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Not only in the Caucasus: Ethno-linguistic Diversity on the Roof of the World

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Chapter Summary

The current paper is an invitation to a virtual journey to Gilgit-Baltistan (former Northern Areas), a high mountain region in the north of Pakistan, endowed with an amazing variety of languages spoken on its territory. The travel itinerary includes stops at Skardu (Baltistan), Gojal (upper Hunza valley), Karimabad (central Hunza valley), Taus (Yasin valley) and Gilgit town. At each destination the traveller is introduced to the languages used by its inhabitants: Balti, Wakhi, Burushaski, Domaakí, Pashto and Shina. Local personalities, scholars and a foreign researcher share key information about their language's geographical distribution, speaker numbers and dialectal division. Special attention is given to expositions of the language attitude of the concerned speaker communities, as well as to the description of local efforts directed at creating language-specific alphabets and the promotion of mother tongue education. The interlocutors' narratives are complemented by black-and-white photographs and references to recent academic publications dedicated to the languages and peoples of Gilgit-Baltistan.



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