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Balti (སྦལ་འཐུས་ / بلتی)

Balti is a Tibetic language spoken by about 290,000 people mainly in the Baltistan division of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan. There are also some Balti speakers in Kashmir, Kargil, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore.

Balti is closely related to Ladakhi, Purik and Zangskari, and more distantly related to Tibetan, though is not mutually intelligible with any of these languages.

Balti was written with a version of the Tibetan alphabet from 727 AD, when Baltistan was conquered by Tibetans, until the late 14th century, when the Balti people converted to Islam and started using a version of the Persian alphabet. However the Tibetan alphabet continued to be used until the 17th century, and recently there have been efforts to revive its use by scholars and social activitists. A way of writing Balti with the Devanagari alphabet was devised by the Central Institute of Indian Languages in the 1970s.

There are also two other scripts for Balti developed by Balti speakers and known to scholars as Balti A and Balti B.

Persian alphabet for Balti

Persian alphabet for Balti

ث, ح, ذ, ص, ض, ط, ظ, ف, ء, ے and ق are only used in loanwords.

Devanagari alphabet for Balti (बल्तीकै ‒ Baltīkē)

Devanagari alphabet for Balti

Tibetan alphabet for Balti (Yige)

Tibetan alphabet for Balti

Download charts for these alphabets in Excel or PDF format

Details of the Balti alphabets supplied by Michael Peter Füstumum


Information about Balti

Tibeto-Burman languages

Achang, Arakanese, Balti, Bantawa, Bisu, Burmese, Dzongkha, Garo, Hajong, Hmar, Karen, Kayah Li, Ladakhi, Lahu, Lepcha, Limbu, Lisu, Manipuri, Marma, Mro, Naxi, Nepal Bhasa / Newari, Sikkimese, Sunuwar, Tibetan, Tshangla, Tujia, Yi

Other languages written with the Arabic script

Languages written with the Tibetan alphabet

Balti, Bokar, Dzongkha (Bhutanese), Ladakhi, Sikkimese, Tibetan, Tshangla

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