Published September 28, 2019
This video was recorded by Rizwan Hussain in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Balti is spoken in northern Pakistan in the Baltistan region, and northern India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. Balti is the majority language of Baltistan, contributing many loanwords to neighboring languages such as Shina. Like other Western Archaic Tibetan languages (also called Ladakhi-Balti), Balti contains many features and sounds of Old Tibetan not found in modern Standard Tibetan. Balti possesses a simple pitch-accent system (excluded from its monosyllabic words), whereas Standard Tibetan has a complex pitch system including tone contour. Balti was written in the Tibetan script until influence of Islam in the 14th century brought the Perso-Arabic script. Balti has adopted Urdu and English words to describe innovations and technologies introduced from outside the Balti-speaking regions. Balti is spoken by nearly 300,000 people. It is a Bodish language within the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.