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Khowar has been influenced by Iranian languages to a greater degree than other Dardic languages, and less by Sanskrit than Shina or the Kohistani languages. John Biddulph (Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh) was among the first westerners to study Khowar and claimed that further research would prove Khowar to be equally derived from "Zend" (Avestan, Old Persian) and Sanskrit.[this quote needs a citation]
Khowar may also have nasalized vowels and a series of long vowels/aː/, /eː/, /iː/, /oː/, and /uː/. Sources are inconsistent on whether length is phonemic, with one author stating "vowel-length is observed mainly as a substitute one. The vowel-length of phonological value is noted far more rarely." Unlike the neighboring and related Kalasha language, Khowar does not have retroflex vowels.
Khowar has been written in the Nasta'liq script since the early twentieth century. Prior to that, the administrative and literary language of the region was Persian and works such as poetry and songs in Khowar were passed down in oral tradition. Today Urdu and English are the official languages and the only major literary usage of Khowar is in both poetry and prose composition. Khowar has also been written in the Roman script since the 1960s. Badshah Munir Bukhari worked on the language and its family.