The native name of the language is Khō-wār, meaning "language" (wār) of the Kho people. During the British Raj it was known to the English as Chitrālī (a derived adjective from the name of the Chitral region) or Qāshqārī. Among the Pathans and Badakshis it is known as Kashkār. Another name, used by Leitner in 1880, is Arnyiá or Arniya, derived from the Shina language name for the part of the Yasin where Khowar is spoken.
Khowar has a variety of dialects, which may vary phonemically. The following tables lay out the basic phonology of Khowar.
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.
Since the early twentieth century Khowar has been written in the Khowar alphabet, which is based on the Urdu alphabet and uses the Nasta'liq script. Prior to that, the language was carried on through 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 occasionally written in a version of the Roman script called Roman Khowar since the 1960s.
The names of the days of the week, in Khowar, are compared with their equivalents in Shina, Sanskrit, and English. (It should be noted however that all the Khowar names except for that of 'Friday' are taken from the Dari Persian language; compare the name for 'Monday' with the Persian name of the city Dushambe.)
Swati Khowar (Swat Kohistan)
Lotkuhiwar (Lotkuh Valley)
Gherzikwar (Ghizer Valley)
Gilgiti Khowar (Gilgit-Baltistan), spoken by a few families in Gilgit city.