The Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran has established the Iranian Research Center on the Silk Roads. The Center is a scientific and academic institution, and a unique academic research center in Iran to focus on the Silk Roads.
In spite of its difficulty, the study of orally transmitted traditions, such as sung epics, provides fascinating insight into a society’s culture. On the island of Palawan and among the Buryats living in the forests of Siberia, epics mostly dealt with the quest for marriage partners, acts of heroism and the overcoming of conflicts which led to social harmony and cohesion. In both these cultures, which were based on hunting and the exchange of goods, the epics were sung by shaman-bards.
The Arabic language is spoken in sixteen modern states alongside the historical Silk Road. Classical Arabic is used for religious and ceremonial purposes, having an archaic vocabulary. Modern Standard Arabic is a modernized variety of Classical Arabic. In most Arab countries only the well-educated have adequate proficiency in Standard Arabic, while over 100,500,000 do not.
Pashto is a member of the southeastern Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian languages spoken in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. There are three main varieties of Pashto: Northern Pashto, spoken mainly in Pakistan; Southern Pashto, spoken mainly in Afghanistan; and Central Pashto, spoken mainly in Pakistan.
Kati is spoken by 15,000 people in Afghanistan, where it is a statutory language of provincial identity in the Nuristan Province. It is also spoken in Pakistan. Read more about this language on the UNESCO Atlas of Languages in Danger website.
The Dungan language is spoken by 40,000 people in Kyrgyzstan (based on Johnstone and Mandryk 2001). The total population in all countries is 6 million. The ethnic population is 100,000. Gansu is mainly spoken in Prschewalsk and Osh; Shaanxi in Kazakhstan, and Fergana, Uzbekistan, also in Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation (Asia), Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Swahili is the national language of Tanzania, spoken by at least 15,000,000 people across the country (according to a survey from 2012). It is also the national language of Kenya, where the language is known as Kiswahili, and is spoken in Somalia. Read more about this language on the Ethnologue website.
Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the national language of Pakistan, and is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Hindi, though a lot of Urdu vocabulary comes from Persian and Arabic, while Hindi contains more vocabulary from Sanskrit. Linguists consider Standard Urdu and Standard Hindi to be different formal registers both derived from the Khari Boli dialect, which is also known as Hindustani. At an informal spoken level there are few significant differences between Urdu and Hindi and they could be considered varieties a single language.
Garhwali is spoken by 279,500 people in northern India, principally in Uttarakhand. Read more about this language on the UNESCO Atlas of Languages in Danger website.
The Chinese language (汉语/漢語 Hànyǔ; 华语/華語 Huáyǔ; 中文 Zhōngwén) is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages.