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Torwali language

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Title: Torwali language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Languages of Pakistan, Nepali language, Swati language (disambiguation), Rā with two dots vertically above, Dardic languages
Collection: Dardic Languages, Languages of Pakistan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Torwali language

Region Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Native speakers
80,000 (2001)[1]
Arabic script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 trw
Glottolog torw1241[2]

Torwali (Urdu: توروالی‎) , or Turvali, is a Dardic language spoken in Kohistan and Swat districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The language is indigenous to the Torwali people who live in scattered hamlets in the mountainous upper reaches of the Swat valley, above the Pashto-speaking town of Madyan up to the Gawri-speaking town of Kalam. There are two main dialects of Torwali: Bahrain and Chail.


  • Phonology 1
    • Vowels 1.1
    • Consonants 1.2
  • References 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • External links 4


Although descriptions of Torwali phonology have appeared in the literature, some questions still remain unanswered.[3][4]


Vowels According to Edelman[3]
Front Central Back
Close i iː u uː
Mid e eː o oː
Open a aː

Edelman's analysis, which was based on Grierson and Morgenstierne, shows nasal counterparts to at least /e o a/ and also found a series of central (reduced?) vowels, transcribed as: ä, ü, ö.[3]

Vowels According to Lunsford[4]
Front Central Back
Close i ĩ (ɨ̙) u ũ
Mid e ẽ (e̙) ə (ə̙) o õ
Open æ æ̃ a ã

Lunsford had some difficulty determining vowel phonemes and suggested there may be retracted vowels with limited distribution: /ɨ/ (which may be [i̙]), /e̙/, /ə̙/.[4] Retracted or retroflex vowels are also found in Kalash-mondr.[5]


The phonemic status of the breathy voiced series is debatable.

Sounds with particularly uncertain status are marked with a superscript question mark.

Labial Coronal Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ɳ)
Stop p
Affricate (ts)?


s ʂ ʐ ʃ ʒ x ɣ h
j w
Rhotic r ɽ?


  1. ^ Torwali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Torwali".  
  3. ^ a b c Edelman, D. I. (1983). The Dardic and Nuristani Languages. Moscow: (Institut vostokovedenii︠a︡ (Akademii︠a︡ nauk SSSR). p. 226. 
  4. ^ a b c Lunsford, Wayne A. (2001), "An overview of linguistic structures in Torwali, a language of Northern Pakistan" (PDF), M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Arlington: 26–30 
  5. ^ Kochetov, Alexei; Arsenault, Paul (2008), Retroflex harmony in Kalasha: Agreement or spreading? (PDF), NELS 39, Cornell University  | page= 4


  • Biddulph, John (1880). "Tribes of the Hindukush".
  • Grierson, George (1929). "Torwali: An account of a Dardic language of the Swat Kohistan".
  • Lunsford, Wayne A. (2001), "An overview of linguistic structures in Torwali, a language of Northern Pakistan" (PDF), M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Arlington 
  • Ullah, Inam (2004). "Lexical database of the Torwali Dictionary", paper presented at the Asia Lexicography Conference, Chiangmai, Thailand, May 24–26.

External links

  • A digital Torwali-English dictionary with audio
  • A website providing information about the Torwali language and the history of the Torwali people. Includes photos, classification, etc.

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