Torwali language

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Region Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Native speakers
unknown (60,000 cited 1987)1
90,000 (2011, Khowar Academy)citation needed
Arabic script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 trw

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.23


Vowels According to Edelman2
- 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>.2

Vowels According to Lunsford3
- 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/.3 Retracted or retroflex vowels are also found in Kalash-mondr.4


The phonemic status of the breathy voiced series is debatable.

Labial Coronal Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ɳ)
Stop Plain p t ʈ k
Aspirated ʈʰ
Voiced b d ɖ ɡ
Breathy Voiced ɖʱ ɡʱ
Affricate Plain (ts ?)
Aspirated tʂʰ tʃʰ
Fricative Plain s ʂ ʃ x h
Voiced ʐ ʒ ɣ
Lateral Plain l
Fricative (t)ɬ (?)
Rhotic r (ɽ?)
Semivowel j w


  1. ^ Torwali at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ a b c Edelman, D. I. (1983). The Dardic and Nuristani Languages. Moscow: (Institut vostokovedenii︠a︡ (Akademii︠a︡ nauk SSSR). p. 226. 
  3. ^ a b c Lunsford, Wayne A. (2001), "An overview of linguistic structures in Torwali, a language of Northern Pakistan", M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Arlington: 26–30 
  4. ^ Kochetov, Alexei; Arsenault, Paul (2008), Retroflex harmony in Kalasha: Agreement or spreading?, NELS 39, Cornell University  | page= 4


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