Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Spoken in:||Afghanistan, Pakistan|
|Region:||Afghanistan: south, east and a few provinces in the north; Pakistan: western provinces|
|Total speakers:||c. 38 million|
|Ranking:||82 (Northern), 92 (Southern). See .|
|Official language of:||Afghanistan|
Pashto (پښتو; also known as Afghan, Pushto, Pashto, Pashtoe, Pashtu, and Pukhto) is the language spoken by the ethnic Afghan otherwise known as the Pashtun people who inhabit Afghanistan and the western provinces of Pakistan.
The language is believed to have originated in the Kandahar/Helmand areas of Afghanistan. Dari often dominates over Afghan/Pashto in Afghanistan in everyday government use since the capital was moved to Kabul from Kandahar in the 18th century. Pashto is spoken by ca 44% of Afghanistan's population.
Pashto is spoken by about 12 million people in the south, east and a few northern provinces of Afghanistan and by over 20 million people in the western provinces of Pakistan including the Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan. Large communities are also found in Sindh (Karachi, Heyderabad) and in western Punjab Pakistan. Smaller communities exist in Northern India (Pathankot, Rampur) and northeastern Iran. It is spoken by circa 44% of Afghanistan population who are of the Pashtun tribe, as well as by ethnic Pashtuns who live on the other side of the disputed Durand Line in present day Pakistan (ca. 13%-20% of the population of Pakistan).
The northern dialect is spoken by about 8,206,000 people, and the southern dialect by about 9,685,000 people as of 1993.
Pashto is a S-O-V language. Adjectives come before nouns. Nouns and adjectives are inflected for gender (Masculine/Feminine), number (Singular/Plural) and case (Direct/Oblique). Direct case is used for subjects and direct objects in the present tense. Oblique case is used after most pre- and post-positions as well as in the past tense as the subject of transitive verbs. There is no definite article, but instead there is extensive use of this/that. The verb system is very intricate with the following: Simple Present, Subjunctive, Simple Past, Past Progressive, Present Perfect,and Past Perfect. In any of the past tenses (Simple Past, Past Progressive, Present Perfect and Past Perfect) Pashto is an ergative language, i.e. transative verbs in any of the past tenses agree with the object of the sentence.
From the time of Islam's rise in Central Asia, Pashto has used a modified version of Perso-Arabic script. In recent years, however, because of the Internet, it has become increasingly popular to write Pashto in the Latin script. Pashto has several letters which do not appear in any other Perso-Arabic script which represent the retroflex versions of the consonants t,d,r,n. The letters are written like the standard arabic ta', dal, ra', and nun with a "pandak" attached underneath which looks like a small circle. They also have the letters ge and xin (the initial sound of which is like the German ch found in the word "ich") which look like a ra' and sin repectively with a dot above and beneath. Pashto also has the extra letters that Persian has added to the Arabic alphabet. See http://www.khpalapashtu.com/sitee/pashtula/pasalph.htm to view the entire alphabet.
- Note - The following transliterations represent the Kabuli dialect.
Examples of intransative sentence forms using the verb "to go" "tlil":
Command (you masculine-singular):
Maktab ta dza! or Maktab ta laarr sha! School to go - Go to school!
Command (you masculine-plural):
Maktab ta dzey! or Maktab ta laarr shey! School to go -Go to school!
zuh maktab ta dzum. I school to go - I go to school.
zuh ghwaarum che maktab ta laarr shum. I want that to school go (Masculine-I-verb form) - I want to go to school.
zuh maktab ta tlilai yum. I school to gone (Masculine verb form) am - I have gone to school.
zuh maktab ta wolaarrum. I school to went - I went to school.
zuh maktab ta tlilai wum. I school to gone (Masculine verb form) was - I had gone to school.
zuh maktab ta tlilum. I school to was going - I was going to school or I used to go to school
Examples of transative sentence forms using the verb "to eat" "khwarril":
Command (You singular):
Paneer wokhuurra! cheese eat - Eat the cheese!
Paneer muhkhuurra! cheese no-eat - Don't eat the cheese!
Command (You plural):
Paneer wokhuurrey! cheese eat - Eat the cheese!
Paneer muhkhuurrey! cheese no-eat - Don't eat the cheese!
zuh paneer khuurrum. I cheese eat - I eat cheese.
zuh ghwaarum che paneer wokhuurrum. I want that cheese eat (I-verb form) - I want to eat cheese.
maa paneer khwarrilai dai. me (I-oblique) cheese eaten (masculine-singular verb form) is - I have eaten cheese.
maa paneer wokhorro. me (I-oblique) cheese ate - I ate cheese
maa paneer khwarrilai wo. me (I-oblique) cheese eaten (masculine-singular verb form) was - I had eaten cheese.
maa paneer khwarruh. me (I oblique) cheese was eating (masculine-singular verb form) - I was eating cheese or I used to eat cheese.
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