Endangered Language Alliance
Shughni is a Pamir language, part of the Southeastern Iranian group within the Indo-European language family. Spoken across the Pamir range, its closest relatives include Yazgulyam in Tajikistan, Sarikoli in China, Munji and Sanglechi-Ishkashimi in Afghanistan, Yidgha in Pakistan; and Wakhi, spoken in both Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Linguists have identified a variety itself called Shughni, Oroshor (Roshorvi), Roshani, Bartangi, and Khufi as closely related dialects, although the latter two are often considered distinct enough to be considered separate languages.
Initially, ELA Director Daniel Kaufman and volunteer Guy Tabachnik worked with local speaker Arambegim (Nanish) Nazrisho, originally from Khorog, Tajikistan, recording folk tales and basic linguistic data. There has also been collaboration between ELA and the Shughni Grammar Project.
In the summer of 2016, Husniya Khujamyorova (a Wakhi speaker) recorded a young Shughni singer in Dushanbe and an older storyteller in Murghab telling the story of the revered 11th century Perisan poet and philosopher Nasir Khusraw, a Fatimid missionary who is credited with spreading Ismailism in Badakhshan.
In 2018, with support from the National Geographic Society, Khujamyorova, filmmaker Nicole Galpern, and ELA Co-Director Ross Perlin spent much of the summer in the Pamir region, making recordings in Shughni and other languages.