Category Archives: Balochi Language

Introducing Reported Speeches in Balochi of Sistan with ki1

By Stephen H. Levinsohn
SIL International

The Balochi particle ki is a “conjunction of general subordination” (Delforooz 2010:16), found in adverbial, relative and complement clauses (sec. 1). This paper concentrates on its presence before complement clauses and, in particular, those that report a speech.
Roberts (2009:295, 300) claims for Persian that the “clause linkage marker” “ke is used primarily in spoken texts to give prominence to speeches that the author considers are important to the story”. In the pre-defence version of his dissertation, Delforooz (ibid. 224) likewise suggested that, when Balochi ki introduces a direct speech, it “has a highlighting function. … The marked speeches push the story forward to its goal”.
However, further research suggested that, when ki introduces a reported speech in Balochi, it is the consequences of the speech that are highlighted, rather than the speech itself (see sec. 3). In particular, “when a question is answered, the answer is usually more important than the question, which is why the effect of marking a question with ki is to highlight the answer” (Delforooz 2011:227). Furthermore, ki may introduce a speech, not to highlight anything, but to indicate that its words represent the gist of what one or more people said, are to say or could have said, rather than being uttered on a particular occasion (ibid. 229).
This paper argues that the reason that ki can have such diverse effects is that it is an “indicator of interpretive use” (Blass 1990:104). This means that, when introducing a reported speech, the speech is to be understood not as a description of what was said on a particular occasion, but rather as a representation of an utterance or thought (sec. 2).

1. Ki as a Conjunction of General Subordination
Linguists usually posit three basic types of subordinate clauses: adverbial, relative, and complement (see Whaley 1997:247) and ki is found in all three in Balochi. This section briefly illustrates its typical use in the three types.

1.1 Adverbial clauses subordinated by ki
In adverbial clauses, ki most often occurs immediately before the subordinated verb or verb phrase, and after the subject, if present.
When the clause is post-nuclear, it is usually of reason or result (if realis) or purpose (if irrealis) (Delforooz 2011:200), though other relations are also found. In (1), the subordinated clause (1b)
gives a reason for the event of the main clause (1a).2
(1)a nam=ay gua galaw-a išt-ant xarmizza
name=PC.3s then melon-O leave.PST-3p xarmizza
b ki mizzag=ay awal xar burt
SUB taste=PC.3s first donkey take.PST.3s
Then they named the melon ‘xarmizza’, since it was a donkey that tasted it first. (XM 109-110)3 mWhen the clause is pre-nuclear, it is usually of time, though other relations are also found.
In (2), the subordinated clause (2a) gives the time for the event of the main clause (2b-c).
(2)a badiša ki eši-ra dist
king SUB DEM-O see.PST.3s
b zant understand.PST.3s
c ki diga kišwar-ay mardum=e
SUB other country-GEN person=IND
When the king saw him, he understood that (he was) a person from another country. (BP 27-29)4
What is noteworthy for the present paper is that, whether pre-nuclear or post-nuclear, the information in adverbial clauses that are subordinated with ki can easily be related to information that has recently been stated in the discourse (see the Conclusion). Thus, in (1), the hearers already know that it was a donkey that first ate the melons (XM 83-87). Likewise, in (2), the hearers already know that the traveller has arrived in a country whose king is out hunting (BP 24-26).

1.2 Relative clauses subordinated by ki
Relative clauses are commonly divided into two types: restrictive and non-restrictive.
Restrictive (identifying) relative clauses serve to delimit the potential referents (Comrie
1989:138). In restrictive relative clauses in Balochi, ki occurs immediately after the head NP that it modifies. In (3), the head NP is har _azau har mewage ‘every kind of food and fruit’, and the relative clause ki dist limits the referent to that ‘which he saw’.
(3) am=e har _aza=u har mewag=e ki dist
EMP=DEM each food=& each fruit=IND SUB see.PST.3s
zit=u wart
buy.PST.3s=& eat.PST.3s
He bought and ate every kind of food and fruit which he saw. (MG 58-60)5

Non-restrictive relative clauses serve “merely to give the hearer an added piece of information about an already identified entity, but not to identify that entity” (ibid.). Non-restrictive relative clauses in Balochi begin with ki. In (4), for instance, the head NP is yakk tiri bar_e ‘a light post’
(4a), and the relative clause of (4b) gives additional information about it.
(4)a e badiša bi=m=e wat-i šar-ay wasat-(t)a yakk tir=i bar_=e dašt
DEM king in=EMP=DEM RFL-GEN town-GEN middle-OBL one pole=IZ electricity=IND have.PST.3s
b ki harci am=e tilipunan-i sim=at-ant bi am=eši wasl=at-ant
SUB whatever EMP=DEM telephones-GEN wire=COP.PST-3p to EMP=DEM.OBL connected=COP.PST-3p
This king had a light post in the centre of his town, to which were connected whatever phone
wires there were. (XM 3-5)
(5b) is different, as ki introduces the presupposition (established information—see (5a)) in the equivalent of an “it-cleft structure” (Levinsohn 2011a:65).
(5)a Finally, he became the (biggest) trader of the world, the trader of the entire world.
b FOCUS presupposition
marg na(y)-at ki ta ar but
death NEG-come.PST.3s SUB trader become.PST.3s
(It was through) death not coming (contrary to expectation)6 that he became a trader. (MG 94-97)

1.3 Complement clauses subordinated by ki
In complement clauses, ki typically introduces the complement, as in (2c) above and (6).
(6) b(y)-a ki e rang eš-i mas e rang gu””o=at=o
SBJ-come.PRS SUB DEM manner DEM-GEN mother DEM manner strangled=COP.PST.3s=&
It happened that its mother was strangled in this way and… (XM 59)7
When the complement is a reported speech, however, the default is for ki to be absent (see (7) below), so its presence before a reported speech is noteworthy. The following sections discuss the pragmatic effects of introducing a reported speech with ki.

2. Ki as an Indicator of Interpretive Use
“When a speech is reported directly, it usually purports to describe a state of affairs—what was said on a particular occasion (a “descriptive use”—Sperber & Wilson 1986:224-31).
However, some reported speeches do not inform the reader of what was said so much as represent an utterance or thought that resembles it.
“Some languages have ‘an explicit linguistic indicator of interpretive use’ (Blass 1990:104)
whose function is to indicate that the speech concerned is not describing what was said on a particular occasion, but rather represents an utterance or thought. Such markers are often found in speech orienters.
“A variety of circumstances motivate the presence of interpretive use markers.”
(Levinsohn 2011a:115) I now argue that Balochi ki is such an interpretive use marker and discuss some factors that motivate its presence.
When ki does not introduce a reported speech, then the sentence concerned purports to describe what was said on a particular occasion. So, in (7), by not using ki, the storyteller implies that, on a particular occasion, someone said to the king, ‘Lord king, it is a dragon’.
(7) gušt badša saib aždiya=(y)e
say.PST.3s king master dragon=IND
He said, ‘Lord king, it is a dragon’. (XM 15-16)
One of the reasons for introducing a reported speech with ki is to indicate that the words that follow were NOT said on a particular occasion. In (8c), for instance, the words that follow ki are not a report of what Sabzo said on some occasion. Rather, they are hypothetical, representing what she might have said, had Khudanizar Khan not given her a generous dowry.8

(8)a am=e ku
collection=PC.3s do.PST.3s
b ki yane sabzo ma-guš-it wat-i dil-ay ta pikr ma-kan-t
SUB means Sabzo PROH-say.PRS-3s RFL-GEN heart-GEN in thought PROH-do.PRS-3s
c ki xudanizar xan mna bi xwar-en mard=e dat
SUB Khudanizar Khan me to lowly-ATTR man=IND give.PST.3s
he collected them (almost 200 sheep and 100 camels) in order for Sabzo not to say, not to think in her heart, ‘Khudanizar Khan married me off to a lowly man’. (KH 110-113)
Similarly, what follows ki in (9c, e) is not a report of what Pirakk said on a specific occasion.
Rather, it gives the gist of what he said a number of times, as the imperfectives (9b, d) imply.
(9)a but=u mardum=e ki b(y)-at-en bi pirakk-ay gis-a
become.PST.3s=& person=IND SUB SBJ-come.PST-SBJ.3s to Pirakk-GEN house-OBL
b bass ša xudanizar kissa=a kurt
just from Khudanizar story=IMPF do.PST.3s
c ki xudanizar pa(m)=man e rang kurt=u
SUB Khudanizar for=me DEM manner do.PST.3s=&
d gua dem-a=a gardent
then face-O=IMPF turn.PST.3s
e ki sabzo xudanizar am=e rang kurt ya na-kurt
SUB Sabzo Khudanizar EMP=DEM manner do.PST.3s or NEG-do.PST.3s
‘It so happened that, whenever someone came to Pirakk’s house, he used to talk so much about
Khudanizar: “Khudanizar did this kind of thing for me”; and then he would turn (to his wife):
“Sabzo, Khudanizar did this kind of thing, didn’t he?” (KH 125-131)
When a well-known folktale is related, it is not usually thought of as something that was told on
one particular occasion, so it is natural that ki should introduce it, as in (10b) (the present is used
in (10a)):
(10)a guš-it
b ki yag badiša=(y)e=at
SUB one king=IND=COP.PST.3s
They say that there was a king. (XM 1-2)
Ki may also introduce the gist of a whole conversation, as in (11b). It is most unlikely that three thieves would chorus together, “Let’s go and steal from the king’s treasury”! Rather, this speech represents what they decided after a discussion.
(11)a say duzz irada kurt-at-ant
three thief desire do.PST-COP.PST-3p
b ki b-raw-an badiša-ay xazanag-a b- an-an
SUB SBJ-go.PRS-1p king-GEN treasury-O SBJ-hit.PRS-1p
Three thieves had taken a decision: “Let’s go and steal from the king’s treasury”. (PJ 60-62)

3. Ki and Grounding
Extracts (10) and (11) above provide evidence that the use of ki to introduce a reported speech does not highlight the speech concerned.
In (10b), the copula indicates that the information concerned is of a background nature, as far as the theme line of the narrative is concerned (Levinsohn 2011a:68), even though it is introduced with ki.
In (11a), a pluperfect (translated ‘had taken a decision’) introduces the speech. Pluperfects are associated with back grounding in narrative, as they are used for events that take place prior to the theme-line events (ibid. 70). So the reported speech of (11b) is back grounded with respect to what follows (the later decision of the thieves to pour a lap of gold into the very grave where the hero of the story is hiding—PJ 64-67).
Further evidence that ki does not highlight the speech that it introduces is that, when it precedes a reported question, the ANSWER (which is not introduced with ki) is more important than the question. Such is the case in (12).9
(12) question gušt=i ki piramard baba e ce=(w)ant
say.PST.3s=PC.3s SUB father DEM what=COP.PRS.3p
ANSWER gušt=i e bexi wan-en ciz=ant man=um wart-a
say.PST.3s=PC.3s DEM entirely good-ATTR thing=COP.PRS.3p I=also eat.PST-PSTP
e ar-a=um dat-a=un=o šuma=um bor-it
DEM donkey-O=also give.PST-PP=COP.PRS.1s=& you=also
He said, “Dear old man, what are these?” He said, “These are very good things. I’ve eaten them
and also given them to this donkey. You should eat them, too.” (XM 93-99)
A similar pattern is sometimes found when a reported “proposal” is followed by “its non-speech execution” (ibid. 111). The effect of introducing the proposal with ki is to background it in relation to its non-speech EXECUTION. This is seen in (13). 10
(13) proposal gušt=i ki b-ra…
say.PST=PC.3s SUB SBJ-go.PRS
God said: ‘Go (and tell that poor fellow…)’
EXECUTION His Holiness Moses came and gave God’s message to the fellow… (MG 14-24)
Cross-linguistically, indicators of interpretive use often introduce indirect speech (ibid. 116), as it frequently communicates only the gist of the original communication (ibid. 106), and indirect reporting is associated with back grounding (Lowe and Hurlimann 2002:75). Reported speeches in Balochi that are introduced with ki are not classified as indirect because they retain first and second person pronominal references. Nevertheless, they tend to behave like indirect speeches as far as grounding is concerned. Given that one cross-linguistic way of highlighting an event is to background the one that immediately precedes it (Levinsohn 2011a:79), I conclude that, if the effect of using ki to introduce a reported question is to thereby highlight the answer, this is consistent with it being an indicator of interpretive use.

4. Further Evidence that Ki is an Indicator of Interpretive Use
One reason for using an interpretive use marker is to signal that what follows relates back to and interprets something in the immediate context. So, for example, when a demonstrative is used cataphorically to point forward to and highlight what follows, it is cross-linguistically normal to introduce what follows with such a marker. Such is the case in (14): ‘that which I ate at once’
relates back to and interprets ameš ‘this’.
(14) mni rozi am=eš=int ki man yakk war-a wart-un
my ration EMP=DEM=COP.PRS.3s SUB I once time-ADVZ eat.PST-1s
my ration is this: that which I ate at one go. (MG 67-68)11
Similarly, in (15), the material following ki relates back to and interprets allaay pay_aman ‘God’s
(15)a alla-ay pay_aman-a pa bandag-a dat
God-GEN messages-O for servant-OBL give.PST.3s
b ki ay bandag ti rabb e rang gušt
SUB oh servant your God DEM way say.PST.3s
he gave God’s message to the fellow: ‘Oh fellow, your God said like this…’ (MG 24-25)
See also KH 58-59, in which the material following ki (‘I swear by God…’) relates back to and interprets kasam wa ‘took an oath’.12
Extract (16) indicates the most significant points in the second half of a folktale about a camel that has become so exhausted from neglect and ill-treatment that it ‘laid down its neck to die’ (BU 13-14). What is noteworthy is that ki introduces the culminating speech by the camel (16b), which is consistent with Roberts’ (2009:300) claim that, in Persian, the corresponding particle “ke is used primarily in spoken texts to give prominence to speeches that the author considers are important to the story”. However, it is clear from the content of the camel’s speech that it is a direct response to its owner’s request for forgiveness (16a). As such, the presence of ki can be understood as an overt indication that the reply relates to and interprets the owner’s request (see further below).13
(16)a The Baloch nomad told the camel, ‘I have come to my senses now and now I know that [ki] I have been unjust to you. … I want that [ki] you forgive me before you die, forgive me and do not take my negligence into consideration…’ (BU 27-49) b Then this camel, by the order of God the Almighty, turned its face and, in the very agony of death, began to speak and said to its owner ki ‘It doesn’t matter. … If you have loaded me up with heavy loads, I will also forgive you. … I will forgive whatever you have done to me. But I will not forgive one thing, I will not forgive that until doomsday; that is this, that [ki] you didn’t understand anything of my lawful and clean flesh… But one deed of yours I will not forgive, that [ki] … you tied my rein to the tail of a crop-tailed donkey and made the donkey my leader and made the donkey my way-guide. This deed I will not forgive.’ (BU 50-105)

1 A shorter version of this paper was presented at the 4th International Conference on Iranian Linguistics (ICIL 4), Uppsala University, Sweden in June 2011.
2 Abbreviations used are as follows (adapted from Delforooz 2010:15-16): ADVZ adverbializer; ATTR attributive form of an adjective; COP predicate copula; DEM demonstrative; EMP emphatic particle; GEN genitive; IMPF imperfective; IND indefinite; IZ izafa construction; NEG negative; NP noun phrase; O object; OBL oblique; PC pronominal clitic; PP past participle; PROH prohibitive; PRS present; PST past; RFL reflexive; SBJ subjunctive;
SUB conjunction of general subordination (ki); 1s/3s 1st/3rd person singular; 1p/2p/3p 1st/2nd/3rd person plural; & associative connective.
3 See XM 74-75 (reason), MG 61-62 (result) and KH 111 ((8b) below) (purpose). The references are to texts found in Appendix 2 of Delforooz 2011 (pp. 287-392). To try and ensure that the paper covers all the major uses of ki, every instance of ki in texts XM (pp. 288-295) and MG (pp. 296-304) has been cited.
4 See also XM 7, 31, 36, 50, 55, 92, 106; MG 9, 45 (reason). See BP 106-107 for a complement following zant ‘understand, know’ that is not introduced with ki.
5 See also XM 6, MG 90.
6 This ki may be a “proclitic” (Hosseini 2011) that indicates contrastive emphasis.
7 See also MG 107, 114. In MG 72 (man šapi ki mír-in [I tonight SUB die.PRS-1s] ‘(It is sure) that I will die
tonight’), ki appears to introduce a complement (mír-in), even though no orienter is present.
8 Ki also tends to be used to introduce a message that the addressee is asked to pass on to someone else. This is probably because, at this stage, it is hypothetical. See MG 5-6.
9 In the Xarmizza (‘Melon’) folktale (XM), which concerns the discovery that melons are good to eat, three reported questions are introduced with ki, all of them asked by the king. The first leads to the discovery that a dragon has come to ask for help (12-16—see footnote 7) and the second to the carpenter receiving a strange seed as a reward for helping the dragon (29-54). After someone sows the seeds, feeds the fruit to his donkey and, eventually, tries them himself (68-91), the third of the king’s questions ((12) above) leads to him being persuaded to try the fruit, which results in it being called Xar-mizza (‘donkey-tasted’) (95-111—see (1) above).
10 See also MG 29-38. In XM 12-13 (badša dem dat yakk=e=ra ki e ci=(y)e [king face give.PST.3s one=IND=O SUB DEM what=IND] ‘The king sent someone (to check) who it is’), no speech verb is used to introduce the proposal, but the presence of ki again backgrounds this event in relation to its EXECUTION (14-16).
11 See also MG 77-78. In BU 55-56, the material following ki relates back to and interprets anco ‘such’. PJ 3-8 (with ancen sawt… ‘such a voice’) is similar.
12 See also BP 21-22 (interpreting so kan ‘pose a question’). In (11) above, it could be argued that the material following ki relates back to and interprets irada kurt- ‘made a decision’.
13 The following observation about the Koiné Greek interpretive use marker ___ applies equally to the way ki is used in (16b): “When ___ introduces direct speech in Luke-Acts, it not only indicates that the speech concerned “interprets” what has already been said …; it also seems to mark that speech as the culmination of a narrative unit or subunit” (Levinsohn 2011b:266).
14 Compare the use of the interpretive use marker kî in Biblical Hebrew to introduce a subordinate clause of time (e.g. in ‘When you go’—Exodus 3:21c). Follingstad (2002:152) states, “Throughout its uses, kî has this ‘mention’ [interpretive use] function”. However, he goes on to describe its use in general in terms of Mental Space Theory.

Blass, Regina. 1990. Relevance Relations in Discourse: A Study with Special Reference to Sissala. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Comrie, Bernard. 1989. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology. 2nd. edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Delforooz Barjasteh, Behrooz. 2010. Discourse Features in Balochi of Sistan (Oral Narratives). (Studia Iranica Upsaliensia 15). Uppsala: Uppsala University.
———. 2011. Discourse Features in Balochi of Sistan (Oral Narratives). (Studia Iranica Upsaliensia 15). Online at
Follingstad, Carl M. 2002. Deictic Viewpoint in Biblical Hebrew Text: A Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Analysis of the Particle Ki. Dallas: SIL International.
Hosseini, Ayat. 2011. Prosodization of Function Words in Persian. Paper presented at the 4th International
Conference on Iranian Linguistics (ICIL 4), Uppsala University, Sweden; June 2011.
Levinsohn, Stephen H. 2010. Some Notes on the Information Structure and Discourse Features of Exodus 1.1-12.15.
Online at
———. 2011a. Self-instruction Materials on Narrative Discourse Analysis. Online at
———. 2011b. Discourse Features of New Testament Greek: A Coursebook on the Information Structure of New Testament Greek, 2nd. edition (2000), revised. Dallas: SIL International.
Lowe, Ivan, and Ruth Hurlimann. 2002. Direct and indirect speech in Cerma narrative. In Reported Discourse: A
Meeting Ground for Different Linguistic Domains, edited by Tom Güldemann and Manfred von Roncador,
71-90. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Roberts, John R. 2009. A Study of Persian Discourse Structure. (Studia Iranica Upsaliensia 12). Uppsala: Uppsala University.
Levinsohn: Introducing Reported Speeches in Balochi of Sistan with ki p.8
Sperber, Dan, and Deirdre Wilson. 1995. Relevance: Communication & Cognition, second edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
Whaley, Lindsay J. 1997. Introduction to Typology: The Unity and Diversity of Language. London: SAGE

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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Balochi Language



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



Liaqat Ali Sunny
 Lecturer, Dearment of Brahui
University of Balochistan Quetta

Shabir Ahmed Shahwani
Assistant Professor, Depatment of Brahui
University of Balochistan, Quetta

Manzoor Ahmed Baloch
Lecturer, Depatment of Brahui
University of Balochistan, Quetta

Linguistics desideration in Balochistan is a common feature. The Brahui, Balochi, Saraiki, and Pashto language have learnt to grow side by side in ideal co-existence. Particularly from Balochi, Brahui has adopted many other features besides words. As pointed out by Denys Bray, and other western scholars. There has been large-scale borrowing between these languages. And some of it has been identified but the language of origin in each instance has usually not been fixed with certainty, and deferent scholars gave different ideas and hypothesis about Brahui, some of them link it with Dravidian, and some of them non-Dravidian like, Indo Aryan, Semantic, Uraltaic, Koch-o-Baloch, Kurdgali, Iranian, and Proto Dravidian etc but still remains a lot of confusions in minds, who are they? Because they have (linguists) created contradiction. So in this article their ideas and hypothesis has been tested.

This hypothesis has confused the linguists that the “Brahui” language belongs from which family? Obviously it is too difficult to give an authenticated theory about Brahui language, but the national and international linguists has mentioned many hypothesis according to their knowledge, here it will be explained all hypothesis as followed:

1- Dravidian
2- Un-ravidian
3- Proto-Dravidian

1- Dravidian:
The word “Dravidian” is related with the word “Dravida” which is not a Dravidian origin, we can say that the Dravidian is a latest form of dravida. Linguists emphasis that the “Dravida” is the Tamil’s (Sunsikratian) form. In 404 Wraha Mihra has used the Dravida a Tamil tribe “Pandia” (Siddiqui:2001). In seventh century “Kumar Labut” had understood one language to all indo-southern languages and named it “Andra Dravida Bahasha” which he ment “Talgu” by “Andra” and “Tamil” by “Dravida” (Siddiqui:2001).
German scholar “Lalson” declared the Brahui language as a Dravidian, after Lalson, Robert Kaldowell analyzed his hypothesis. And he brought so near to both languages. Than, M-B-Amanio, M-S-Andronof and Danys Bray had said the Brahui language is a branch of Dravidian family too. And the Brahui linguist and scholar Dr. Abdul Rahman also accepted the above said hypothesis (Day Tik: 2003) .
Danys Bray explained strongly the relation of Brahui and Dravidian family with the help of grammatical structures farther he gave several examples to ascertained his hypothesis that it is of course in its grammatical system that Brahui reveals its Dravidian origin(Bray:1978).
i) The grammatical relations of noun are shown as in Dravidian by means of suffixes, and most indeed all of the suffixes, whether expressive of case relations (Na, E, An, Ki etc)
Or of plural number (K, T, Sk) are traceable to a Dravidian Source.
ii) Of the pronouns, the second person in both numbers (Ni, Num) and the first person plural (NAN) are essentials the some as in Dravidian.
iii) The reflexive in Brahui and Dravidian has preserved one uniform type (Ten, Tan) with signal consistency. It is only in the light of its Dravidian counterparts that the Brahui demonstrative with it triple series (DA, E, O) its curious optional forms in the singular (Dad, Ed, Od) its still more curious forms in the plural (Dafk, Efk, Ofk) becomes fully explicable.
iv) In the interrogatives (Der, Ant, Ara) the family likeness in but thinly disguised and several of indefinite pronouns (Pen, Elo, At) are stamped with the Dravidian birth mark. The Dravidian relationship of the first three numbers (Asit, Irat, Musit) after regarded as hardly less significant witnesses to the origin of a language than the personal pronouns, is unquestionable.
v) In the verb the most palpable analogies are the pronominal termination of the plural (N, Re, R) the formations of the causal (IF) and above all, the organic, negative conjugations. Though the Brahui verb is not devoid of characteristics of its own, a full understanding of it would be impossible without the help of the Dravidian languages.
According to Danys Bray and Colwell that the Brahui language considered as a whole seams to be derived from the same source of the Panjabi and Sindi but it evidently contains a Dravidian element. It is the converse, put forward tentatively by lesson long time ago. Brahui belongs to the Dravidian languages group, it has freely absorbed the alien vocabulary of Persian, Balochi, Sindhi, Jatki, and other neighboring languages, in spite of all inroads its Dravidian grammatical system has remained true to type (Naseer:1998).

ii- Kamil- Al- Qadri:
The above scholar also links the relationship of Brahui and Dravidian languages he expresses his worthy views in this way”
“Brahui language may or may not be descended from Dravidian but in many points the likeness of the Brahui to the south Indian group*(i) of language is striking. Among these we note, some of its pronouns and numberals-elements of speech less often borrowed. The use of post-positions for prepositions and the addition of these to an inflectional stem, instead of directly the foot, the absence of a comparison of adjectives by suffixes, the lack of relative pronoun, except as borrowed, the negative conjugation of the verb, the expression of gender and number for the most part by added words of sex or multitude, rather then suffixes, the inflections of Brahui are simple, and of the agglutinative type. The suffixes of declension are the some or nearly so singular and plural, and in the latter case follow the sign of number. Only the first three numerals (Asit, Irat, and Musit) are indigenous. These being directly from other language*ii (Bray: 1978).

iii- Dr. Abdul Rahman Brahui:
Dr. Brahui says that the word “DRAVIDA” is also suitable to the old inhabitant of India besides Aryan, further he adds his glosseme that it is new research about Dravidian that they used to live near Atlantic Ocean.
2- Un-Dravidian Hypothesis:
More than enough Un-Dravidian hypothesis are available about Brahui language. But all of them are invalid hypothesis. The all below hypothesis come in un-Dravidian hypothesis.
i) Aryan
ii) Koch-O-Baloch
iii) Kurd Galian

i) Aryan
i) “The visit of Balochistan and Sindh” Potinger’s book 1816, he wrote that Brahui language is totally different by its neighboring languages, which hears like Punjabi but it doesn’t belong to Dravidian family (Tosha 1977).
ii) In 1838 Left-R-Leach has written in “Journal*(iii)” that Brahui is an Indo-Aryan language. (Tosha 1977).
iii) Some international linguists accepted that the Brahui is not a Dravidian language, but a little bit vocabulary has mixed or borrowed by other languages on the base of vocabulary Brahui can’t belong Dravidian language. Names come in this series, Coldwell, Razly, Gerirson, Ahyo Billers and I-C-S (Brahui Dr. Abdul Rehman).

ii) Koch-O-Baloch
i) This hypothesis expressed first time by S-H-Ravalinson with the argumentry reference of “Firdossi’s” “Shah Nama”( Dey Tik:2003). After the mentioned book with word Balochi” Koch had been written together, Mr. Long Worth, Dynes Bray and many other scholars suspected about present inhabitant trib Brahui *(iv) to a Koch race. (Naseer: 1998).

iii) Kurd Gali
In 1974 A local researcher Mir Aaqil Khan Mengal has revealed this hypothesis that Brahui is called Kurdgali as well. Present era in Besema (Kharan) Lasbela, and Karkh Brahui is known as Kurdgali (Ulus:1977) Mir Aaqil Khan Mengal copied the ideas of tenth country’s Arab’ Geologist “Ibn-e-Hukal” that the Brahui is a Sub-section of a Kurd Tribe (Bray: 1978)
Whenever the Koch-o-Baloch came to Kalat under guidance of Baloch Chief “Miro” to avoid them self by the outrage of “Nosherwan” Sewa family was ruler of Kalat, Nichara, Zahri and Khuzdar. And the inhabitants were called Sewae tribe. There language resembled to Brahui.
Beside Sewa, the “Judgal” populated on the surfer of Sorab, Khuzdar, Karkh and Lasbela.
When Koch-o-Baloch, abandon the Burzkoh*(v) Sewae named than Burzkohi which was change in to Brohee, Bravi, and Brahui. (Naseer: 1998)

3- Proto-Dravidian Hypothesis:
Mostly local scholars like, Dr Abdul Rahman Brahui and Dr Razzaq Sabir links the Brahui a proto-Dravidian language. Razzaq Sabir says (in his an article “Brahui literature in 20th century”) that the mostly linguists are agreed that Brahui is not only Dravidian but it is a proto-Dravidian language. Because the languages of Dravidian family are oldest language of sub-continent. Same way Brahui is oldest languages of Pakistan. (Day Tik: 2003) According to Dr. Razzaq Sabir, if some one rejects that the Brahui is not proto-Dravidian so it required a strong proof because both Brahui and Dravidian languages are so closed to each other, on the base of emotional and lack argument we can’t omit Brahui from Dravidian. (Sabir: 2003)

In first hypothesis we can find evident proof that the Brahui language may be a main Branch of Dravidian languages. Because Sir Denys Bray and Kamil Al Qadri had given a detail Knowledge with the help of grammatical structure that Brahui belongs to the Dravidian language group. It has freely absorbed a rich vocabulary of Persian, Balochi, Sindhi, Jatki and other neighboring languages. Absorbing the alien vocabularies Brahui does not change its grammatical system. And it is another evident proof that the numeral rules of Brahui is same as in Dravidian languages it accurse.
The said hypothesis still it is a hypothesis which is required dependant variables, for this we must have strong matter of all Dravidian languages to analysis the grammatical and numeral system of both languages.
On the base of other’s hypothesis we can’t give a strong recommendation that the Brahui language belongs to Dravidian language.

(i) The South Indian group is called Dravidian family or comprise Dravidian languages like, Tamil Godaba, Gondi, Kannada, Kodegu, Kalami, Konda, Kata, Koya, Kui, Kuruk, Malyalam, Malto, Manda, Naiki, Parji, Pengu, Toda and Tulu. Dr. Razzaq Sabir, has written in his book “Dravarhistan” that the number of Dravidian languages is increased upto 26 but only seventeen 17 languages had accepted as official language of India.
(ii) Here other language means the Brahui and Persian, because thay have the some numerals after the first three numerals as Brahui has after it. The like, Char, Panch, Shash, Haft, Hasht, Noh, Dah, etc.
(iii) Journal of the Asiatic Society the Bangal, Vol-7 PP 537 to 562, here we can see some example of Brahui language and folklore, Couplets. from Munshi Gulab Sing and Sons Lahore the very Journal was reprinted on 539 page Journal’s Editor James Prinsep expresses his views like this that Brahui is an Indo-Aryan language.
(iv) Brahuis are branch of Baloch nation and it is further divided into perhaps more then fifty section and each section has isolated in to dozens sub-sections..
(v) Burzkoh is the name of a high mountain in Iran. The settlers of Burzkoh are called Burzkohi according scholars now Brahui is the new shape of same burzakhi.

 Bray, Danys. The Brahui language: Brahui academy. Quetta :Pakistan,1978.
 Siddiqui, Khail. Zuban kiya hai: Bekon Books. Multan, 2001.
 Naseer,Gul Khan Mengal. Koch -o –Baloch: Zamrud Publications. Quetta. Pakistan,1998.
 Brahui, Dr. Abdul Rehman .Brahui Zuban o Adab ki mukhtasir taareekh: Urdu Board .Lahor. 1982.
 Brahui, Academy. Tosha: Brahui Academy. Quetta.Pakistan, 1977.
 Sabir, Dr. Abdul Razzaq. „Drawarhistan“: Brahui Academy. Quetta. Pakistan, 2003.
 Brahui. Ulus Gichen Brahui: Border Publicity Organization. Quetta.Pakistan, 1977.


  Published: Balochistan Review
The Balochistan Study Centre,

University of Balochistan, Quetta
Vol XXIV No. 1, 2011


Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Balochi Language


An Old Phonological Study of New Persian and Balochi

Hamid Ali Baloch*
Dr. Abdul Saboor Baloch†
Dr. Bilal Ahmed‡


The Balochi language is one of the ancient languages, which belongs to the Iranian branch of Indo-European family. This language has a very deep-rooted history and similarities with the Sanskrit, Avesta, Old Persian and Pahlavi (which are now considered as dead languages). These languages flourished side by side for thousands of years and the concerned language did not let itself dead because of its enrichment and nomadic environment. Balochi is currently spoken in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, India, the Arab Gulf States, Turkmenistan, east Africa and some Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Norway. The aim of this paper is to show the differences between the new Persian and the Balochi languages and to clear the misunderstandings of those writers who have considered the Balochi language as a contemporary of the new Persian. In this paper phonetics and the phonological basis of the Balochi language will be discussed to prove that the Balochi language has a long history of approximately 5000-6000 years. As far as, the Persian language concerns, the evolutionary changes and the changes of phonetics, the phonetically variations will be mentioned that which language (Persian or Balochi) is most affected. References from different sources will be given to eliminate the misunderstandings of those so-called linguists who not lingual approach to the Persian and the Balochi languages. Different epoch will be mentioned to prove the internal changes of both languages.

The origin of the Balochi language was an enigma* for the linguists before one and a half century and the Balochi language has been considered as a dialect of the Persian language. These concepts took place when the British Imperialists captured the Baloch land for the political and financial interests. A.W. Hughes was the first man among the British colonial Generals who directly raised hands towards the Balochi language without a lingual approach of both Persian and the Balochi languages, considered the Balochi as a dialect of the New Persian.
This is also a prevailing concept in Persia and majority of the Persian net sites are in the view that Balochi has not its own existence and history, except a dialect of the Persian.
But the development and analyses of the modern linguistics and lingual researches showed that these ideas were fake, counterfeit and unacceptable.
Approximately, all linguists are agreeing on the point that the Balochi language belongs to the Iranian Branch of Indo- European family, which has a very long and deep-rooted history.
Joseph Elfenbein inscribes that the Balochi language belongs to the eastern group of the Iranian languages like Parthian and Arsacid Pahlavi. Ancestor of the Balochi language was neither Parthian nor Middle Persian ( Sasanid Pahlavi), but a lost language which thus while sharing a number of characteristic features with either, some with both, had a pronounced individuality of his own. This language may have been a variety of Median speech since the Kurdish dialects, which have a noteworthy affinity with Balochi are to be traced, in Minorasky’s opinion, to the ancient Median (Josef. Ency: Vol-1: 1960).
Another European linguist T.A Mayer who has a wide grip over the Iranian languages had been confirmed this statement before Josef Elfenbein that the Balochi to be the remnants of the Medians or the ancient west Iranians,
whose language bears signs of affinity to the language of the Medes (Mengal: 1988:8)
The later scholars and linguists approved it. In 1925, Robert Gilbertson found certain affinities between Kurdish and Balochi but Tedesco carried a vast research on the Iranian dialects in 1921. He places Balochi in the center of western Iran or Zagros range, but Longworth Dames refers to the abode of it to be around the Caspian coasts (Cosa-bir, a Baloch tribe). Tedesco, however, puts pre-Balochi among the North Western dialects of Iran, including the present Caspian dialects. Mackenzie in 1961 also places the Balochi in Central West Iran (Windfuhr: Isogloses:458).
Dr. G.L Windfuher writes, sketch of Persia and Parthians; Kurds and Medes and adds Kurdish shares a number of features with the Median band of dialects. However, it also exhibits a cluster of innovations and lexical items which it shares with a dialect group now adjacent to Kurdish, namely, Persian and Baloch (Windfuhr: Isogloses. P. 458). K. Mason writes that Balochi is another Aryan language of akin to the Old Persian, Old Arian, Achaemanid and Median (Masson: 1945: 325).
No doubt, Balochi stands closer to the Achaemanid, the court language of the Achaemanid King who spoke Persian at home and also shared features with the Avesta dialect of Median language, the one in the Gathaas or Hymns of secret Knowledge, called “Gat” in Balochi ( Mengal: 1988:11). None of the above-mentioned linguists declared Balochi as a dialect, even the contemporary of the Persian language, but akin of the Old languages such as Old Persian, Avesta and Sanskrit. The supposed linguists differentiated the Balochi language with New Persian by studying the phonetics, semantics, etymology and grammar. Balochi has a lot of phonetic differences, which even not match with the new Persian, but a great similarity with Old Persian, because it flourished at the same time, in the same region. Being the Akins of each other, it is a real fact that there will be a little bit lexical influences or similarities in the concerned languages.

Phonological Changes:
The linguists have deeply studied the phonological differences between the new Persian and the Balochi language, and proved that both languages have a lot of Phonetic variations. In this context, Professor Khalil Saddiqui mentions that Balochi language has a Phonetical similarity with the Sanskrit. It has also maintained it’s Avestan and Pahlavi Phonemes and the phonemes have been themselves in the New Persian. He further adds, that phonetically the Balochi language, somehow near similarity with the Avestan and on the other hand, it also relates a little bit with Pahlavi. The palatal voices in the Balochi and Pahlavi languages are same and still maintained their positions, but these phones and phonemes have been changed in the New Persian.
For example, the words, Rōč and Rōčan are still in its concerned form in the Balochi but changed its shape into Rōz and Rōzan in the New Persian .Balochi has not even been changed the unvoiced phonemes, but in the new Persian the case is different , it has changed the unvoiced phones into the voiced from. The word Zāt, Kurt have been converted into zād and Kard; āp, šap, and dāt converted into āb, šap and dād in the new Persian, but the Balochi did not break up its kinship with the Pahlavi and Avesta but phonetically made its relationships strong with the said languages.
He further adds that Balochi might be older than newer and may be the contemporary of the Pahlavi language (Siddiqi: 2001 :202-203).
Agnes Korn adds a new point about the classical approach of the Balochi language among the other Iranian languages, she mentions that “Balochi is of particular importance for the study of the history of the Iranian languages since (in contrast to all other modern Iranian languages) it directly reflects the old Iranian consonants in all position of the word. Although the remarkable archaicity noted by Geiger might be the result of somewhat more complex processes than hitherto assumed, Balochi is a key witness for the reconstruction of earlier stages of the Iranian languages for which the evidence often scares or difficult to interpret. Among the contemporary Iranian languages, Balochi occupies and important place, as the area where it is spoken is comparatively large and the number of its speakers comparatively high. A further interesting point is that the Balochi lexicon as well as its historical phonology reflects with a variety of neighboring languages. (Korn: 2005:7)
It’s clear to note that the Persian language has changed its phonological, morphological and even the lexical structures since centuries ago. Thousands of years before the Persian language was known as the Pārsī ay bāstān (Old Persian), the language of Cyrus the Great.*
At that time, the Persian was in its purified form, but when the time passed simultaneously and the rulers came one after another to occupy the seats of the Kingdom, the process overthrew a major effect on the Persian language. The Old Persian appeared in the shape of Pahlavi after five centuries to the Iranian subjects, and it was adopted as the court or official language of the Iranian Kings.
The catastrophic change in the Pahlavi* language takes place, when the Caliph Umar manages an expedition to Iran by his commander Abu Musa Ash’ari†. When is Iran is conquered in the era of the caliph Umar, the Arabic language became the official language of the Iranian masses and it engulfed the Persian language in all aspects. It’s interesting to note that the major phonological change occurs at the said time. Even the proverbs, idioms and structure of sentences have been changed.‡
In the early years of the twentieth century the passions of patriotism and love to the Persian language stimulated a prejudice against the Arabic language and once again a movement of purification was started by some Iranian linguists. Pur Daud was one of the key figures among them, who led the movement in the name of “Pārsī ay bāstān” with his nearest companions. The aims and objectives of this movement were to eliminate the Arabic words, purify the language in its old form such as the Old Persian. But his language purification movement became unsuccessful because of his extreme linguistic views. He was condemned by the other Iranian linguists throughout Iran. On the one hand Mirza Muhammad Khan gave him the title of “extremist” and on the other hand, the words of French, German and English languages were Persianized simultaneously. So, this movement took his last breath and could not succeed it from the influence of other languages till now, and this process led the Persian language to another way e.g. This changed its structure (Siddiqi: 2001:202-203)
Beside, the Balochi language has not lost its original form and after thousands of years, it has fully maintained its old linguistic structure, but somehow, because of mass migration through different communities the Balochi language has adopted a little bit sounds i.g. ţ, ŗ and Ď,* which are basically the Indian sounds.
A comparative of sketch of the Old Iranian sounds:
It is interesting to note that Balochi is the only language in the Iranian region, which has preserved its old Iranian sounds, but the other languages like Kurdi, Persian, Pashtu Luri and Saghdi have lost the sounds of their parent languages. A small comparative sketch of the Old Iranian sound is given here to specify that how Balochi has been preserved its old sounds.
The sound of OIr. Č (Korn:2005:84)
♦ Bal. čar (r) “turn/move” ( AV. čara- “move”- Parth. Čar “graze”†
♦ Bal. gičin‡ “select” (Av. Vī-činao-) NP- guzīn/ guzīd, Parth. wižīn-/ wižīdァ, wižīdァ, Balo. Rōč “day” (Av. rōčah) and the NP. Rōz.
Here we see that how the new Persian its original sound. The sound of Old Persian “č” is being converted into “z” but the Balochi has sustained it till today. Ĵ (Korn: 2005: 86)
Some examples of the Balochi and Olr sound č “چ”are as follows which have changed themselves into z”ز”. Sūčin(سوچن ), ey rōč(اے روچ ), dōč(دوچ ),pač(پچ ),pačag(پچگ ), tāč(تاچ ) and rōčag(روچگ ) have been changed phonetically as sōzan(سوزن ), imrōz(امروز ), dōz(دوز ), paz(پس ), paza(پسہ ), tāz(تاز ) and rōza(روزہ ) in persian.
The sound of Old Iranian Ĵ is converted in z in the new Persian. According to Grunburg the age of Ĵ is *older than the sound of z.

♦ jan-† / jat “strike” (Av. Jan-, Np zan-/ zad, Parth žan-/ žad), jan “woman, wife”(Av. Jinni-, NP- zan
♦ bōj- “open” (buj, MP boz-/ bōxt, Parth.bōž‡-/ bōxt “save”), raj- “colour”(NP “colour”(NP raz-/ rašt) drāĵ and in NP dirāz.
The OIr Z(Korn:2005:88)
♦ Zān- “know”(Av. Zanā-, NP dān-/dānist, Parth. Zān/ zānād), zāmāt “son-in-law”(Av. Zāmātār-, NP dāmād);mazan “big”(Av. Maz-, MPM mazan “monster”, OInd. Mahant-),mēz “urinate”(Av. maēza§-, NP mēz/ mēzīd.
OIr. I ( Korn: 2005:141)
♦ išt “brick” (Av. Ištiia-, NP xišt
♦ pit”father” (Av. Pitar-, NP pidar, (ar) Sans.pita
Olr. T”ت” changes itself in d”د” in the new persian(Moosa Mahmoodzahi 1370H:33)
♦ āzāt “ free, liberated” (Av. Āzāta- NP āzād )
♦ māt “mother”(Av.mātar-, OP mātar, Sans. Māta** , NP mādar).
♦ zūt “speed, haste”(Av. Zūt-Pah. Zūt, NP- zūd
♦ palīt “impure, comtaminated ” Pah,OP- palīt, Pah- palīt, Av. Palīt, NP- palīd

The new Persian has lost the old Avestan and Old Persian clusters which are the signs of the oldness of the Iranian languages. Whether Sanskrit is considered to be the langue of Indo-Aryan language and it has very near kinship to the Old Persian Avestan and the Balochi languages. The cluster
sounds “granč/ ōšt*” of Sanskrit, Avesta and Balochi are mostly same. For instance, the clusters bra-, tra-, sra-, gra,- kra- and such like other clusters are the same morphologically and phonologically. These cluster sounds are found in the Vedas and in the Avestan sacred books†. The clustered words like, brā-t, krā-m, dra-hmadān, gwam, gwaz‡ and thousand of other clustered clustered words are found in the Balochi language which specifies the old sounds of the Iranian region.

A thorough phonological study showed that the Balochi language still keeps a vast place in the Old Iranian languages. The Balochi language preserved its old sounds what its contemporary languages could carry it on. The languages like Medi, Old Persian, Parthian , Sanskrit and Avestan languages which were considered to be the language of religions and officials in the courts of kings in different eras of the history. Being in the strong safeguard and protection they cannot preserve themselves in the pages of history. By the passage of time when the kingdoms collapsed the said languages already started declining simultaneously. Regarding to the new Persian language it lost its old shape and as it has mentioned before that after conquering the Persian region the Arabic language laid a strong effect on the Persian language.
Balochi is the only language which has maintained its original form and the Old Iranian sounds. It has been said that it has lost a little bit sound and adopted some Indian sounds like Sindhi and Lehindaァ.
As it has been mentioned that the Balochi is the only survived language in the region and if someone wants to study the historical background of the Old Iranian languages he has to study the Balochi language**.
Some writers in the British era misunderstood the Balochi language and interpreted as the dialect of the Persian language but the modern research and linguists concluded that the modern Persian is itself lost away its original phonological and morphological structures.


* Lecturer, Departmanet of Balochi, University of Balochistan, Quetta.

† Assistant Professor and Chairperson, Department of Balochi, University of
Balochistan, Quetta.

‡ Chairperson Department of Persian Universiy of Balochistan, Quetta

*The writers who worked on the Balochi language during the British era in the Indian subcontinent could not differentiate the Balochi language to the Persian language, because most of them were not linguists.

* Cyrus the Great is known as Kōryūš e Azam in the Persian history. He defeated the Medes king and maintained the Old Persian language as the official language of his court. He was the first king or ruler who expanded the boundaries of his kingdom from Persia to the Greece.

* Pahlavi is basically called the Middle Persian and most of the Persian intellectuals are in views that language of Šāhnāmeh Firdōsī is Pahlavi but there are some confusion concerning to the Pahlavi word.some say that the word “Pahlavi” was the name of a city in Iran which meant “Cantonment or Army”. In this regard the great poet Firdōsī mentions in his book:
Za pahlav barūn raft Kaūs Šāh
Za harsū hamē gašt gard e sipāh
Firdōsī further mentions that this was the language of Pahlavans (inherited singers), who used to sing different songs in the courts of kings.
Agar pahlavani nadānī zubā
Bitāzī tū arwandrā Dajlw xwā
Nizami converys a different message about the name Pahlavi and says that Pahlavi is the name of a musical mode.
Bahar ē ganjiš ču pidaram kard
Ba pahlav zubāniš harē nām kard
For further details see (Muhammad Hussain Azad. 1988:143-147).

† Abu Mūsa Aš’arī was one of the key commanders of the muslim army in the battle of Qadissiyya. He was sent to the Baloch Sardar and commander Siyahsawar ( known as Al-Dissawar in the Arbian History), to reconciliate upon some strategic issues against the Persian army. Aš’arī along with the Baloch army assaulted the Persian throne and occupied the Iranian region. This was a good omen for the Arabs and Islam and this was the time when the Arabic language started penetrating in the core of Persian language and engulfed it.

‡ For further details see the poetry of Sheikh Sadi and Hafiz and the contemporary Persian poets and prose-writers.

* Most of the linguists favor this idea that all the Iranian languages have not the sound of ţ,ŗ and Ď, basically these sounds are found in indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) and new indo- Aryan languages, such as Punjabi, Sindhi, Lehinda , Marhathi and others etc. such sounds are also found in the Pushto language but actually Pashto has also taken these sounds from Indian languages by mass migration through the indo- subcontinent.

† Basically čarr and čar both words are found in the Balochi language in the whole dialects. The meaning of čar is same as in the Parthian.

‡ Korn has taken reference of this word from Mocker. The real pronunciation of this word is gičēn which means “select or purify”.

ァ The Parthian sound ž is also found in the eastern hill dialect of the Balochi language (see details in the book of Josef “Balochi language, a dialectology with texts). The word “gōžd- meat” specifies the Parthian sound. Balochi thus corresponds to the Early Parthian stage with regard to word- internal č ( Korn:2005: 86)
* For details see monthly gwānk ( Baloch: 2009:Balōčī o Fārsī e rājdaptarī arzišt)

† Jan is used for both noun and verb. In the eastern dialect of the Balochi language jan means means “to strike” but in the western dialects of the Balochi language the verb form is “janag”. For example ā janagā int (he is striking) etc.

‡ The word bōž has the similar sound and meaning in the eastern dialect of the Balochi language and the Parthian language.

ァ The Avestan word maēza is very near to the Balochi verb mēzag phonologically and morphologically.

** The Sanskrit sound of māta is very near and similar to the Balochi word māt morphologically and phonologically. The above-mentioned word pita of the Sanskrit is structurally same to the Balochi language.

* The word ōšt was used for cluster in the Balochi language by Sayad Zahoor Shah Hashmi and the word granč used by a small group of literary men in Turbat which not yet been accepted by the total literary men of the Balochi Literature.

† See further details (Baloch: monthly Gwānk Jan, Balōčī o Sanskrit e hamgōnagī).

‡ These sounds are only found in the Sanskrit, Avesta and the Balochi languages not any other new Iranian languages.

ァ The Saraiki language which was firstly mentioned by William Jones in his book, the linguistic survey of India and after that the later writers adopted the same word for Saraiki.
** See Korn 2005 introduction of her PhD thesis


1. Elfenbein, Josef: The Balochi Language: A Dialectology with Texts
2. Mengal, Mir Aqil Khan: 1990, A Persian-Pahlavi and Balochi Vocabulary, Vol. 1, Balochi Academy, Quetta.
3. Gilbertson, Gorge Waters English-Baloch・colloquial dictionary: Ghāno Khān (Haddiānī.), Haddiānī Ghāno Khān – 1925 – Volume 2.
4. Korn, Agnes: 2005. Towards a Historical Grammar of the Balochi Grammar, A Phonology and Vocabulary,
5. Siddiqui, Khalil Ahmad. ” Zubān kyā hae” Bacon Books, Gulgasht Multan 2nd Edition.
6. Windfuhr, Dr. G.L: 1975. “Isoglosses: A Sketch on Persians and Parthians, Kurds and Medes”,.
7. Masson, Charles: 1844. Narrative Of Various Journeys In Balochistan Afghanistan The Panjab And Kalat Vol IV.__

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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Balochi Language


Socio-linguistic Contact and the Providence of the Balochi Language in Modern Times

Hamid Ali Baloch٭
Lecturer, Department of Balochi
University of Balochistan

The Balochi language is spoken in many countries of the world and it has socio-linguistic contacts with the other native languages. In the modern times, Balochi is to contact with Persian, Arabic, Pashto, Turkmen, Sindhi, Punjabi, Saraiki (Lahinda), English and other European and African languages. At the same time, the Balochi language has been influenced on the one hand and on the other hand Balochi has influenced other languages and assimilated them within it. But Balochi has been largely influenced in Iran, Afghanistan, and in the Arab countries. In Pakistan and Turkmenistan the case is different. In many areas in Balochistan, the foreigners and other native speakers have changed their language into Balochi or bilingual.

The linguistic outcomes of language contact are determined in large part by the history of social relations among populations, including economic, political and demographic factors. The crucial point here, almost too obvious perhaps to merit stating, is that languages spoken by bilinguals are often altered such that ensuing changes differ from the results of internal processes of change within monolingual speech communities. In other words, languages spoken by bilinguals affect each other in a different ways. 1
Language contacts have, historically, taken place in large part under conditions of social inequality resulting from wars, conquests, colonialism, slavery, and migrations–forced and otherwise. Comparatively, benign contacts involving urbanization or trade as a contact stimulus are also documented, as are some situations of relative equality.
Language contacts have in some times and places been short-lived, with language loss and assimilation a relatively short-term result, whereas other historical situations have produced relative long-term stability and acceptance by the bi- or multilingual population.
Very broadly speaking, two major social processes have given rise to contact situations of interest to linguists: conquest and immigration. The imposition of a language of wider communication has occurred both as a result of conquest per se, and in the establishment of standard languages via institutions like universal elementary education, where local populations have been transformed into linguistic minorities in a broader political unit. In the case of a local linguistic group that has been conquered or surrounded by a larger group, slow language shift may mean many generations of bilinguals, providing ample opportunity for substratum influence to become established in the language towards which the community is shifting.
Historically, many conquered or colonized peoples, or those who have found themselves newly incorporated in a nation state, have felt the linguistic effects of these social changes only very slowly, giving rise to language contacts that have endured over decades, generations, or even centuries. These situations of stable bilingualism are perhaps the most likely of all to lead to what Weinreich called “integration”: the acceptance of structures due to interference as part of the receiving language, and even to structural convergence and the Sprachbund phenomenon recognized in many parts of the world.
With the obvious exemption of those situations where the death of an a language, language death is the conclusion of a process whereby a speech community moves from a primary use of one language to another in a process that is known as language shift.

Socio-linguistic contact and the Balochi Language:
In the modern times the Balochi language is in contact with different languages in different countries. As it is a natural phenomena that the languages which are in contact with other languages in the same country or state, occasionally enrich the languages vice versa, but sometimes there will be possibilities to lose their own identity. In case of the Balochi language, it is confronting a miserable situation in the countries where it is spoken. The ruling governments of different countries never proposed to teach, promote and preserve the Balochi language in their own countries, where the Balochi is spoken in a vast majority area.
This phenomena or policy of the governments has worsened the linguistic position of the Balochi language in different neighboring countries. In the past and even today, the situation is the same.

Socio-linguistic contact with the Sindhis:
In the modern times, 60 percent of the population of the Sindh Province is racially Baloch; out of which 40-45% Baloch speak their mother tongue. The Baloch settlement in the Province of Sindh is not new, but back dates to the Muslim era in Sindh. The Baloch people, according to some historians, were the key commanders in the Muslim army of Muhammad bin Qasim ( the Muslim commander and the nephew of Hajjaj bin Yousuf Athaqafi) when they attacked Sindh especially, the port of Debal to revenge the pirates who abducted some Muslim women and children. From that day, Baloch settled in the different parts of Sindh, which was then part of the Great Hindu Kingdom. 1٭
According to Dr. Shah Muhammad Marri, an eminent Baloch writer and historian, describes that the Baloch are one of the ancient settlers of the Sindh region. He opines that, the remnants of the Mehr Gahr Civilization show that the Baloch has been the part and parcel of this civilization, which has about 7000 years estimated history. 2٭
In Pakistan, the majority of the Baloch Population is living in the Province of Sindh and shares a good relation with Sindhis. The eminent tribes of the Sindh province are considered as Baloch.
The Shar Baloch is a sub-branch of the Jatoi tribe living in the different parts of Sindh, their women dress in Balochi embroidered garments, same to the Baloch of the different of parts of Balochistan. They have maintained their cultural norms and values, in their homes as well as in the public places. Men having traditional beards (as they had kept centuries before), but they speak the Sindhi language at home as well as in the market places.. The Kosh Baloch tribe is living at Gotki, their cultural norms and values, and psyche is totally Baloch, but they speak Sindhi at home as well as in public places. 3٭
Another well-known tribe which is known as Pitāfi, inhabiting at Ghotki and Sukkar, still preserves its language. Some of the people are in opinion that 50-60% masses of this tribe have preserved its language, but the remaining 40% speaks Saraiki (Lahinda), instead of Sindhi. Lund tribe also occupies a vast area of Sindh Province, and inhabiting different parts of it. This tribe has also preserved 50% of its language. Apart from this, a large number of Lunđ clan who are believed to be the primitive inhabitants of Yārā Lunđ Ghoţki, out of whom 50 percent of them speak Balochi and 50 percent has lost their language, who by now speak the Sindhi language. Whether, Legharis are residing in Sindh and Sindhi Speaking areas but mostly they speak Balochi and a small number of them speak Saraiki than that of Sindhi.
In 1843, when Charles Napier conquered Sind the Baloch tribe of Talpurs was ruling the whole Sindh area. The Talpurs had seized the powers from the Kalhoras in 1783. The court language of Sindh was Persian and somehow Sindhi.
In 1847, R. K Pringle, the Commissioner of Sindh, submitted a report on the language situation in Sindh to George Russell Clerk, Governor of Bombay, suggesting that education may be encouraged in the local language. He writes ” it may also be for consideration whether the vernacular language of the people may not with advantage be introduced in business; but I have not yet had and opportunity of ascertaining its capabilities for this purpose.”2
Most British officers favored the use of vernacular language at the lower levels and Sir George Clerk wrote to his minute of 24th April 1848.
“We should introduce the language of the country (namely, Sindhee) as the medium of official intercourse.
I do not see in what way our revenue and judicial officers (however their offices and courts may be constituted) can work effectually through a foreign medium of communication, such as Persian and English.”3
Here it is a sorry state that the ruling language and the language of a great number of people of Sindh was Balochi, but the British imperialists acted upon the policy of divide and rule. They wanted to root the Balochi language out from Sindh and destabilize the Baloch rule in the area. They intentionally were not in favor of the preservation and conservation of the Sindhi language, but they had their own interest behind this policy. Come what may, these steps destabilized the Balochi language in the market as well as in the courts and offices.
Before the formation of Pakistan in 1947, the circumstances were different than that are today. The Balochi language was playing a key role in different parts of Sindh and the Baloch were in touched with the Baloch population of Balochistan. But, when the Baloch areas were tri-furcated into Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan, it started deteriorating the condition of the Balochi language in Sindh as well as in Punjab.
In Karachi, which is the metropolitan and densely populated city of Pakistan, where different ethnic groups reside. The Baloch is considered to be the preliminary inhabitants of this city, and in the modern times the Baloch population occupies a large area and the population is estimated at above 2.5million in Karachi.
Before 1947, Karachi was the sole and only city where the majority of the population was Balochi speaking people, but after the foundation of Pakistan, a huge number of Indian Muhajireen (refugees now call themselves as Urdu speaking) were rehabilitated in Karachi city and its vicinity, and the Baloch population was converted in the minority. This process of mass migration through Baloch population never stopped and it is simultaneously under wary till today.
In the later years, Urdu was declared as the national language of Pakistan and it was implemented as the medium of education, communication and instruction throughout Pakistan.
This made the Muhajireen (refugees) stable, because they already had a language which was called Bihāri or Urdu. A catastrophic change begins in the social life of the Baloch of Karachi when Mahajirs started enjoying Urdu as market language as well as the language of communication. A Baloch has to contact with a Muhajir in everyday life and he has to speak in Urdu every first or second person. In this scenario, the Baloch of Karachi speak an Urdu-mixed Balochi language, where the influence of Urdu is lucid and apparent in Karachi.
The major reason of this is a large number of shifting of Muhajirs to the Baloch majority areas by the local government. Mass shifts laid a great impact over the Baloch because the Muhajirs were educated and they penetrated into the institutions of the Baloch areas of Karachi.
Lyari and Malir districts are the densely populated area of Karachi, where the Balochi language is still considered to be the market language, but the karachiites Baloch fear the huge mass flow of other communities especially the Muhajirs to the Baloch areas make the things worse.Apart from the Karachi city, as I mentioned earlier that the Baloch have a majority population in the remote or periphery of Sindh province and they constitute a major economic body.
The main Baloch tribes that compose a huge number of the population of the province of Sindh are as follows:
Ahmedani, Almani, Bijarani, Buledi, Bulfati, Bhurgari, Gabol, , Jakhrni, Jagirani, Jiskani, Jamali, Jamot, Jarwar, Jatoi, Khoso, Kalpar, Kalmati, Lashari, Leghari, Magsi, Marri, Mazari, Mirani, Nizaani, Nutkani, Qaisrani, Rind, Shar, Shirani, Sanjrani, Talpur, Umrani and Zardari.
The case is different in Balochistan where the socio-linguistic contact is with Pashtun, Sindhi and Brahui Baloch. The most considerable place where linguistically Baloch are in contact with other ethnic groups is Quetta. This time the population of Quetta city is at least 1.5 million. The ethnic majority of the population e.g. Sixty percent is Baloch but a huge number of Afghan Muhajireen (refugees) have come to settle in Quetta city. Baloch have a great relationship and social contact with local Pashtun.
The primary local inhabitants of the Quetta city are Kasai (Pashtun) and Shahwanis (Baloch). These two groups are living for centuries in Quetta and intermarried with each other. Ninety percent of the population of Quetta city is bi-lingual. Baloch can speak a fluent Pashto and Pashtun can speak a fluent Balochi, but neither Pashto has influenced Balochi nor has Balochi influenced Pashto. Even a single word of Pashto is not found in the Balochi language, and the same case is with Pashto. But another thing which is very interesting and discussable is that the Afghan Muhajireen (refugees) who migrated from Afghanistan and settled at Nokundi, Taftan and Noshki, intermixed with the Baloch, hundred percent of settled Pashtun speak fluent Balochi and a huge number of them has lost their language, and now part of the Baloch community. They have also adopted the Baloch culture and norms, customs and values. Some of them consider themselves as Baloch. Bareech, a leading clan of the Pashtun ethnic group scattered in different area of Noshki, speak a meager Pashto but fluent in Brahui and Balochi. At present they are living at Killi Gharīb ābād, Killī Mēngal, Killi Faqīrān and Badini Karēz and outskirts of Noshki town. 4٭ They have intermarried with the majority Balochi speaking people and in the modern times, they share an enormous business in the Noshki town. In the areas of Nokundi, Taftan, and Chagai Balochi has no threat in nearby Pashto language, but the annals show that the Pashto language has been influenced a lot.

Socio-linguistic Contact in Iranian Balochistan:
Languages in contact can affect each other in different ways. Much depends on the relative status of the languages. Two or more languages of more or less equal status may be spoken side by side and mutually affect each other in terms of structure and lexicon without eradicating either one or the other language. This is called adstrate influence.
Another setting is when a dominant language, e.g. the language of a conquering group or the political elite, exercises influence on a dominated language, e.g. the language of a minority group.
This type of influence is often called superstrate. Sometimes this term also implies that the final outcome of language contact is that the prestigious language is abandoned by the conquerors in favor of the local language, which, however, has been considerably influenced by that language. Such an outcome is more likely when a small number of conquerors seize political power in an area where a language other than their own is spoken, e.g. At the Norman conquest of Britain.4
Since education is in Persian, it considerably strengthens the Persian influence. This, together with the immigration of Persian speakers to Sarawan in the past centuries, has made this dialect a very interesting object for studying linguistic contact.
During the Qajars in Iran, the Qajari King Reza Shah Pahlavi followed his ruthless and cruel policies over the Baloch people of Iran. He was against the autonomy of the Baloch people, and wanted the crushed down them by hook or by crook. For heavy mass destruction he used the Baloch Sardars against their own people. 5٭ In 1928, Raza shah sent his army to Balochistan to bring the whole region under his direct control. 5
During his assault over the different part of Kirman, Sistan and Balochistan he crushed the Baloch, and the Baloch were dispersed. A phase of socio-linguistic change begins, when the Persian speaking people are stimulated to live in the Baloch areas.
In September 1936, by a decision of the ministers’ council, the name of the capital of Iranian Balochistan was changed from Duzzāp to Zāhidān. The Iranian government encouraged people to migrate thereby providing public services and giving them land free of charge under the condition that it would be used for the construction of houses, shops or other businesses. By allocating more public services, the Iranian government encouraged civil employees to live in Zahedan and trading and business activities grew in the region. The state’s investment in civil development encouraged more of Sistan and Balochistan’s population to shift to Zahedan and population had grown to 17,495 in 1956 and 38,976 in 1966.6

The second city of Iranian Balochistan was affected, is Pahra. In 1935, the name of Pahra was changed to Iranshahr by the ministers’ council decision and thousand of masses from different parts of Iran were shifted to Pahra (Iranshahr).7
The population of this city was doubled. The third effected city of the Iranian Balochistan is Chahbār (Chābhār), which is known to be one of the famous coastal cities, a harbor and strategically important point for trade to the Indian sub-continent as well as to the Arab and African countries. Since the 1970s, the strategic location of the Chabahar, Gulf has received attention again in connection with intensifying trade towards the Indian Ocean (Planning Organization 1988: 26-36). Basically, this city has been a Baloch populated city since the beginning, but the so-called Iranian socioeconomic development laid a great impact over the local population socially, culturally and linguistically. 6٭
The huge number of mass shifting laid a great impact on the language and population of the Baloch people. Before the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi, the total population of the Iranian Balochistan and Sistan was Balochi speaking and the sole and only language was Balochi.
In different cities of Iranian Balochistan the outsiders were assimilated by the huge population of the Baloch people. For example, in Zahedan, Pahra, Zabol and other cities which share borders to the Persian speaking people, totally assimilated the incomers. But simultaneous mass shifting changed the Baloch population from 1936 till now.
This time, in Zahedan, the official statistics show that the population is, 37 percent Sistan, 32 percent Baloch and the remaining other 22 percent are from other Iranian provinces, like, Birjand, Kirman, Yazd and Azerbaijan. In Chabahar the population of the Balochi speaking people is 54 percent and Sistanis are 9 percent. In Iranshahr the vast majority is of the population is Balochi speaking. 8
In Sarawan the case is totally different than that of other parts of Sistan and Balochistan. According to Adam Nadir Baranzahi “ central Sarawani is especially fascinating from a contact linguistic point of view, since it seems to have been in contact with Persian longer, and influenced by Persian more most other Balochi dialects spoken in Iran…. However in more recent times, especially after the establishment of direct rule from Tehran in Balochistan (1928), Persian has more and more started to take on the role of a language of high prestige, and is definitely the language associated with modern education. It is possible that longer and more intense contacts in Sarawan between Balochi and Persian, due to a longer tradition of education there than in many other parts of Balochistan has also played a part in the Persian structural and lexical influence on Central Sarawani.9
But on the other hand Nadir Baranzehi shows a different picture of this scenario and says that “it is quite possible that some or most of the speakers of central Sarawani originally were speakers of a dialect of Persian and belonged to the immigrant Afghans, Tajiks, Sistanis and Persians and that they, after settling in Balochistan, switch to speaking Balochi but retained some grammatical features of their original language as substrate phenomena. Thus, in pre-modern times, when the Baloch tribesmen were politically dominant in Balochistan, Balochi was the prestigious language which the immigrants acquired after settling in Sarawan. But, it is quite clear, that today the substrate effects of Persian on central Sarawani, as well as on the other Balochi dialects in Iran is heavy. 10
The simultaneous mass shifting and penetration of Persians towards the Baloch region, made a huge linguistic change. The Persian language was declared as the official and national language of Iran and other languages were restricted to read, write and speak in public places as well as in offices. Jobs were created for those people who were qualified in Persian. Television and Radio Programs were appreciated in the Persian language and the curriculum of different subject was made in Persian.
According to Carina Jahani “it is quite obvious that the national language, Persian, is the socially and culturally dominant language, and that Balochi is the low-status vernacular. However, this has not always been the case, and the example of Sarawan proves that clearly. Within this area one or two centuries ago, Baloch tribesmen of high status in the local society lived side by side with immigrant peasants of Afghan or other Persian-speaking origins, who had come to Sarawan more recently than the Baloch.”7٭
Moosa Mahmoodzahi has described the main influencing linguistic factors over the Balochi language in Iran in a clear and apparent way. He writes that “the huge impact of Persian in Iranian Balochistan was the continued electrification of the province, which, although it had already started, was speeded up and almost totally completed soon after the Islamic revolution. With electricity, TV spread all over the province. Television has been a major breakthrough in the introduction of Persian in Balochistan, far more powerful than radio. By watching Persian programs at an early age, often even before going to school, the children get acquainted with this language and learn to pronounce it with a Tehrani accent. Another reason is this that they were introduced to Persian at school generally by local teachers. 11
The second reason he asserts that “the spread of the official administrative system, invariably carried out in Persian, has caused an influx of administrators, many of them Zaboli or other Persian speaking persons with a certain local connection originating from Birjand, Bam, Jiroft or Jask, into all parts of Balochistan. This has also brought about an increase in the number of intermarriages between the Baloch and Persian speakers. He adds that new industries have been established in the in the province by Persian speakers, employing both local Baloch and Persians moving into the region and their language of business administration , of course, is Persian.12

Socio-linguistic Contact of Baloch areas in Afghanistan:

In Afghanistan, Balochi is the principal language of the Nīmrūz province. There are also colonies of Balochi speakers scattered throughout the western part of the country, as far north as the Soviet frontier; but Balochi is the principal local language only from Čaḵānsūr southward. It extends past Zaranj, the provincial capital, along the Helmand valley eastward to about 64° east longitude, and southward of the river to the Pakistan frontier in Chagai.13
A common Afghan vocabulary exists for everyday topics only found to a small extent. Border field—there is commonly in etiquette, religion, but only because there is little outside contact.
In the area of communication, modern mass media, education, migrations and non-traditional professions are widely dominated by common vocabulary.
Similarities subsist between Balochi and other languages, copying Persian patterns since Persian has been held in high regard for a long time. However, there is little Pashto influence, but this is changing due to business. 8٭
Before 1978, there was no written material in Balochi of Afghanistan, Dari was the official language. After the 1978 revolution, the Soviets streamlined ethnic identity that had been outlawed from 1973-1978. In the 1980’s Russians influenced language education and policy. Over 1992, there is a return to the status of an almost unwritten language. As for the development of an alphabet for Balochi, this is similar to other Afghan languages—a national alphabet exists, but not another foreign dialect of Balochi. In writing, the alphabet is also different because of limits on availability of symbols available in pre-computer printing facilities. 9٭
According to Lutz, the Balochi of Afghanistan, linguistic contact with Persian, Pashto and of course Brahui is most important. Most of the languages of Afghanistan share a common vocabulary of economics, politics and religion. Pashto has an insignificant influence over the Balochi which is limited to lexical copies and which does not include structural reproductions. Although on a higher political level the Baloch of Afghanistan never tired of underlining their fraternal links with the Pashtun, on the local level of Nimroz some tenses in the social relations between the Baloch and Pashtun may have created psychological impediments and may have influenced the prestige of the Pashtun. When quite a number of Pashtun settled in Afghani Sistan they thereby displaced Baloch from that region. 14
This displacement of the Baloch ethnic group in Afghanistan enhanced the gap between the Pashtun and the Baloch in Afghanistan and they were compelled to make their relations stronger with the Persians. It’s very interesting to note that they have intermarried with the Persian and prefer to live with the Persian communities in Afghanistan.

Socio-Linguistic contact of Baloch in Turkmenistan:
The Baloch are a people which have a strong sense of unity, sharing a common origin, history, language, traditions and religion.15 The Baloch occupies a vast area of the state of Turkmenistan, named as Mari Vilayat or Marv.
It is reported that the Baloch have migrated from Afghanistan and Iran to Turkmenistan in the early years of the twentieth century. They become united under the hegemony of a Baloch leader named Kareem Khan. At present, the Baloch of Turkmenistan lives mainly in the districts of Bayram Ali and Iolotan of the region of Mari (Mariyskiy Velayat). There are in 1997 probably approximately 38000-40000 Baloch in Turkmenistan, although some give a higher estimate of around 50000 or even more. The very strong loyalty among the Baloch to their mother tongue is quite noteworthy, and can at least to a certain degree be explained by the rural way of life. 16
The position of the Baloch people is very worse and miserable in Turkmenistan in comparison with the others. Not very much has been done to study their language and culture. The disintegration of the USSR had brought more losses for the Baloch of Turkmenistan, because the USSR had provided them some opportunities in education, science and culture. The Balochi language is not so influenced by the Turkmen language, a small number of words of Russian and Turkmen language have penetrated into the Balochi Language, but it is a rare case. No one has counted up that how many Russian and Turkmen words have been borrowed, because there are no dictionaries or recorded data on this. A few number of Arabic and Persian words are seen in the Balochi of Turkmenistan.17
As it has been mentioned that on the one hand Balochi of Turkmenistan has borrowed a few words, but on the other hand it has influenced the newcomers to the Balochi speaking areas of Turkmenistan. People who came to inhabit on the Balochi speaking areas are Bareech, Malik (basically Punjabi speaking) and Persian, who now-a-days speak the Balochi language. Besides, other ethnic groups who are living within the Baloch community in Mari Velayat understand and speak Balochi before going to school, even a few numbers of the Turkmen who are living in the Baloch areas, speak Balochi well.
It is a good sign for the Baloch of Turkmenistan, but is difficult to decide that at the current age of modern technology, where the official and national language of Turkmenistan, and the language of education as well as the language of business and communication is Turkmen how can the Baloch sustain their language in future. Balochi is neither the language of education nor the language of communication. It’s just considered a regional language, which is limited in the area of Mari Vilayat. Balochi is neither taught in schools nor appreciated to be produced literary material or curriculum for the nursery students by Balochi speaking students in schools. In this condition, the Balochi language is confronting a lot of problems and it will take catastrophic mode to the Balochi language.
The socio-linguistic contact of Baloch are as we know with Turkmen people who speak the language of government where it is considered the official and national language, without which no job, no business or no communication is possible. It’s a good sign for the Baloch of Turkmenistan that they have preserved their language in preliminary level, but there are some reservations for the Balochi language in the future, because Baloch are moving towards big cities of Turkmenistan for jobs, business and higher education, where they confront the market as well as the national language. Another reason which will threaten the Balochi language in the future is intermarriage. Many of the Baloch educated persons who work in the government institutes; army, police and the administration have married to Turkmen women and their children hardly speak Balochi, they consider Turkmen as their mother tongue.
The biggest reason is that, the Balochs of Turkmenistan are illiterate and there is no choice for them to get through in different institutions and to lead their national identification.

In different parts of the world, especially in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and in the Gulf countries where the Baloch are Bi or tri-lingual and they have the socio-linguistic contact directly and indirectly with the other dominant as well as official languages. In Iran the situation is very deteriorating for the Balochi language, where no one is allowed to even do debates or discussion in Balochi. No newspaper is being issued with the support of the Government of Iran and no academies of the preservation of the Balochi language. The Balochi language is not taught in the schools and colleges. This alarming situation is endangering the Balochi language in Iran and if pre-cautionary actions were not taken to preserve and promote the Balochi language it would imperil the existence of the Balochi language in Iran.
In Afghanistan and Turkmenistan the position of the Balochi language is same, where the socio-linguistic contact of the Baloch with the other official and national languages, put it into the danger. In Afghanistan, the official languages (Pashto and Dari Persian) are the language of communication and education. The Baloch of Afghanistan have a direct contact with the speakers of the two major languages in every sphere of life. According to estimation approximately thirty percent of the Baloch of Afghanistan speaks Persian.

1٭ This is a prevailing concept among the Baloch writers and intellectuals. Apart from this , the Iranian Baloch commander Siyah Sawar, who was then the key commander in the Persian army during the Muslim Caliphate Umar Ibn e Khattab (R.A)
2٭ For detail see the Book of Dr. Shah Muhammad Marri ‘ Balochi Zuban o Adab, Muqtadara Qomi Zuban, Islabam abd Pakistan.
3٭ a telephonic interview with Saeed Ahmad Mazari ( Rojhan Mazari) on 22nd January, 7:00pm, 2012
4٭ A telephonic discussion with Abdul Malik Taj (Killi Ghareeb Aabad) currently Lecturer of Botany in Agro-tech Quetta, on 5th Feb. 11:00am, 2012
5٭ According to the historical records, Dost Muhammad , the Sardar of Baranzahi tribe was fully supporting the Iranian army against his own people and enjoy a luxurious life in compensation.
6٭ This time a huge number of Iranian officials, administrators and people of another sphere of life are living in this coastal city and enjoying the whole facilities than that of the local people.
7٭ See the details in the article of Jahani, Carina, “STATE CONTROL AND IT S IMPACT ON LANGUAGE IN BALOCHISTAN”.
8٭ See the details on “Languages in and around Afghanistan, Resources on Language Policy Group. Notes for 12-13 December 2003, University of Pennsylvania Pedagogical Materials Project South Asia Language Resource Center December 12-14, 2003
9 ٭ibid

1. Peter Trudgill, J. Chambers & N. Schilling-Estes, Eds., Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2001. P-3
2. Tariq Rahman, language and politics in Pakistan, p-104
3. Ibid
4. Carina Jahani ” State Control and its Impact on Language in Balochistan” p-9
5. Noraiee, Hoshang: “ Change and Continuity: Power and Religion in Iranian Balochistan”, (ed): the Baloch and others: Linguistic, Historical and Socio-political Perspectives on Pluralism in Balochistan, p-347.
6. Hassan Afrakhteh: ‘ Social, Demographic and Cultural Change in Iranian Balochistan: Case studies of the three Urban regions of Zahedan, Iranshahr and Chabahar (ed): Korn, Jahani and Titus “ BALOCH AND OTHERS: Linguistic, Historical and Socio-political Perspectives on Pluralism in Balochistan, p-199
7. Ibid p-200
8. Hassan Afrakhteh: ‘ Social, Demographic and Cultural Change in Iranian Balochistan: Case studies of the three Urban regions of Zahedan, Iranshahr and Chabahar (ed): Korn, Jahani and Titus “ BALOCH AND OTHERS: Linguistic, Historical and Socio-political Perspectives on Pluralism in Balochistan, p-203
9. Baranzehi, Adam Nadir: “The Sarawani dialect of Balochi and Persian influence on it” (Ed). Carina and Korn: “THE BALOCH AND THEIR NEIGHBOURS: Ethnic and Linguistic Contact in Balochistan in Historical and Modern Time” p-104
10. Ibid. pp-104-105
11. Moosa Mahmoodzahi: “Linguistic Contact in Iranian Balochistan in Historical and Modern Times” (ed). Carina and Korn, “ THE BALOCH AND THEIR NEIGHBOURS: Ethnic and Linguistic Contact in Balochistan in Historical and Modern times, p- 151-152
12. Ibid. pp-151-152
14. Lutz Rzehak. “ Some thoughts and material on Balochi in Afghanistan.” (eds) Jahani, Carina and Korn “ the Baloch and their neighbours: Ethnic and linguistic Contact in Balochistan, in Historical and Modern Times. Pp-263-268
15. Mashkalo.
16. Ibid
17. Ibid

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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Balochi Language


Indo-Iranian Frontier Languages.

By: Elena Bashir

Since the time of the Achaemenid Empire, the territory of present-day Pakistan has been under the cultural and linguistic influence of successive stages of the Persian language. The political history of Persian in South Asia and its spread as the language of literature and politics is traced in Alam (1998, 2003), while its role in South Asian education is discussed in Rahman (2002, pp. 121-60).

The northern and western parts of this region are now occupied by speakers of Khowar, Kalasha, and Shina (Indo-Aryan, “Dardic” languages: see DARDESTĀN ii), and recently Urdu (q.v. at, Indo-Aryan); Balochi (Western Iranian; see BALUCHISTAN iii), Pashto and Wakhi (Eastern Iranian); Brahui (q.v., Dravidian); and the isolate Burushaski (q.v.). Since Urdu became the national language of Pakistan in 1947 and increasingly functions as the country’s lingua franca, it has replaced Persian as a compulsory language in the curriculum. From the 1980s the presence of Persian in the educational system became negligible. Despite this, a significant influx of additional Perso-Arabic words has entered the lexicons of all the languages of Pakistan through Urdu. Several recent publications deal with such loanwords: Bukhari (2003) lists 1,003 words of Persian and Arabic origin common to Urdu and Khowar; Akbar (1992), a similar work, lists numerous words common to Urdu and Shina. Khattak et al. (1977), lists some 3,700 nominal forms common to Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, Panjabi, and Balochi; of the 200 basic verbs listed there, most are not shared. The great majority of the shared words are of Perso-Arabic origin and, in addition to their nominal or adjectival function, provide the raw material for new verbs, since the primary mechanism for formation of new verbs in these languages is the combining of a nominal loan element (Perso-Arabic or English) with a native verbalizer, most frequently “be” or “do.”

Persian models have served as the stimulus for the beginnings of literary production in most of these languages, and Persian poetic forms are still highly influential in Khowar and Balochi. The contemporary Balochi poet Gul Khan Nasir wrote first in Persian and Urdu, then in Balochi, and his Balochi poetry employs the prosodic structures and poetic genres of classical Persian (Jahani, 1994-95). Persian has also been the principal vehicle for the transmission of Arabic vocabulary throughout the Islamic culture area (Perry, p. 3). The strength and influence of the Perso-Arabic and Islamic cultural heritage is the major reason for the decisions of most writers in these languages to retain the original spellings of their numerous Perso-Arabic loans, rather than to devise more phonologically based orthographies. The case of Balochi differs somewhat in this respect; a significant percentage of Perso-Arabic words are written with “balochified” spellings (Jahani, 1989, p. 159), e.g., tufān “storm” instead of ṭufān.

Persian has influenced the phonology, lexicon, and syntax of all these languages, both directly and indirectly; Khowar and Balochi, for example, show a pervasively direct influence. In turn, Khowar has been a channel of secondary transmission of Persian lexical items and grammatical features to Kalasha and Burushaski. Balochi has been the vector for secondary transfer of many Persian words into Brahui. Pashto too has functioned as a vehicle for Perso-Arabic words into languages spoken in areas where it is the regional contact language. For example, in Torwali, spoken in upper Swat (Inamullah), we find laṛaz-u “to tremble” (< Psht. laṛz-edal “id.” < Pers. larzīd-an “id.”); adōs “ritual cleansing before prayer” (< Psht. awdas “id.” [Bellew, p. 7]) Khowar retroflex sibilants and affricates: Kho. ṧéγun “liver” (cf. Pers. šugūn/šugŭn “auspicious (omen)”; Kho. niṧán “gift” (cf. Pers. nišān “sign”); Kho. daṧmán “mullah” (< Pers. dānišmand “wise”; contrast the later borrowing dúšman “enemy” from Urdu); Kho. čˊhīr “milk” (cf. Pers. šīr “id.”); Kho. čˊhoi “six” (cf. Pers. šaš, and Urdu čhe). Semantic doublets are found, e.g., xošani “festivity, marriage, happiness” (Pers. koš “happy”) and šādi “marriage” (< Ur. šādī “marriage” < Pers. šādī “festivity, marriage”). Repeated borrowing of the same element at different stages also results in doublets, e.g., we-sóoru “widow” (lit. “lacking a head”), an earlier borrowing, and be-talím “uneducated,” a recent Urdu loan. Some entire phrases have entered the spoken language, e.g., anč-e-bayād “as much as necessary”: ma brār ma-sum anč-e-bayād madát areér “My brother helped me as much as was needed.” The Persian names for days of the week are used in Khowar, as in Balochi and Brahui.

Grammatical influences on Khowar include subordinate clauses introduced by ki, the eẓāfa construction, and a spreading use of the Persian (animate) plural marker -ān. Direct case plurals in -án (< Pers.), originally used with Persian words denoting animate beings, e.g., buzurg-án “elders,” are spreading to native words, e.g., Ḍaq-án “boys,” replacing the older, unmarked direct plural. Relative clauses employing ki ( /q/ (> /k/), e.g., Hunza Burushaski (HB) aqmaq “bloom of youth; drunkenness” (Berger, III, p. 20; cf. Kho. aqmaq/aḥmaq “fool”; also > Kal. hakmák “fool,” /qh/, e.g., HB qharáp “bad” (Berger, III, p. 353; /x/, e.g., Kho. ambóx “much” /ph/, e.g., YB phiryát “request, plea” (cf. Ur. faryād “id.”). Epenthetic consonants develop, e.g., YB ambrōz “kind of pear” (Lorimer, 1962, p. 14), Kho. ambróz “id.” Ur. šalγam “id.”); Kho. ṧoṧp “type of halwa” and Wakhi ṧuṧp “id.” (cf. Tajik Pers. šošp “id.”). The main native Wakhi subordination marker is tsə (pre-verbal)/tsəy (clause-final). However, Wakhi has also borrowed Tajik Persian ki, which, like tsə, introduces a wide range of subordinate clauses, including relative clauses, various adverbial clauses, and complements of verbs of cognition. For example, yem xun-i ha-yá halg-ev-en RC[kumd-ar ki sak-e ҳi δegit δetk] “This house belongs to the people [to whom we have given our daughter]” (Bashir, forthcoming).
Pashto too has incorporated a large number of Perso-Arabic borrowings, the earlier of which have undergone change of palatal sibilants to retroflex and palatal affricates to dental: e.g., duṧmán “enemy” (Pers. dušman “id”); doJák “hell” (cf. Parthian dōžak “id.”); tsarx “circle” (Pers. čarḵ- “id.”); dzigár “liver” (Pers. jigar “id.”). Later loanwords retain the palatals, e.g., jism “body” (Pers./Ur. jism “id.”; Elfenbein, pp. 757-58). Some borrowed elements have been morphologically verbalized with the indigenous infinitive ending -edal, e.g., šarmedal “to blush, be modest, etc.” (< Pers. šarm “bashfulness, modesty, shame” [Steingass, p. 742]). However, Pashto has adopted fewer Perso-Urdu grammatical features than other languages of the area. For example, it forms its relative clauses using the Pashto conjunction če, rather than the Persian/Urdu ki. The gender assignment of Arabic words reaching Pashto through Persian and/or Urdu has been restructured according to the dominant Pashto pattern, in which consonant-final nouns are masculine and vowel-final nouns are feminine. Thus e.g. zanjīr “chain” is feminine in Urdu, but dzandzir “id.” is masculine in Pashto; darwāza “door” is masculine in Urdu, but darwaza “id.” is feminine in Pashto; ḥālat “condition” is feminine in Urdu, but masculine in Pashto; iżāfa “increase” is masculine in Urdu, but feminine in Pashto.

A. H. Akbar, Urdū aur šinā ke muštarak alfāẓ, Islamabad, 1992.
M. Alam, “The Pursuit of Persian: Language in Mughal Politics,” Modern Asian Studies 32/2, 1998, pp. 317-49.
Idem, “Persian in Precolonial Hindustan,” in Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia, ed. Sheldon Pollock, Berkeley, 2003, pp. 131-98.
J. Baart, A Sketch of Kalam Kohistani Grammar, Islamabad, 1999.
E. Bashir, A Contrastive Analysis of Brahui and Urdu, Peshawar and Washington, D.C., 1991a.
Idem, A Contrastive Analysis of Balochi and Urdu. Peshawar and Washington, D.C., 1991b.
Idem, “Khowar-Wakhi Contact Relationships,” in Toḥfa-e-Dil. Festschrift Helmut Nespital, ed. D. W. Lönne, Reinbek, Germany, 2001.
Idem, “Wakhi,” in The Iranian Languages, ed. Gernot Windfuhr, Surrey, UK (forthcoming).
H. W. Bellew, A Dictionary of the Pukkhto or Pukshto Language, 2nd ed., Lahore, 1901; repr., Peshawar, 1982.
H. Berger, Die Burushaski-Sprache von Hunza und Nager, Teil I, Grammatik, Teil II, Texte, Teil III, Wörterbuch, Wiesbaden, 1998.
B. M. Bukhari, Urdū aur Khowār ke lisānī rawābiṭ, Islamabad, 2003.
J. Elfenbein, “Pashto Phonology,” in Phonologies of Asia and Africa (including the Caucasus), ed. A. S. Kaye, Winona Lake, Ind., 1997, II, pp. 733-60.
Inamullah, Digital Dictionary of Torwali (to appear on the website of the Digital Dictionaries of South Asia Project, at, in preparation.
C. Jahani, Standardization and Orthography in the Balochi Language, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Studia Iranica Upsaliensia 1, Uppsala,1989.
Idem, “The Formal Structure of Gul Khān Nasir’s Poetry,” Orientalia Suecana 43-74, 1994-95, pp. 141-47.
Idem, “Persian Influence on Some Verbal Constructions in Iranian Balochi,” Stud. Ir. 28, 1999, pp.123-43.
Pareshan Khattak, Purdil Khattak, and M. Ishaq, ATūT lisānī rawābit, Peshawar, 1977.
D. L. R. Lorimer, The Phonology of the Bakhtiari, Badakhshani, and Madaglashti Dialects of Modern Persian, withVocabularies, London, 1922.
Idem, Werchikwar English Vocabulary, Oslo, 1962.
Tajammal Šāh Maḥvī, Kulliyāt Maḥvī, ed. and tr.Muhammad IrfanChitrari, Chitral, n.d.,
C. P. Masica, Defining a Linguistic Area: South Asia, Chicago, 1976.
G. Morgenstierne, “Iranian Elements in Khowar,” BSOAS 8, 1936, pp. 657-71.
Y.-C. Morin and L. Dagenais, “Les emprunts Ourdous en Bourouchaski,” JA 265, 1977, pp. 307-43.
R. Patry and É.Tiffou, “Les emprunts lexicaux à l’ourdou en bourouchaski du Yasin: un phénomène qui varie selon l’âge,” Communication au congrès New Wave, Québec, 1997.
J. R. Perry, Form and Meaning in Persian Vocabulary: The Arabic Feminine Ending, Costa Mesa, and New York,1991.
T. Rahman, Language, Ideology and Power: Language Learning Among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India, Karachi, 2002.
B. Reinhold, “The Incorporation of Urdu and Persian into the Wakhi of the Karakorams,” unpubl. ms., 1992.
A. V. Rossi, Iranian Lexical Elements in Brāhuī, Naples,1979.
M. (Bābā) Sayyār, Dewān Bābā Sayyar, tr. and comm.Maula Nigah, Islamabad, 2004.
F. Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary, London, 1892; repr., Lahore, 1981.

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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Balochi Language


The closest language to Balochi is Kurdish

Area of distribution of the Iranian Languages

Hamid Ali Baloch

Hamid Ali :

Interview By: Karlos Zurutuza

Karlos Zurutuza is a freelance journalist covering off-the-radar conflict regions in the Caucasus and Central Asia. He was awarded the Nawab Bugti Reporting Award 2009 for his reporting on the Baloch areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

“Despite the appalling illiteracy rate among us, many Baloch speak more than four languages.”

Hamid Ali Baloch

It’s not only that the Baloch have managed to keep their language alive amid decades of terrible repression. Multilingualism is also a feature of a country where almost 80% of the people are illiterate.

How would you describe the Balochi language?
Balochi is an Indo-European language, hence close to English, Russian or Pushtun, just to mention a few. The closest language to Balochi is Kurdish, as ours also belongs to the Iranian family. Moreover, many scholars claim that Balochi has kept Sanskrit’s original pronunciation. Balochi is written in the Arabian-Farsi alphabet, even though several diaspora intellectuals use the Latin alphabet, which also matches the needs of our tongue. Unfortunately, we still haven’t agreed on a common standard for all of us.

What´s the current situation of Balochi in East Balochistan?
When East Balochistan was annexed by Pakistan in 1948, Islamabad promised our people that Balochi would be taught at school. In one way or another, this was observed until 1973. The Constitution signed that same year granted us an education in Balochi but, sadly enough, we got none of that. Today Islamabad does not support education in Balochi in any way so we have to do it by ourselves.

How do you manage?
Recently several private schools have taken up education in Balochi. The number of lessons is still very scarce as we rely solely on private funding. For example, my monthly salary is 22,000 rupees (180 euro) from which I give 1,000 to support education in Balochi. There is a very solid group in Quetta (East Balochistan’s capital) which deals with the issue and, as a teacher, I think it’s of the biggest importance. On the other hand, the diaspora is also helping. There are many Baloch in Arab countries such as Bahrein, Oman and Dubai who also support us. The Academy of Balochi publishes between 15-20 books every year and it will soon publish a Balochi-Balochi dictionary.

What can you tell us about the situation of Balochi in Western Balochistan?
As far as I know, our brothers from the other side of the border cannot publish anything in Balochi at all, at least not in an open way. Several Balochi magazines were published after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 but all of them were soon banned by the Atatollah’s regime. Bear in mind that being a Baloch in Iran implies a double “handicap”: you’re “non Farsi”, but also “non Shiite”. Besides not getting any support at all to sustain their language, Western Baloch are also prosecuted for it. Another matter of deep concern for us is the ever growing influence of Farsi in Balochi.

But, against all odds, the Baloch are still a polyglot people, are they?
Very much indeed! Despite 80% of the Baloch being illiterate, many of them speak four languages, or even more. In Eastern Balochistan all of us speak Balochi as our mother tongue and Urdu as a second language, but also Pushtun because of the big intercourse with them. And don´t forget we were a colony of the British Empire for decades so many of us speak English too. Besides, around a million speak Brahvi as well.

Yes, it´s a local and very ancient language of Dravidian roots so it’s not Indo- European. For example, the Mengals always speak Brahvi among themselves. At some point Islamabad tried to sustain “Brahvi nationalism” to enforce division among ourselves but they never succeeded The Brahvis have always taken themselves as Baloch, which is something none of us has ever disputed.

So we get two native languages for the same people, is that right?
Absolutely right.

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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Balochi Language

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