PDF An Overview of Linguistic Structures in Torwali, a Language of Northern Pakistan

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In the s when students from ordinary colleges, who came by and large from vernacular-medium schools, protested against these bastions of privilege, the government appointed a commission to investigate their grievances.

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Vl of the Constitution. This meant that the concern for equality was merely a legal nicety. And this, indeed, was what happened. Today the public schools are as well-entrenched in the educational system of the country as ever before. The total spending is as follows:. The total expenditure is not covered by tuition fees. The major effect of this policy is to weaken the local languages and lower their status even in their home country. English, after all, is the language of the greatest power in the world. It spread as the language of the colonies of Britain in African and Asian countries Brutt-Griffler Then, when Britain withdrew from its ex-colonies, English spread because of American economic power, American control of world media and international commerce.

Globalization will increase the power of English because it will open up more jobs for those who know it. These jobs will be controlled by multinationals, which are dominated by the U. This will increase the demand for English schooling, which will make parents invest in English at the cost of their own languages. Let us look at the other languages that suffer because of the present policies.

Psychological and cultural costs of linguistic imperialism. This makes children reject an aspect—and an essential one at that—of their legacy, history, culture and identity. Incidentally, the poor and less powerful classes, gender and communities have always been ashamed of aspects of their identity. In South Asia, the caste system forced manual workers to live miserable lives.

This was unjust enough but the worst form of injustice is perpetrated by the fact that the lower castes or ajlaf, kammis, outcastes, Sudras etc not only accept lower social status but look down upon people lower in the social scale and even upon themselves.

Bisyndetic Contrast Marking in the Hindukush: Additional Evidence of a Historical Contact Zone

That is why when people became literate and rose in affluence and power, they left their communities and even started using names of groups with higher social respect. The year saw three excellent books on language death. These books have made linguists conscious that, with the standardization created by the modern state and the corporate sector, the smaller languages of the world are dying. Either the speakers die or, which is more often the case, they voluntarily shift to a powerful language which helps them survive but as members of another human group rather than their own.


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In Pakistan, as brought out earlier, the linguistic hierarchy is as follows: English, Urdu and local language. In the N. P and Sindh, however, Pashto and Sindhi are seen as identity markers and are spoken informally. In Punjab, unfortunately, there is widespread culture-shame about Punjabi. Parents, teachers and the peer group combine to embarrass students about Punjabi. In all of the elitist English-medium schools the author visited there were policies forbidding students from speaking Punjabi.

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Many educated parents speak Urdu rather than Punjabi with their children. The children of elitist English-medium schools are indifferent to Urdu and claim to be completely bored by its literature. They read only English books and not Urdu ones nor those in other languages. These attitudes are having a squeezing effect on Pakistani languages. Urdu is safe because of the huge pool of people very proficient in it and especially because it is used in lower level jobs, the media, education, courts, commerce and other domains in Pakistan. Punjabi is a huge language and will survive despite culture shame and neglect.

It is used in the Indian Punjab in many domains of power and, what is even more significant, it is the language of songs, jokes, intimacy and informality in both Pakistan and India. This makes it the language of private pleasure and if so many people use it in this manner, it is not in real danger. Sindhi, and Pashto are both big languages and their speakers are proud of them.

Sindhi is also used in the domains of power and is the major language of education in rural Sindh. Pashto is not a major language of education nor is it used in the domains of power in Pakistan. However, its speakers see it as an identity marker and it is used in some domains of power in Afghanistan. It too will survive though Pakistani city Pashto is now much adulterated with Urdu words. Educated Pashtuns often code-switch between Pashto and Urdu or English.

Thus, the language is under some pressure. Balochi and Brahvi are small languages under much pressure from Urdu. However, there is awareness among educated Balochs that their languages must be preserved. As neither of these languages is used in the domains of power they will survive as informal languages in the private domain.

However, the city varieties of these languages will become much Urdufied. It is the over fifty small languages of Pakistan Annexure A , mostly in Northern Pakistan, which are under tremendous pressure. The Karakorum Highway, which has linked these areas to the plains, has put much pressure on these languages. The author visited Gilgit and Hunza in August and met local language activists, among others.

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They all agree that their languages should be preserved but they are so appreciative of the advantages of the road that they accept the threat to their languages with equanimity. Urdu and English words have already entrenched themselves in Shina and Burushaski and, as people emigrate to the cities, they are shifting to Urdu. Even in the city of Karachi the Gujrati language is being abandoned, at least in the written form, as young people seek to be literate in Urdu and English, the languages used in the domains of power.

Badeshi exists in the Chail Valley of Swat and is probably a variety of Persian.


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However, Baart confirms that it is under great pressure and may cease to be spoken soon. Chilliso , spoken by a small number of people on the east bank of the Indus in District Kohistan, is under great pressure by Shina. Domaaki is the language of the Doma people in Mominabad Hunza. The present author visited the village in and estimated only. Gowro is spoken on the east bank of the Indus in Distinct Kohistan mainly in the village of Mahrin by the Gabar Khel class. Baart confirms that only a speakers are left now and it may be dying. Ushojo is spoken in the Chail Valley of Swat.

According to Sandra J. She also reported that both men and women spoke Pashto with her ibid, Baart suspects that the language is under great pressure and is moribund. The smaller languages of Chitral are also about to be lost. The Kalasha community, which follows an ancient religion and lives in valleys in Chitral, is in danger of losing its languages.

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Other small languages, Yidgha, Phalura and Gawar-bati, are also losing their vitality. Two small languages, which would have been lost otherwise, are being recorded by local language activists with the help of Baart. This is being recorded by Rozi Khan Burki, a resident of the village, with the help of J. This is being preserved by Khwaja Rahman with the help of Baart. In short, while only the remotest and smallest of the languages of Pakistan are in danger of dying, all other languages have decreased in stature.

The undue prestige of English and Urdu has made all other languages burdens rather than assets.

This is the beginning of language sickness if not death. We have seen that the language policies of Pakistan, declared and undeclared, have increased both ethnic and class conflict in the country. Moreover, our Westernized elites, in their own interests, are helping the forces of globalization and threatening cultural and linguistic diversity. In this process they are impoverishing the already poor and creating much resentment against the oppression and injustice of the system.

Both globalization and the continuation of colonial language policies by the governments of Pakistan have increased the pressure of English on all other languages. While this has also created an increased awareness of language rights and movements to preserve languages, it has generally resulted in more people learning English.

As such, linguistic globalization is anti-poor, pro-elitist and exploitative.