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Survey of Northern Pakistan: Languages of Kohistan Volume 1

Survey of Northern Pakistan: Languages of Kohistan Volume 1

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Publicado porjuliesheil

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Published by: juliesheil on Jun 24, 2010
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10/27/2011

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As stated above, it seems apparent from interviews with
Chilisso speakers that there is not a strongly positive attitude
toward maintaining the Chilisso language. Nearly everyone
interviewed claimed that there are Chiliss Khel people who no
longer speak the language. In the village of Mahrin it was
suggested that there may be only fifteen to twenty of the older
people who still speak it. In Jalkot it would appear that there are
still a number of people who speak the language to some degree;
most mother tongue estimates were under 1600. But even there,
it seems that many have shifted from speaking Chilisso in favor
of Shina, the major language on that side of the river. Interviews
also revealed that people of the Chiliss Khel do intermarry with
Shina-speaking people, and in such cases it is often Shina that is
spoken by the children in the home. A few respondents said that
in such cases a mixture of the two languages would be spoken by
the children. One question that exists for many of these people is
which language really is their first language. Although Chilisso
might be thought of as the first language for some, there are no
doubt many from the Chiliss Khel who grow up primarily
speaking Shina. Even if Chilisso is used primarily in some
homes, Shina is the major language of use in the wider
community.

It should also be noted that most of those interviewed
thought it possible that one day their language would cease to be
actively spoken. Although this by itself does not prove that it will
in fact one day cease to exist, it does serve as an indicator of
declining vitality. It would not be typical for the people from this
area to make such a statement about a language they identify as
their own, if it did not have some basis in their perception of
reality.

A point that further underscores the idea that language shift
is taking place in this community is the fact that of the thirteen

Languages of Indus Kohistan

123

individuals who were asked, four said that they spoke Chilisso in
their home as a child but speak Shina in their home today.

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