Kohistani (Indus Kohistani)
RegionIndus Kohistan (Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Kolai-Palas districts as well as Tangir and Darel valleys)[1]
EthnicityIndus Kohistanis
Native speakers
(200,000 cited 1992)[2]
Perso-Arabic script (Nastaliq)
Language codes
ISO 639-3mvy
Kohistani is a minor language of Pakistan which is mainly spoken in the Kohistan region, it is given a space in this map.

Indus Kohistani or simply Kohistani (کوستَیں ژباں, Kōstaiñ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the former Kohistan District of Pakistan.[3] The language was referred to as Maiyã (Mayon) or Shuthun by early researchers, but subsequent observations have not verified that these names are known locally.[4]


The phonology of Indus Kohistani varies between its major dialects as shown below.[5]


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

In the Kanyawali dialect, the back vowels /u/ and /o/ are described as variants of each other, as are the front vowels /i/ and /e/.


Kohistani is spoken in multiple districts of KPK in north as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

The consonant inventory of Indus Kohistani is shown in the chart below. (Consonants particular to the Kanyawali Dialect of Tangir and those found only in the Kohistan Dialects are color-coded respectively.)

Labial Coronal Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal Voiced m n ɳ
Breathy Voiced ()
Stop Voiceless p t ʈ k (q)
Aspirated ʈʰ
Voiced b d ɖ ɡ
Breathy Voiced ɖʱ ɡʱ
Affricate Voiceless ts
Aspirated tsʰ tʃʰ
Fricative Voiceless f s ʂ ʃ x h
Voiced v z ʐ ʒ ɣ
Lateral l
Rhotic Voiced r ɽ
Breathy Voiced ɽʱ
Semivowel j w

The phonemes /x/, /ɣ/, and /q/ are mainly found in loan words. The status of /q/ in the Kanyawali Dialect is unclear. The sounds /f, v/ can also be bilabial [ɸ, β].[6]

See also


  1. ^ Frembgen, Jurgen Wasin (1999). "Indus Kohistan An Historical and Ethnographie Outline". Central Asiatic Journal. 43 (1): 71. JSTOR 41928174.
  2. ^ Kohistani (Indus Kohistani) at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  3. ^ Jain, Danesh; Cardona, George (2007-07-26). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 874. ISBN 978-1-135-79711-9.
  4. ^ Zoller 2005, p. 2.
  5. ^ Edelman 1983, pp. 246, 253.
  6. ^ Zoller 2005, p. 36.