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Shina is a language spoken by as many as 400,000 people in Northern Pakistan and Northern India. It is the principal language of Gilgit in Northern Pakistan. The Ethnologue of Languages of the World says it is spoken by 337,000 in Pakistan and 34,000 in India. It is a language of many names and dialects. In Chitral, it is a small minority language known as Phalura or as Ashretiwar or as Dangarikwar. In India it is spoken as a minority language in Ladakh. In Afghanistan, it is spoken in the single village of Sau where it is called Sawi. Sau is 20 kilometers south of Arandu. Most of the speakers of Shina are in Gilgit especially in Gilgit Town. Because Shina has many names and more importantly because it is spoken in a politically sensitive area crossing the border from India to Pakistan, there have been relatively limited efforts to study it. This seems to be the only book devoted to this language. At the time Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner or G. W. Leitner wrote this book, India was just one country as this was before the split in 1947. Leitner was one of the first adventurers to enter the remote mountains of what is now Northern Pakistan and India and live to tell about it. He undertook adventures and collected data about the people living there, walking as much as 35 miles per day and taking notes in the evenings. He wrote several books about this which unfortunately were printed in limited editions in Lahore and few survive. The book presented here is the first known reprint on Shina of any of Leitner's works. Leitner devotes the most attention to Shina, a language spoken in Gilgit. There are more than ten known varieties of Shina, Gilgiti, Astori, Chilasi Kohistani, Drasi, Gurezi, Jalkoti, Kolai, and Palasi.
بشکریہ زبیر شریف قاضی
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