Institutionen för lingvistik och filologi

The Balochi Language Project

Balochi is an Iranian language spoken in south-eastern Iran, south-western Pakistan, southern Afghanistan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Turkmenistan, India, East Africa, and nowadays also by immigrant Baloch in North America, Europe and Australia.

It is difficult to estimate the total number of Balochi speakers. The main reason for this is that there are seldom questions about ethnic affiliation and languages in censuses carried out in the countries where Balochi is spoken, but it is likely that the total number of Balochi speakers amounts to around 10 million or even more. Possibly just as many regard themselves as Baloch but do not speak Balochi.

The main dialect split is between Western, Southern, and Eastern Balochi. Western Balochi dialects are spoken in the northern Balochi-speaking area in Iran, as well as in Khorasan and Golestan, in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and in the north-western Balochi-speaking areas of Pakistani Balochistan. Southern Balochi dialects are spoken in the southern areas of the Balochi-speaking parts of Iran and Pakistan, as well as by a majority of the Baloch in Karachi and in the Gulf States. Like the Western and Southern dialects, Eastern Balochi is not a unified dialect, but rather a conglomerate of dialects often referred to by the tribal names of the speakers as the Marrī, Bugṭī, Leghārī, Mazārī, etc. The fact that the Balochi speakers are separated into several countries with various official languages is another situation which increases dialect differentiation in this language.

The Balochi Language Centre, Uppsala University, is a group of researchers and writers who have taken an initiative to create and promote a standard literary language for Balochi. Among our activities so far are:

Partners

  • Baloch Club, Bahrain
  • Balochi Academy, Quetta, Pakistan
  • Iranology Foundation, Iranshahr, Iran
  • University of Balochistan, Quetta, Pakistan
  • University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran