The Indo-Aryan language spoken on the Pothohar Plateau in northern Punjab, in most of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and in western areas of Indian-administered Kashmir is known by a variety of names, the most common of which are Pahari (English: /pəˈhɑːri/) and Pothwari (or Pothohari).
It is transitional between Hindko and Standard Punjabi. Its speakers have a local linguistic, but not ethnic, identity that is separate from that of Punjabi and there has been a nascent, if not yet coherent, language movement. There have been efforts at cultivation as a literary language, although a local standard has not been established yet.
It has been historically classified as a Punjabi dialect. Grierson in his early 20th-century Linguistic Survey of India assigned it to a so-called "Northern cluster" of Lahnda, but this classification, as well as the validity of the Lahnda grouping in this case, have been called into question.
|Native to||Pakistan, India|
|Region||Pothohar region, Azad Kashmir and western parts of Jammu and Kashmir|
|Azad Kashmir and surrounding areas with some of the locations mentioned in this section. Places where Pahari–Pothwari is spoken are in dark red|
There are at least three major dialects: Pothwari, Mirpuri and Pahari.[b] They are mutually intelligible, but the difference between the northernmost and the southernmost dialects (from Muzaffarabad and Mirpur respectively) is enough to cause difficulties in understanding.
Pothwari (پوٹھواری), also spelt Potwari, Potohari and Pothohari (پوٹھوہاری), is spoken in the Pothohar Plateau of northern Punjab, an area that includes parts of the districts of Rawalpindi, Jhelum , Chakwal and Gujrat. Pothwari extends southwards up to the Salt Range, with the city of Jhelum marking the border with Punjabi. To the north, Pothwari transitions into the Pahari-speaking area, with Bharakao, near Islamabad, generally regarded as the point where Pothwari ends and Pahari begins. Pothwari has been represented as a dialect of Punjabi by the Punjabi language movement,  and in census reports the Pothwari areas of Punjab have been shown as Punjabi-majority.[c]
East of the Pothwari areas, across the Jhelum River into Mirpur District in Azad Kashmir the language is more similar to Pothwari than to the Pahari spoken in the rest of Azad Kashmir. Locally it is known by a variety of names:[d] Pahari, Mirpur Pahari, Mirpuri,[e] and Pothwari, while some of its speakers call it Punjabi. Mirpuris possess a strong sense of Kashmiri identity that overrides linguistic identification with closely related groups outside Azad Kashmir. The Mirpur region has been the source of the greater part of Pakistani immigration to the UK, a process that started when thousands were displaced by the construction of the Mangla Dam in the 1960s and emigrated to fill labour shortages in England. The British Mirpuri diaspora now numbers several hundred thousand, and Pahari has been argued to be the second most common mother tongue in the UK, yet the language is little known in the wider society there and its status has remained surrounded by confusion.
Pahari (پہاڑی) is spoken to the north of Pothwari. The central cluster of Pahari dialects is found around Murree. This area is in the Galyat: the hill country of Murree Tehsil in the northeast of Rawalpindi District (just north of the capital Islamabad) and the adjoining areas in southeastern Abbottabad District. One name occasionally found in the literature for this language is Dhundi-Kairali (Ḍhūṇḍī-Kaiṛālī), a term first used by Grierson who based it on the names of the two major tribes of the area – the Kairal and the Dhund. Its speakers call it Pahari in Murre tehsil, while in Abbotabad district it is known as either Hindko or Ḍhūṇḍī. Nevertheless, Hindko – properly the language of the rest of Abbottabad District and the neighbouring areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – is generally regarded as a different language. It forms a dialect continuum with Pahari,  and the transition between the two is in northern Azad Kashmir and in the Galyat region. For example on the road from Murree northwest towards the city of Abbottabad, Pahari gradually changes into Hindko between Ayubia and Nathiagali.
A closely related dialect is spoken across the Jhelum River in Azad Kashmir, north of the Mirpuri areas. Names associated in the literature with this dialect are Pahari (itself the term most commonly used by the speakers themselves), Chibhālī,, named after the Chibhal region or the Chibh ethnic group, and Poonchi (Punchhi). The latter name has been variously applied to either the Chibhali variety specific to the district of Poonch, or to the dialect of the whole northern half of Azad Kashmir. This dialect (or dialects) has been seen either as a separate dialect from the one in Murree, or as belonging to the same central group of Pahari dialects. The dialect of the district of Bagh, for example, has more shared vocabulary with the core dialects from Murree (86–88%) than with the varieties of either Muzaffarabad (84%) or Mirpur (78%).
In Muzaffarabad the dialect shows lexical similarity[f] of 83–88% with the central group of Pahari dialects, which is high enough for the authors of the sociolinguistic survey to classify it is a central dialect itself, but low enough to warrant noting its borderline status. The speakers however tend to call their language Hindko and to identify more with the Hindko spoken to the west, despite the lower lexical similarity (73–79%) with the core Hindko dialects of Abbottabad and Mansehra. Further north into the Neelam Valley the dialect, now known locally as Parmi, becomes closer to Hindko.
Pahari is also spoken further east across the Line of Control into the Pir Panjal mountains in Indian Jammu and Kashmir. The population, estimated at 1 million, is found in the region between the Jhelum and Chenab rivers: most significantly in the districts of Poonch and Rajouri, to a lesser extent in neighbouring Baramulla and Kupwara, and also – as a result of the influx of refugees during the Partition of 1947 – scattered throughout the rest of Jammu and Kashmir. Pahari is among the regional languages listed in the sixth schedule of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Use of Si-endings for Future Tense
|Main karsaan ਮੈਂ ਕਰਸਾਂ میں کرساں ||Main karanga ਮੈਂ ਕਰਾਂਗਾ میں کرانگا |
|Asi karsaan ਅਸੀਂ ਕਰਸਾਂ اسی کرساں ||Asi karaange ਅਸੀਂ ਕਰਾਂਗੇ اسی کرانگے |
|Tu karsain ਤੂੰ ਕਰਸੈਂ توں کرسیں ||Tu karenga ਤੂੰ ਕਰੇਂਗਾ توں کریں گا |
|Tusan karso ਤੁਸਾਂ ਕਰਸੋ تساں کرسو ||Tusi karoge ਤੁਸੀਂ ਕਰੋਗੇ تسی کروگے |
|Oh karsi ਉਹ ਕਰਸੀ اوه کرسی ||Oh karega ਉਹ ਕਰੇਗਾ اوه کریگا |
|Oh karsan ਉਹ ਕਰਸਨ اوه کرسن ||Oh karange ਉਹ ਕਰਨਗੇ اوه کرنگے |
- Use of Na for Genitive Termination
Lokaan Na (ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨਾ لوکاں نا )vs Punjabi’s Lokaan Da (ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦਾ لوکاں دا) – ‘of the people’
Very clear point of departure occurs in the use of Achhna (ਅੱਛਣਾ اچھنا ‘to come’) and Gachhna (ਗੱਛਣਾ گچھنا ‘to go’) as opposed to Siraiki Aawan (ਆਵਣ آون ) and Wanjan (ਵੰਜਣ ونجن ) and Punjabi Aona (ਆਉਣਾ آؤنا ) and Jana (ਜਾਣਾ جانا)