Dard Languages

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dard Languages


a group of languages spoken in the neighborhood regions of northeastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The number of speakers is approximately 3 million (1967, estimate). They are intermediate between the Iranian and Indic languages; they belong to the Indo-Iranian group.

The Dard languages are divided into three subgroups whose best-known lanaguages are Kashmiri, Shina, and the Kohistani language group (eastern subgroup); Kho-war, Kalasha, Pashai, Tirahi, Gawar-bati, and Wotapuri (central subgroup); and Ashkund. Prasun, Waigali, Kati, and Dameli (western subgroup, often called Kafiri). Only Kashmiri has a writing system. Phonetically, the languages have rich consonant systems, which include a series of aspirated (except four languages of the western subgroup), retroflex and, in some languages, palatalized and labialized consonants. The morphology is characterized by a large number of postpositions and a generally weak system of cases (ranging from zero to four). There is a well-developed system of pronominal enclitics, which in some languages are used only with nouns and in other languages with nouns and verbs. The vigesimal numeral system is used for counting. In syntax, the languages use various types of ergative constructions.


Edel’man, D. 1. Dardskie iazyki. Moscow, 1965.
Grierson, G. A. Linguistic Survey of India, vol. 8, part 2. Calcutta, 1919.
Morgenstjerne, G. Indo-Iranian Frontier Languages, vol. 3, part 1, Oslo, 1967; part 2, Oslo. 1944; part 3, Oslo, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
By clarifying that Romani originated in Central Indo-Aryan and not in the area of the Dard languages in north-western South Asia, Turner rectified previous views held for instance by F.
It is a well-known fact that the Dard languages are modern descendants of Prakrits more or less close to the Ashokan Northwest dialect (that is, Gandhari).
Initial OIA v- has become b- in the central and eastern groups as well as in Pahari, Dogri and many Dard languages probably at a relatively late time.
(18) There are several Dard languages where the -t- has not disappeared: Pasai sidal, Shumashti sidal, Torwali sidul, Phalura sidalo, Shina sidal.
found in Indus Kohistani with -l- going back to a dental stop would all be borrowings from an unknown Dard language. Turner quotes also Rom.Syr.
Turner derives the Romani form < OIA sadaka- 'unhusked corn' (12287), but that cannot be the origin of the Rudhari word if one does not want to assume an isolated borrowing from an unknown Dard language since West Pahari does not know a historical change -t-, -d- > -l-.