Native toBadakhshan Province, Afghanistan
Native speakers
5,300 (2008)[1]
Perso-Arabic script[2][circular reference]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mnj
Munji is classified as Severely endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger (2010)[3]

The Munji language (Persian: مونجی), also known as Munjani (مونجانی), Munjhan (مونجهان), and the Munjiwar language,[4] is a Pamir language spoken in Munjan valley in Badakhshan Province in northeast Afghanistan. It is similar to the Yidgha language, which is spoken in the Upper Lotkoh Valley of Chitral, west of Garam Chashma in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.[5]

Historically, Munji displays the closest possible linguistic affinity with the now-extinct Bactrian language.[6]

The Garam Chashma area became important during the Soviet–Afghan War. During the invasion, the Soviets were unable to stop the flow of arms and men back and forth across the Dorah Pass that separates Chitral, in Pakistan, from Badakshan in Afghanistan. The two dialects spoken in the area of Mamalgha Valley and the area of Munjan Valley differed, being the northern and southern dialects. The language has moved to parts of Chitral, after the War in Afghanistan forced the Munji-speaking people to flee to safer areas.[7]

Despite Dari being the predominant language of the region, attitudes towards Munji are highly positive, and among speakers, few predict a decline in use.[8]


Munji Consonants[9]
Labial Dental/


Post-alv. Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop voiceless p t ʈ c k q
voiced b d ɖ ɟ ɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡ʃ t͡ʂ
voiced d͡z d͡ʒ d͡ʐ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ ʂ ç x χ h
voiced v z ʒ ʐ ʝ
Approximant l j w
Tap/Trill r ɽ
Munji Vowels
Front Central Back
Close u
Near-close ʊ
Mid ə ɔ̜ː
Open a ɐ ɑː


Zabanha is one of the major language revival organisations of northern Afghanistan and has created an alphabet for Munji.[10]

Letter Romanization IPA
آ o /ɔ/
ا a /ə/
أ ā /a/
ب b /b/, /p̚/
پ p /p/, /pʰ/
ت t /t/, /tʰ/
ث (s) /s/
ج ǰ /d͡ʒ/, /ɖ͡ʐ
چ č /t͡ʃ/, /ʈ͡ʂ
ح (h) /ɦ/
خ x /x/
څ c, ẓ /t͡s/, /d͡z/
د d /d/, /d̚/
ذ (z) /z/
ر r /r/, /ɻ/
ز z /z/
ژ ž /ʒ/, /ʐ/
س s /s/
ش š /ʃ/, ʂ
ښ /ç/
ص (s) /s/
ض (z) /z/
ط (t) /t/
ظ (z) /z/
ع ʿ /ʔ/
غ ǧ /ɣ/
ف f /f/
ڤ v /v/
ق q /q/
ک k /k/, /kʰ/
ݢ /cʲ/, /c͡ç/
گ g /g/, /ɡ̚/
ڱ ǵ /ɟʲ/, /ɟ͡ʝ/
ل l /l/
م m /m/
ن n /n/
و w, ū /w/, /u/
ؤ ū /u/
ه h, ʿ /h/, /ʔ/
ۍ y, ʿ /j/, /ʔ/
ي ī /i/
ې e /ɛ/
ی y /j/


  1. ^ Munji at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ fa:زبان مونجی
  3. ^ "Atlas of the world's languages in danger". p. 42. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  4. ^ "Did you know Munji is threatened?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  5. ^ Risley, H.H.; E.A. Gait (1903). Report on the Census of India, 1901. Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing. p. 294. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06.
  6. ^ Waghmar, Burzine K. (2001) 'Bactrian History and Language: An Overview.' Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, 64. pp. 40-48.
  7. ^ Decker, Kendell D. (1992). Languages of Chitral. National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan and Summer Institute of Linguistics. p. 50.
  8. ^ Daniela Beyer; Simone Beck (2011). "A linguistics assessment of the Munji language in Afghanistan". Language Documentation and Conservation. 6: 38–103.
  9. ^ Moran, Steven; McCloy, Daniel; Wright, Richard (2012). "Revisiting population size vs. phoneme inventory size". Language. 88 (4): 877–893. doi:10.1353/lan.2012.0087. hdl:1773/25269. ISSN 1535-0665. S2CID 145423518.
  10. ^ "Munji | Zabanha".

Further reading