Native toChitral District, Pakistan
Native speakers
6,000 (2020)[1]
Arabic script (Nastaʿlīq)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ydg

The Yidgha language (یدغا زڤون) is an Eastern Iranian language of the Pamir group spoken in the upper Lotkoh Valley (Tehsil Lotkoh) of Chitral in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Yidgha is similar to the Munji language spoken on the Afghan side of the border.

The Garam Chashma area became important during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan because the Soviets were unable to stop the flow of arms and men back and forth across the Dorah Pass that separates Chitral from Badakshan in Afghanistan. Almost the entire Munji-speaking population of Afghanistan fled across the border to Chitral during the War in Afghanistan.


According to Georg Morgenstierne (1931), the name Yidgha probably derives from *(h)ind(a,i)-ka-, likely referring to the part of the Munji tribe that settled on the "Indian" or "Indo-Aryan" side near the Lotkoh Valley. Ľubomír Novák (2013) revises the reconstruction as *hindū̆-ka-ka-, with the same assumption.


The Yidgha language has not been given serious study by linguists, except that it is mentioned by Georg Morgenstierne (1926), Kendall Decker (1992) and Badshah Munir Bukhari (2005). A 280-page joint description of Yidgha and Munji (descriptive and historical phonetics and grammar, glossary with etymologies where possible) is given by Morgenstierne (1938).

Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world.[1] Although Khowar is the predominant language of Chitral, more than ten other languages are spoken here. These include Kalasha-mun, Palula, Dameli, Gawar-Bati, Nuristani, Yidgha, Burushaski, Wakhi, Kyrgyz, the Madaglashti dialect of Persian, and Pashto. Since many of these languages have no written form, letters are usually written in Urdu.

See also


  1. ^ Yidgha at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference e25 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Further reading