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Potwari, Potowari
Native to Pakistan, India
Region Pothohar region, Azad Kashmir and Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir)
Ethnicity Pothohari Punjabis
Native speakers
2.5 million (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 phr (includes other dialects)
Glottolog paha1251  Pahari Potwari[2]
Dialects Of Punjabi.jpg
Punjabi–Lahnda dialects. Pothohari is center-north, in light green.

Pothwari (پوٹھواری‬), Pothohari (پوٹھوہاری‬), or Pahari-Potowari is an Indo-Aryan language of Pakistan that is transitional between Hindko and Standard Punjabi.[3] It is spoken by inhabitants of the Pothohar Plateau in northern Punjab and in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan and Poonch of Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Speakers of Pothwari have a local linguistic, but not ethnic, identity that is separate from that of Punjabi and there has been a nascent, if not yet coherent, language movement.[4] There have been efforts at cultivation as a literary language,[5] although a local standard has not been established yet.[6]

Potohar scenery with pahar backdrop

It has been historically classified as a Punjabi dialect. Grierson in his early 20th-century Linguistic Survey of India assigned it to a so-called "Northern cluster" of Lahnda, but this classification, as well as the validity of the Lahnda grouping in this case, have been called into question.[7]


  1. ^ Pahari-Potwari at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pahari Potwari". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Shackle 1979, pp. 200–201.
  4. ^ Shackle 1983, p. 182; Shackle 1979, p. 198.
  5. ^ Masica 1991, p. 440.
  6. ^ Shackle 1983, p. 183.
  7. ^ Shackle 1979, p. 201: Pothohari "is often so close to Panjabi that any attempt to maintain the Lahndi scheme ought probably to reckon it as 'Lahndi merging into Panjabi'."


  • Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan languages. Cambridge language surveys. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-23420-7. 
  • Shackle, Christopher (1979). "Problems of classification in Pakistan Panjab". Transactions of the Philological Society. 77 (1): 191–210. doi:10.1111/j.1467-968X.1979.tb00857.x. ISSN 0079-1636. 
  • Shackle, Christopher (1983). "Language, Dialect and Local Identity in Northern Pakistan". In Wolfgang-Peter Zingel, Stephanie Zingel-Avé Lallemant (eds.). Pakistan in its fourth decade: current political, social and economic situation and prospects for the 1980s. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Orient-Instituts. 23. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut. pp. 175–87.