|Palula language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
|Native speakers||10,000 (date missing)|
|Writing system||Palula alphabet (Nastaʿlīq script), see other less-used writing systems below|
|Official language in||No official status|
|Regulated by||Khowar Academy, (Pakistan); Literary Association for Promotion of Chitrali languages, Chitral (Pakistan)|
Palula (also spelled Phalura, Palola, Phalulo), Ashreti, Aćharêtâʹ, or Dangarikwar (the name used by Khowar speakers), is a language spoken by approximately 10,000 people in the valleys of Ashret and Biori, as well as in the village Puri (also Purigal) in the Shishi valley, and at least by a portion of the population in the village Kalkatak, in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. A related variety of this language is spoken in the village Sau in Afghanistan, and another closely related variety in the village Khalkot in Dir District. Palula is pronounced as /paaluulaá/, with three long vowels and a rising pitch on the final syllable.
The people of Ashret are important because they are strategically located at the main gate to Chitral. All persons entering Chitral through Lowari Top, the 10,230 feet (3,120 m) high pass which connects Chitral to Dir and the rest of Pakistan, must pass the customs checkpost at Ashret.
The area where Palula is spoken includes
Tradition has it that the people of Ashret are originally from Chilas in the Indus River Valley. The Mehtar or ruler of Chitral appointed them as the guardians of the gate to Chitral at Ashret. The tradition that the people of Ashret originally come from Chilas is supported by locally recorded genealogies as well as independent historical records, from Chitral as well as the Indus valley. There is an unknown date to this story, but it appears to have happened 250–500 years ago. The present people of Chilas speak the related Shina language. Any connection they may have with the people of Ashret has been lost.
The Palula language has been documented by George Morgenstierne (1926, 1941), Kendall Decker (1992), Henrik Liljegren (2008, 2009, 2010), and Henrik Liljegren & Naseem Haider (2009, 2011). It is classified as a Dardic Language but this is more of a geographical classification than a linguistic one.
In some of the smaller villages, Palula has either ceased to be spoken (in the village Ghos, situated near Drosh) or its speakers are largely shifting (as in Puri and Kalkatak) to the more widely spoken Khowar language. However, in the main Palula settlements in the Biori and Ashret valleys, it is a strong, vibrant and growing language, as the population in those areas increases, and it is still with a few exceptions the mother tongue of almost all people.
In 2004, Anjuman-e-taraqqi-e-Palula, the Society for the promotion of Palula, was founded by people in the Palula community to promote the continued use of their language and to encourage research and documentation of their language, history and culture. After the establishment of a written form of the language, the society is now engaged in producing literature and educational material in Palula. In 2006, Palula Alifbe (Palula alphabet book) and Palula Shiluka (Palula stories) were jointly published by the Anjuman-e-taraqqi-e-Palula and the Frontier Language Institute in Peshawar.
In 2008, a mother-tongue based educational programme was launched by a local school management committee in Ashret and a first batch of Palula children could start learning to read and write in their own language. Since 2010, two schools operate within this programme in Ashret, using a curriculum developed by the community itself with assistance from the Forum for Language Initiatives (a regional language resource centre based in Islamabad).
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.
- Decker, Kendall D. (1992) Languages of Chitral ISBN 969-8023-15-1 http://www.ethnologue.com/show_work.asp?id=32850
- Liljegren, Henrik (2008) Towards a grammatical description of Palula: An Indo-Aryan language of the Hindu Kush. PhD dissertation, Stockholm University (Distributor: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden) ISBN 978-91-7155-599-1
- Liljegren, Henrik (2009) The Dangari Tongue of Choke and Machoke: Tracing the proto-language of Shina enclaves in the Hindu Kush. Acta Orientalia, 70, pp 7–62
- Liljegren, Henrik (2010) Where have all the verbs gone? On verb stretching and semi-words in Indo-Aryan Palula. Himalayan Linguistics, 9, pp 51–79, http://www.linguistics.ucsb.edu/HimalayanLinguistics/articles/2010/PDF/HLJ0901C.pdf
- Liljegren, Henrik & Naseem Haider (2009). Palula. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 39, pp 381–386, doi:10.1017/S0025100309990193. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=IPA&volumeId=39&issueId=03&iid=6596884
- Liljegren, Henrik & Naseem Haider (2011). Palula Vocabulary. FLI Language and Culture Series vol. 7. Islamabad: Forum for Language Initiatives. ISBN 978-969-9437-07-6.
- 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 (1941) Notes on Phalura: An unknown Dardic language of Chitral. Oslo: J. Dybwad.
- Strand, Richard F. (2001) The tongues of Peristân. Appendix 1, pp 251–257 in Gates of Peristan: History, Religion and Society in the Hindu Kush, Reports and memoirs, edited by Alberto M Cacopardo and Augusto S Cacopardo. Rome: IsIAO.
- The Languages Of Pakistan, Badshah Munir Bukhari ISBN 1-897323-30-2. London
- Liljegren PhD dissertation full text
- Palula research (Henrik Liljegren)
- Palulaforskning (Swedish)
- Palula phonology
- Palula morphology
- Palula sample text
- Phalura, A Language of Pakistan
- Georg Morgenstierne multimedia database
- Strand, Richard F. (1998). "An Account of Aćhar'îta History in Aćharêtâ'". Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- Strand, Richard F. (1998). "Genealogy of the Aćhar'îta". Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- Strand, Richard F. (2000). "Aćharêtâʹ Lexicon". Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- Strand, Richard F. (2000). "The Sound System of Aćharêtâʹ". Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- Strand, Richard F. (2000). "The Cognitive Geometry of Object Relationships: Case Markers and Subject Reference [in Aćharêtâʹ]". Retrieved 2012-01-16.