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distribution: eastern Afghanistan, Kashmir
Linguistic classification: Indo-European
The Dardic languages (Perso-Arabic: زبان داردی, Devanagari: दार्दी भाषाएँ) are a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken in northern Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, and the Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri is the most prominent Dardic language, with an established literary tradition and official recognition as one of the national languages of India.
1 Position in Indo-Iranian languages
2 Characteristics of Dardic languages
2.1 Loss of aspiration
2.2 Dardic metathesis and epenthesis
2.3 Verb position in Dardic
3 List of Dardic languages
4 See also
 Position in Indo-Iranian languages
The Dardic group has traditionally been defined as a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages which experienced strong influence from the Nuristani and East Iranian languages. Nuristani, a group of languages spoken in northeast Afghanistan, has sometimes been included in Dardic, but is today generally regarded as an independent group, as one of the three sub-groups of Indo-Iranian, following the studies of Georg Morgenstierne in 1973 to 1975.
There is still some dispute regarding the ultimate classification of the Dardic languages. The very existence of the family has been called into question by some, though the Dardic languages share common features different from Indo-Aryan, such as the so-called Dardic metathesis (karma => krama).
Except for Kashmiri, all of the Dardic languages are small minority languages which have not been sufficiently studied. In many cases they are spoken in areas difficult to access due to mountainous terrain and/or armed conflicts in the region. All of the languages (including Kashmiri) have been historically influenced by more prominent (non-Dardic) neighboring languages.
While it is true that many Dardic languages have been influenced by non-Dardic neighbors, Dardic may in turn also have left a discernible imprint on non-Dardic Indo-Aryan languages, such as Punjabi and allegedly even far beyond. It has also been asserted that some Pahari languages of Uttarakhand demonstrate Dardic influence. Although it has not been conclusively established, some linguists have hypothesized that Dardic may, in ancient times, have enjoyed a much bigger linguistic zone, stretching from the "mouth of the Indus" (i.e. Sindh) northwards in an arc, and then eastwards through modern day Himachal Pradesh to Kumaon.
 Characteristics of Dardic languages
The languages of the Dardic group share some common defining characteristics, including the loss of aspirated sounds and word ordering that is unique for Indo-Iranian languages.
 Loss of aspiration
Virtually all Dardic languages have experienced a partial or complete loss of aspirated consonants. Khowar uses the word buum for earth (Sanskrit: bhumi),1 Pashai uses the word duum for smoke (Hindi: dhuan) and Kashmiri uses the word dod for milk (Sanskrit: dugdha, Hindi: doodh). Tonality has developed in some (but not all) Dardic languages, such as Khowar and Pashai, as a compensation. Punjabi and Western Pahari languages similarly lost aspiration but have virtually all developed tonality to partially compensate (e.g. Punjabi kar for house, compare with Hindi ghar).
 Dardic metathesis and epenthesis
Both ancient and modern Dardic languages demonstrate a marked tendency towards metathesis where a "pre- or postconsonantal 'r' is shifted forward to a preceding syllable". This was seen in Ashokan rock edicts (erected 269 BCE to 231 BCE) in the Gandhara region, where Dardic dialects were and still are widespread. Examples include a tendency to misspell the Sanskrit words priyadarshi (one of the titles of Emperor Ashoka) as priyadrashi and dharma as dhrama. Modern-day Kalasha uses the word driga (Sanskrit: dirgha, meaning long). Palula uses drubalu (Sanskrit: durbala, weak) and brhuj (Sanskrit: bhurja, birch tree). Kashmiri uses drolid2 (Sanskrit: daridra, impoverished) and krama (Sanskrit: karma, work or action). Western Pahari languages (such as Dogri), Sindhi and Lahnda (Western Punjabi) also share this Dardic tendency to metathesis though they are considered non-Dardic, for example in the Punjabi word drakhat (from Persian: darakht, tree).
Dardic languages also display a tendency for consonantal epenthesis, where consonants are inserted or altered in a word. Kashmiri, for instance, has a marked tendency to switch k to ch and j to z (e.g. Sanskrit jan/person or living being, related to Persian cognate jān/life, is altered to zan/person in Kashmiri) . Punjabi and Western Pahari share the epenthesis tendency also, though they are non-Dardic (e.g. compare Hindi dekho/look to Punjabi vekho and Kashmiri vuchiv).
 Verb position in Dardic
Unlike most other Indo-Aryan (or Iranian) languages, several Dardic languages present "verb second" as the normal grammatical form. This is similar to many Germanic languages, such as English.
English (Germanic) This is a horse. We will go to Tokyo.
Kashmiri (Dardic) Yi chhu akh gur. As gachhav Tokyo.
Sanskrit (Indo-Aryan) Esha eka ashva asti.3 Vayaṃ Tokyo gacchāmaḥ.
Dari Persian In yak hasb ast. Maa ba Tokyo khaahem raft.
Hindi-Urdu (Indo-Aryan) Ye ek ghora hai.4 Hum Tokyo jaenge.
Punjabi (Indo-Aryan) Ae ikk kora ai. Assi Tokyo javange.
 List of Dardic languages
Dardic languages can be organized into the following subfamilies:
Pashai languages, which includes Pashayi
Kunar languages, which includes Gawar-Bati, Dameli, Shumashti and Nangalami (includes Grangali)
Chitral languages, which includes Khowar and Kalasha
Kohistani languages, which includes Kalami, Torwali, Kalkoti, Indus Kohistani, Bateri, Chilisso, Gowro, Wotapuri-Katarqalai and Tirahi
Shina languages, including Shina, Brokskad (the Shina of Baltistan and Ladakh), Ushojo, Domaaki, Palula and Savi
Kashmiri languages, including Kashmiri, Poguli, Rambani, and Kishtwari
 See also
1.^ The Khowar word for earth is more accurately represented, with tonality, as buúm rather than buum, where ú indicates a rising tone.
2.^ The word drolid actually includes a Kashmiri half-vowel, which is difficult to render in the Urdu, Devnagri and Roman scripts alike. Sometimes, an umlaut is used when it occurs in conjunction with a vowel, so the word might be more accurately rendered as drölid.
3.^ Sandhi rules in Sanskrit allow the combination of multiple neighboring words together into a single word. Also, Sanskrit has two distinct sounds corresponding to 'sh', ष (phonetically represented as 'ṣ', as in eṣa/this) and श (phonetically represented as 'ś', as in aśva/horse). The 'a' shown at word endings here is the Sanskrit schwa, and pronounced 'ə' (similar to the ending 'e' in the German name, Nietzsche). So, the sentence Esha eka ashva asti is more correctly pronounced as Eshə ekə ashvə asti and, in actual Sanskrit literature, would usually be shortened to Eshə ekoshvosti (or, more correctly maintaining the distinction between the two 'sh' shounds, Eṣə ekośvosti).
4.^ Hindi-Urdu, and other non-Dardic Indo-Aryan languages, also sometimes utilize a "verb second" order (similar to Kashmiri and English) for dramatic effect. "Ye aik ghora hai" is the normal conversational form in Hindi-Urdu. "Ye hai aik ghora" is also grammatically correct but indicates a dramatic revelation or other surprise. This dramatic form is often used in news headlines in Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi and other Indo-Aryan languages.
Morgenstierne, G. Irano-Dardica. Wiesbaden 1973;
Morgenstierne, G. Die Stellung der Kafirsprachen. In Irano-Dardica, 327-343. Wiesbaden, Reichert 1975
Decker, Kendall D. Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan, Volume 5. Languages of Chitral.
The Comparative study of Urdu and Khowar. Badshah Munir Bukhari National Language Authority Pakistan 2003.
National Institute of Pakistani Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University & Summer Institute of Linguistics 
Dardic language tree