Tribes and Dialects
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Population. According to the linguist H. Kurbanov the population of the Oroshori ranks a little above 2000 (1972). The Oroshori were compelled to leave their biggest village in the spring of 1911 when they were resettled to the upper reaches of the River Gunti, in the midst of the Shughni.
Language. The Oroshori language belongs to the Northern or Shughi-Roshani subgroup of the Pamir Group of the Iranian languages of the Indo-European family. Linguistically it occupies a position between the Bartangi and Sarikoli languages, being somewhat closer to the former. In some treatments the Oroshoris are regarded as a territorial subgroup of the Bartangs. The closest neighbours of the Oroshori are the Kirgiz. There is evidence of mutual linguistic influence.
The first records of Oroshori language and customs date from 1914 when a report on the expedition to the Pamir by the linguists R. Gauthiot and I. Zarubin was published. No systematic research on a larger scale followed. Thus, the Oroshori are the least studied of the peoples of the Pamirs. As to their language, only some textual publications by I. Zarubin have appeared (1927 and 1930).
In the middle of the 1950s the Oroshori of the upper villages beyond Shipandzh were made to resettle in the Vakhsh valley (in a manner alike the Yazgulami and the Roshani), because of the low fertility of the soil in their native area. The climate of the Bartang valley is indeed among the roughest in the Pamirs. There is little arable land, vast areas being covered by either sand or marshes.