USAGE BY COUNTRY (OFFICIAL LANGUAGE)Official Status: India Home Speakers: Pakistan
BACKGROUNDKashmiri is spoken by over 4 million people and is the principal language of the state of Kashmir, long disputed between India and Pakistan. In India it is one of the official languages recognized by the constitution. Though generally considered to belong to the Indic group of Indo-European languages, Kashmiri's exact affiliation is still uncertain, and it is thought by some to constitute a separate subgroup. Kashmiri is written in both the Devanagari (Hindi) and the Arabic script, each with additional diacritical marks for special sounds in the language. The former is generally used by Hindus, the latter by Moslems. Moslem speakers of Kashmiri also tend to use many words of Persian and Arabic origin. Literature can be traced to the 1400's, and poetry is also important, yet it is not used in primary education.