Survey conducted on identity, literacy of Kataviri language

ISLAMABAD: The Kataviri language is vigorous in orality with strong position on identity scale but lags behind in literacy. Currently, the language lacks a writing system.

In a statement, Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) said it conducted a survey during the third week of October in Shekhandeh, Bumburet, Chitral, to find out what was the exact status of orality, identity and literacy of the language among the community by using its famous tools, the Sustainable Use Model (SUM).

Six to eight people including young, aged and learned people from the Kati community attended the sessions throughout the six days.

It said the Kataviri language is spoken in hilly peripheries of Chitral valley, sharing the borders with Afghanistan from where the speakers immigrated to the area some 130 years back.

The areas the language is spoken in include Shekhandeh, Gobor, Langorbat, Badugal and Urtsun. In Chitral, The language is called Shekhani by locals and it is a group name of Nooristani languages spoken in Chitral; Kataviri and Kamviri, however the native speakers like to be identified as Kati speakers. The Shekhani speakers, according to the community members are estimated to be more than 12000 in Chitral.

Based on the survey outcomes, FLI is planning to strengthen the language in literacy area by helping the community in placing a writing system for their language. For the purpose the basic orthography and writers’ workshop for the community people will be held who will be turning their purely oral language into a written one.

The FLI said it has so far enabled hundreds of people from 19 language communities in northern Pakistan to document and develop their native languages and Shekhani is the 20th language FLI has started to develop by enabling its speakers in language documentation.