Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Language Policy and Language Conflict in Afghanistan and Its Neighbors: The Changing Politics of Language Choice

Start Page


Last Page



Balochi is known in the literature of area studies and linguistics as a series of dialects, for the most part mutually intelligible, differing mainly in vocabulary and the degree of influence from neighboring languages, mainly Persian (cf. Elfenbein 1989a, 1989b). It is spoken by three to five million people in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Oman and the Persian Gulf states, Turkmenistan, East Africa, and diaspora communities in other parts of the world. But some communities on the peripheries of this distribution, isolated from other Balochi-speaking communities in Punjab, Sindh, India and elsewhere, have ceased to be Balochi-speaking. The most important contributors to modern studies of the Baloch have been Joseph Elfenbein and Carina Jahani. Jahani (1989:86-90) summarises the official status of Balochi in each country, and is a valuable source for the situation with regard to standardization and literacy up to 1989.



Date Posted: 28 October 2016