Native toPakistan
Native speakers
over 100,000 (2017)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3xhe
Khetrani is a minor language of Pakistan which is mainly spoken in Barkhan District, it is given a space in this map.

Khetrānī, or Khetranki,[2] is an Indo-Aryan language of north-eastern Balochistan. It is spoken by the majority of the Khetrans,[3] an ethnolinguistic tribe that occupies a hilly tract in the Sulaiman Mountains comprising the whole of Barkhan District as well as small parts of neighbouring Kohlu District to the south-west, and Musakhel District to the north.[4] Alternative names for the language attested at the start of the 20th century are Barāzai and Jāfaraki.[5]

Khetrani has grammatical features in common with both Sindhi and with Saraiki,[6] but is not mutually intelligible with either.[7] Khetrani has a relatively small number of Balochi loanwords in its vocabulary.[8] Khetrani was formerly a dialect continuum of both Sindhi and Saraiki.[6]

It is likely to have been formerly spoken over a wider area, which has been reduced with the expansion of Pashto from the north and Balochi from the south-east.[9] The earlier suggestion that Khetrani might be a remnant of a Dardic language[10] has been found "difficult to substantiate" by more detailed recent research.[11]


The Khetrans. It is certain that the whole of the triangular block of hill now occupied by the Marris was in the possession of Indian tribes before the Baloch invasion. They were gradually destroyed or absorbed by the Baloch from the south and the Afghans from the north and such names as Shahdedja among the Marris and Haripal among the Afghans to the north indicate that fragments of these tribes remain among the Baloch and the Afghans. The Khetrans however between the Afghan and the Baloch have preserved their identity and their peculiar Indian dialect to the present day.[12]

Sample words

Words comparison[13]
English Khetrani Sindhi Saraiki
What Chhā Chhā Ki/Kya
Which Kēhā Kehro Kehra
My Mujo/Meejo Muhnjo Maida
We Asān/Aseen Asān/Aseen Asān
To me Maikh/Meekh Mukhey Maiku
You Awa(n)/Awē Tawha/Awha Tusān
After Ninjā Poi Pher
All Nūlā Sabh, Sajo, Sabhai Sara


  1. ^ Birmani & Ahmed (2017, pp. 4–5) estimate that it is spoken by at least 100,000 people out of an ethnic population of about 150,000. Two decades previously, Elfenbein (1994, p. 72) had estimated the number of speakers between 40,000 and 45,000.
  2. ^ Grierson 1919, p. 372.
  3. ^ Birmani & Ahmed 2017, pp. 4–5.
  4. ^ Birmani & Ahmed 2017, p. 3, 5.
  5. ^ Minchin 1907, p. 71.
  6. ^ a b Birmani & Ahmed 2017.
  7. ^ Elfenbein 1994, pp. 71–72.
  8. ^ Elfenbein 1994, p. 73.
  9. ^ Birmani & Ahmed 2017, p. 5.
  10. ^ Masica 1991, p. 443.
  11. ^ Birmani & Ahmed 2017, p. 21.
  12. ^ E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936 By M. Th. Houtsma, A. J. Wensinck page 631
  13. ^ "Linguistic Survey of India". p. 373. Retrieved 2024-07-01.