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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Burishki; an unwritten, genetically isolated language, spoken in the high-mountain regions of Hunza and Nagar in extreme northwestern Pakistan. Burushaski is spoken by approximately 40, 000 people (1963 estimate). Two dialects are distinguished—Burushaski and Vershikvar.

The phonetic system of Burushaski includes ten vowels (opposed in quality and length) and 36 consonants (including retroflexes and voiceless aspirates). It has phonological tones. The simple noun morphology is in contrast to the complex verb morphology. Nominal parts of speech are not clearly delimited. Declension is represented by two cases, nominative and ergative-oblique, which are concretized by postpositions. A number of nouns occur only with possessive prefixes indicating person, number, and class of the possessor (a-rin, “my hand”; mu-rin, “her hand”) according to four classes: males, females, animals and some objects, and other objects and concepts. The verb has two temporal stems to which are added prefixal, suffixal, and infixal markers of person, number, and class (of the subject and of the direct and indirect objects): gu-yec-am, “I saw you”; mu-yec-uman, “they saw her.” Both nominative and ergative sentence constructions are used. The vocabulary contains many loanwords from the Dardic languages and Urdu, which contributed quite a number of Persianisms and Arabisms.


Zarubin, I. I. Vershikskoe narechie kandzhutskogo iazyka. Leningrad, 1927.
Klimov, G. A., and D. I. Edel’man. lazyk burushaski. Moscow, 1970.
Lorimer, D. L. R. The Burushaski Language, vols. 1-3. Oslo, 1935-38.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He was doing research on 'Burushaski', a language spoken in three of the valleys in the Northern Areas, namely; Yasin, Hunza and Nagar.
The IAC students belonging to various provinces of the country expressed their love for their mother languages by reciting famous poems, quotations in Punjabi, Sindhi, Seraiki, Hindko, Pashto, Balti and Burushaski which made the ceremony memorable.
Srinagar Burushaski: A Descriptive and Comparative Account with Analyzed Texts
The ethno-linguistic groups that participated in the study included: Balochi, Balti, Burushaski, Khowar, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, and Shina, speakers.
There were thousands of people of all age dancing on the tones of their traditional drums and pipes wearing traditional woolen 'Shuka' while welcoming in their local language Wakhi and Burushaski saying 'Shua Damman, Shua Damman, Shua Damman' (mean welcoming, welcome).
He said that languages spoken in Jammu and Kashmir included Urdu, Kashmiri, Pahari, Punjabi, Dogri, Gojri, Shina, Balti, Tibetan, Ladakhi and Burushaski also have a small niche.
Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Saraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashto (alternate name, Pashtu) 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%
The door-to-door exercise, however, was criticized for ignoring languages which are spoken in entire regions such as Shina and Burushaski in Gilgit-Baltistan.
It was organized by Burushaski Research Academy in collaboration with Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) previous day.
In Burushaski (Isolate; Klimov and Edel'man 1989), demonstratives agree in gender/number, but adjectives do not.
Surprisingly they broadcast in thirty four languages: Urdu, Hindko, Sinhala, Balochi, Seraiki, Potowari, Nepali, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Kohistani, Khowar, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Dhatki, Gojri, Pahari, Burushaski, Balti, Shina, Wakhi, Hazargi, Brahvi, English, Chinese, Dari, Persian, Punjabi, Pashto, Gujarati and even Tamil.