Pakistan is a home to many sets of cultures and languages; it is the sixth most populous country in the world. Philologists reveal that there are over 300 dialects or languages spoken in the country today and each of them distinctively differ from one another.

In this piece of article, we will find out about the most popular languages spoken here in Pakistan.

Urdu

Urdu is The National Language of Pakistan, the first language of about 70 million people and spoken by 100 million people, mostly in Pakistan or India and in the rest of the world. About 10% of the people talk in Urdu. Urdu is one of the oldest and most popular languages of the Indo-European family. It is a mixture of Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages. Back in the 19th century, poetry was also written in the Urdu Language.

Punjabi

Punjabi, that is also known as Panjabi is counted in Indo-Aryan languages. In Pakistan, Punjabi is mostly spoken in the Punjab. However, the status of the language of Punjabi is reserved mostly for Urdu. Punjabi is known to be a dialect of many dialects. It is spoken as a first language by almost 39% of the people in Pakistan and it is the 11th most spoken languages not only in Pakistan but also in India.

Sindhi

Sindhi is one of the most popular languages of Pakistan which is based on the scripts of Devanagari and Arabic. A few major dialects of this language consist of Kachhi, Lasi, Vicholi, Machaira, Muslim Sindhi and Thari. It I s also an ancient Indo-Aryan language that is now spoken by many in Pakistan and some parts in India.

Pashto

The language of Pashto comes in three main regional categories which are Central Pashto, Northern Pashto and Southern Pashto. Central Pashto is mainly spoken in Iran or Afghanistan whereas, Northern and Southern Pashto are spoken in Pakistan. Pashto is also known as Pukhto. The people who speak Pashto language in Pakistan are mainly found in parts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is estimated that about 8% of the Pakistani people speak Pashto language.

Saraiki

Saraiki is also a part of the Indo-Aryan language family and is spoken by almost 10% people in Pakistan. This language is mainly found in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, Pakistan. It is also considered to be a dialect of Punjabi and is spoken as a minor language in India too, in parts of Punjab. Seraiki language is known by various names such as Landhi and Multani and Siraiki.

Hindko

Hindko is an ancient language in Pakistan which also belongs to the family of Indo-Aryan languages. The speakers of Hindko mostly live in the Northern side of Pakistan. There has always been a debate of Hindko language as most people believe that its dialect comes from Sindhi while other believe that it comes from Punjabi language. The name of Hindko comes from a merger of two words, which is Hind means Sindh while Ko means language.

Balochi

One of the most popular and common languages spoken in Pakistan, it is often spelled as Baluchi. It is the oldest languages of the sub-continent; this language is mostly spoken in Balochistan and Afghanistan. Balochi belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages group spoken in Indo-Iranian region. Balochi language is known to divided in various dialects, Southern Balochi, Western Balochi, Eastern Balochi and Northern Balochi.

Pahari-Pothwari

Pahari-Pothwari belongs to the Indo-Aryan family and is spoken on the sides of far North of Pakistani Punjab, Azad Kashmir and Jammu Kashmir (India). Pahari-Pothwari is also spoken in parts of Rawalpindi and Jhelum side, expanding on to the Southwards side of Salt Range. The language has been transitional between standard Punjabi and Hindko.

Memoni

Memoni is the language of Memons who are associated from West India but since many Memons migrated to Pakistan during the independence, this language is spoken mostly in Karachi Pakistan. This language is divided into three categories which is Sindhi Memoni, Kutchi Memoni and Kathiawadi Memoni. Memoni is said to be very similar to Sindhi language, however in Pakistan, Memoni had adopted many phrases and word from the Urdu language.

Gujrati

Gujarati was the mother tongue of Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Many of the Gujarati speakers moved to Karachi during independence. The communities that speak Gujarati language in Karachi are mostly Parsis, Gujaratis, Hindu communities and a few Memons.

Khowar

Khowar language belongs to the Indo-Aryan, Dardic group and is spoken in Chitral and Gilgit, Pakistan. However, Dardic is usually spoken in the Himalayan mountains and in the Hindukush. Khowar is spoken in Chitral by Kho people and spoken in some districts of Gilgit and Swat area. It is also spoken by the people of Kalash.

Author

Natasha Irshad holds a degree in Marketing & Management from University of London. She is interested in writing about education and pop culture.

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