Kamkata-vari language

Kamkata-vari (Kâmkata-vari) is the largest Nuristani language. It contains the main dialects Kata-vari, Kamviri and Mumviri. Kata-vari and Kamviri are sometimes erroneously reckoned as two separate languages, but according to linguist Richard Strand they form one language.

Native toAfghanistan, Pakistan
RegionNuristan, Kunar, Chitral
Native speakers
150,000 (2011-2017)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
bsh – Kati
xvi – Kamviri

The Kamkata-vari language is spoken by 40,000–60,000 people, from the Kata, Kom, Mumo, Kshto and some smaller Black-Robed tribes in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are dialectal differences of the Kamkata-vari speakers of Pakistan. The most used alternative names for the language are Kati or Bashgali.


It belongs to the Indo-European language family and is in the Nuristani group of the Indo-Iranian branch.


There are four main dialects: Eastern Kata-vari, Western Kata-vari, Kamviri and Mumviri. The last two are sometimes erroneously defined as separate languages.


Literacy rates are low: below 1% for people who have it as a first language and between 15% and 25% for people who have it as a second language. The Katavari dialect can be heard on radio in Afghanistan.


  1. ^ Kati at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
    Kamviri at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kati–Kamviri". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

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