Re: [tied] Afganistan.

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 9377
Date: 2001-09-11

The main languages are Iranian: Pashto (in the south, spoken by some 40% of the population) and various Tajik/Persian dialects (the official standard variety is called Farsi Kaboli or Dari). Other Iranian languages spoken in Afghanistan include Parachi (with several dialects), Ormuri, Baluchi and the Pamir group (Munji, Wakhi, Ishkashimi, Shughni).
The Indo-Aryan group is represented by several "Dard" languages (Tirahi, Pashai with numerous dialects, Wotapuri, Gahwar-Bati, Grangali, Shumashti), and the Nuristani group includes Ashkunu, Kamviri, Katavari, Tregami, Kalasha and others. A complete list would be difficult to make.
On the steppes near the Amu Daria, north of the Hindu Kush, there are several Turkic (Uzbek and Kyrgyz) groups. 
If there was a secondary Indo-Aryan formative region in southern Afghanistan, the entry of most Indo-Aryan groups into what is now Pakistan and India was more likely via the Gumal Pass, some 280 km south of Kabul and the Khyber Pass.
----- Original Message -----
From: markodegard@...
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:48 PM
Subject: [tied] Afganistan.

For obvious reasons, there is going to be a lot of news about
Afganistan. We might take the opportunity to familiarize ourselves
with the geography, hydrology and -- on topic -- its linguistic map.

I know little of this part of the world. High, difficult-to-traverse
mountains, with isolated valleys. Small tribal groups can hold off
whole armies. This is a recipe for extreme linguistic diversity, a la
the Caucasus, tho' I don't know just how linguistically diverse
Afganistan is.

The main river is the Helmand, which is in the southwest. Is it
landlocked? It seems so. The other important river is the Kabul. The
headwaters of the Helmand and Kabul Rivers are close to each other at
the city of Kabul.

Linguistically, it seems to be Iranian-speaking except at the eastern
fringe, where Indic and Nuristani tongues are found.

The Indic entry into India seems to have been mainly via the Kabul
River valley, tho' there are other approaches, but I am largely
ignorant of them. At a later state, the Iranian languages replaced

Yes, I'm angry, but revenge is a dish best eaten cold. Right now, I
just want to learn something of this part of the world.