The Pamir languages are a group of the Eastern Iranian languages, spoken by numerous people in the Pamir Mountains, primarily along the Panj River and its tributaries. This includes the Badakhshan Province of northeastern Afghanistan and the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province of eastern Tajikistan. Smaller communities can be found in the adjacent areas of Pakistan where many have settled in recent decades. Sarikoli, one of the languages of the Pamir group, is spoken beyond the Sarikol Range on the Afghanistan-China border, and thus qualifies as the easternmost of the extant Iranian languages. The only other living member of the Southeastern Iranian languages is Pashto.
The Ethnologue lists Pamir languages along with Pashto as Southeastern Iranian, however, according to Encyclopedia Iranica, Pamir languages and Pashto belong to the North-Eastern Iranian branch. Members of the Pamir language group include Shughni, Sarikoli, Yazgulyam, Munji, Ishkashimi language, Wakhi, and Yidgha. They have the subject–object–verb syntactic typology.
The vast majority of Pamir languages speakers in Tajikistan and Afghanistan also use Tajik (Persian) as literary language, which is—unlike the languages of the Pamir group—a Southwestern Iranian tongue. The language group is endangered, with total number of speakers roughly around 100,000 (as of 1990).
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Pamir language family was sometimes referred to as the Ghalchah languages by western scholars. The term Ghalchah is no longer used to refer to the Pamir languages or the native speakers of these languages.
The Shughni, Sarikoli, and Yazgulyam languages belong to the Shugni–Yazgulami branch. There are about 75,000 speakers of languages in this family in Afghanistan and Tajikstan (including the dialects of Rushani, Bartangi, Oroshor, Khufi, and Shughni). As of 1982, there were about 20,000 speakers of Sarikoli in the Sarikol Valley located in the Tashkorgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang Province, China. Shughni and Sarikoli are not mutually intelligible. In 1994, there were 4000 speakers of Yazgulyam along the Yazgulyam River in Tajikistan. Yazgulyam is not written.
Sanglechi and Ishkashimi
The Vanji language was spoken in the Vanj river valley the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan, and was related to Yazgulyam. In the 19th century, the region was forcibly annexed to the Bukharan Emirate and a violent assimilation campaign was undertaken. By the end of the 19th century the Vanji language had disappeared, displaced by Tajik Persian.
- Payne, John, "Pamir languages" in Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, ed. Schmitt (1989), 417–444.
- Southeastern Iranian Family Tree. SIL International. Ethnologue: Languages of the World.
- Nicholas Sims-Williams, Eastern Iranian languages, in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 2010. "The Modern Eastern Iranian languages are even more numerous and varied. Most of them are classified as North-Eastern: Ossetic; Yaghnobi (which derives from a dialect closely related to Sogdian); the Shughni group (Shughni, Roshani, Khufi, Bartangi, Roshorvi, Sarikoli), with which Yaz-1ghulami (Sokolova 1967) and the now extinct Wanji (J. Payne in Schmitt, p. 420) are closely linked; Ishkashmi, Sanglichi, and Zebaki; Wakhi; Munji and Yidgha; and Pashto."
- In his 1892 work on the Avestan language Abraham Valentine Williams Jackson, The later Iranian languages, New Persian, Kurdish, Afghan, Ossetish, Baluchi, Ghalach and some minor modern dialects." Jackson, Abraham Valentine Williams (1892). An Avesta grammar in comparison with Sanskrit and The Avestan alphabet and its transcription. Stuttgart: AMS Press. p. xxx.
- Ethnolinguistic map of Tajikistan
- Ishkashimi story with English translation
- Ishkashimi-English Vocabulary List, also featuring words from other Pamir languages added for comparison
- English-Ishkashimi- Zebaki-Wakhi-Yazghulami Vocabulary
- A Short List of Yazghulami Words