Baluchi is a Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Oman and the UAE. There are three main varieties of Baluchi, which are classified in some sources, such as Ethnologue, as separate languages.
Western Baluchi is spoken in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. In 2016 there were about 1.2 million speakers in Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan, where the language is used in newspapers, on the radio, and in some literature. In 2017 there were 415,000 speakers in Helmand, Kandahar and Nimroz provinces of Afgahistan. In 2014 there were 704,000 speakers in Kerman, Sistan and Baluchestan, and South Khorasan provinces of Iran. In 2002 there were 35,700 speakers in Mary province of Turkmenistan.
Eastern Baluchi is spoken in Pakistan and India. In 2016 there were about 3.5 million speakers in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces in Pakistan. In 2007 there were 800 speakers in Punjab province of India.
Southern Baluchi is spoken in Pakistan, Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. In 2016 there were 2.9 million speakers in South Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan, and also in Karachi. In 2014 there were 474,000 speakers in Hormozgan, Kerman, and Sistan and Baluchestan provinces of Iran. In 2017 there were 221,000 speakers in Oman, mainly in Muscat governorate. In 2016 there were 379,000 speakers in the UAE.
Baluchi first started to be written during the 19th century. At first it was written with the Latin alphabet using a spelling system devised by British linguists. After Pakistan gained independence in 1947, Baloch scholars adopted the Perso-Arabic script to write their language. Baluchi is written with a version of the Arabic script based on Pashto in Afghanistan.
Baluchi is also known as Balochi, Baloci, Baluchi, Baluci or Yarahmadza.
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