Monthly Archives: February 2013


By Liaqat Ali Sani
Lecturer Department of Brahui
University of Balochistan, Quetta.

The study of dialect and dialects is called dialectology. But what exactly is a dialect? In common usage, obviously, a dialect is a substandard, low-status, often rustic form of language, generally associated with the peasantry, the working class, or other groups missing in prestige. Dialect is also a term which is often applied to forms of language, particularly those spoken in more isolated parts of the world, which have no written form. And dialects are also often regarded as some kind of deviation from a norm – as aberrations of a correct or standard form of language. It is very often useful to regard dialects as dialects of a language. Dialects, that is, can be regarded as subdivisions of a particular language. In this paper we will talk of the Saravanic, Jahlavanic and Raxshanic (Rekí) dialects of Brahui.
This distinction, however, presents us with a number of difficulties. In particular, we are faced with the problem of how we can distinguish between a language and a dialect, and the related problem of how we can decide what a language is? One way of looking at this has often been to say that ‘a language is a collection of mutually intelligible dialects’. This definition has the benefit of characterizing dialects as subparts of a language and of providing a criterion for distinguishing between one language and another.
This characterization of ‘language’ and ‘dialect’, however, is not entirely successful, and it is relatively simple to think of two types of apparent counterexample.

Language, Dialect and Accent;
The term ‘language’, then, if from a linguistic point of view a relatively non-technical term. If therefore we wish to be more exact in our use of descriptive labels we have to utilize other terminology. One term we shall be using is variety. We shall use ‘variety’ as a neutral term to apply to any particular kind of language which we wish, for some purpose, to consider as a single unit. The term will be used in an ad hoc manner in order to be as specific as we wish for a particular purpose.
More particular terms will be accent and dialect. ‘Accent’ refers to the way in which a speaker pronounces, and therefore refers to a variety which is phonetically and/or phonologically different from other varieties. ‘Dialect’, on the other hand, refers to varieties which are grammatically (and perhaps lexically) as well as phonologically different from other varieties. If two speakers say, respectively,
Í kárem kaning aŧí uŧ. and
Í kárem karsa uŧ.
we can say that they are speaking different dialects.
The labels ‘dialect’ and ‘accent’, too, are used by linguists in an essentially ad hoc manner. This may be rather surprising to many people, since we are used to talking of accents and dialects as if they were well-defined, separate entities: ‘a southern accent’, ‘the Somerset dialect’. Usually, however, this is actually not the case. Dialects and accents frequently merge into one another without any discrete break.
There are many parts of the world where, if we examine dialects spoken by people in rural areas, we find the following type of situation. If we travel from xalk(village) to xalk (village), in a particular direction, we notice linguistic differences which distinguish one village from another. Sometimes these differences will be larger, sometimes smaller, but they will be increasing. The further we get from our starting point, the larger the differences will become. The effect of this may therefore be, if the distance involved is large enough, that (if we arrange villages along our route in geographical order) while speakers from village 1 understand people from village 2 very well and those from village 3 quite well, they may understand village 4 speech only with considerable difficulty, and that of village 8 not at all. Villagers from 4, on the other hand, will probably understand village 3 speech quite well, and villagers from 1 and 8 only with difficulty. In other words, dialects on the outer edges of the geographical area may not be mutually intelligible, but they will be linked by a chain of mutual intelligibility. At no point is there a complete break such that geographically adjacent dialects are not mutually intelligible, but the cumulative effect of the linguistic differences will be such that the greater the geographical separation, the greater the difficulty of comprehension.( J.k, harmers & P. Trudgi)
This type of situation is known as a geographical dialect range. The rural dialects of Brahui language, however, from part of the Sáráwání dialect (spoken in the north) continuum which stretches to Ðáhðar of district Bolan to the centre of Kalat division and from there to the north of Quetta,. The Jáhlávání dialect(spoken in the southeast) continua include the south district Xuzdar, which includes all Jahlavan aria Khuzdár, Nál, Karkh, Bela, Uthal, Hub Caokí, and those districts of Sindh where the Brahui speekers are living, like, Mehaŕ, Farídábád, Karachi, Jecabábád, Nawábshah and Haidarábád. And the Raxşání (Rekí or Noşkeí) dialect (spoken in the northwest and west), continuum, comprising dialects of Western part of Sárwvání dialect, which starts from, Kirdgáp, Panjpáí, Nuşkí, Ðálbanden, Naokundí, Girdíjangal, Taftán and Whole Cháģi division although there are a considerable number of speakers in Southern Afghanistan and Iranian Balochistan.
While it does contain many similar words as the Iranic Baloch language, it also has many loan words from Indo-Aryan languages as well as the Dravidian words of its own.
According to a survey it has about 2,000,000 speakers in Pakistan (1998), 200,000 speakers in Afghanistan (Dupree: 89:62) and 20,000 speakers in Iran, which would amount to 2,220,000 in the world (District Census Report Kalat: 1998:7).
But due to its isolation, the exact number of Brahui speakers is not countable. Being a neighboring language 15% vocabulary of Dravidian, while the remainder is dominated by Perso-Arabic, Balochi, and Indo-Aryan, Brahui is generally written in the Perso-Arabic script and there is a orthography Brolikva (Brahui Roman Likvarh) that has been developed since 2008.

Brahui Dialects:
It is natural phenomena that every language in the world has more than one dialect and accent. It causes that a language spread or spoken in a country, where national frontiers are less well established, dialect continua can cause political difficulties, social behaviors ethical manners, or due to the marketability of that language precisely because people are used to thinking in terms of discrete categories rather than in ad hoc or continuum-type terms. These social changes of a language cause to born dialect and accent. In this way the Brahui language has three major dialects (Sabir: 90:12).

Saravanic dialect of Brahui
This is the first major dialect of Brahui which is spoken in the north part of Balochistan, where this Saravanic dialect is being spoken in Quetta, Mastung, Drengarh, Mungchar, Kalat, few parts of Bolan, Kachee, Naseer Abad and Jafar abad.
Saravanic dialect is most literary usable dialect of Brahui, this is how this dialect of Brahui is called standard dialect. Almost Saravanic dialect has been used for all literary works. Even this accent of Brahui is being used in print and electronic media too. Saravanic dialect is affected by its adjacent, English, Urdu and Pashto language.

Mutual intelligibilities of Saravanic dialect:
Followings are some intelligibilities of Saravanic dialect, by which it can be, distinguished between in brahui dialects.
 The first syllable of Saravanic dialect is not stress able as it may delight in Jahlavanic dialect. Like,
Adá. [Saravanic],
Addá. [Jahlavanic]

 A new amendment has been noted in Saravanic dialect, while making present continuous sentence, the verbal case of Brahui language “ŧí” is missing in new usage of present continuous sentence. Like,
nan bázár á ining aŧí un. [Old usage],
nan bázár á ining un. [New usage]
 Another new usage of negative present continuous sentence has been noted in those areas where the Non-Brahui speakers are in majority. In those communities the new learners expressed unjustified way to make a negative verb. Like,
Positive sentence Negative sentence Usage
o cá kuning e. o cá kuning aŧí aff. Justified
——— o cá kuning aff ——–
——— o cá kunpańg e. Unjustified
Ali banning e. Ali banning aŧí aff. Justified
——— Ali banning aff. ———
——– Ali bafańg e Unjustified
Jahlavanic dialect of Brahui
The dialect which is spoken in the southeast of Balochistan known as Jahlavanic dialect, which spread over all Jahlavan ( Khuzdár, Nál, Karkh, Bela, Uthal, Hub Caokí), Jahalmagsi, Naseerabad, Jafarabad and some arias of Sindh (Mehaŕ, Farídábád, Káráchí, Jecabábád, Nawábşhah and Haidarábád). And this dialect is known as the most affected Brahui dialect, Sindhi accent has been noted in huge and an undersized effectiveness of Balochi language is also noted.
Mutual intelligibility of Jahlavanic dialect:
 A huge usage of aspirated voices of Brahui language is found in Jahlavanic dialect instead of Saravanic and Raxshanic,
Bh (bholú), ph (phullí), nh (nhok), mh (mholo), dh (dhoxuár).
 Usually stress is found on the first syllable in this dialect. Like, addí, addá
 The following consonants are not usable in this dialect, /D.d/ and /T.t/. when in a consonant cluster the first consonant is /D/ or /T/ and the second is /R/, so the consonants will be replaced as such, /D/ in /Ð/ and /T/ in /Ŧ/. /D/ and /R/ [Saravanic] changes /D/ and /R/ [Jahlavanic]
Draxt changes in to Ðraxt
Droí changes in to Ðrohí
Drust changes in to Ðrust
—— —– Rust*
*(in a few usages when the consonant cluster /D/ and /R/ comes together so the /D/ is automatically omitted and the word will be start with the second consonant /R/)
/T/ and /R/ [Saravanic] changes /Ŧ/ and /R/ [Jahlavanic]
Trán changes in to Ŧrán
Trońguŕ changes in to Ŧrońguŕ
Mostly /T/ changes in to /Ŧ/ and in this dialect it never seems that any word has started with the cluster [D.Ŕ] and [T.Ŧ]
 The possessive pronoun “kaná” which has two syllable [ka-ná] in Saravanic and Raxshanic dialect but in the Jahlavanic only the first syllable [ka] is used to give the same meaning like,
Saravanic Jahlavanic
Dú kaná (My hand) Dú ka
Ílum kaná (My brother) Ílum ka
 When the suffixes of (pak) and (fak) come at the end of Brahui verb it replace the (ang, ing, eng) singe of verb which changes in to a negative verb in the Saravanic and Raxshanic dialects but the same verb become a imperative verb and (of) comes instead of (pak) and (fak).
Negative verb (Saravanic) imperative verb Negative verb (Jahlavanic)
Kunpak (He/she not eats) Kun kunof
Bafak (He/she not comes) ba/bar barof
Mafak (May not be) ma/mar marof

Rakhshanic dialect of Brahui
Rakhshanic dialect is also known as Rekí or Noşkeí dialect which is spoken in the northwest and west of Balochistan, the speakers of Raxshanic dialect are speared in the whole Chaghi division although there are a considerable number of speakers in Southern Afghanistan, Iranian Balochistan and in Turkmenistan.
A special usage of long vowels creates dulcet expression in this Raxshanic dialect there foe this is known as the pleasing manners in Brahui dialects. However this dialect is affected by Balochi Afghani Iranic Persian.

Mutual intelligibility of Raxshanic dialect:
This dialect of Brahui has more intelligibility points then the Saravanic and Jahlavanic dialect. A few of them are following,
 Raxshanic dialect has less or no usage of aspirated voices such as, Bh, ph, nh, mh, dh etc.
 Some times short vowels (a, i, u) of Brahui language will be pronounced as long vowel and particularly the usage of Brahui diphthong are more common then the Saravanic and Jahlavanic dialect are. This special use of vowels makes the Raxshanic dialect much dulcet then the other dialects. And creates some affective expression, like, abbúú, oohoo, paoo, allae, yáae.
 The less use of retroflex voices /Ŧ/, /Ð/, /Ŕ/ is noted in Raxshanic dialect. And these voices replaced as such, /Ŕ/ changes in to /R/ and /Ð/ changes in to/D/.
 /Ŕ/ and /R/
[Saravanic] changes [raxshanic]
Eŕe changes in to ere
Oŕe changes in to Ore
Dáŕe changes in to dare
 /Ð/ and /Ŕ/
[Saravanic] changes [raxshanic]
boð changes in to boŕ
goð changes in to goŕ
 Addition of a suffix (ak) is added to the end of a word with the future sentence in Raxshanic dialect. Like,
Common word (Saravanic) suffix (ak) (Raxshanic)
Barek (Comes/will come) barekak
Marek (be/will be) marekak
 Imperative verbs of Brahui language which usually ends with short vowel (a), but in the Raxshanic dialect that short vowel will be omitted. Like,
Saravanic imperative verb Jahlavanic imperative verb
Sala (stop walking/doing) sal
Ata (Bring) at
 The omitting of short vowel is common in Raxshanic dialect it specially noticed in adjectives.
Adjective with short vowel (Saravanic): nanikán, (in the evening)
Adjective with out short vowel (Raxshanic): nankán
 Some cases of changing and replacement is found in Raxshanic dialect. This changing is very obvious in usage of preposition. “Á” is the preposition it changes in to “ģá” or “ģae”.
Á (Saravanic) changes in to ģá/ģae (Raxshanic)
Kursí á (in the Chair) —- kursí ģá/ģae
Urá á (at home) —- urá ģá/ģae
Besides this a huge number of vocabularies have deferent meaning in each dialect of Brahui.

 J.K, Harmers and Peter Trudgi, “Dialectology”, 2nd addition, 2044, Cambridge University Press.
 “Dupree” 1989: Afghanistan.
 Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Govt. of Pakistan, 1999, 1998 district census report of Kalat.
 Sabir, Abdul Razzaq “Brahui Likwarh”, Brahui Adbi Society Quetta 1993.


Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Balochi Language

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