Kashmiri ( kə:šur) is extensively used in the Kashmir province of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The provincial division is not linguistic but rather geographical, as Kashmiri is also predominantly spoken throughout the hilly and mountainous regions of the Jammu province and covers all districts viz Doda, Udhampur, Rajouri, Poonch, Jammu and Kathua. Furthermore, Kashmiri is also spoken in some areas of Kashmir, which is under Pakistan and by the immigrant Kashmiris in India and abroad. According to 2001 census the total number of Kashmiri speakers is 55,27,698, including all the dialects, which makes about 54% of the total population. The European scholars have called Kashmiri by various names like Kashmir and Cashmere though the general term is Kashmiri, but to the native speakers this language is known as kə:šur or kə:šir zaba:n.
Dialects and Varieties
Grierson (1919) claims that Kashmiri has only one true dialect i.e. Kishtwari and a number of mixed dialects like Poguli, Siraji and Rambani and in the farther east of Riasi there are some mixed dialects but not much is known about them except that they are mixed varieties of Kashmiri and Chibhali form of Lahanda. Kishtwari is spoken in the Kishtwar region, Siraji-Kashmiri is spoken in some rural areas of Doda and Ramban tehsil which is under deep influence of other Pahari dialects. Poguli is a dialect spoken generally by the inhabitants of Pogul region of the Ramban tehsil. Kashmiri has been divided into three varieties, based mostly on the lexical and phonetic variations of speech, in terms of geographical occurrence within the Kashmir Valley.
(i) Kamraz: Spoken in the northern and northwest regions like Baramulla.
(ii) Maraz: Spoken in the southern and south-east regions like Is-lamabad (Anantnag).
(iii) Yamraz: Spoken in central Kashmir i.e. Srinagar and its neigh-boring areas.
Kashmiri phonology: An outline
Kashmiri has the following vowel phonemes: (i) Front Vowels: /i/, /i:/, /e/ and /e:/; (ii) Central Vowels /ɨ/, /ɨ:/, /∂/, /∂:/, /a/ and /a:/ and (iii) Back vowels /u/, /u:/, /o/, /o:/, /ɔ/and /ɔ:/. The nasalization is phonemic in Kashmiri. The high and mid-central vowels in Kashmiri /ɨ/, /ɨ:/ and /ɔ/ are not found in any other Indian language. Palatalization is also a very common feature in Kashmiri. Front Unrounded Central Unrounded Back Rounded High i i: ɨ ɨ: u u: Mid e ∂ ∂: Lower Mid e: a o o Low a: ɔ The list of Kashmiri consonants Bilabial Labio-dental Alveolar-dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal Stops Voiceless Unaspirated p t T k Voiceless Aspirated pH tH TH kH Voiced b d D g Affricates Voiceless Unaspirated ts č Voiceless Aspirated tsH čH Voiced j Nasals Voiced m n Fricatives Voiceless s š h Voiced z Lateral (Voiced) l Trill (Voiced) r Flap (Voiced) R Glides (Voiced) V y
List of Kashmiri consonants.
Kashmiri Scripts In ancient times Kashmiri was written in the Sharda script. fDevgari. Sample of the Sharda script along with its development from 9th century onwards Persio-Arabic script with added phonetic marks is the popular script in the valley. Front Unrounded Central Unrounded Back Rounded High ا ىا إ إ وا و ا Mid أ Lower Mid ا Low آ وا List of Kashmiri vowels in the modified Persio-Arabic script. A list of Kashmiri consonants Bilabial Labio-dental Alveolar-dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal Stops ﺐ ت ت ﮎ Voiceless Unaspirated ﻬﺒ ﻬﺘ ﻬﺘ ﻬﮐ Voiceless Aspirated ب ﺪ ﺪ ﮒ Voiced Affricates Voiceless Unaspirated ر ﺝ Voiceless Aspirated ﻫر ﻬﺠ Voiced ﺝ Nasals Voiced ﻢ ﻥ Fricatives Voiceless ﺲ ش ﻫ Voiced ز Lateral (Voiced) ﻝ Trill (Voiced) ر Flap (Voiced) ﺪ Glides (Voiced) ﻭ ى/ﻴ/ﻳ List of Kashmiri consonants in the modified Persio-Arabic script.

Aadil Amin Kak