In addition, sizable Pashtun diaspora
also exist in Western Asia
, especially in the United Arab Emirates
and Saudi Arabia
. The Pashtun diaspora speaks Pashto in countries like the United States
, United Kingdom
, the Netherlands
, New Zealand
Although officially supporting the use of Pashto, the Afghan elite regarded Persian as a "sophisticated language and a symbol of cultured upbringing".
King Zahir Shah
(reigned 1933-1973) thus followed suit after his father Nadir Khan
had decreed in 1933 that officials were to study and utilize both Persian and Pashto.
In 1936 a royal decree
of Zahir Shah formally
granted to Pashto the status of an official language
with full rights to usage in all aspects of government and education - despite the fact that the ethnically Pashtun royal family and bureaucrats mostly spoke Persian.
Thus Pashto became a national language
, a symbol for Pashtun nationalism
A native speaker speaking Pashto
The lack of importance given to Pashto and neglect has caused growing resentment amongst Pashtuns
, who also complain that Pashto is often neglected officially .
It is noted that Pashto is not taught well in schools in Pakistan
Moreover, in government schools material is not provided for in the Pashto dialect of that locality.
Students are unable to fully comprehend educational material in Urdu.
"The government of Pakistan, faced with irredentist claims from Afghanistan on its territory, also discouraged the Pashto Movement and eventually allowed its use in peripheral domains only after the Pakhtun elite had been co-opted by the ruling elite...Thus, even though there is still an active desire among some Pakhtun activists to use Pashto in the domains of power, it is more of a symbol of Pakhtun identity than one of nationalism."
— Tariq Rahman, The Pashto language and identity‐formation in Pakistan
Inscription in Greek by Sophytos, 2nd century BCE, Kandahar.
Some linguists have argued that Pashto is descended from Avestan
or a variety very similar to it.
However, the position that Pashto is a direct descendant of Avestan is not agreed upon. What scholars agree on is the fact that Pashto is an Eastern Iranian language sharing characteristics with Eastern Middle Iranian languages such as Bactrian, Khwarezmian and Sogdian.
, who lived between 64 BC and 24 CE, explains that the tribes inhabiting the lands west of the Indus River
were part of Ariana
. This was around the time when the area inhabited by the Pashtuns was governed by the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
. From the 3rd century CE onward, they are mostly referred to by the name Afghan
In modern times, noticing the incursion of Persian and Arabic vocabulary, there is a strong desire to "purify
" Pashto by restoring its old vocabulary.
Pashto is a subject–object–verb
(SOV) language with split ergativity
come before nouns
. Nouns and adjectives are inflected
for two genders
(sing./plur.), and four cases
(direct, oblique, ablative and vocative). There is also an inflection for the subjunctive mood
. The verb
system is very intricate with the following tenses: present, simple past, past progressive, present perfect, and past perfect. The possessor precedes the possessed in the genitive construction. The verb generally agrees with the subject in both transitive and intransitive sentences. An exception occurs when a completed action is reported in any of the past tenses (simple past, past progressive, present perfect, or past perfect). In such cases, the verb agrees with the subject if it is intransitive, but if it is transitive, it agrees with the object,
therefore Pashto shows a partly ergative
behaviour. Unlike most other Indo-Iranian languages, Pashto uses all three types of adpositions
– prepositions, postpositions, and circumpositions.
- Phonemes that have been borrowed, thus non-native to Pashto, are color coded. The phonemes /q/ and /f/ tend to be replaced by [k] and [p] respectively.[Note 3]
- /ɽ/ is voiced back-alveolar retroflex flap. MacKenzie states: "In distinction, from the alveolar trill r and from the dental (or alveolar) lateral l, it is basically a retroflexed lateral flap."
- The retroflex fricatives /ʂ, ʐ/ and palatal fricatives /ç, ʝ/ represent dialectally different pronunciations of the same sound, not separate phonemes. In particular, the retroflex fricatives, which represent the original pronunciation of these sounds, are preserved in the South Western dialects (especially the prestige dialect of Kandahar), while they are pronounced as palatal fricatives in the North Western dialects. Other dialects merge the retroflexes with other existing sounds: The South Eastern dialects merge them with the postalveolar fricatives /ʃ, ʒ/, while the North Eastern dialects merge them with the velar phonemes in an asymmetric pattern, pronouncing them as [x, ɡ]. Furthermore, according to Henderson (1983), the voiced palatal fricative /ʝ/ actually occurs generally in the Wardak Province, and is merged into /ɡ/ elsewhere in the North Western dialects. It is also pronounced as sometimes /ʝ/ in Bati Kot according to the findings of D.W Coyle.
- The velars /k, ɡ, x, ɣ/ followed by the close back rounded vowel /u/ assimilate into the labialized velars [kʷ, ɡʷ, xʷ, ɣʷ].
- Voiceless stops [p, t, t͡ʃ, k] are all unaspirated, like Romance languages, and Austronesian languages; they have slightly aspirated allophones prevocalically in a stressed syllable.
In Pashto, most of the native elements of the lexicon are related to other Eastern Iranian languages
As noted by Josef Elfenbein, "Loanwords have been traced in Pashto as far back as the third century B.C., and include words from Greek and probably Old Persian".
For instance, Georg Morgenstierne
notes the Pashto word مېچن
i.e. a hand-mill
as being derived from the Ancient Greek word μηχανή
[mēkhanḗ] i.e. a device.
Post-7th century borrowings came primarily from Persian language
, with Arabic words being borrowed through Persian,
but sometimes directly.
Modern speech borrows words from English, French
, and German
However, a remarkably large number of words are unique to Pashto.
There a lot of old vocabulary that have been replaced by borrowings e.g. پلاز
[throne] with تخت [from Persian].
Or the word يګانګي [yagānagí]
meaning "uniqueness" used by Pir Roshan Bayazid
Such classical vocabulary is being reintroduced to modern Pashto.
Some words also survive in dialects like ناوې پلاز [the bride-room].
Example from Khayr-al-Bayān:
... بې يګانګئ بې قرارئ وي او په بدخوئ کښې وي په ګناهان
Transliteration: ... be-yagānagə́i, be-kararə́i wi aw pə badxwə́i kx̌e wi pə gunāhā́n
Translation: " ... without singularity/uniqueness, without calmness and by bad-attitude are on sin ."
The Pashto alphabet consists of 45 to 46 letters
and 4 diacritic marks.In the Latin transliteration, stress is represented by the following markers over vowels: ә́
. The following table gives the letters' isolated forms, along with the Latin equivalents [not officially recognised] and typical IPA values:
Pashto dialects are divided into two varieties, the "soft" southern variety Paṣ̌tō
, and the "hard" northern variety Pax̌tō
Each variety is further divided into a number of dialects. The southern dialect of Wanetsi
is the most distinctive Pashto dialect.
اوږد [long] - in different dialects
- Durrani or Kandahar dialect (or South Western dialect)
- Kakar dialect (or South Eastern dialect)
- Shirani dialect
- Mandokhel dialect
- Marwat-Bettani dialect
- Southern Karlani group [aka. Central Dialects: Wazirwola and Banunchi]
Central Ghilji dialect (or North Western dialect)
- Yusufzai or Yusapzai dialect (or North Eastern dialect)
- Northern Karlani group
- Taniwola dialect
- Mangal tribe dialect
- Khosti dialect
- Zadran dialect
- Bangash-Orakzai-Turi-Zazi- dialect
- Afridi dialect
- Khogyani dialect
Alphabets of Literary Pashto
Standard Pashto or Literary Pashto is the standardized variety of Pashto which serves as a literary register
, and is based on the North Western dialect, spoken in the central Ghilji
region, including the Afghan capital Kabul
and some surrounding region. Literary Pashto's vocabulary, however, also derives from Southern Pashto
. This dialect of Pashto has been chosen as standard because it is generally understandable. Standard Pashto is the literary variety of Pashto used in Afghan media
Literary Pashto has been developed by Radio Television Afghanistan
and Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan
. It has adopted neologisms to coin new terms from already existing words or phrases and introduce them into the Pashto lexicon. Educated Standard Pashto is learned in the curriculum that is taught in the primary schools in the country. It is used for written and formal spoken purposes, and in the domains of media and government.
Pashto-speakers have long had a tradition of oral literature
, including proverbs
, stories, and poems. Written Pashto literature saw a rise in development in the 17th century mostly due to poets like Khushal Khan Khattak
(1613–1689), who, along with Rahman Baba
(1650–1715), is widely regarded as among the greatest Pashto poets. From the time of Ahmad Shah Durrani
(1722–1772), Pashto has been the language of the court. The first Pashto teaching text was written during the period of Ahmad Shah Durrani by Pir Mohammad Kakar with the title of Maʿrifat al-Afghānī
("The Knowledge of Afghani [Pashto]"). After that, the first grammar book of Pashto verbs
was written in 1805 under the title of Riyāż al-Maḥabbah
("Training in Affection") through the patronage of Nawab Mahabat Khan, son of Hafiz Rahmat Khan
, chief of the Barech
. Nawabullah Yar Khan, another son of Hafiz Rahmat Khan, in 1808 wrote a book of Pashto words entitled ʿAjāyib al-Lughāt
("Wonders of Languages").
زۀ رحمان پۀ خپله ګرم يم چې مين يم
چې دا نور ټوپن مې بولي ګرم په څۀ
IPA: [zə raˈmɑn pə ˈxpəl.a gram jəm t͡ʃe maˈjan jəm]
[t͡ʃe d̪ɑ nor ʈoˈpən me boˈli gram pə t͡sə]
Transliteration: Zə Rahmā́n pə xpə́la gram yəm če mayán yəm
Če dā nor ṭopə́n me bolí gram pə tsə
Translation: "I Rahman, myself am guilty that I am a lover,
On what does this other universe call me guilty."
Pashto also has a rich heritage of proverbs (Pashto matalúna
, sg. matál
An example of a proverb:
اوبه په ډانګ نه بېلېږي
Transliteration: Obә́ pə ḍāng nə beléẓ̌i
Translation: "One cannot divide water by [hitting it with] a pole."
List of colors:
تور/ توره tor/tóra [black]
ژېړ/ ژېړه žeṛ/žéṛa [yellow]
خړ / خړه xәṛ/xə́ṛa [grey]
List of colors borrowed from neighbouring languages:
- نارنجي nārәnjí - orange [from Persian]
- ګلابي gulābí - pink [from Hindustani, originally Persian]
- نيلي nilí - indigo [from Persian]
Times of the day
د پښتو وختونه
Names of the Month
- ^ The only American pronunciation listed by Oxford Online Dictionaries is /
- ^ Sometimes spelled "Pushtu" or "Pushto", and then either pronounced the same or differently. The spelling "Pakhto" is so rare that it is not even mentioned by any major English dictionaries nor recognized by major English–Pashto dictionaries such as [thepashto.com], and it is specifically listed by Ethnologue only as an alternative name for Northern Pashto, and not Southern or Central Pashto.
- ^ So for instance, the Arabic word فرق would be pronounced as /par(ə)k/.
- ^ a b Constitution of Afghanistan – Chapter 1 The State, Article 16 (Languages) and Article 20 (Anthem)
- ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier. 6 April 2010. pp. 845–. ISBN 978-0-08-087775-4.
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- ^ a b c "Pashto (also Pushtu)". Oxford Online Dictionaries, UK English. Oxford University Press.
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- ^ "Pashto (also Pushtu)". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- ^ a b John Leyden, Esq. M.D.; William Erskine, Esq., eds. (1921). "Events Of The Year 910 (1525)". Memoirs of Babur. Packard Humanities Institute. p. 5. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012. To the south is Afghanistān. There are ten or eleven different languages spoken in Kābul: Arabic, Persian, Tūrki, Moghuli, Afghani, Pashāi, Parāchi, Geberi, Bereki, Dari and Lamghāni.
- ^ a b Claus, Peter J.; Diamond, Sarah; Ann Mills, Margaret (2003). South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia : Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Taylor & Francis. p. 447. ISBN 9780415939195.
- ^ Henderson, Michael. "The Phonology of Pashto" (PDF). Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- ^ a b Henderson, Michael (1983). "Four Varieties of Pashto". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 103 (3): 595–8. doi:10.2307/602038. JSTOR 602038.
- ^ a b Darmesteter, James (1890). Chants populaires des Afghans. Paris.
- ^ "Pakistan - The World Factbook". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
- ^ "Article Sixteen of the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan". 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2012. From among the languages of Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmani, Baluchi, Pashai, Nuristani, Pamiri (alsana), Arab and other languages spoken in the country, Pashto and Dari are the official languages of the state.
- ^ Banting, Erinn (2003). Afghanistan: The land. Crabtree Publishing Company. p. 4. ISBN 0-7787-9335-4. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- ^ Population by Mother Tongue, Population Census – Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan
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- ^ Penzl, Herbert; Ismail Sloan (2009). A Grammar of Pashto a Descriptive Study of the Dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Ishi Press International. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-923891-72-5. Estimates of the number of Pashto speakers range from 40 million to 60 million...
- ^ a b "Pashto language". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- ^ "Languages: Afghanistan". Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Retrieved 27 October 2020. (48% L1 + L2)
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- ^ Mohmand, Mureeb (27 April 2014). "The decline of Pashto". The Express Tribune. ...because of the state’s patronage, Urdu is now the most widely-spoken language in Pakistan. But the preponderance of one language over all others eats upon the sphere of influence of other, smaller languages, which alienates the respective nationalities and fuels aversion towards the central leadership...If we look to our state policies regarding the promotion of Pashto and the interests of the Pakhtun political elite, it is clear that the future of the Pashto language is dark. And when the future of a language is dark, the future of the people is dark.
- ^ Carter, Lynn. "Socio-Economic Profile of Kurram Agency". Planning and Development Department, Peshawar, NWFP. 1991: 82.
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- ^ Hallberg, Daniel. "Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan" (PDF). National Institute of Pakistan Studies Quaid-i-Azam University and Summer Institute of Linguisitics. 4: 36. A brief interview with the principal of the high school in Madyan, along with a number of his teachers, helps to underscore the importance of Pashto in the school domain within Pashtoon territory. He reported that Pashto is used by teachers to explain things to students all the way up through tenth class. The idea he was conveying was that students do not really have enough ability in Urdu to operate totally in that language. He also expressed the thought that Pashto-speaking students in the area really do not learn Urdu very well in public school and that they are thus somewhat ill prepared to meet the expectation that they will know how to use Urdu and English when they reach the college level. He likened the education system to a wall that has weak bricks at the bottom.
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- ^ BGN/PCGN romanization
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- ^ "NGA: Standardization Policies". nga.mil. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013.
- ^ Zellem, Edward (2014). Mataluna: 151 Afghan Pashto Proverbs. Cultures Direct Press. ISBN 978-0692215180.
- ^ Bartlotti, Leonard and Raj Wali Shah Khattak, eds. (2006). Rohi Mataluna: Pashto Proverbs, (revised and expanded edition). First edition by Mohammad Nawaz Tair and Thomas C. Edwards, eds. Peshawar, Pakistan: Interlit and Pashto Academy, Peshawar University.
- ^ Jazab, Yousaf Khan. An Ethno-Linguistic Study of the Karlanri Varieties of Pashto. Pashto Academy, University of Peshawar. pp. 342–343.
- ^ Christopher John Fuller (2004). The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India. Princeton University Press. pp. 291–293. ISBN 978-0-69112-04-85.
Morgenstierne, Georg. "The Place of Pashto among the Iranic Languages and the Problem of the Constitution of Pashtun Linguistic and Ethnic Unity." Paṣto Quarterly 1.4 (1978): 43-55.
Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Pashto
Last edited on 3 May 2021, at 09:29
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