Wakhi is an Indo-European language in the branch of Eastern Iranian language family and is intimately related to other Southeastern Iranian languages in the Pamir languages group. Wakhi is one of several languages that belong to the Pamir language group. A reflection of this is the fact that the Wakhi people are occasionally called Pamiris. The origin of this language is Wakhan in Afghanistan and it is, according to sources, more than four thousand years old. It is spoken by the inhabitants the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, parts of Gilgit–Baltistan (the former NAs) of Pakistan, Gorno-Badkhshan (mountainous-Badakhshan, in Russian) region of Tajakistan, and Xinjiang in western China. The Wakhi use the self-appellation ‘Xik’ (ethnic) and suffix it with ‘wor’/’war’ to denote their language as ‘Xik-wor’ themselves. The noun ‘Xik’ comes from ‘oxik’ (an inhabitant of ‘Ox’, for Wakhan, in Wakhi. There are other equivalents for the name Wakhi (Anglicised) or Wakhani (Arabic and Persian), Vakhantsy (Russian), Gojali/Gojo (Dingrik-wor/Shina), Guyits/Guicho (Borushaski), Wakhigi/Wakhik-war (Kivi-wor/Khow-wor) and Cert (Turki). The language belongs, as yet to be confirmed according to studies and sources, to the southern group of the Pamir languages, in the Iranian group of the Indo-European family (450) of languages, where the different Ishkashmi, Shighni/…nani and Wakhi languages are included. A very rough estimate of the population of Wakhis is 50,000 worldwide. The Wakhi live in four different countries. In the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan, the Wakhi people mainly live in Gojal, Ishkoman, Darkut and in Chitral District's Broghol. They also live in some parts of Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan and Xinjiang in China.
Photo Credit: Zaccarias