Khowar, or Chitrali, is a member of the Dardic branch of the Indo-Aryan
language family. It has about a million speakers mainly in
Pakistan, especially in Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,
in the Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan and in parts
of Upper Swat.
Khowar at a glance
Native name: کھوار [kʰowaɾ]
Alternative names: Chitrali, Kashkari, Arniya, Patu
Linguistic affliation: Indo-European, Indo-Aryan, Dardic, Chitrali
Number of speakers: 1 million (source: Khowar Academy)
Writing systems: Perso-Arabic script and Latin script
Status: one of the regional languages of Pakistan
There are also Khowar speakers in cities
such as Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, as well
as in Gilgit and Hunza, where it is used as a second
language. There are possibly a number of Khowar speakers
in Shighnan in Afghanistan, in Xinjiang in China, and in
Tajikistan and Turkey. Speakers of Khowar call themselves
Chetrari or Chitrali (چترالی).
Since the early 20th century Khowar has been written
with the Nasta'liq style of the Perso-Arabic script. Before
then it was unwritten. Khowar has also been written with
a version of the Latin alphabet since the 1996, when Rehmat
Aziz Chitrali (رحمت عزیز چترالی) with the collaboration of Khowar Academy created
the Khowar Latin alphabet.
There is a fortnightly newspaper, Chitral Vision (چترال وژن), in Khowar and Urdu
published by the Khowar Academy in Karachi. There are also
occasional radio broadcasts in Khowar.
This alphabet was devised by Rehmat Aziz Chitrali with the
collaboration of Khowar Academy and has been used since 1996.
It is designed to represent all the sounds of Khowar and avoids
the problem of Arabic letters that are not supported by Unicode
and which are used in the Khowar Arabic-based alphabet.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with
reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Corrections and additions provided by رحمت عزیز چترالی (Rehmat Aziz Chitrali) from پاکستان، ضلع چترال (Chitral, Pakistan)