Lexical Manifestations of Affection in Khowar Language:
A Linguistic Exploration

Dr. Inayatullah Faizi

This investigative study delves into the linguistic intricacies of Khowar, a Dardic language within the Indo-Aryan family, predominantly spoken in Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and various regions in Gilgit Baltistan (GB). The language exhibits distinctive features in grammar, morphology, topology, and conversational style, with a notable emphasis on expressions of love and affection. The study sheds light on the linguistic nuances associated with addressing individuals based on their relationships, ages, and societal statuses, exemplifying the unique lexicon utilized in Khowar.

The paper identifies 26 words and terms designated for children, daughters, sons, and lovers, each reflecting a nuanced expression of affection. This lexical richness extends to addressing mothers, fathers, and other esteemed family members and social figures. These expressions are akin to adjectives, pre-fixed or attached to names or relationships, illustrating profound levels of love, respect, and personal attachment. It presents a glossary featuring 50 words and phrases, showcasing the diversity of linguistic expressions for conveying love and affection in Khowar. The list encompasses terms such as "SHIRIN" (Sweet) for various familial relations, "BULBUL" (Nightingale) for children, and "XANO YAR" (Companion of the soul) for beloved individuals. This comprehensive compilation serves as a glimpse into the myriad ways Khowar speakers articulate affection.

Additionally, the paper briefly examines the incorporation of these love-centric words and phrases in Khowar folklore, specifically in the realm of poetry. Selected excerpts from folk songs and verses by anonymous poets and notable figures like Khuda Rahmat provide insights into how these linguistic elements are skilfully employed to convey emotional nuances. The study hints at the rich tapestry of love-related vocabulary present in Khowar folklore, suggesting avenues for further exploration and analysis in both classical and modern Khowar poetry.

A Glossary of Fifty Lexical Items Expressing Love and Affection

  1. SHIRIN (Sweet) for mother/father/brother/sister, etc.
    Translation: Tender
  2. BULBUL (Nightingale) for kids
    Translation: Chirper
  3. CHULAK (Singing bird) For kids
    Translation: Melodious Nestling
  4. DUNYA (World) For close relative
    Translation: Universe for Kin
  5. MAYUN (Golden oriole) for kids
    Translation: Avian Darling
  6. SHAREKI (starling) for kids
    Translation: Melodious Companion
  7. YOR OCHE MAS (Sun & Moon) for daughter
    Translation: Sun-Moon Beloved
  8. GHECHAN ROSHTI (Eye sight) for relatives
    Translation: Gaze of Kinship
  9. LIGINIO ZAHI (Taste of tongue) for relatives
    Translation: Palatable Bond
  10. SOM GHECHA TIP (Eye full) for relatives
    Translation: Glimpse of Affection
  11. XANO ZAHI (Joy of soul) for relative
    Translation: Soulful Bliss
  12. KOLAN KHAWUN (Custodian of body) for son
    Translation: Guardian of Bones
  13. GULABU CHAN (Rose petal) for kids
    Translation: Rosy Bud
  14. DURDANO KAN (Mine of pearl) for kids
    Translation: Pearl Mine
  15. SORMO KAN (Mine of Gold) for kids
    Translation: Golden Mine
  16. KHOSH (Beloved) beloved
    Translation: Cherished One
  17. XAN (Soul) Beloved
    Translation: Soulful Beloved
  18. XANO SUM BARABAR (Equal to soul) beloved
    Translation: Soul's Equal
  19. XANO NAS (Part of soul) beloved
    Translation: Integral Soul
  20. HARDIO BATIN (Cardiac valve) Kids
    Translation: Heart Valve Offspring
  21. BIOGH (Flesh & blood) relative
    Translation: Flesh Kin
  22. DUR (Home) relative
    Translation: Homely Kin
  23. CHULENI (Soul) relative
    Translation: Soulful Relation
  24. AFAS (Cherished) beloved
    Translation: Treasured
  25. XANO AFAS (Soul’s cherish) beloved
    Translation: Soulfully Treasured
  26. DUNIO AFAS (Cherished for the world) beloved
    Translation: Worldly Treasured
  27. GHAZEENA (Treasure) kids
    Translation: Little Treasure
  28. YOR MAS (Sun & Moon) daughter
    Translation: Solar Luna
  29. CHEK (ailment) beloved
    Translation: Endeared ailment
  30. SHARBALANG (starling) beloved
    Translation: Black-haired Beloved (Black and shiny hair is a prized feature of feminine beauty in the Khow culture of Chitral.)
  31. NAN ISPUSAR (Motherly sister) lady
    Translation: Mother-like Sister
  32. TAT BRAR (Fatherly brother) gent
    Translation: Father-like Brother
  33. PARI (Fairy) beloved
    Translation: Enchanted Beloved
  34. HARDI (Heart) beloved
    Translation: Heartfelt Beloved
  35. XANO NASTU NERU (Part of soul) kids
    Translation: Soul's Offspring
  36. LAGHAL (Gem) kids
    Translation: Precious Gem
  37. XAN ROI (Soul in person) beloved
    Translation: Embodied Soul
  38. KHONZA (Queen) daughter
    Translation: Royal Daughter
  39. XANO YAR (Companion of soul) beloved
    Translation: Soul’s Companion
  40. SOM GHECHA TIP (Filled in both eyes) friend
    Translation: Endeared Friend
  41. QUAT (Energy) friend
    Translation: Energy-like Companion
  42. SAYURJ (Eagle) kids
    Translation: Eaglet
  43. SHAHIN GHECHI (Hawkish eyes) beloved
    Translation: Visionary Hawk Eyes
  44. DINAR (White falcon) beloved
    Translation: Ivory Falcon
  45. DUST (Friend) beloved
    Translation: Beloved Companion
  46. MERXURI (Fairy’s daughter) lady
    Translation: Exquisitely Pretty Lady
  47. PARI (Fairy) lady
    Translation: Ethereal Lady
  48. KAPALA NOGHOR (Castle on one’s head) for an erudite or dignified person
    Translation: Highly Venerable
  49. GHAM (Grief)
    Translation: Anguish/Heartache
  50. CHEK (ailment)
    Translation: Endeared ailment

Evidences in Khowar Folksongs and Poetry

Exploring the folk literature of Khowar promises an intriguing investigation into how poets have incorporated the aforementioned words and phrases into their enchanting love songs. One such instance is found in a line from an anonymous poet's folk song:
"Amidst the dance of folly, I misconstrued her pledge; my Dinar (love) betrayed me with words hollow."

Khuda Rahmat, a maestro of the 20th century, paints a picturesque scene of his beloved's trail:
"Oh my eagle-eyed, when I traversed thy pathway, the aroma of your resplendent neck did enrapture the path.”

A song associated to the Cheq Mitar in Yasin extols a cherished one as "MA XAN":
“How can the denizens of Piyal compare to the grace of my beloved, who is akin to my very soul!"

Yet another Khowar refrain echoes:
"The hour of my Anguish’s (Love's) stroll approaches. Let it be known to the cobbler to hasten the crafting of shoes for my Cherished Treasure."
Here, the poet employs the terms "GHAM" (anguish) and "DINAR," (cherished treasure) for his beloved.

In summary, a concise exploration of Khowar folk tales and songs illuminates the vast repertoire of love words within the language. A comprehensive technical report on this subject would undoubtedly unveil numerous facets showcasing the profound significance of love in both classical and modern Khowar poetry.

A Website on the Culture, History and Languages of Chitral.