The Dangari Tongue of Choke and Machoke: Tracing the proto-language of Shina enclaves in the Hindu Kush


  • Henrik Liljegren



Data from four little-studied varieties of Indo-Aryan (Southern Palula, Northern Palula, Sawi and Kalkoti) spoken in the Hindu Kush is analyzed and discussed from a historical-comparative perspective. Evidence is presented showing that Kalkoti, until recently only tentatively classified, is part of this particular cluster of closely-related Shina varieties. An attempt is made at reconstructing some phonological and grammatical features of a common source speech, here named Proto-Dangari, and the order in which the present-day varieties may have split off. An important conclusion drawn is that Southern and Northern Palula probably are more distantly related than present-day similarities seem to indicate, the high degree of synchronic similarity instead being due to relatively recent convergence taking place in southern Chitral. It is hypothesized that the present speech communities are the result of two different westward routes of migration, one geographically linking Southern Palula (Ashreti) and Sawi with Chilas, the other linking Northern Palula (Biori) and Kalkoti with Tangir, both located in the same general area of the main Indus Valley.