India | Jammu and Kashmir

Balti Language

Balti language is primarily spoken by the Baltis of Jammu and Kashmir. The language and the tribe derive their name from Baltistan, a region of valleys, fed by the Indus River, in the Himalayas. The language is an ancient variation of the Tibetan language. However, at present Balti is a blend of Tibetan, Kashmiri, Burushaski, Turkish and Urdu languages. The first historical reference to the language can be found in the works of Ptolemy (2nd century BC). Balti has all the linguistic characteristics of the Tibetan language. It is considered one of the western most dialects of the Tibetan language. It is also the only language which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of Sino-Tibetan Group of languages. Originally, Balti did not have a script; it adopted the Tibetan script in the early 8th century. Modern Balti is written in the Arabic script, as the Balti Tribes have mostly converted to Islam.

Updated on 18th July, 2005


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