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Baloch_sisTuesday 31st of August 2004 10:35:21 PM
Something about Baluch and Baluchi - Courtesy to

Balochistan, located in southwest Asia, is a land with a large territory and a population of approximately 6-8 million.

Balochi/Baluchi is spoken in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, India, the Arab Gulf States, Turkmenistan and East Africa.
It is classified as a member of the Iranian group of the Indo-European language family, which includes Kurdish, Persian (Farsi), Pashto, Dari, Tajik, Ossetian.
Balochi/Baluchi is closely related to Kurdish and Persian.
There are two main dialects: Eastern and Western. It is difficult to estimate the total number of Balochi speakers, but there are probably around six million, most of whom speak Western Balochi, which is also the dialect that has been most widely used in Balochi literature. Within the Western dialect are two further dialects, Rakhshani (in the northern areas) and Makkuraani (in the south). The areas where Eastern Balochi dialects are spoken (the north-eastern areas of Pakistani Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh) are in many ways less developed, specially when it comes to education, than other parts of Balochistan, which accounts for why it is little used in the written form.

Balochi was used only as an oral language until the post-colonial period. Before that it was generally regarded as a dialect of Persian and there was no tradition of using it in writing. Although some works in Balochi had appeared before then, the Balochi literary movement got fully under way only after the creation of Pakistan in 1947.

Baloch/Baluch/Al Baluchi:
Baloch is generally known as a noun. The native people who live in Balochistan are called Baloch. Generally Baloch people speak Balochi, but even if native people can't speak Balochi, they are still called Baloch. They can migrate and live in other parts of the world. They can still refer to themselves as Baloch. So, it is now accepted that "Baloch" is noun in this context.
Mistakenly, some non-Baloch scholars use the word "Balochi", instead of "Baloch" when referring to people of Balochistan. For instance, they may say: "Baaraan is Balochi". It is wrong. "Baaraan is a Baloch" is the right expression.

One may say that "Baaraan is a Balochi name", which is a correct phrase to say.

So, I am a Baloch, not Balochi (likewise, Hazhaar is a Kurd. Hazhaar is a Kurdish name. But saying "Hazhaar is a Kurdish" is a rather an inaccurate expression).

On many occasion, it is rather use a "the" before Baloch, when we refer to people of Balochistan (in national adjective usage). For instance, national adjectives ending in "ch" or "sh" e.g. the Dutch, the Spanish, the Welsh (see The Oxford Library of English Usage, Chapter I, 1990. Similarly we can say "the Baloch" etc.

here are some other parallel examples:

Javier is a Spaniard. He speaks Spanish. He eats Spanish food. He is a Spanish person. (But although one may say that "He is a Spanish", the more accurate way is to say it is "Javier is a Spaniard", instead of "Javier is a Spanish. The same applies for Scot (native Scottish person from Scotland) etc.

Please remember that there is not a universal rule about this issue. e.g. " Shah Latif was a Sindi (Sindhi). He spoke Sindi (Sindhi) and he was from Sind (Sindh). As you see in this case the word "Sindi" is used both as the noun for naming people from Sind and the language.

As for Plural version of the word "Baloch", there is no universal accepted form. Some people use "Balochs", other use "Baloches". Increasing number of people use "Baloch" as both singular and plural. In my view, using "Baloch" as both singular and plural is somehow a better way to use it. A parallel in English language is the word "Dutch" (people and language of Holland). When referring to people from Holland, they are called "Dutch", whether one or many people. I have never seen expressions such as "Dutchs" or "Dutches". I think it looks nicer in a sentence to use "Baloch" as both singular and plural form. One can understand from the sentence, whether we talk about one person or many. It is a personal preference, but words "Balochs" or "Baloches" do not appeal to me. I rather use "Baloch" only. (Some people may write it as "Baluch", "Balouch" etc. Again "Baluchs/Baluches" or "Balouchs/Balouches" do not sound "attractive".

Anything related to the Baloch (people from Balochistan) can be described as Balochi. It can have genitive form or simply used as an adjective.
Language of the Baloch is called Balochi. Not only, we the Baloch, call it "Balochi", but every other non-Baloch person also called it "Balochi". At least, there is unanimous acceptance about this issue. There are still variations in spelling "Balochi" such as "Baluchi" and "Balouchi". But it is not a big deal.
"Balochi" is mainly used as an adjective e.g. "Balochi dress", "Balochi book", "Balochi dance", etc. "Baloch" cannot be used in the same context. It is, however, to be noticed when one refers directly to people, i.e. the Baloch, it is rather use "Baloch" not "Balochi" in any compound nouns. e.g.
Baloch Students' Federation (not Balochi Students' Federation) as it refers to Baloch people (in this case, students). Also "Baloch women" but NOT Balochi women (again Baloch refers to people, women) etc.

In the meantime, there is a need for a flexible approach towards this issue, as there is no standard/universal rule especially with regards to "Baloch", "Balochi" etc. The same applies to Balochi orthography (both in Persian/Urdu and Latin/English alphabets). At this stage, there is no excuse for exclusion of any approach, style and preferences. As for various dialects of Balochi language, there is an even greater need for flexibility.

drumingbeetWednesday 01st of September 2004 08:04:03 AM
- would Balochi then be a dialect in the same sense that Qashqa'i people (from iran) have borrowed from Turkish and Persian and Lurid and from the linguistic background of their ancestors who were all nomads? i understand that Quasqa'i Turkish is not a written language (so, that sounds quite different than Balochi, which is formalized in writing). but are the Baloch still nomads or are have they settled down for the main part (so that would be why the language appeared in the written form?)? You talk about the post-colonial period as if that was the primary element of the formalization of the Balochi. Also, it sounds like the Baloch do not have a territory as such, do they have any territorial demands that might have explained the need to have written language post-1947 so that nationalism and grouping together could be made possible across borders?
Baloch_sisFriday 03rd of September 2004 03:07:36 AM
- by courtesy of

"Standardisation and orthography of Balochi"

There is no standard orthography for the Balochi language, and there is much debate among Baloch intellectuals about the creation of a standard literary language. Balochi is currently written in the Arabic/Urdu script in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, although many scholars outside of Balochistan use Roman script.

Those in favour of the Roman script point to several facts in its support: the Roman script more accurately represents the sounds of Balochi; there does not currently exist a universally-accepted orghography in the Arabic script; the Roman script is more useful in the modern world and is more widely used than the Arabic; the Roman script is easier to learn.

Balochi is spoken in several different countries (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and the Arab Gulf States). It neither enjoys official status nor is used in the education system of any of these countries. For both these reasons, creating and enforcing a single standard language for all Baloch is problematic.

The media makes an important contribution to the standardisation of a language. In the case of Balochi, radio at least has played an important role in increasing the ease of understanding between the various dialects. (for more information on the role of radio in the development of Balochi, click here).

Those Baloch involved in literary activities are keen to create one standard literary language, and there has been much discussion in literary circles on which dialect, or dialects, should constitute the basis for such a standard language. There has also been much debate over which script should be used for Balochi. Balochi writers use the Arabic/Persian script, which is advocated by many for historical, political and religious reasons. However, among those writers there is no final agreement on several orthographic points, in particular the representation of letters and sounds that are not able to be represented by the Arabic/Persian script. For this reason, others have advocated changing to the Roman script. Although many academics in Europe use the Roman script in their work on Balochi, most Baloch involved in literary activities feel it is impossible to change the orthography at present because neighbouring languages use the Arabic script, and because of the lack of authority to enforce any such reform.

While there a strongly felt need to create a standard literary language with a fixed orthography, and to be able to introduce the teaching of Balochi into the primary education in Pakistani Balochistan, there is also the danger that the standardisation will proceed too quickly. Many people feel that each writer has the rifght to use his or her own dialect when writing, and that a standard literary language will develop naturally as the written form of Balochi is used more and more.

Book References:
Jahani, C.,"Language standardisation and orthography in Balochi" in Newsletter of Baluchistan Studies (No. 5, Fall 1988)
Slimbach, Richard "Ethnic Binds and Pedagogies of Resistance: Baloch nationalism and educational innovation in Karachi", Marginality and Modernity: Ethnicity and Change in Post-Colonial Balochistan, Titus, Paul (ed.), Oxford University Press (1996)

SolmaazWednesday 08th of September 2004 11:06:09 AM
Salaam - Salaam Sis

Thanks for the information you have shared with us. Please keep up the good work.