Tribes and Dialects
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Habitat. The Khufis live in the Khufi valley (the Khufi qishlaq) in the Pamir mountains and in Paskhufi (in translation: Lower Khufi) on the banks of Pyandzh (i.e. on the upper reaches of the River Amu Darya).
Population. 1,000 Khufis were registered in 1939 but at present their number is not known.
Language. The Khufi language is one of the Iranian languages of the Indo-European language group, belonging to the northern group of the Pamir languages. The Roshani language is the closest related language to Khufi and some authors consider Khufi to be a dialect of Roshani. The divergences in their vocabularies are rare and inessential; the basic differences lie in the phonetics. Of importance is, however, that the Khufis consider themselves a separate people.
Khufi textual publications are scarce and the first dates from 1953 only (V. Sokolova's research Очерки по фонетике иранских языков II, Moscow -- Leningrad 1953, pp. 154--157, 164--175).
Origin. Other mountain tribes have fused with the Khufis throughout centuries. It is known, for instance, that ten families from the Rog village of Badakhshan, Afghanistan, once fled to the Khufis. According to their own folk tales the ancestors of the Khufis originate from Sarykol. First they inhabited Lower Khufi and the valley of Khufi was used only as a summer pasture. However, as the crops grew well in the upper region, they gradually resettled.
Ethnic culture. Khufi culture is characterized by its utmost conservatism as, living high in the mountains, they have been separated from the rest of the world. It must be stated, however, that like the rest of the Pamir peoples the Khufis have also looked for jobs in the larger cities of Central Asia.