Languages of Kashmir

Languages Of Kashmir
Credit: Wikipedia

Jammu and Kashmir is home to many religions so it has a lot of cultural and traditional diversity spread throughout the state. Not only cultural diversity, but Jammu and Kashmir is home to many languages which are spoken natively by the Kashmiri population.

This may also be attributed to its geographical location as from one side it is faced by Tibetan mountains and on the other side it is surrounded by hills, farmlands and green forests. 

Kashmiri, Shina, Dogri, Bhadarwahi, Padari, Sarazi, Poguli, Rambani, Pahari Pothwari/ Potohari, Hindko, Gojri / Gujjari are most commonly spoken languages in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Here we have top 5 most widely used languages of Kashmir:


Kashmiri is the most widely spoken language in J&K with about 9 million speakers. Kashmiri is also the only Dardic language to be designated as an official language by the Indian Constitution, as one of the 22 scheduled languages. In the Chenab valley, Kashmiri is also the most spoken language.

Kashmiri has a strong Persian influence, particularly in vocabulary, despite being one of the most conservative Indo-Aryan languages.

Dardic languages include Kashmiri, Shina, and Khowar, which are spoken in J&K. In Kashmir, the Chenab Valley, and the Neelum Valley, Kashmiri is spoken. Gilgit, Kohistan, Gurez, and Drass all speak Shina. In Chitral, this is known as Khowar, and in Pakistan, it is known as GB.


Pahari languages are spoken throughout J&K, are the most diverse set of languages. Pahari languageS is a collective designation given to these languages by outsiders because speakers of these languages typically live in mountainous locations. 

Depending on the dialect, these languages are known by a number of names locally. However, the word Pahari is now widely used. Pahari languages spoken in J&K should not be confused with Pahari languages spoken in Uttarakhand (India), Nepal, and sections of Himachal Pradesh, as tHey are distinct.

Bhaderwahi, Padri, Ponchi, Mirpuri, Parmi, or Pahari are some of the distinct Pahari languages (Karnah). Depending on the distance, various Pahari languages show a strong impact of Kashmiri in certain locations and a strong influence of Punjabi in others. It is one of the most influential languages of Kashmir.

Pahari, Dogri, Hindko, Potwari, Seraiki, and Standard Punjabi are all related but not identical languages. In most regions of AJK, as well as in the Pir Panjal region of J&K, Pahari languages are spoken by the majority.

Pahari is also spoken in several isolated regions throughout Kashmir’s valley, such as Karnah and Uri. They are also spoken in several regions of Chenab Valley.


Dogri is spoken by roughly 3 million people. It’s an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Jammu Plains or Duggerdesh region of J&K. The majority of people in Jammu, the second-largest city in J&K, speak Dogra. Despite its official status, the language has suffered a significant decrease.

Dogri is classified as a western Pahari language, not to be confused with Pahari-Potwari, though they share a dialect continuum. Along with Dogri, the Western Pahari languages comprise a number of Himachal Pradesh languages.

Many speakers in Himachal prefer to be referred to as Pahari which effectively limits Dogra identity to the Jammu plains. Dogri, like its southern cousin Punjabi, is a tonal language, meaning it uses pitch to identify lexical and grammatical meanings.

For a long time, Dogri was considered a dialect of Punjabi, but because Dogras have their own sense of identity and Dogri has its own literary history, it is now regarded a separate language.


Gojri is spoken in isolated communities in J&K. Gujjars and Bakerwals are the main speakers. Remember that while many Gujjars identify with and follow Gojri culture, they do not all speak Gojri. Instead, they speak local prevalent languages.

Rajasthani languages are connected to Gojri, a western Indo-Aryan language. It has more in common with its surrounding Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindko, Pahari, and Dogri, because it is spoken in locations where other languages are spoken.

Due to the fact that these languages are already linked to it. As a result, a sprachbund is established. Gojri, on the other hand, has a lot in common with Rajasthani languages.

Gojri is spoken in both AJK and J&K, but its speakers do not constitute a majority in any bigger area. It is widely spoken in the Pir Panjal region, with enclaves in the Kashmir valley.


Urdu is widely spoken and understood throughout the Kashmir valley, as well as in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. In 1889, J&K declared Urdu to be a state and official language. For about three centuries before Urdu, Kashmir’s official language was Persian. All government records in Kashmir, including land, revenue, courts, and even FIRs, are written in Urdu.

Learning Kashmiri Language


Kashmiri has two types of dialects:

  • Regional dialects and
  • Social dialects.

Regional dialects are further of two types:

  • Those regional dialects or variations which are spoken in the regions inside the valley of Kashmir and
  • Those which are spoken in the regions outside the valley of Kashmir.

 Kashmiri speaking area in the valley is ethno-semantically divided into three regions:

  • Maraz (southern and south-eastern region),
  • Kamraz (northern and north-western region) and
  • Srinagar and its neighboring areas. There are some minor linguistic variations mainly at the phonological and lexical levels.

The three dialects of Kashmiri are not only mutually intelligible, but also relatively homogeneous. These dialectical variances might be thought of as various styles of speaking.

Since Kashmiri, which is spoken in and around Srinagar, has gained some social significance, there has been a lot of ‘style flipping’ from Marazi or Kamrazi dialects to the dialects spoken in Srinagar and its neighbors.

This characteristic of style switching is rather widespread among educated Kashmiri speakers. Kashmiri, which spoken in Srinagar and the surrounding territories, retains its status as the standard variation used in the media and literature.

Kashmiri Language Script

Sharda, Devanagari, Roman, and Perso-Arabic are the primary scripts of Kashmiri. The Sharda script, which dates back to the 10th century, is Kashmiri’s oldest script. The script was not created with Kashmiri in mind. It was largely used by local scholars to write Sanskrit during the period.

In addition to a huge number of Sanskrit literary works, this script was used to write historic Kashmiri literature. The phonetic qualities of the Kashmiri language are not represented in this script. The priestly class of the Kashmiri Pandit community today uses it for very limited purposes (writing horoscopes).

For Kashmiri, writers and researchers utilise the Devanagari script with added diacritical markings to express data from Kashmiri texts in their Hindi writings on language, literature, and culture. It’s also employed as a secondary script (together with Perso-Arabic) or alternate script in some literary works, religious writings, and devotional songs penned by Hindu writers outside Kashmir’s valley after their exodus.

A few journals, like Koshur Samachar, Kshir Bhawani Times, Vitasta, and Milchar, use it on a regular basis. In the employment of diacritic signs, there is a certain amount of inconsistency.

It has not yet been adopted by all publishers. Kashmiri is also written in the Roman alphabet, but it is not widely used. In linguistic and literary works about the Kashmiri language and literature produced in English, the Roman script with phonetic diacritic markings is used to display data from Kashmiri.

It’s also utilised in instructional materials for teaching and learning Kashmiri as a second/foreign language using English as the medium. The employment of diacritic marks, on the other hand, has no uniformity.

The Jammu and Kashmir government recognises the Perso-Arabic script with added diacritical markings as the official script for Kashmiri, and currently uses it frequently publications in the language. There is still a lack of uniformity.

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