Sanskrit Influence on Khowar

At 12:00 PM 3/10/00 -0600, Vir Gupta wrote:

I think your conclusion that Kalasha, Khowar, and Nuristani are not related to Hindi/Urdu seems to be partially correct. Hindi has many loan words from Sanskrit and Urdu has many loan words from Persian and Arabic. But looking at the list you have it appears that several words seem to be offshoot of Sanskrit and Prakrit and some words are common to Punjabi language. It may be worthwhile putting this list along with Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Punjabi. I have some familiarity with Sanskrit as I took it when I was in middle school in India.

Some Sanskrit words are as follows:

Head: Sheesh
Hair: Kesh ( Cashe)
Eye: Chakshu (a is silent)
Ear: Karan (both a 's are silent)
Nose: Nasika
Mouth : Mukh
Tooth: Dant (a is silent)
tounge: Jivha
Breast : Stn ( Chuchak is used for nipple)
Finger: Anguli
Fingernail: Nakhun
Bone: Asthee
Heart: Hridya
Blood: Lahu ?
Urine: Mutra (a is silent)
feces: Guun (in Punjabi , not Sanskrit)
Village: Gram
House: Griha (a is silent)
Door: Dwar or Duar
Sun: Surya (a is silent)
Sky: Akasha (a is silent)
Star: Sitara (a is silent)
Cloud: Megha (a is silent)
Rainbow: Inder danush
Wind: Pawan or Vayu
Stone: Pashan
Path: Path (a is silent)
Fine: Agni
Smoke: Dhuan ( in Hindi and Punjabi. N is nasal sound)
Ash: Swah (in Sanskrit? and Punjabi)
Gold: Swaran (a is silent)
Thorn: Kanta
Flower: Pushpam
Mango: Amra
Oil: Tel (or Tale)
Meat: Mans (n is nasal sound)
Fish: Matsya (a after y is silent)
Egg: Und or And
Cow: Gow
Milk: Dugdh
Dog: Kukur or Shwan
Monkey: Maka
Name: Naam
Man: Manush or Purush
Woman: Istri or Stri
Father: Pitri
Mother: Matri
Brother: Bhratri
Sister: Bgagini
Son: Putr
Daughter: Putri or Dheotr (?)
Husband: Pati
Wife: Patni or Stri
Day: Din
Night: Ratri
Week: Saptah
Year: Varsh
New: Nav
Whole: Puran
Old: Puratan
Dry: Shushk
Long: Dirgh
Hot: Tap or Tup (by touch), Greesham (for season)
Right: Dakshin
White: Shwet
Black: Krishana
Kill: Mritya or Nashta (?)
I: Aham
We :Vayam

I have tried to give only one Sanskrit word in most cases, but I am sure that there may be more than one Sanskrit word meaning the same. Best thing may be to get some good Sanskrit/English dictionary and take the help of some Indian who can pronounce the Sanskrit words correctly.

It appears to me that the root words in many cases appear to be from Sanskrit and Prakrit, and other words may have come from other languages (Greek, Kushan etc.)

I also notice some Hindi/Urdu words not written correctly like for eat it is khao and not tum khao, for tooth it is daant and not ekdat, for skin it is jild and not jidl, for village it is either gram or gaun (nis nasal sound) and not gau, for hammer it is Hathora and not Hathera, for lightening it is bijli and not bijili, for egg plant it is baigan and not baenan, for groundnut it is mung-phali and not mun-phali, for month it is maheena and not mihana, for new it is naya and not nea, for five it is panch and not pach, for who it is kaun and not kun, for which it is kaunsa and not kensa etc. etc.

By the way does your wife still practices old religion? Did you feel secure in that area?



From: Sam Sloan 03/10/00 04:21PM

Thank you for your letter, which is very interesting.

I would like with your permission to add your letter to my web site, probably as a separate page.

I get a lot of questions and inquiries on this subject.

On the other subject, no, my wife did not practice the "old religion" and she would be very insulted if you ever met her and asked her that question.

But it probably was her old religion, as she is pure Chitrali, from both her father and her mother. The main members of the royal family of Chitral (by that I mean those who held power) are only half Chitrali, because the kings of Chitral used to swap their daughters for the daughters from other kings in the area or in Afghanistan. Because of this, all of the members of the royal family had a Chitrali father and a mother from someone else.

However, the great-great-great-grandfather of my wife was assassinated and his family thrown out of power, so they did not have the luxury of marrying foreign wives.

Ismail Sloan

Dear Ismail:

You can add my letter to your web site and preferably you should add a column in your spreadsheet to show how these words compare with Sanskrit. You will find many derived from Sanskrit. During my recent review of names for numbers one, three, five, seven, and nine used by Mitannis (around 1300 BC) I was surprised to see most are similar to those used in Kalasha dialect in Pakistan, Punjabi and Dogri in India. (Mitanni kings ruled in Iraq from 1600 BC to about 1250 BC). Here is the comparison:

one (1): aik (Mitanni), ek (kalasha), ik (Punjabi), ik (Dogri), aik(Sanskrit) , ekko (Prakrit)
Three (3): tri, ter (Mitanni), tre (Kalasha), tin (Punjabi), tre (Dogri) tri (Sanskrit), tao (Prakrit)
Five (5): panz (Mitanni), poin (Kalasha), Panj (Punjabi), Punj (Dogri) Panch (Sanskrit), pancha (Prakrit)
Seven (7): Satta (Mitanni), Sat (Kalasha), Sat (Punjabi), Sat (Dogri) Sapta (Sanskrit), satta (Prakrit)
Nine (9): nau (mitanni), no (Kalasha), nau (Punjabi), nau (Dogri) nav (Sanskrit), nav (Prakrit)
I hope this will make your write up and table more interesting.

Vir Gupta


I do have Hindi-English and English-Hindi dictionaries with me, and if so you desire I can find equivalent Hindi words for the list of words you have and prepare a spreadsheet and send it to you. I think it will make a comparison worthwhile. I am always of the opinion whatever site we create we should have a good deal of right information so that others can use . It might show that many words in Kalasha, Nursitani, and other dialects have some relationship to Hindi which has a lot of Sanskrit loan words. Interestingly a lot of words used in Hindi or Punjabi are derived from Prakrit which was in use in various forms even before the time of Christ. Pali, Aprabhansa, Ardha Magadhi etc. are all called Prakrit dialects, and many books have been written in these languages. Pali was favored by Buddhists and Aprabhansa and Ardha-Magadhi was favored by Jains, but I do not have any knowledge of these ancient languages. It might be interesting to see if the root words in the languages you researched had any connection with these languages.

Any way best of luck. You may post the wordlist to the newsgroup.

Vir Gupta

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