т̌У уФ фХ хХ̌ х̌Ҳ ҳЦ цЧ чЧ̣ ч̣Ҷ ҷҶ̣ ҷ̣Ш шШ̣ ш̣Щ щЪ ъЫ ыӘ әЬ ьЭ эЮ юЯ я
IPA [r][s][t̪][ʈ] [θ][u][f][χ][x][h][t͡s][t͡ʃ][ʈ͡ʂ][d͡ʒ][ɖ͡ʐ][ʃ][ʂ][ʃt͡ʃ]Ø[ɨ][ə]Ø[e][ju][ja]

Latin script

A Latin alphabet was developed in 1984 by Haqiqat Ali:[8]

Letter A aB bC cČ čČ̣ č̣D dḌ ḍΔ δE eƏ əF fG gƔ ɣƔ̌ ɣ̌H hI iJ̌ ǰJ̣̌ ǰ̣K kL lM mN n
IPA [a][b][t͡s][t͡ʃ][ʈ͡ʂ][d̪][ɖ][ð][e][ə][f][g][ʁ][ɣ][h][i][d͡ʒ][ɖ͡ʐ][k][l][m][n]
Letter O oP pQ qR rS sŠ šṢ̌ ṣ̌T tṬ ṭΘ ϑU uV vW wX xX̌ x̌Y yZ zŽ žẒ̌ ẓ̌Ʒ ʒЫ ы
IPA [o][p][q][r][s][ʃ][ʂ][t̪][ʈ][θ][u][v][w][χ][x][j][z][ʒ][ʐ][d͡z][ɨ]

Sample text

Sample text from a Bible translation published in 2001 is shown below:[9]

Lord's Prayer (Luke 11:2-4)
Wakhi in Latin alphabet Wakhi in Cyrillic alphabet English (KJV)
2Yiso yavər x̆atəy: «Sayišt ʒi dəo carəv, x̆anəv: „Ey bzыrgwor Tat ki də osmonət cəy! Ti bəzыrg nung bər olam ыmыt! Ləcər dəwroni Ti podšoyi ɣ̆at-ət, zəmin-ət zəmon də hыkmi taw ыmыt! 2Йисо йавəр х̌атəй: «Сайишт ҙи дəо царəв, х̌анəв: „Ей бзыргв̌ор Тат ки дə осмонəт цəй! Ти бəзырг нунг бəр олам ымыт! Лəцəр дəв̌рони Ти подшойи г̌ат-əт, зəмин-əт зəмон дə ҳыкми тав̌ ымыт! 2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3Spo rыsq-ət rыzi sakər nəsib car! 3Спо рысқ-əт рызи сакəр нəсиб цар! 3Give us day by day our daily bread.
4Cə spo gənoən šəxs! Sak bə kuy, ki sakər šakiɣ̆, cə kərk! kыx̆tər baxṣ̌əṣ̌ carən. Cə bandi nafs-ət awasən, Cə waswasayi Iblisən saki niga δыr!“» 4Цə спо гəноəн шəхс! Сак бə куй, ки сакəр шакиг̌ цə кəрк! Кых̌тəр бахш̣əш̣ царəн. Цə банди нафс-əт ав̌асəн, Цə в̌асв̌асайи Иблисəн саки нига д̌ыр!“» 4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."

Vocabulary

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

Lexical comparison of seven Iranian languages[10]
English gloss Persian Tajik Shughni Sarikoli Pashto Wakhi Avestan
onejæk (یک)jak (як)jiwiwjaw (يو)jiaēva-
meatɡuʃt (گوشت)ɡuʃt (гушт)ɡuːxtɡɯxtɣwaxa, ɣwaʂa (غوښه)ɡuʂt?
sonpesær (پسر)pisar (писар)putspɯtszoi (زوی)putrputra
fireɒteʃ (اتش)otaʃ (оташ)joːtsjutsor (اور)rɯχniɡâtar
waterɒb (اب)ob (об)xatsxatsobə (اوبه)jupkaiwyô, ap
handdæst (دست)dast (даѕт)ðustðɯstlɑs (لاس)ðastzasta
foot (پا)po (по)poːðpeðpxa, pʂa (پښه)pɯðpad
toothdændɒn (دندان)dandon (дандон)ðinðʉnðanðunɣɑx, ɣɑʂ (غاښ)ðɯnðɯk?
eyetʃæʃm (چشم)tʃaʃm (чашм)tsemtsemstərɡa (سترګه)tʂəʐmcashman
horseæsb (اسب)asp (асп)voːrdʒvurdʒɑs (masculine), aspa (feminine)}} (آس,اسپه)jaʃaspa
cloudæbr (ابر)abr (абр)abrivarmurjadz (اوريځ)murmaēγa-
wheatɡændom (گندم)ɡandum (гандум)ʒindamʒandamɣanam (غنم)ɣɯdim?
manybesjɒr (بسيار)bisjor (бисёр)bisjoːrpɯrɖer (ډېر)təqipaoiri, paoirîsh, pouru
highbolænd (بلند)baland (баланд)bilandbɯlandlwaɻ (لوړ)bɯlandberezô, berezañt
fardur (دور)dur (дур)ðarðarləre (لرې)ðirdûra, dûrât
goodχub (خوب)χub (хуб)χubtʃardʒxə, ʂə (ښه)bafvohu
smallkutʃik (کوچک)χurd (хурд)dzuldzɯlləɡ, ləʐ (لږ)dzəqlai?
to sayɡoft (گفت)ɡuft (гуфт)lʉvdlevdwajəl (ويل)xənakaoj-, mrû-, sangh-
to dokærd (کرد)kard (кард)tʃiːdtʃeiɡkawəl (کول)tsərakkar-
to seedid (ديد)did (дид)wiːntwandkətəl (کتل)wiŋɡdî-

Phonology

Vowels

FrontCentralBack
Close iɨu
Mid eəo
Open a

Consonants

Labial Dental Alveolar Alveolo-
palatal
Retroflex Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive p b ʈ ɖ k ɡ q
Affricate t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʈ͡ʂ ɖ͡ʐ
Fricative f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ ʂ ʐ x ɣ χ ʁ h
Approximant l j w
Rhotic r

See also

References

  1. Wakhi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Wakhi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Payne, John (1989). "Pamir Languages". In Schmitt, Rüdiger. Compendium Linguarum Iranicum. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag. p. 419. ISBN 3-88226-413-6.
  4. Viires, Ants; Lauri Vahtre (2001). The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire. Tallinn: NGO Red Book. ISBN 9985-9369-2-2.
  5. Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association report 1991–2001. Pakistan: Wakhi Cultural Association. 2001.
  6. See the book online "The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan in Turkey"
  7. http://www.pamirian.ru/Wakhi_language_transition.pdf
  8. Ali, Haqiqat (1984). Wakhi Language. 1.
  9. Luqo Inǰil (Gospel of Luke) (in Wakhi). Bəzыrg Kitob tarǰimacrakыzg institute. 2001.: Title page, passages in Roman alphabet, passages in Cyrillic alphabet
  10. Gawarjon (高尔锵/Gāo Ěrqiāng) (1985). Outline of the Tajik language (塔吉克语简志/Tǎjíkèyǔ Jiǎnzhì). Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House.
  • Backstrom, Peter C. Languages of Northern Areas (Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan, 2), 1992. 417 pp. ISBN 969-8023-12-7.
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