The Sindhi Language

Sindh highlighted on a 1909 map of India
Sindh highlighted on a 1909 map of India

Sindhi originated in the Sindh region, which currently lies in Pakistan. Prior to the partition of India in 1947, Sindh was home to a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims. During the partition, a large proportion of Hindu Sindhis fled their homes and moved to present-day India or abroad, taking their native language with them.

Today, Sindhi is an officially recognised language in India and in Pakistan and is estimated to be spoken by over 25 million people worldwide. The majority of Sindhi speakers reside in Sindh, Pakistan. The remainder of the Sindhi-speaking population is mainly formed by the descendants of those who left Sindh during the partition of India; these Sindhi speakers are mostly to be found in India, but smaller populations are also established in countries around the world as part of the Sindhi diaspora.

Like most languages of the north of the Indian subcontinent (Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, etc.), Sindhi is also classified as an Indo-Aryan language. The usual word order in Sindhi is subject-object-verb, unlike English in which it is subject-verb-object (John food eats vs John eats food). Sindhi's most distinguishable characteristic, however, is the use of implosive consonants: ɓ, ɗ, ʄ and ɠ of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA); no other Indo-Aryan language features these sounds otherwise found in only a handful of languages worldwide.

Further Reading