Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nicholas Sims-Williams

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262856

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262856.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

The Nuristani languages

The Nuristani languages

(p.103) The Nuristani languages
Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples

Almuth Degener

British Academy

In the context of the problems connected with the early migrations of the Indo-Iranian peoples and the entry of the Indo-Aryans into India, the question of where and when the ancestors of the later Iranians separated from the Indo-Aryans is particularly interesting. This problem is connected with that of the relationship between Iranian, Indo-Aryan, and the third Indo-Iranian group of languages, the Nuristani languages, formerly called Kafiri languages. The Nuristani languages are spoken almost entirely within the confines of the area of northeast Afghanistan known as Nuristan. There is no doubt that the Nuristani languages belong to the Aryan group of Indo-European languages, their nearest relatives being the Iranian and the Indian languages. However, there has never been unanimity about the exact position of the Nuristani languages in relation to these two well-known branches of the Aryan family. There are three possible hypotheses, each of which has found supporters: (i) the Nuristani languages are part of the Iranian family, but separated at a very early stage from the main stream of Iranian languages; (ii) they are part of the Indo-Aryan family, but separated from Indo-Aryan in pre-Vedic times; and (iii) they are neither Indian nor Iranian but represent a third branch of the Aryan family. This chapter attempts to evaluate each of these hypotheses critically.

Keywords:   Indo-Iranian peoples, Indo-Aryans, Kafiri languages, Afghanistan, Nuristani languages, Nuristan

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.