Pakistan is home to many dozens of languages spoken as first languages. Five languages have more than 10 million speakers each in Pakistan, which include Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki and Urdu. Furthermore, almost all of Pakistan’s languages belong to the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European language family.
Ethnologue lists 74 languages in Pakistan, while Sixty-six of them are indigenous and 8 are non-indigenous. In terms of their vitality, 6 are classified as ‘institutional’, 18 are ‘developing’, 39 are ‘vigorous’, 9 are ‘in trouble, and 2 are ‘dying’.
National Language – Urdu
Pakistan’s national language is Urdu but it is also proposed to be the co-official language along with English. The country also has several regional languages as well. Urdu has been one of the most renowned languages in terms of literature and poetry, not only Pakistani but the poets of the Sub-Continent also preferred and wrote their collections in Urdu.
Additionally, the language has been the most culturally enriched language, all around the World. Some of the most renowned poets have been Mirza Ghalib, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Mohsin Naqvi and in modern times Jaun Elia.
Official Language – English
English is a co-official language of Pakistan and is widely used in the executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as to some extent in the officer ranks of Pakistan’s armed forces. Initially, Pakistan’s Constitution and laws were written in English and are now being re-written in the local languages. However, It is also widely used in schools, colleges and universities as a medium of instruction.
Moreover, English is seen as the language of upward mobility, and its use is becoming more prevalent in upper social circles, where it is often spoken alongside native Pakistani languages.
5 Provincial languages Are Spoken In Pakistan
- Punjabi in Punjab
- Pashto in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK)
- Sindhi in Sindh
- Balochi in Balochistan
- Balti in Gilgit Baltistan
Sub-provincial regional languages
- Arabic (historical official language, religious and minor literary language)
- Persian (historical official and literary language)
- Bengali (previous regional and immigrant language)
- Turkic languages (historical and immigrant languages)
- English (previous colonial and co-official language)
54 Minor languages Are Spoken In Pakistan
Other languages spoken by linguistic minorities include the languages listed below, with speakers ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands. While a few are highly endangered languages that may soon have no speakers at all.
- Indus Kohistani
There are many foreign languages that are spoken in Pakistan at a lower scale. For instance, Chinese is promoted in Pakistan nowadays. Other than that many other foreign languages are being promoted in Pakistan and are spoken as well. Due to the ever-evolving diversity in Pakistan, the languages seem to grow.