Yidgha language

Native to (Chitral District), Pakistan
Native speakers
6,200 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ydg
Glottolog yidg1240[2]
Linguasphere 58-ABD-bb

The Yidgha language is a Pamir language spoken in the Upper Lotkoh Valley (Tehsil Lotkoh) of Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa west of Garam Chashma in Pakistan. Yidgha is similar to the Munji language spoken on the Afghan side of the border.

The Garam Chashma area became important during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan because the Soviets were unable to stop the flow of arms and men back and forth across the Dorah Pass that separates Chitral from Badakshan in Afghanistan. Almost the entire Munji-speaking population of Afghanistan fled across the border to Chitral during the War in Afghanistan.

The Pamir is a high plateau sometimes called "the roof of the world" that joins Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, China and Kashmir. Marco Polo is believed to have crossed the Pamir Mountains on his way to China.

The Yidgha language has not been given serious study by linguists, except that it is mentioned by Georg Morgenstierne (1926), Kendall Decker (1992), Rehmat Aziz Chitrali and Badshah Munir Bukhari (2005). A 280-page joint description of Yidgha and Munji (descriptive and historical phonetics and grammar, glossary with etymologies where possible) is given by Morgenstierne (1938).

Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. Although Khowar is the predominant language of Chitral, more than ten other languages are spoken here. These include Kalasha-mun, Palula, Dameli, Gawar-Bati, Nuristani, Yidgha, Burushaski, Wakhi, Kyrgyz, and Pashto. Since many of these languages have no written form, letters are usually written in Urdu.

See also


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

Further reading

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