Pashto grammar

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Pashto is a S-O-V language with split ergativity. Adjectives come before nouns. Nouns and adjectives are inflected for gender (masc./fem.), number (sing./plur.), and case (direct, oblique I, oblique II and vocative). The verb system is very intricate with the following tenses: present; subjunctive; simple past; past progressive; present perfect; and past perfect. In any of the past tenses (simple past, past progressive, present perfect, past perfect), Pashto is an ergative language; i.e., transitive verbs in any of the past tenses agree with the object of the sentence. The dialects show some non-standard grammatical features, some of which are archaisms or descendants of old forms that are discarded by the literary language.

Pronouns[edit]

Personal pronouns[edit]

Singular Plural
1st 2nd 3rd (visible) 3rd (invis.) 1st 2nd 3rd (visible) 3rd (invis.)
Masc. Fem. Masc. Fem.
(English) I you (sing.) he she he (invis.) she (invis.) we you (plur.) they they (invis.)
Direct زه
ته
دی
dai
دا
هغه
haɣa
موږ
mūẓ̌
تاسو
tāsō
دوی
dūy
هغوی
haɣūy
Indirect ما
تا
دۀ
دې
هغۀ
haɣə
هغې
haɣē

Demonstrative pronouns[edit]

دغه daɣa (this)

Direct دغه
daɣa
Indirect دې

هغه haɣa (that)

Singular Plural
Masc. Fem.
Direct هغه
haɣa
Indirect هغۀ
haɣə
هغې
haɣē
هغو
haɣō

Possessive pronouns[edit]

Independent forms

Person Singular Plural
1st زما
zamā
زموږ
zamūẓ̌
2nd ستا
stā
ستاسو
stāsō
3rd (visible) د دۀ
da də (masc.)

د دې
da dē (fem.)

د دوی
da dūy
3rd (invis.) د هغۀ
da haɣə (masc.)

د هغې
da haɣē (fem.)

د هغوی
da haɣūy

Enclitic forms

Person Singular Plural
1st ـمې
-mē
ـمو
-mō
2nd ـدې
-dē
ـمو
-mō
3rd ـیې
-yē

Interrogative pronouns[edit]

(English) who whose
Direct څوک
tsōk
د چا
da chā
Indirect چا
chā

Nouns[edit]

Case[edit]

Pashto inflects nouns into four grammatical cases: direct, oblique I, oblique II and vocative. The oblique I case is used as prepositional case as well as in the past tense as the subject of transitive verbs, and the oblique II case is used as ablative case.

The following table shows the declension of the masculine noun غر (ɣar, meaning "mountain"):

Singular Plural
Direct غر
ɣar
غرونه
ɣrūna
Oblique I غرۀ
ɣrə
غرونو
ɣrūnō
Oblique II غره
ɣara
غرونو
ɣrūnō
Vocative غره
ɣra
غرونو
ɣrūnō

The following table shows the declension of سړی (saṛai, meaning "man"), a masculine noun with ending "ai":

Singular Plural
Direct سړی
saṛai
سړي
saṛi
Oblique I سړي
saṛi
سړيو
saṛəyō
Oblique II سړيه
saṛəya
سړيو
saṛəyō
Vocative سړيه
saṛəya
سړيو
saṛəyō

The following table shows the declension of ښځه (ṣ̌ədza, meaning "woman"), a feminine noun with ending "a":

Singular Plural
Direct ښځه
ṣ̌ədza
ښځې
ṣ̌ədzē
Oblique I ښځې
ṣ̌ədzē
ښځو
ṣ̌ədzō
Oblique II ښځې
ṣ̌ədzē
ښځو
ṣ̌ədzō
Vocative ښځې
ṣ̌ədzē
ښځو
ṣ̌ədzō

The following table shows the declension of the feminine noun ورځ (wradz, meaning "day"):

Singular Plural
Direct ورځ
wradz
ورځې
wradzē
Oblique I ورځ
wradz
ورځو
wradzō
Oblique II ورځه
wradza
ورځو
wradzō
Vocative ورځې
wradzē
ورځو
wradzō

Gender[edit]

There are two genders: masculine and feminine.

Number[edit]

There are two numbers: singular and plural.

Definiteness[edit]

There is no definite article. But when necessary, definiteness may be indicated by other means such as demonstratives. Likewise, it may be contraindicated by use of the word for "one", يو; as in "يو روغتون" - "a hospital".

Adjectives[edit]

The adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in gender, number, and case.

Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4 Class 5
Masculine Singular Direct - -ay
Oblique II -a -aya -i
Vocative -e
Oblique I - -i
Plural Direct
Oblique/Vocative -o -io/-o -yo/-o
Feminine Singular Direct -a -əy -e
Oblique II
Vocative -e
Oblique I
Plural Direct
Oblique/Vocative -o -əyo/-o -yo/-o

Notes:

  • In the plural, both obliques and the vocative merge into a single form.
  • Singular Oblique I and plural Direct always merge into a single form.
  • The above two conditions mean that there can be at most five distinct forms for masculine adjectives (but in fact, no class distinguishes more than four).
  • For feminine adjectives, singular Oblique I and Vocative merge, while singular Direct and Oblique II merge; combined with mergers noted previously, there can be at most three distinct forms for feminine adjectives.
  • Classes 2 and 3 have stem and stress alternations among different cases. Class 3 has a basic distinction between the masculine singular Direct, Oblique II and Vocative, with stem stress, and all other forms, with a (sometimes) different stem and with ending stress (e.g. masc. trix, fem. tarxá "bitter"; masc. sur, fem. srá "red"; masc. sor̂, fem. sār̂á "cold"; masc. run̂, fem. run̂á "light" with only one stem). Class 2 has the same stress alternation, but has three distinct stems, with stressed stem vowel 'o' or 'u' in masculine singular Direct, Oblique II and Vocative, unstressed stem vowel 'ā' in masculine singular Oblique I and plural Direct, and unstressed stem vowel 'a' in all other forms (e.g. masc. sing. pox, masc. plur. pāxǝ́, fem. paxá "ripe, cooked").

Verbs[edit]

Present tense of يم (yəm) "to be":

Person Singular Plural
1st زه يم
zə yəm
موږ يو
mūẓ̌ yū
2nd ته يې
tə yē
تاسو يئ \ ياست
tāsō yəi/yāst
3rd دی دی
dai dai

دا ده
dā da

دوی دي
dūy di

Past tense of يم (yəm) "to be":

Person Singular Plural
1st زه وم
zə wəm
موږ وو
mūẓ̌ wū
2nd ته وې
tə wē
تاسو وئ
tāsō wəi
3rd (masc.) دی وو
dai wō
دوی وو
dūy wū
3rd (fem.) دا وه
dā wa
دوی وې
dūy wē

Numbers[edit]

Cardinal Numbers (direct case, masc.)

  • 0 صفر sifər
  • 1 يو yaw
  • 2 دوه dwa
  • 3 درې drē
  • 4 څلور tsalōr
  • 5 پنځه pindzə
  • 6 شپږ špaẓ̌
  • 7 اووه ūwə
  • 8 اته atə
  • 9 نه nə
  • 10 لس las

Ordinal Numbers (direct case, masc., sing.)

  • 1st لومړی lumṛai
  • 2nd دوهم dwaham
  • 3rd دريم drəyam
  • 4th څلورم tsaloram
  • 5th پنځم pindzam
  • 6th شپږم špaẓ̌am
  • 7th اووم ūwam
  • 8th اتم atam
  • 9th نهم nəham
  • 10th لسم lasam

External links[edit]