The Ushojo, a highly endangered language is spoken in twelve villages of Swat valley including Bishigram, Shepiza, Kas, Derai, Nalkot, Karial, Sore, Tangai Banda, Kappal Banda, Moghul Mar, Tukai and Danda. Ushojo speakers are also found in Madyan, a big town of Swat valley. According to the speakers of this language Ushojo is spoken by an estimated nine thousand people who encourage their children to learn their mother tongue. Earlier in 1992 Ushojo people were counted between two to three thousand in a survey conducted by National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quadi-e-Azam University and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).
The Ushojo people believe that they migrated several centuries ago from Kolai area in the Indus Valley to Usho in Swat and settled for a short period then came to their existing region. Therefore their language was called Ushui then Ushiji and now Ushojo. People on the Kolai side of the Indus River speak a language called Shina, a Dardic language in the Indo-Aryan group. It was postulated that Ushojo was a dialect of Shina as this language indicates a close resemblance to Shina. Palula language in Chitral is also in Shina group of languages gives some indication of the age of Ushojo.
Ushojo people constantly migrate to the big cities of the countries for better economic conditions. Their area has seen worst security situation coupled with natural disasters like floods have made them leave their homes. This mass migration causes language shift in the area.
Pashto is the main language of interest in Ushojo area specially the first village; Bishigram has Pashto speakers in it. Madyan is the nearest town with a bazaar where most of the shopkeepers speak Pashto. The Ushojo people therefore must learn Pashto to do any business in Madyan. The Ushojo people can speak Pashto comfortably while Urdu being a national language is learnt in school.
There are four primary schools, two middle schools and one high school in Ushojo area. Those boys who had been living elsewhere for schooling are not using Ushojo frequently. People above 30 years of age are fluent in their mother tongue, Ushojo while they are good in Pashto having got ability to communicate in Urdu. The Ushojo area is surrounded by Torwali language and people sometimes are not sure of the words on being either of Ushojo or Torwali.
UNESCO has marked the Ushojo language as critically threatened on account of close contact the language has with dominant Pashto and Torwali for a prolonged period and also for being just a verbal and undocumented language. The Ushojo speakers including poets, story-tellers
and those who could write in Urdu, Pashto or English never used their language for writing as no phonology or orthography was ever done for their mother tongue.
Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) has executed a project under the title of Preliminary Documentation of four endangered languages and Ushojo is one of them. Under the project, orthography for Ushojo has been done and members of this language community have been given documentation training to turn their oral language into written. For the purpose a writing system for Ushojo has been made as well as ten folk tales of the language have been transcribed after getting them recorded. World list for Ushojo including three books in Ushojo language have been published. Now Ushojo speakers have started writing in their mother tongue and poets who used to memorize their words are writing down their views in their own language.