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Spoken in Azad Kashmir Azad Kashmir,

Pakistan Pothohar Pakistan
United Kingdom United Kingdom.

Total speakers 4,680,000
Language family Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 none
ISO 639-3 phr

The Potowari (پوٹھواری (Shahmukhi); also known as Pothohari or Pothwari) is an spoken in the Pothohar Plateau districts around Rawalpindi,Gujar Khan, Jehlum,uptil Gujarat in the south and Chakwal in the West, Hazara in the north and Azad Kashmir in the east. Mirpuri and Phari is spoken in Azad Kashmir Pakistan to the Cease-fire Line (LoC) of Indian administered Kashmir de-facto border in Pakistan administered Kashmir and also by some Sikhs from Pothohar. It is closely related to Punjabi and is considered to be a transitional dialect between Lahnda and Pahari. Dialects include Dhundi-Kairali, Chibhali, Mirpuri, Jhelumi, Pindiwali and Punchhi (Poonchi).


Written Potowari

A Potowari Poem (called a 'Sher') written in the Nastaʿlīq script.

In modern times Potowari is not officially written and there is no single standardised orthography. Speakers literate in Urdu often write solely in Urdu and do not regard Potwari as a literary language. When in rare cases Potwari is written the Urdu orthography is utilised or it is written in Roman Potowari which is used for the writing of Urdu in Roman script. This is largely the case in the UK where a large percentage of Potowari speakers reside.

It is not the case the Potowari has never been written, during the Buddhist reign Potwari was written using the Laṇḍā script which evolved from the Sharada script. Sharada was invented in the Buddhist university of the same name located in the Neelam Valley in modern day Azad Kashmir. Shaivite pandits from Jammu Kashmir still use the Landa script to write in the Hindu form of Pahari.

With the Muslim invasion of Northern India, written Potwari suffered a decline in usage as it was replaced by Persian and in modern times it was further replaced by Urdu. The form of Pahari spoken in Himachal Pradesh is now written in the Gurmukhi script, which itself is a modern version of the Landa script.[1]

Potowari Arts

Potowari has a rich tradition of poetry recital accompanied by Sitar, Tabla, Harmonium and Dholak, these poems are called Sher and are often highly lyrical and somewhat humorous and secular in nature, although there are plenty of religious sher.

In October 2009 the first album containing Potwari popular songs was released, the title of the album was "Khushian," and featured Potowari songs by Saira Habib.

Potowari Film

Notable Potowari films produced by "Pahariwood" based in Azad Kashmir are:

  • Miki Kharo England
  • Main Julian England
  • Nahla pa Dahla
  • Paira Chaska Walayat Naa
  • Sayr Upar Sawa Sayr
  • Mister Saadah
  • Khushian
  • Chabarey
  • Khaie Aaye O
  • Nikka Raja
  • Chan Mhara Charya
  • Chan Pardeshi
  • Uchay Shamlay
  • Maye Ni Maye

All these films are part of the Potowari TV series Miki Kharo (make me).



Comparison with Punjabi

Potowari Punjabi Meaning
tusaana tvādā Your (formal)
kai What
mikee de mènnu de Give me
chaaikin dholia tola nu chākka de Pick up the drum
taaraa naa kai? terā nā kī he? What is your name?
alaa changā OK
Khuda Hafiz tātā Goodbye
usne naa 'X' ai Odā nā 'X' he His name is 'X'
twaaraa haandaan na aal theek ai? tvādā parivāra theeka hegā he kī? Is your family OK?
shukar tannavād Thank you
trai tinna Three
zaar hazār Thousand
me tukee pyaar karnaa mènnu tere nāla prem he I love you
taaraa maavaa kudar ai? terā māmmā kiөe hegā he? Where is your uncle?



a - IPA ə
ã - IPA ɐ̃ (nasal vowel)
aa - IPA ɑ
ai - IPA æ
e - IPA ɛ
i - IPA ɪ
ee - IPA i
o - IPa ɔ
oh - IPA ɵ
u - IPA ʊ
oo - IPA u

Aspirated consonants:

All consonants followed by a 'h' are aspirated, that is a puff of air follows the sound of the consonant, not aspirating the consonant alters the meaning of the word. E.g. 'tu' and 'thu' have different meanings (you and from respectively)

Roman Potwari Perso-Arabic English Translation
salaam سلام hello
khuda hafiz خُدا حافظ Good Bye
aahã اہاں yes (casual)
jee جی yes (formal)
naa نا no
tusaana nã kai? تساںہ ناں کے what is your name? (formal)
maaraa nã مارا ناں...اے my name is...
tusankee milkee boo hushee oy تساںکی ملکی بو خشی اوی very nice to meet you!
shukar شکر thank you
tusaana aal kai aal e? تساںہ ال کاے ال ے how are you? (formal)
pothwaaree bolne oh? پوٹواری بولنے او do you speak Potwari?
tusã kudaro aayo? تساں کدرو ائیو where are you from (formal)
me valayat thoo aa مے ولاىت تهوآ I'm a foreigner
mehrbaanee karee taa مهربانى كرى تا please
tusaana grã na nã kai? تسانہ گراں نہ ناں کے what is your village's name?
kashmeer vich tashreef laaikinoo كشمىر وِچ تشرىف لا ئیكنو welcome to Kashmir
pothwaaree changee zabaan ai پوٹھواری چنگى زبان اے potwari is a nice language


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