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Kalami language: Wikis


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Spoken in Pakistan
Total speakers 60,000–70,000 (1995)
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Arabic script
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 ine
ISO 639-3 gwc

Kalami is a Dardic language spoken in northern Pakistan.

The language is also known as Gawri or Garwi (IPA: /ɡaːwriː/), but this name is considered pejorative by some speakers.



According to its genealogical classification (Strand, 1973:302 and 2004), Kalam Kohistani belongs to the Kohistani subgroup of the north-western zone of Indo-Aryan languages, along with several closely related languages in its geographical vicinity: Torwali (in the Swat valley south of Kalam), Indus Kohistani, Bateri, Chilisso, and Gawro (the latter four east of Kalam in Indus Kohistan). Together with a range of other north-western Indo-Aryan mountain languages, these languages are sometimes collectively referred to as ‘Dardic’ languages.[1]

Geographic distribution

Kalam Kohistani (also called Gawri) is one of about thirty languages that are spoken in the mountain areas of northern Pakistan. Kohistan is a Persian word that means ‘land of mountains’ and Kohistani can be translated as ‘mountain language’. As a matter of fact, there are several distinct languages in the area that are all popularly called Kohistani. The language under study in this paper is spoken in the upper parts of the valley of the Swat River, in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The name of the principal village of this area is Kalam, and hence the area is known as Kalam Kohistan. In the older linguistic literature, the language of Kalam Kohistan is referred to as Bashkarik (Morgenstierne, 1940), or as Garwi or Gawri (Grierson, 1919; Barth & Morgenstierne, 1958). These names are hardly, if at all, known to the speakers of the language themselves, who normally just call their language Kohistani. However, very recently a number of intellectuals belonging to a local cultural society have started to call their language Gawri, a name that has old historical roots.

The same language is also spoken across the mountains to the West of Kalam Kohistan, in the upper reaches of the Panjkora river valley of Upper Dir District. When added together, the two Kalam-Kohistani-speaking communities comprised over 200,000 people.




Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a ɑ

Length (/ː/) and nasalization (/˜/) are probably contrastive for all vowels.


Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t ʈ k (q)
aspirated ʈʰ
voiced b d ɖ ɡ
Affricate voiceless ts
aspirated tsʰ tʂʰ tʃʰ
Fricative voiceless (f) s ʂ ʃ x h
voiced z ɣ
Lateral voiceless ɬ
Voiced l
Flap ɾ ɽ
Approximant j w

/q f z x ɣ/ occur mainly in loanwords. /q f/ tend to be replaced by /x p/, respectively.

After the front vowels /i e a/, the velars /k ɡ ŋ/ are palatalized: [kʲ ɡʲ ŋʲ].


Kalami has 5 contrastive tones: high level, high falling, delayed high falling, low level, low rising.



The default sentence order is SOV, but this can be changed for emphasis.


See also


External links


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