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Sindhi Language

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Introduction of Sindhi Language

Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language of the historical Sindh region, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is the official language of the Pakistani province of Sindh. In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the federal government.

Most Sindhi speakers are concentrated in Pakistan in the Sindh province, and in India, the Kutch region of the state of Gujarat and in the Ulhasnagar region of the state of Maharashtra. The remaining speakers in India are composed of the Sindhi Hindus who migrated from Sindh, which became a part of Pakistan and settled in India after the independence of Pakistan in 1947 and the Sindhi diaspora worldwide. Sindhi language is spoken in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab provinces of Pakistan as well as the states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat in India as well as immigrant communities in Hong Kong, Oman, Indonesia, Singapore, UAE, UK and the United States.

 

History

Sindhi was a very popular literary language between the 14th and 18th centuries. The ancestor of Sindhi was an Apabhramsha Prakrit, named 'Vrachada'. Abu-Rayhan Biruni in his book 'Mal al-Hind' had declared that even before the advent of Islam in Sindh, the language was common in the region. It was not only widely spoken, but also written in three different scripts. Ardhanagari, Saindhu and Malwari, all variations of Devanagari were the three different scripts in which it was written. During the British period Devanagari, Modi or Vanika scripts, without any vowels were used by the traders and common people including Khojas and Memons for writing Sindhi, whereas government employees used some kind of Arabic script.

 

Dialects

The dialects of Sindhi include Vicholi, Lari, Lasi, Kathiawari Katchi, Thareli, Macharia, Dukslinu and Muslim Sindhi. The "Siraiki" dialect in northern Sindh is distinct from the Saraiki language of South Punjab and has variously been treated either as a dialect of it, or as a dialect of Sindhi. The Sindhi dialects previously known as "Siraiki" are nowadays more commonly referred to as "Siroli".

 

Writing System

The Sindhi Hindus followed Devanagari script for writing the language (which they do even today). However, a modified Arabic script was produced with the Arab invasion of Sindh and the conversion of most Sindhis to Islam. The government of India introduced Devanagari, alongside the official Arabic script, for writing Sindhi after the independence of both Pakistan and India from British rule. Given below are the two most common scripts used for Sindhi language.

  • Arabic Script: Sindhi is written in a variant of the Persian alphabet in Pakistan. This was adopted under the support of the British, when Sindh fell to them in the 19th century. It has a total of 52 letters. Some letters that are distinguished in Arabic or Persian are homophones in Sindhi
  • Devanagari Script: In India, the Devanagari script is used to write Sindhi. In 1948, the government of India re-introduced it. However, it did not gain full acceptance that is the reason both the Sindhi-Arabic and Devanagari scripts are used. To mark implosive consonants diacritical bars below the letter are used. The dots known as nukta are used to form other additional consonants.

 

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