Badeshi: Not Quite Extinct.

Zafar Syed reports for the BBC on a language that was thought to be extinct but (like the fellow being put in the wheelbarrow) isn’t dead yet:

Badeshi used to be spoken widely in a remote snow-clad valley, deep in the mountains of northern Pakistan.

But it is now considered extinct.

Ethnologue, which lists all of the world’s languages, says it has had no known speakers for three or more generations.

But in the Bishigram Valley, we found three old men who can still speak in Badeshi. You can hear them in the video below.

Isn’t that neat? It’s also called Badakhshi, spoken in Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, and is an Indo-Iranian language Ethnologue classifies as “Unclassified.” There’s a nice interview with the men, with the usual lament (“Zaman Sagar says Torwali and Pashto speakers look down upon Badeshi, so there is a stigma attached to speaking it”), but it’s really great to see and hear them speaking it. Thanks, Trevor!


  1. SFReader says

    Its distinctiveness is unconfirmed; it may be a family name

    From WP article on Badeshi.

    So it’s not a language name, but simply a surname (or rather Arabic nisba – adjective indicating the person’s place of origin, tribal affiliation, or ancestry, used at the end of the name – e.g. Al-Baghdadi).

    Badeshi or Badakhshi means someone from Badakhshan region of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

  2. Greg Pandatshang says

    So, it’s doing better than Icelandic, I take it.

  3. Heh.


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