Shina language

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Native to Pakistan, India
Region Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, parts of Kashmir
Native speakers
unknown (500,000 cited 1981–1998)[1]
Arabic script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
scl – Shina
plk – Kohistani Shina
Glottolog shin1264  (Shina)[2]
kohi1248  (Kohistani Shina)[3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Shina (Urdu: شیناŠīnā) is a language from the Dardic sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages family spoken by the Shina people, a plurality of the people in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas of Pakistan.[4] The separate nature of the Dardic languages is still clear, however, form their close relationship with other Indo-Aryan languages, especially Punjabi.[5]

Dialects are Gilgiti (the prestige dialect), Astori, Chilasi Kohistani, Drasi, Gurezi, Jalkoti, Kolai, and Palasi. Related languages spoken by ethnic Shina are Brokskat (the Shina of Baltistan and Ladakh)[citation needed], Domaa, Kohistani Shina, Palula, Savi, and Ushojo. Shina is the language of 40% people of Gilgit Baltistan.The valleys in which it is spoken include Astore, Chilas, Darel, Tangir, Gilgit, Ghizer, Gurez, Drass, Juglot Valley, Drotte Palas, Kolai, and Kohistan.


Shina is usually written with a variation of the Urdu alphabet. The additional letters to write Shina are:

  • ݜ for /ʂ/
  • ڙ for /ʐ/
  • څ for /ts/
  • ڇ for /ʈʂ/
  • ݨ for /ɳ/

The language is also written in Devanagari script as well, using the nuqta dot for additional Shina sounds.



The Shina principal vowel sounds:[6]

Front Mid Back
unrounded rounded
High i u
Lower high e o
Higher low ɛ ə ʌ ɔ
Low a

All vowels but /ɔ/ can be either long or nasalized, though no minimal pairs with the contrast are found.[6]


In Shina there are the following diphthongs:[7]

  • falling: ae̯, ao̯, eə̯, ɛi̯, ɛːi̯, ue̯, ui̯, oi̯, oə̯;
  • falling nasalized: ãi̯, ẽi̯, ũi̯, ĩũ̯, ʌĩ̯;
  • raising: u̯i, u̯e, a̯a, u̯u.


Labial Coronal Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop Plain p t ʈ k
Aspirated ʈʰ
Voiced b d ɖ ɡ
Affricate Plain ts
Aspirated tsʰ tʂʰ tʃʰ
Voiced dz[a] [a]
Fricative Plain (f) s ʂ ʃ x[a] h
Voiced z ʐ ʒ[a] ɣ[a] ɦ[a]
Nasal m n ɳ ŋ
Lateral l
Rhotic r ɽ[b]
Semivowel ʋ~w j
  1. ^ a b c d e f According to Rajapurohit (2012, p. 33–34)
  2. ^ Degener (2008, p. 14) lists it as a phoneme


Tshina has three contrasting tones, level and rising and low tone. Example: 1.the............2.thee.........3.thee 1. leveled "the" is Imperative meaning "Do". 2. The stress is on the first morel means "Will you do?" 3. The stress is on the last morel means "After having done". There are many minimal pairs in Tshina to prove that it contains three tones.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shina at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kohistani Shina at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Shina". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kohistani Shina". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ "Mosaic Of Jammu and Kashmir". 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Rajapurohit 2012, p. 28–31.
  7. ^ Rajapurohit 2012, p. 32–33.


  • Calvin R. Rensch, Sandra J. Decker, Daniel G. Hallberg. (1992). Languages of Kohistan (Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan, 1). National Institute of Pakistani Studies, 263 pp. ISBN 969-8023-11-9.
  • Backstrom, Peter C. (1992). Languages of Northern Areas (Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan, 2). 417 pp. ISBN 969-8023-12-7.
  • Degener, Almuth. (2008). Shina-Texte aus Gilgit (Nord-Pakistan): Sprichwörter und Materialien zum Volksglauben, gesammelt von Mohammad Amin Zia. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. Contains a Shina grammar, German-Shina and Shina-German dictionaries, and over 700 Shina proverbs and short texts.
  • Rajapurohit, B. B. (2012). Grammar of Shina Language and Vocabulary (PDF). 
  • Zia, Muhammad Amin. (1986). Shina Grammar. First Shina grammar to be written in Shina.
  • Zia, Muhammad Amin. Shina Lughat (Shina Dictionary). First available Shina dictionary, containing 15000 words plus material on the phonetics of Shina.
  • Zia Muhammad Amin. Bayaak (Meeting Place) Shina Radio Features, translation and inter linear explanation in English by Prof. Dr. Gearg Buddruss and Almuth Degener. Published in Germany

External links[edit]