Genetic classification: Indo-European



Northwestern Zone

Official language of: Pakistan, India

Sindhi language:

Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of South Asia, which is now a province of Pakistan. It is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by approximately 17 million people in Pakistan, and 2.8 million in India; it is also a recognised official language in both of these countries.

Most Sindhi speakers in Pakistan are concentrated in Sindh. The remaining speakers are found spread throughout the many areas of the world (mainly other parts of India) to which members of an ethnic group migrated when Sindh became a part of Pakistan during the partition of British India in 1947. The language can be written using the Devanagari or Arabic scripts.

Geographical distribution:

Sindhi is taught as a first language in the schools of south-east Pakistan, except in large metropolises like Karachi. Sindhi language has a vast vocabulary; this has made it a favourite of many writers and so a lot of literature and poetry has been written in Sindhi.

In India:

Sindhi is one of the major literary languages of India recognized in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. It is spoken by a large number of people who, after migration from Sindhi due to partition of the country in 1947 have settled mainly in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Significant number of Sindhi speaking people reside in South India and in some other regions of the country. Among the modern Indian language, Sindhi is the only language which is not an official language of any particular state. Hence being a stateless language, special efforts are required for its growth and preservation of its literary heritage.

Sindhi speech is generally classified into six major dialects:

i. Siraiki, spoken in Siro, i.e. Upper Sindh

ii. Vicholi, in Vicholo, Central Sindh

iii. Lari, in Laru, i.e. Lower Sindh

iv. Lasi, in Lasa B’elo, a part of Kohistan in Baluchistan on the western side of Sindh

v. Thari or Thareli, in Tharu, the desert region on the southeast border of Sindh and a part of the Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan

vi. Kachhi, in the Kutch region and in a part of Kathiawar in Gujarat, on the southern side of Sindh.

Vicholi is considered as the standard dialect by all Sindhi speakers. It is commonly used among the educated class and is accepted as the language of literature and education (also for administration in Sindh, Pakistan). The largest Sindhi-speaking city is Hyderabad, Pakistan.


Sindhi has a very rich sound inventory. It has 46 distinctive consonant phonemes (more than all the phonemes of English combined) and a further 10 vowels. All plosives, affricates, nasals, the retroflex flap and the lateral approximant /l/ have aspirated or breathy voiced counterparts. The language also features four seperate implosives.


International Phonetic Association (1999) Handbook of the International Phonetic Association ISBN 0-521-63751-1

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