Languages: Dialects

Road Sign

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The diverse ethnicities in Pakistan have led to more than 60 languages and dialects being spoken. Forty-four percent of the population speaks Punjabi, 15.4 % speak Pashto, 14.1% speak Sindhi, 10.5% speak Saraiki, 7.5% speak Urdu, 3.5% speak Balochi, and the remaining 5% speak a variety of other dialects [1]. The national language of Pakistan is Urdu and the official language is English. 

Urdu-English  Road SignUrdu, which originated from northern India 1,000 years ago, is a mixture of Hindi and Persian but also includes some Arabic and Turkish language as well. English, which was brought during the British colonial period, is taught in schools and is used in government and among the elites. All the other languages are also a part of the Indo-European language family except Burushaksi which is an isolated language, Balti which is Sino-Tibetan, and Brahui which is Dravidian.

Signs around the country are written in both English and Urdu. Though the Pakistani government has begun to improve their educational system only 54% of the population is literate [2].


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