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Khowar (کھوار)

Khowar 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
  • Number of speakers: 1 million
  • Spoken in: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey
  • First written: 20th century
  • 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, Rawalpindi 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, and in Turkmenistan 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 the 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.

Khowar alphabet and pronunciation


Khowar consonants

A recording of the Khowar alphabet

Aspirated consonants

Khowar aspirated consonants

A recording of the Khowar aspirated consonants


Khowar vowels

A recording of the Khowar vowels

Numerals and numbers

Khowar numerals

A recording of the Khowar numbers

Latin alphabet for 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.

Latin alphabet for Khowar

Download a spreadsheet with the Khowar alphabets

Sample text in Khowar

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Standard Khowar version)

سف انسان آزاد وا حقوق اوچے عزتو اعتبارو سورا برابار پیدا بیتی آسونی، ھیتانتے ضمیر اوچے عقل عطا کورونو بیتی شیر، ھے بچین ھیتان تان موژی برارگاریو سلوکو کوریلک۔ کھوار ترجمہ: رحمت عزیز چترالی

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Khowar Latin alphabet)

Saf insān āzād wa ḥuqūq-ochay izzato ėʿtibāro sora barābaar paidā biti asuni. hetantey żamīr ôchay ʿaql ataa koronu biti sher. Hey bachen hetan taan muzhi brar gariyo sulūk korelik.

A recording of this text


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, additions and recordings by رحمت عزیز چترالی (Rehmat Aziz Chitrali) from پاکستان، ضلع چترال (Chitral, Pakistan)


Information about Khowar

Khowar - English dictionary and word list

Font and keyboard layout for Khowar

Virtual Khowar keyboard

Online Khowar news

Videos in Khowar

Indo-Aryan languages

Awadhi, Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Chakma, Dhivehi, Fiji Hindi, Gujarati, Hajong, Hindi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Kotia, Kutchi, Magahi, Maithili, Marathi, Marwari, Modi, Nepali, Odia, Palula, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Rohingya, Romani, Saraiki, Sarnámi Hindustani, Sindhi, Sinhala, Shina, Sourashtra, Sugali, Sylheti, Urdu

Other languages written with the Arabic alphabet

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