Tirahi language

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Tirahi
Native to Afghanistan
Ethnicity perhaps 5,000 (no date)[1]
Native speakers
(undated figure of 100)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tra
Glottolog tira1253[2]

Tirahi, also called Dardù, is a nearly extinct if not already extinct[3] Dardic language[4] of the Kohistani group spoken in the Nangarhar Province of Northeastern Afghanistan. It is spoken by older adults, who are likewise fluent in Southern Pashto.[1]

Geographic Distribution[edit]

Spoken in the Nangarhar Province of Northeastern Afghanistan, there are about 100 native speakers today, if any. This is mainly due to the majority of the Tirahi people having assimilated into the dominant Pashtun culture of Afghanistan. In its place, Tirahi connects the Dardic languages spoken in Dardistan with languages which reach down to the mouth of the Indus River, showing Dardic influence. Thus, it could be the missing link connecting a chain of languages between the Hindu Kush and Goa.[5] In possibly being the missing link, Dardic influence can even be found in the Central Indian Bhil Languages as well as the Konkani dialect of Marathi.[6] Tirahi is also spoken in a couple of villages southeast of the Afghan city of Jalalabad,[7] such as Jaba, Mitarani, and Bara-khel.[8]

Classification and Related Languages[edit]

Tirahi is a Dardic language, along with Kalasha, Gawar-Bati, and Pashayi languages.[5] Further, Tirahi is part of the sub-group of Kohistani languages along with languages such as Bateri, Chilisso, Gowro, and others. However, Tirahi also shares with languages spoken farther to the east, such as Kashmiri.[5] As a Dardic Language, Tirahi strongly preserves some vocabulary of spoken Sanskrit (cow - dēn in Tirahi, dhēnuh in Sanskrit, hand - ast in Tirahi, hastah in Sanskrit).[5] Being a language spoken in Afghanistan, Tirahi shares various words and grammatical constructs with Pashto, a language spoken throughout Afghanistan to which many Tirahi speakers have become accustomed to speaking. Since Tirahi is entirely separated from the other Dardic languages, located south of the Kabul River and west of the Khyber Pass, rendering it wholly encased by Pashto.[7] Tirahi also shares some vocabulary with Kashmiri and Shina such as the Tirahi mala, for a father, the Kashmiri mol, and the Shina malo.[6]

Grammar[edit]

Tirahi shows much influence from Pashto in phonology, lexicon and even morphology. However, its vocabulary exhibits a connection to Kohistani dialects. Therefore, Tirahi seems to occupy an intermediate position between Pashto and the Kohistani group.[9] Morgenstirne claims that Tirahi is "probably the remnant of a dialect group extending from Tirahi through the Peshawar district into Swat and Dir"[10]

Nouns and Adjectives[edit]

Tirahi is an inflected language, having 5 cases: Nominative, Oblique, Genitive, Dative, and Ablative. Adjectives, verbs, and nouns usually agree according to gender. Consonant-final nouns add e or a along with their traditional endings.[11] There appears to be an indefinite article, added to the end of the word as an -ī, similar to Farsi.[5]

Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative mala - 'father' mala adam - 'man' adam-a
Oblique mala mal-an adam-a adam-an
Dative mala-s mala adam-a-s adam-an
Ablative mala-si mala-si adam-a-si adam-an
Genitive mala-ma mala-si adam-a-ma adam-an-si

Pronouns[edit]

1st person pronouns:

Singular Plural
Nominative au, ao mā, ao
Oblique mēn
Dative ma-si ma-si
Genitive myāna (m), myāni (s), myāna (p?) N/A

2nd person pronouns:

Singular Plural
Nominative tu, to tao
Oblique
Dative ta-si N/A
Genitive cā-na (m), cā-nī (m), cā-nī (f), cā-na (mfp) tāma, tema

Verbs[edit]

  1. Non finite forms
    1. Infinitive: stem + an (karan - 'to do/make')
  2. Tense-aspect forms
    1. Imperative Singular: stem, Imperative Plural: stem + V
    2. Present-future: root + endings - 1st: - m, 2nd: -s, 3rd: -e, 1st plural: -en
    3. Definite Present: da/de + present-future

Example Sentences[edit]

  • Abo-e kata dur thi? ('Village' + 'how much far' + 'is')
    • "How far is your village?"
  • Pali de kham ('Bread' + Definite Future + 'Eat')
    • "I am eating bread."
  • La brok odasta ga ('He' + 'Very' + 'Hungry' + 'become/go')
    • "He became very hungry"
  • Ao mara ga-m ('I' + 'die' + 'become')
    • "I died/am dead"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Tirahi at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Tirahi". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ "Tirahi". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2016-04-27. It is very likely that this language is extinct. The Tirahi are “a group of unclear origin, almost completely assimilated by Pashtun” (Pstrusinska and Gray 1990). 
  4. ^ Prakāśaṃ, Vennelakaṇṭi (2008-01-01). Encyclopaedia of the Linguistic Sciences: Issues and Theories. Allied Publishers. p. 143. ISBN 9788184242799. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Grierson, George (March 1925). "On The Tirahi Language". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland: 408. JSTOR 25220761. 
  6. ^ a b Grierson, G. (1925). On the Tirahi language. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (New Series), 57(03), 405-416.
  7. ^ a b Voegelin, C.F.; Voegelin, F.M. (1965). "Languages of the World: Indo-European Fascicle One". Anthropological Linguistics. 7: 286. 
  8. ^ Stein, Aurel (Jul 1925). "Notes on Tirahi. The Speakers of Tirahi". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 3: 401–402. 
  9. ^ Jain, Dhanesh; Cardona, George (2003-01-01). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 857. ISBN 9780700711307. 
  10. ^ Turner, R. L. (1934-01-01). "Review of Report on a Linguistic Mission to North-Western India". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (4): 801–803. JSTOR 25201006. 
  11. ^ Jain, Dhanesh; Cardona, George (2003-01-01). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. pp. 857–9, also for all grammatical information below. ISBN 9780700711307. 


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