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Language Spoken

Urdu is the official language of Jammu & Kashmir though, the local language in Jammu & Kashmir is Kashmiri.

Kashmiri is also called Koshur, and it is a language of Indo-Aryan origin. Kashmiri is the language of people living within Kashmir valley while Ladakhi is the language of those living in Ladakh and Dogri is mostly spoken by those living in Jammu.

Kashmiri Pandits and Gujjar people within the state mostly speak Hindi. Urdu that is a language of Indo-European origin is largely spoken by Muslim population within Kashmir. Urdu language is similar sounding to Hindi.

The educated class, as well as guides, within the state speak in English.


  • Kashmiri is considered as one amongst the 22 national languages within India.

  • There are approximately more than 5 million speakers within northern regions of the country.

  • This is largely spoken within the Kashmir valley in the Jammu & Kashmir administered state, where it is regarded as an official language. As many as 105,000 immigrants speak this language within Pakistan from Kashmir Valley.

  • Many speakers of Kashmiri language also speak in English, Urdu and Hindi as the second language.

Area and Speakers

Native speakers call Kashmiri language ka-shir zaba-n or ka-shur. This language is mostly spoken within Kashmir Valley of Jammu & Kashmir state within India. As per the census of 1981 there are approximately 30,76,398 people who speak this language. The census for the year 1991 was not conducted. After considering an increase in population over the year, it can be predicted that the current number of speakers of this language are approximately four million. Kashmiri language is also spoken by Kashmiri people settled in other areas within India and those settled in other countries. The language spoken in neighboring areas of Srinagar is largely considered being the standard variety. The language is also used in literature, education as well as mass media.

Classification and Dialects

Historical linguists have a consensus that Kashmiri language belongs to Dardic branch of Indo-Aryan family. Kashmiri is classified under the Dardic group in Indo-Aryan languages by Grierson (1919) as well as Mogenstierne (1961) and Fussman (1972).

The Dardic t.mp3 is not considered a linguistic expression but is stated as only a geographical convention. Classification of the Kashmiri, as well as the other Dardic languages, was reviewed in certain works (Kachru in 1969 followed by Strand in 1973 and Koul and Schmidt, in 1984). This review was done with different purposes. Kachru pointed the linguistic characteristics of the Kashmiri language. Strand presented observations on the Kafir languages. Koul and Schmidt reviewed literature on classification of the Dardic languages. They also investigated linguistic characteristics or the different features of the languages with specific reference to Kashmiri as well as Shina.

Kashmiri has Two Types of Dialects

(a) Regional dialects

(b) The Social dialects.

Regional Dialects Can be Further Classified in Two Types

  • The regional dialects or the variations that are spoken within regions inside the Kashmir valley

  • Those dialects or variations spoken within regions that are outside the Kashmir valley.

Kashmiri Speaking Areas Within the Valley are Divided Ethno-Semantically into Three Different Regions

(1) Maraz (southern as well as the south-eastern region),

(2) Kamraz (northern & the north-western region) and

(3) Srinagar along with its neighboring areas.

There are certain minimal linguistic variations that are mostly at phonological as well as lexical levels. Kashmiri spoken within these three regions is homogeneous and completely mutually intelligible. Such dialectical variations are t.mp3ed to be different styles in the same speech. Kashmiri, spoken within and around Srinagar area has gained considerable social prestige, and so frequent ‘style switching’ from Kamrazi or Marazi styles to the style spoken within Srinagar and surrounding areas takes place. Such style switching phenomena is quite common, particularly among the educated speakers of the language. Kashmiri spoken within Srinagar, and other surrounding areas continues to be regarded as the standard variety that is largely used within mass media as well as literature.

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