How Many Languages Are Spoken in Pakistan

languages spoken pakistan
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Many nations have had to make sacrifices to win their freedom. However, only a few of them manage to reap the benefits of their struggles. Others end up with more struggles and never-ending problems. But nonetheless, winning freedom from oppressors is an amazing feeling, and it is something that a few nations have achieved in the history of the world. When the Europeans went around the world in the name of exploration, they ended up colonizing various regions. It was the efforts of the locals that showed the colonizers that they had no right to be on foreign land. Pakistan is one such country that was created when the people of the Indian subcontinent got their freedom by sending British colonizers back to England.

The Culture of Pakistan:

Although there are various things that are common between the people of Pakistan, various different cultures are practiced by the population overall. Depending on the region you are visiting, you can observe different practices and festivals. With more than 200 million people living in the country, it is understandable for the population to have different cultures. The dress style, customs, and values vary from one region to the next. However, the majority of the country’s population is Muslim, which is why Islam has a huge influence on the culture. Festivals like Eid are celebrated by the population on the same day, which increases feeling of unity among people.

Official Language of Pakistan:

Pakistan had to try different types of constitutions until it could find the one that worked for its population. The constitution of 1973 declared Urdu as the national and English as the official language. But since then, Urdu has also become an official language. It is interesting to note that despite being understood by more than 75% of the population, it is only spoken natively by 7-8% of Pakistanis. It is not the mother tongue of any region of Pakistan and is learned as the second or third language by most people.

The reason behind Urdu’s place in the constitution is that it was the medium of communication between the Muslims of British India. In Pakistan, it is used as a way to bridge the gap between the people of different communities. It helps in bringing people together. English has more importance in state affairs. It is used in the legislative assemblies and judicial proceedings. It is also used in schools, colleges, and universities as medium of instruction. It is taught in schools alongside Urdu so students can become fluent in it from a young age. It is used commonly by the upper-middle class and rich people.

pakistan spoken languages

How Many Languages Are Spoken in Pakistan?

Although there are only two official languages, that doesn’t mean no other vernaculars are spoken in Pakistan. Along with being multicultural, it is also a multilingual country. According to Ethnologue, more than 70 languages are spoken in Pakistan, out of which 66 are indigenous. One main and several regional languages are spoken in each province. Since Punjab is the province with the highest population, its provincial language, which is known as Punjabi, is spoken by nearly 40% of the country’s population.

pakistan languages

Pashto is the provincial vernacular of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is also spoken in Afghanistan refugees living in Pakistan. However, many of them have learned to speak Urdu and can converse in it easily. The people of the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa speak Hindko which is another popular vernacular of Pakistan. Saraiki is another popular regional vernacular which is spoken in South Punjab. The people of the province of Sindh speak Sindhi, while those from Baluchistan speak Balochi.

Various different vernaculars are spoken by the people living in regions like Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA, and Kashmir. Kashmiri, Shina, Balti, and Khowar are few such vernaculars. Some vernaculars spoken in Pakistan are at risk, while some are almost extinct with a few hundred living speakers. This is why the majority of the population is not familiar with those tongues. Most people are only familiar with the languages spoken in their province and Pakistani English, which is also used by the state.

Interestingly, Pakistan is one of the countries with the highest number of English speakers. The majority of its population can speak more than one language, while a small percentage is multilingual. However, if a foreigner wishes to communicate with the locals, they will only need knowledge of English or Urdu. People prefer to speak regional vernaculars in their close circles. You won’t hear any regional tongues on the media when everyone else is speaking the national language, Urdu.

Translation of Urdu:

Whether you need the translation of Urdu or any other vernacular of Pakistan, you must get in touch with a native speaker. Someone who is familiar with a tongue and has heard it spoken around them since birth can provide you with accurate results. They will also be able to understand cultural aspects. If you pick a non-native expert, they may fail to notice the cultural impact on the vernaculars and provide you with inaccurate solutions.

So, in order to connect with your Pakistani audience, it is best to stick with Urdu and rely on the help of native experts. And if you can’t find such experts on your own, you can request an agency to help you out. All the good agencies know how valuable native experts can be. They will be able to provide you with quality services at affordable rates.

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