Kashmiri is an Indo-Aryan language with about 5.6 million speakers world wide, according to the Ethnologue language report. The majority of Kashmiri speakers live in the Indian provinces of Jammar and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, although you will also find some communities that speak Kashmiri in Pakistan. Kashmiri is written with a version of the Arabic alphabet that was adopted from the Urdu language. Whether you are learning Kashmiri for business or pleasure, you will find sufficient resources online to enable you to reach a good level of proficiency in the language.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Learn to read the Kashmiri alphabet. Print a copy of the alphabet, found on the Omniglot language website, and study it systematically concentrating on one letter at a time. Practice drawing out the letters on a piece of paper until you are able to accurately reproduce the shape of the characters. Even if you only wish to be able to read Kashmiri rather than write it, this is a useful way of familiarising yourself the entire alphabet.
Master Kashmiri pronunciation. Use online courses such as "An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri" by Braj B. Kachru, which is available on the Koshur language website, to listen to the sounds of the language. Understand that Kashmiri has eight vowel sounds and 27 consonants, and that some of these represent sounds that are not present in the English language. Practice the difference between the palatal consonants, which are pronounced with the tongue against the middle of the roof of the mouth, and non-palatal consonants.
Study Kashmiri grammar. Understand that Kashmiri has five grammatical cases: nominative, dative, ergative, ablative and vocative. Nouns in Kashmiri can be masculine or feminine and the endings of verbs and adjectives changes depending on the gender of the noun. Familiarise yourself with the most important rules by working your way through the drills and exercises in online courses such as "Let's Learn Kashmiri" by Omkar N. Wakhlu & Bharat Wakhlu.
Learn Kashmiri vocabulary. Start by learning basic phrases, such as those in the English-Kashmiri word list on the Languages Home website. Repeat new words aloud to yourself when you first encounter them to help them stick in your brain. If you are learning to write Kashmiri as well as speak it, write out new words in the Kashmiri alphabet, too, and maintain a written list of vocabulary.
Tips and warnings
- As of April 2011, the U.S. Department of State recommended against all travel to the Jammar and Kashmir provinces of India. Thanks to an ongoing territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, with 60,000 people killed in the region since 1989, along with the high military presence and number of terrorist groups active in the area, all foreigners will be vulnerable and at risk.
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