|Native speakers||5,000 (2001)|
Emil Perder's 2013 dissertation, A Grammatical Description of Dameli, based on the author's field work, is the first comprehensive description of the Dameli language. Before Perder's work, the main source of information on Dameli was an article by Georg Morgenstierne, published in 1942: "Notes on Dameli: A Kafir-Dardic Language of the Chitral". A sociolinguistic survey written by Kendall Decker (1992) contains a chapter on Dameli.
The language is classified as a Dardic language but this is more of a geographical classification than a linguistic one. The Dardic languages have been historically seen as Indo-Iranian, but today they are placed within Indo-Aryan following Morgenstierne's work.
Dameli is still the main language in the villages where it is spoken, and is regularly learned by children. Most of the men speak Pashto as a second language, and some also speak Khowar and Urdu but there are no signs of massive language change.
The Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. 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, Gujar, Wakhi, Kyrgyz, Persian and Pashto. Since many of these languages have no written form, letters are usually written in Urdu or Persian.
The following tables set out the phonology of the Dameli Language.
|Rhotic||r||rʲ ~ ç (?)|
- Dameli reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Bashir, Elena (2007). "The Indo-Aryan languages". In Jain, Danesh; Cardona, George. p. 905. ISBN ISBN 978-0415772945. "'Dardic' is a geographic cover term for those Northwest Indo-Aryan languages which [..] developed new characteristics different from the IA languages of the Indo-Gangetic plain. Although the Dardic and Nuristani (previously 'Kafiri') languages were formerly grouped together, Morgenstierne (1965) has established that the Dardic languages are Indo-Aryan, and that the Nuristani languages constitute a separate subgroup of Indo-Iranian."
- Edelman, D. I. (1983). The Dardic and Nuristani Languages. Moscow: Institut vostokovedenii︠a︡ (Akademii︠a︡ nauk SSSR). p. 129.
- Decker, Kendall D. (1992) Languages of Chitral. Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan, 5. Islamabad: National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University and Summer Institute of Linguistics. xxii, 257 p. ISBN 969-8023-15-1.
- Morgenstierne, Georg (1926) Report on a Linguistic Mission to Afghanistan. Instituttet for Sammenlignende Kulturforskning, Serie C I-2. Oslo. ISBN 0-923891-09-9.
- Morgenstierne, Georg (1942) "Notes on Dameli. A Kafir-Dardic Language of Chitral." Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap Vol. 12: 115 - 198.
- Perder, Emil (2013) A Grammatical Description of Dameli. Dissertation, Stockholm: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University. ISBN 9789174477702.
- Richard Strand's Nuristan site with relevant material on closely related languages in Afghanistan