Torwali language

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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.


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. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Torwali". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  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".
  • 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
  • Online Torwali-Urdu Dictionary (Center for Language Engineering at UET, Lahore Pakistan)
  • (UNESCO Register of Good Practices in Language Preservation)
  • A website providing information about Torwali language and computational developments made in Torwali language. Jalaluddin
  • A website providing information about the Torwali language and the history of the Torwali people. Includes photos, classification, etc.
  • Vestiges of Torwali Culture by Zubair Torwali
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