Kamkata-vari language

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Native toAfghanistan
RegionNuristan, Kunar
Native speakers
150,000 (2011-2017)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
bsh – Kati
xvi – Kamviri

Kamkata-vari is the largest Nuristani language. It contains the main dialects Kata-vari, Kamviri and Mumviri. Kata-vari and Kamviri are sometimes erroneously reckoned as two separate languages, but according to linguist Richard Strand they form one language.

The Kamkata-vari language is spoken by 40,000–60,000 people, from the Kata, Kom, Mumo, Kshto and some smaller Black-Robed tribes in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are dialectal differences of the Kamkata-vari speakers of Pakistan. The most used alternative names for the language are Kati or Bashgali.


It belongs to the Indo-European language family and is in the Nuristani group of the Indo-Iranian branch.


There are four main dialects: Eastern Kata-vari, Western Kata-vari, Kamviri and Mumviri. The last two are sometimes erroneously defined as separate languages.


Literacy rates are low: below 1% for people who have it as a first language and between 15% and 25% for people who have it as a second language. The Katavari dialect can be heard on radio in Afghanistan.


  1. ^ Kati at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
    Kamviri at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kati–Kamviri". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • Strand, Richard F. (2010). "Nurestâni Languages". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition. Retrieved 2012-01-16.

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