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Community Response

Community Responses:

What, if anything, is done at the local/community level to re-introduce or promote the use of the language to younger generations?

Zubair Torwali created this non-for-profit organization, Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi, commonly known as (IBT) – the Institute for Education and Development. Zubair and his team created the IBT as an effort to introduce "mother-tongue based multilingual education in Swat". 

IBT started advocacy in the community for greater access to education, and the right to protect and advocate conservation of natural area resources. The IBT held over 50 large Jirgas (Meetings) with the Torwali community to educate them about the issues they face and their rights to hold the government accountable for neglect and apathy. 

What, if anything, exists or is done in schooling environments to promote the language?

Zubair started IBT as an effort to preserve Torwali as a response to something he noticed. He noticed that once Torwali children learned Pashto and Urdu through formal schooling they begin to abandon the Torwali language. In addition to educating youth, IBT is in the process of education roughly 2000 women in the region in their native language. 

What, if anything, exists within the media (print, audio, video) to promote the language?

In addition to schooling, IBT works to publish music and literature in Torwali. One of their first publications, by Zubair, was a book of classical Torwali poetry with an Urdu translation. According to Zubair, this was the first Torwali book as previously it had no known script. Seventy percent of the poetry within it is by anonymous female poets.

Publications (Supervised by Zubair Torwali): 

Torwali—Urdu English Dictionary written by Aftab Ahmad (10,000 Words compiled in 12 months)
Torwali—English Picture Dictionary for Students (
IBT & Zubair Torwali)
Book of Daily Usage Conversation in Torwali, Urdu and English
written by Mujahid Torwali.
Book of Torwali folktales in Torwali with Urdu and English translation 
written by Rahim Sabir.

Social Media:

Zubair Torwali and Google worked with the IBT to bring Torwali to the Google keyboard "G-Board" pictured below. 


Does the language have its own writing system or does it make use of another writing system?To what degree is it recognized and used by the communities themselves? Do they respect and use it? Is it just decorative and symbolic? Are there any conflicts over multiple systems?

Before 2007 there was no orthographical system for Torwali. In 2006, Zubair Torwali lead a group of local researchers to begin working on creating such a system. By 2008, this group created a working orthography that they named "Torwali Alif Beh Teh". It uses Urdu Script.

It is recognized widely and used by all those that attend and are involved in IBT. IBT works to promote literacy in both children and adults. However due to the poor state of education, economy, and quality of life many Torwali people cannot read or write.

There do not seem to be any conflicts because the Torwali people are very proud of their language and happy to have a writing system. 

Have you been able to locate any web or internet resources to promote this language or document its situation? Who is behind these web resources (locals/speakers or outsiders--who made these resources)? What is your sense of how actively the website is accessed/used by others? Can you find statistics or user data tracking? What types of resources does it contain to promote the language? 

Torwali Language and People

Zubair Torwali/IBT :) 

Although there are no user tracking statistics, sadly, I don't believe the website is accessed very much. I am from a Pakistani background and I have never heard of this language before. I doubt many if any (non linguist) Americans, Europeans, etc. have heard of it. The website features a Language Map, Information about Torwali People & Culture, Literacy, Projects, Multimedia Resources, and is viewable in English, Urdu & Torwali Script. 

Available Language Archives:

This is the only available Torwali - English "Talking Dictionary" - created and funded by the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning based on the original dictionary created by Inam Ullah in May 2004. Funding for the dictionary came from a grant titled "Digital Dictionaries for Less Commonly Taught Languages of Pakistan". The sound recordings were made at the radio recording studio of the Allama Iqbal Open University. The entry words and example sentences were recorded on a TASCAM DA-P1 digital audio tape recorder purchased with Consortium funding for this project, and maintained with the help of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies.

The Dictionary only has 13 words.

Torwali English Dictionary

(11), (12) 

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