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About Kashmiri Language

Kashmiri (कॉशुर, كأشُر Koshur) is a language from the Dardic sub-group of the Indo-Aryan group of languages and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in the Indian Administered part of Jammu and Kashmir. There are approximately 5,554,496 speakers in India, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000 speakers or so in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir Valley after the partition of India. They include only a few speakers residing in border villages in Neelum District as well as individuals who settled in the towns in the plains of West Punjab after the partition.

The Kashmiri language is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India, and is a part of the Sixth Schedule in the constitution of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Along with other regional languages mentioned in the Sixth Schedule, as well as Hindi and Urdu, the Kashmiri language is to be developed in the state. Some Kashmiri speakers frequently use Hindi or English as a second language. Since November 2008, the Kashmiri language has been made a compulsory subject in all schools in the Valley up to the secondary level.

Literature

In 1919 George Abraham Grierson wrote that “Kashmiri is the only one of the Dardic languages that has a literature”. Kashmiri literature dates back to over 750 years, this is, more-or-less, the age of many a modern literature including modern English.

Writing system

There are three orthographical systems used to write the Kashmiri language—these are the Sharada script, the Devanagari script and the Perso-Arabic script; additionally, due to internet technology, the Roman script is sometimes used to write Kashmiri, especially online. The Kashmiri language was traditionally written in the Sharada script after the 8th Century A.D. This script however, is not in common use today, except for religious ceremonies of the Kashmiri Pandits. However, today, it is written in Devanagari script and Perso-Arabic script (with some modifications). Among languages written in the Perso-Arabic script, Kashmiri is one of the very few which regularly indicates all vowel sounds. This script has been in vogue since the Muslim conquest in India and has been used by the people for centuries, in the Kashmir Valley. However, today, the Kashmiri Perso-Arabic script has come to be associated with Kashmiri Muslims, while the Kashmiri Devanagari script, has come to be associated with the Kashmiri Hindu community, who employ the latter script.

Grammar

Kashmiri, like German and Old English and unlike other Indo-Aryan languages, has V2 word order.

There are four cases in Kashmiri: nominative, genitive, and two oblique cases: the ergative and the dative case.

Vocabulary

Kashmiri is rich in Persian words, much as is the case with Urdu. In reference, Shashishekhar Toshkhani, a scholar on Kashmir's heritage, provides a detailed analysis where he shows extensive linguistic relationship between the Sanskrit language and the Kashmiri language, and presents detailed arguments contesting George Grierson's classification of the Kashmiri language as a member of the Dardic sub-group (of the Indo-Aryan group of languages.)

 

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