Shina language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Native to Pakistan, India
Region Gilgit-Baltistan, Gurais, Chitral,
Native speakers
(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]
Shina language.png
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]

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 Drass)[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 Southern Hunza 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:[5]

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.[5]


In Shina there are the following diphthongs:[6]

  • 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


Shina has three contrasting tones: level, rising, and falling tones.

Example: 1.the............2.thée.........3.theé 1. The first example "the" has a level tone and is translated by the imperative "Do". 2. When the stress falls on the first mora of a long vowel, the tone is falling. Thus the second example means "Will you do?". 3. When the stress falls on the second mora of a long vowel, the tone is rising. Thus the third example means "After having done". There are many minimal pairs in Shina 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. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Shina". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kohistani Shina". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ "Mosaic Of Jammu and Kashmir". 
  5. ^ a b Rajapurohit 2012, p. 28–31.
  6. ^ 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]