Kamkata-viri language

Native to Afghanistan
Region Nuristan, Kunar
Native speakers
39,000 (1994–2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
bsh  Kati
xvi  Kamviri
Glottolog kati1241[2]
Linguasphere 58-ACB-a

Kamkata-vari, the largest Nuristani language, contains the main dialects Kata-vari, Kamviri and Mumviri. Kata-vari and Kamviri are sometimes erroneously reckoned as two separate languages, but according to linguist Richard Strand they form one language.

The Kamkata-vari language is spoken by the Kata, Kom, Mumo, Ksto and some smaller Black-Robed tribes in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are dialectal differences of the Kamkata-vari speakers of Pakistan. Most used alternative names are Kati or Bashgali.

Kamkata-vari is spoken by 40,000-60,000 Kata, Kom, and other minor tribal peoples.

It belongs to the Indo-European language family, and is on the Nuristani group of the Indo-Iranian branch.

Literacy rates are low: below 1% for people who have it as a first language, and between 15% to 25% for people who have it as a second language. The Katavari dialect can be heard on radio in Afghanistan.

There are four main dialects: Eastern Kata-vari, Western Kata-vari, Kamviri and Mumviri, the last two are sometimes erroneously defined as separate languages.


  1. Kati at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kamviri at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kati–Kamviri". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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