Rushani dialect

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rixū̊n ziv
Native toAfghanistan, Tajikistan
Native speakers
(18,000 cited 1990)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Rushani is one of the Pamir languages spoken in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

The Roshan area is located in the northern part of the Shighnan District, in the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan.[what about Tajikistan?] Roshan consists of six villages, five of which are located on the bank of the river Panj, which meets[clarification needed] at the border of Tajikistan.[3] Most Rushani speakers belong to the Ismaili branch of Shi'a Islam.[3]

Language use[edit]

Rushani, like other Shugni dialects, is only used in unofficial settings. All of the children in the community learn Rushani as their first language and rely heavily on it until they enroll in school. It is only then that they learn the official language of the country.[3] Adult speakers are all bi- or tri-lingual in Tajik and Russian.

Traditionally Rushani was not a written language, with Rushani speakers writing in Tajik.[4]. Writing systems have been developed for the language using Cyrillic and Latin scripts, for example for use in translation of parts of the bible by the Institute for Bible Translation.


Rushani is unusual in having a transitive case – a so-called double-oblique clause structure – in the past tense. That is, in the past tense,[5] the agent and object of a transitive verb are both marked, while the subject of an intransitive verb is not. In the present tense, the object of the transitive verb is marked, the other two roles are not – that is, a typical nominative–accusative alignment.[6] See transitive case for examples.

More on Rushani Dialect[edit]

Rushani people were a part of the West Pamir ethnic groups that belonged to the Nizari Branch. The Nizari branch was led by the leader Agha Khan the Fourth. The Rushani language group is amongst the few groups that is genetically related and is located close to other locations, all in one region.[7]


  • Zarubin, I.I.. Bartangskie i rushanskie teksty i slovar. Moskva : Izd-vo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1937.
  • Payne, John, "Pamir languages" in Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, ed. Schmitt (1989), 417–444.
  • Payne, John. "The decay of ergativity in Pamir languages." Lingua 51:147-186.


  1. ^ Shughni at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Rushani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b c Muller, K. 2010: Language in Community-Oriented and Contact-Oriented Domains: The Case of the Shughni of Tajakistan. SIL International.
  4. ^ Dodykhudoeva, L. 2007: Revitalization of minority languages: comparative dictionary of key cultural terms in the languages and dialects of the Shugni-Rushani group. London: SOAS.
  5. ^ or perhaps perfective aspect
  6. ^ J.R. Payne, 'Language Universals and Language Types', in Collinge, ed. 1990. An Encyclopedia of Language. Routledge. From Payne, 1980.
  7. ^ R Dodykhudoeva, Leila. "Ethno-cultural heritage of the peoples of West Pamir." Collegium antropologicum 28.1 (2004): 147-159.

External links[edit]

  • Rushani [1] at the Endangered Languages Project