Sindhi language

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سنڌي‎, सिन्धी, ਸਿੰਧੀ, Template:Script/Khojki, Template:Script/Khudawadi
Sindhi language.png
Sindhi written in Khudabadi, Perso-Arabic and Devanagari scripts
Native toPakistan
RegionSindh (Pakistan)
Native speakers
c. 32 million (2017)[1]
  • Sindhi
  • Siroli
  • Vicholi
  • Lari
  • Lasi
  • Thari
  • Sindhi Bhil
  • Kutchi
  • Memoni
  • Jagdali
Perso-Arabic (Naskh), Devanagari (India) and others
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-1sd
ISO 639-2snd
ISO 639-3Variously:
snd – Sindhi
lss – Lasi
sbn – Sindhi Bhil
Glottologsind1272  Sindhi
sind1270  Sindhi Bhil
lasi1242  Lasi
Distribution of Pakistanis speaking Sindhi as a first language in 1998.png
Distribution of Pakistanis who spoke Sindhi as their mother tongue at the time of the 1998 Pakistan Census
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Sindhi (English pronunciation: /ˈsɪndi/;[5] Sindhi: سنڌي‎, सिंधी, [sɪndʱiː]) is an Indo-Aryan language of the historical Sindh region in the western part of the Indian subcontinent, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is the official language of the Pakistani province of Sindh.[2][3][4] In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the central government, though Sindhi is not an official language of any of the states in India.[6][7] According to the preliminary results of Pakistan's 2017 census, Sindhi is the first language of 30.26 million people, or 14.57% of the country's population.[8] In India, it was the first language of 1.68 million as of the 2011 census.[9]

Status and use[edit]

The Indian Government has legislated Sindhi as a language of Rajasthan, India, so that students learn Sindhi. Sindhi is language in the Indian state of Rajasthan.[10]

Prior to the inception of Pakistan, Sindhi was the national language of Sindh.[11][12][13][14] Pakistan Sindh Assemble has ordered compulsory teaching of Sindhi language in all private schools of Sindh.[15] According to the Sindh Private Educational Institutions Form B (Regulations and Control) 2005 Rules, "All educational institutions are required to teach children the Sindhi language.[16] Sindh Education and Literacy Minister, Syed Sardar Ali Shah and Secretary School Education, Qazi Shahid Pervaiz has ordered to employ Sindhi teachers in all private schools in Sindh, so that this language can be easily and widely taught.[17] Sindhi is taught in all province private schools that follow the Matric system and not the ones that follow the Cambridge system.[18]

There are many Sindhi language television channels broadcasting in Pakistan such as Time News, KTN, Sindh TV, Awaz Television Network, Mehran TV and Dharti TV. Besides this, the Indian television network Doordarshan has been asked by the Indian High Court to start a news channel for Sindhi speakers in India.[19][20]


Cover of a book containing the epic Dodo Chanesar written in Hatvanki Sindhi or Khudabadi script

The name "Sindhi" is derived from Sindhu, the original name of the Indus River.[21]

Like other languages of this family, Sindhi has passed through Old Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) and Middle Indo-Aryan (Pali, secondary Prakrits, and Apabhramsha) stages of growth. 20th century Western scholars such as George Abraham Grierson believed that Sindhi descended specifically from the Vrācaḍa dialect of Apabhramsha (described by Markandeya as being spoken in Sindhu-deśa) but later work has shown this to be unlikely.[22] It entered the New Indo-Aryan stage around the 10th century CE.[23][24]

According to Sindhi tradition, the first translation of the Quran into Sindhi was completed in the year 883 CE / 270 AH in Mansura, Sindh. The first extensive Sindhi translation was done by Akhund Azaz Allah Muttalawi (1747–1824 CE / 1160–1240 AH) and first published in Gujarat in 1870. The first to appear in print was by Muhammad Siddiq (Lahore 1867).[25]

When Sindh was occupied by British army and was annexed with Bombay, governor of the province Sir George Clerk ordered to make Sindhi the official language in the province in 1848. Sir Bartle Frere, the then commissioner of Sindh, issued orders on August 29, 1857 advising civil servants in Sindh to pass an examination in Sindhi. He also ordered Sindhi to be used in all official communication. A seven-grade education system commonly known as Sindhi-Final was introduced in Sindh. Sindhi Final was made a prerequisite for employment in the revenue, police and education departments.[26]

In 1868, the Bombay Presidency assigned Narayan Jagannath Vaidya to replace the Abjad used in Sindhi, with the Khudabadi script. The script was decreed a standard script by the Bombay Presidency thus inciting anarchy in the Muslim majority region. A powerful unrest followed, after which Twelve Martial Laws were imposed by the British authorities.[27]


Sindhi has a relatively large inventory of both consonants and vowels compared to other languages. Sindhi has 46 consonant phonemes and 16 vowels. The consonant to vowel ratio is around average for world's languages at 2.8.[28] All plosives, affricates, nasals, the retroflex flap and the lateral approximant /l/ have aspirated or breathy voiced counterparts. The language also features four implosives.


Sindhi consonants[29]
Labial Dental/
Retroflex (Alveolo-)
Velar Glottal
Nasal m م
n ن
ɳ ڻ
ɳʱ ڻھ
ɲ ڃ
ŋ ڱ
p پ
b ب
t ت
d د
ʈ ٽ
ʈʰ ٺ
ɖ ڊ
ɖʱ ڍ
tɕʰ ڇ
dʑʱ جھ
k ڪ
ɡ گ
ɡʱ گھ
Implosive ɓ ٻ ɗ ڏ ʄ ڄ ɠ ڳ
Fricative f ف s س z ز ʂ ش x خ ɣ غ h ھ
Approximant ʋ و
l ل
j ي
Rhotic r ر
ɽ ڙ
ɽʱ ڙھ

The retroflex consonants are apical postalveolar and do not involve curling back of the tip of the tongue,[30] so they could be transcribed [t̠, t̠ʰ, d̠, d̠ʱ n̠ n̠ʱ ɾ̠ ɾ̠ʱ] in phonetic transcription. The affricates /tɕ, tɕʰ, dʑ, dʑʱ/ are laminal post-alveolars with a relatively short release. It is not clear if /ɲ/ is similar, or truly palatal.[31] /ʋ/ is realized as labiovelar [w] or labiodental [ʋ] in free variation, but is not common, except before a stop.


The vowel phonemes of Sindhi on a vowel chart

The vowels are modal length /i e æ ɑ ɔ o u/ and short /ɪ̆ ʊ̆ ɐ̆/. (Note /æ ɑ ɐ̆/ are imprecisely transcribed as /ɛ a ə/ in the chart.) Consonants following short vowels are lengthened: [pɐ̆tˑo] 'leaf' vs. [pɑto] 'worn'.


Sindhi has borrowed from English and Hindustani. Today, Sindhi in Pakistan is slightly influenced by Urdu, with more borrowed Perso-Arabic elements, while Sindhi in India is influenced by Hindi, with more borrowed tatsam Sanskrit elements.[32][33]


The dialects of Sindhi include Siroli, Vicholi, Lari, Lasi, Kathiawari Kachhi, Thari or Thareli, Macharia, Dukslinu and Muslim Sindhi.[34][35][36][37][38] The "Siroli or Siraiki" dialect in northern Sindh is distinct from the Saraiki language of South Punjab[39] and has variously been treated either as a dialect of it, or as a dialect of Sindhi.[40] The Sindhi dialects previously known as "Siraiki" are nowadays more commonly referred to as "Siroli".[41]

Writing systems[edit]

Written Sindhi is mentioned in the 8th century, when references to a Sindhi version of the Mahabharata appear. However, the earliest attested records in Sindhi are from the 15th century.[23]

Before the standardisation of Sindhi orthography, numerous forms of Devanagari and Lunda (Laṇḍā) scripts were used for trading. For literary and religious purposes, a Perso-Arabic script developed by Abul-Hasan as-Sindi and Gurmukhi (a subset of Laṇḍā) were used. Another two scripts, Khudabadi and Shikarpuri, were reforms of the Landa script.[42][43] During British rule in the late 19th century, the Perso-Arabic script was decreed standard over Devanagari.[44]

Medieval Sindhi devotional literature (1500–1843) comprises Sufi poetry and Advaita Vedanta poetry. Sindhi literature flourished during the modern period (since 1843), although the language and literary style of contemporary Sindhi writings in Pakistan and India were noticeably diverging by the late 20th century; authors from the former country were borrowing extensively from Urdu, while those from the latter were highly influenced by Hindi.[23]

Laṇḍā scripts[edit]

Laṇḍā-based scripts, such as Gurmukhi, Khojki and the Khudabadi script were used historically to write Sindhi.


or Sindhi
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Sind, , ​Khudawadi, Sindhi
Unicode alias
Template:ISO 15924 alias

The Khudabadi alphabet was invented in 1550 CE, and was used alongside other scripts by the Hindu community until the colonial era, where the sole usage of the Arabic script for official purposes was legislated.

The script continued to be used in a smaller scale by the trader community until the Partition of India in 1947.[45]

Vowel 1 a.svg Vowel 2 aa.svg Vowel 3 i.svg Vowel 4 ii.svg Vowel 5 u.svg Vowel 6 uu.svg Vowel 7 e.svg Vowel 8 ai.svg Vowel 9 o.svg Vowel 10 au.svg
ə a ɪ i ʊ e ɛ o ɔ
Consonant 1 ka.svg Consonant 2 kha.svg Consonant 3 ga.svg Consonant 4 gga.svg Consonant 5 gha.svg Consonant 6 nga.svg
k ɡ ɠ ɡʱ ŋ
Consonant 7 ca.svg Consonant 8 cha.svg Consonant 9 ja.svg Consonant 10 jja.svg Consonant 11 jha.svg Consonant 12 nya.svg
c ɟ ʄ ɟʱ ɲ
Consonant 13 tta.svg Consonant 14 ttha.svg Consonant 15 dda.svg Consonant 16 ddda.svg Consonant 18 ddha.svg Consonant 17 rra.svg Consonant 19 nna.svg
ʈ ʈʰ ɖ ɗ ɽ ɳ
Consonant 20 ta.svg Consonant 21 tha.svg Consonant 22 da.svg Consonant 23 dha.svg Consonant 24 na.svg
t d n
Consonant 25 pa.svg Consonant 26 pha.svg Consonant 27 ba.svg Consonant 28 bba.svg Consonant 29 bha.svg Consonant 30 ma.svg
p f b ɓ m
Consonant 31 ya.svg Consonant 32 ra.svg Consonant 33 la.svg Consonant 34 va.svg
j r l ʋ
Consonant 35 sha.svg Consonant 36 sa.svg Consonant 37 ha.svg
ʂ s h


Khojki was employed primarily to record Muslim Shia Ismaili religious literature, as well as literature for a few secret Shia Muslim sects.[46]


The Gurmukhi script was also used to write Sindhi, mainly in the North of Sindh, and also by Hindu women.[45][47]

Perso-Arabic script[edit]

During British rule in India, a variant of the Persian alphabet was adopted for Sindhi in the 19th century. The script is used in Pakistan today. It has a total of 52 letters, augmenting the Persian with digraphs and eighteen new letters (ڄ ٺ ٽ ٿ ڀ ٻ ڙ ڍ ڊ ڏ ڌ ڇ ڃ ڦ ڻ ڱ ڳ ڪ) for sounds particular to Sindhi and other Indo-Aryan languages. Some letters that are distinguished in Arabic or Persian are homophones in Sindhi.

جھ ڄ ج پ ث ٺ ٽ ٿ ت ڀ ٻ ب ا
ɟʱ ʄ ɟ p s ʈʰ ʈ t ɓ b ɑː ʔ
ڙ ر ذ ڍ ڊ ڏ ڌ د خ ح ڇ چ ڃ
ɽ r z ɖʱ ɖ ɗ d x h c ɲ
ڪ ق ڦ ف غ ع ظ ط ض ص ش س ز
k q f ɣ ɑː ʔ z t z s ʂ s z
ي ء ھ و ڻ ن م ل ڱ گھ ڳ گ ک
j ʔ h ʋ ʊ ɔː ɳ n m l ŋ ɡʱ ɠ ɡ
Farsi (perso-Arabic) or Shikarpuri Sindhi.

Devanagari script[edit]

In India, the Devanagari script is also used to write Sindhi.[48] A modern version was introduced by the government of India in 1948; however, it did not gain full acceptance, so both the Sindhi-Arabic and Devanagari scripts are used. In India a person may write a Sindhi language paper for a Civil Services Examination in either script [1]. Diacritical bars below the letter are used to mark implosive consonants, and dots called nukta are used to form other additional consonants.

ə a ɪ i ʊ e ɛ o ɔ
ख़ ग़
k x ɡ ɠ ɣ ɡʱ ŋ
c ɟ ʄ z ɟʱ ɲ
ड़ ढ़
ʈ ʈʰ ɖ ɗ ɽ ɖʱ ɽʱ ɳ
t d n
फ़ ॿ
p f b ɓ m
j r l ʋ
ʂ ʂ s h

Gujarati script[edit]

The Gujarati script is used to write the Kutchi Language in India.[49]

Roman Sindhi[edit]

The Sindhi-Roman script or Roman-Sindhi script is the contemporary Sindhi script usually used by the Sindhis during texting messages on their mobile phones.[50][51]

Computing resources[edit]

Sindhi language software such as Sindhi language keyboards have been developed for the Windows OS, Android smartphones. Various other online websites provide Sindhi keyboard such as (,[52][53] M.B Sindhi keyboard by Abdul Razaque & Abdul-Majid Bhurgri. Software has also been developed for the transliteration between the main writing systems.[54][55] A transliteration website also exists on the internet that can transliterate between different scripts of Sindhi language (including the newly proposed Latin Script[56][57][58]) and the website's source code is openly available on GitHub for anyone to view and use anywhere.

See also[edit]



  1. 30.26 million in Pakistan (2017 census), 1.68 million in India (2011 census).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Majeed, Gulshan. "Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict in Pakistan" (PDF). Journal of Political Studies. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Sindhi". The Languages Gulper. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Encyclopædia Britannica". Sindhi Language. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  5. Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  6. "Languages Included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constution". Department of Official Language, Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  7. "Sindhi Language, Sindhi Dialects, Sindhi Vocabulary, Sindhi Literature, Sindhi, Language, History of Sindhi language". Indian Mirro. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  8. "CCI defers approval of census results until elections". Dawn. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2021. The figure of 30.26 million is calculated from the reported 14.57% for the speakers of Sindhi and the 207.685 million total population of Pakistan.
  9. "2011 Census tables: C-16, population by mother tongue". Census of India Website. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  10. "National Committee for Linguistic Minorities" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-13. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  11. Language and Politics in Pakistan. "THE SINDHI LANGUAGE MOVEMENT 103 103 7The Sindhi Language Movement". Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  12. "The Imposition Of Urdu". NAWAIWAQT GROUP OF NEWSPAPERS. September 10, 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  13. "Microsoft Word - Teaching of Sindhi & Sindhi ethnicity.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  14. "404 – tariqrahman" (PDF). tariqrahman. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  15. Samar, Azeem."PA resolution calls for teaching Sindhi as compulsory subject in private schools", The News, March 13, 2019
  16. "Sindhi to be made compulsory in all private schools across province", Pakistan Today, September 25, 2018
  17. "Private schools directed to make Sindhi compulsory subject", Dawn, September 25, 2018
  18. "Sindh private schools told to teach Sindhi as compulsory subject","Samaa", September 24, 2018
  19. "24hr news channel for Sindhis: HC seeks Centre's response". Business Standard Private Ltd. Press Trust of India. September 4, 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  20. "Sindhi". Accredited Language Services. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  21. "Sindhi". The Languages Gulper. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  22. Wadhwani, Y. K. (1981). "The Origin of the Sindhi Language" (PDF). Bulletin of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute. 40: 192–201. JSTOR 42931119. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  24. "Sindhi - About World Languages".
  25. "The Holy Qur'an and its Translators -- Imam Reza (A.S.) Network". Archived from the original on 15 January 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  26. Memon, Naseer (April 13, 2014). "The language link". The News on Sunday. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  27. "Sindhi alphabets, pronunciation and language".
  28. Nihalani, Paroo. (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association (Sindhi). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  29. Nihalani, Paroo (December 1, 1995). "Illustration of the IPA - Sindhi". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 25 (2): 95–98. doi:10.1017/S0025100300005235.
  30. Nihalani 1974, p. 207.
  31. The IPA Handbook uses the symbols c, cʰ, ɟ, ɟʱ, but makes it clear this is simply tradition and that these are neither palatal nor stops, but "laminal post-alveolars with a relatively short release". Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:83) confirm a transcription of [t̠ɕ, t̠ɕʰ, d̠ʑ, d̠ʑʱ] and further remarks that "/ʄ/ is often a slightly creaky voiced palatal approximant" (caption of table 3.19).
  32. Cole (2001:652–653)
  33. Khubchandani (2003:624–625)
  34. Template:E19
  35. Austin, Peter; Austin, Marit Rausing Chair in Field Linguistics Peter K. (2008). One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520255609.
  36. Paniker, K. Ayyappa (1997). Medieval Indian Literature: Surveys and selections. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788126003655.
  37. "Sindhi Language, Sindhi Dialects, Sindhi Vocabulary, Sindhi Literature, Sindhi, Language, History of Sindhi language". Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  38. Parekh, Rauf (2008-09-30). "The Sindhi language and its variations". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  39. Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan languages. Cambridge language surveys. Cambridge University Press. p. 443. ISBN 978-0-521-23420-7.
  40. Rahman, Tariq (1995). "The Siraiki Movement in Pakistan". Language Problems & Language Planning. 19 (1): 3. doi:10.1075/lplp.19.1.01rah.
  41. Shackle 2007, p. 114.
  42. Khubchandani (2003:633)
  43. "Ancient Scripts: Landa".
  44. Cole (2001:648)
  45. 45.0 45.1 "Sindhi Language: Script". Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  48. p.2 Proposal to Encode the Sindhi Script in ISO/IEC 10646
  49. "Gujarati alphabet, pronunciation and language". Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  50. "Romanized Sindhi". Romanized Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  51. "CHOICE OF SCRIPT FOR OUR SINDHI LANGUAGE". Chandi Ramani. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  52. "Sindhi - Keyboards - Tavultesoft".
  53. " - Type to the world in your language".
  54. Z .Ali (September 19, 2014). "Transcending barriers: Software to break down the wall within the Sindhi language". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  55. Amaninder Sharma (September 3, 2014). "Software to melt India, Pakistan's Sindhi script barrier". Times of India. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  56. "Sindhi – its Latin script – and the way forward!". Hard Hour. 2020-04-26. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  57. "Latin Sindhi". Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  58. "A new script for Sindhi Language!". Retrieved 2020-05-17.


External links[edit]

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Template:Sindhi language

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