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.

Pashto has a rich number of dialects due to which the language has been spelled several ways in English: Pashto, Pakhto, Pukhto.[1]

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
hağa
موږ\مونږ
muẓ̌/mung
تاسو\تاسی
tâso/tase[2][3]
دوی
dūy
هغوی
hağūy
Indirect ما
تا
دۀ
دې
de
هغۀ
hağə
هغې
hağe

Demonstrative pronouns[edit]

دغه dağa (this)

Direct دغه
dağa
Indirect دې
de

هغه hağa (that)

Singular Plural
Masc. Fem.
Direct هغه
hağa
Indirect هغۀ
hağə
هغې
hağe
هغو
hağo

Possessive pronouns[edit]

Independent forms

Person Singular Plural
1st زما
zmâ
زموږ\زمونږ
zamuẓ̌/zamung[2]
2nd ستا
stâ
ستاسو
stâso
3rd (visible) د دۀ
də də (masc.)

د دې
də de (fem.)

د دوی
də dui
3rd (invis.) د هغۀ
də hağə (masc.)

د هغې
də hağe (fem.)

د هغوی
də hağui

Enclitic forms

Person Singular Plural
1st ـمې
-me, -me
ـمو
-mo, -mu
2nd ـدې
-de, -dí
ـمو
-mo, -mu[2]
3rd ـیې
-ye

Interrogative pronouns[edit]

(English) who whose
Direct څوک
t͡sok
د چا
də čâ
Indirect چا
čâ

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 (ğar, meaning "mountain"):

Singular Plural
Direct غر
ğar
غرونه
ğrūna
Oblique I غرۀ
ğrə
غرونو
ğrūnō
Oblique II غره
ğara
غرونو
ğrūnō
Vocative غره
ğra
غرونو
ğrūnō

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
ṣ̌əd͡za
ښځې
ṣ̌əd͡zē
Oblique I ښځې
ṣ̌əd͡zē
ښځو
ṣ̌əd͡zō
Oblique II ښځې
ṣ̌əd͡zē
ښځو
ṣ̌əd͡zō
Vocative ښځې
ṣ̌əd͡zē
ښځو
ṣ̌əd͡zō

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

Singular Plural
Direct ورځ
wrad͡z
ورځې
wradzē
Oblique I ورځ
wrad͡z
ورځو
wradzō
Oblique II ورځه
wrad͡za
ورځو
wradzō
Vocative ورځې
wrad͡zē
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]

An adjective is called stāynūm in Pashto [ستاينوم]. The adjectives or stāynūmūna 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. trīx, fem. traxá "bitter"; masc. sūr, fem. srá "red"; masc. sōṛ, fem. saṛá "cold"; fem. raṇā "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. pōx, masc. plur. pāxǝ́, fem. paxá "ripe, cooked").

Affixes[edit]

In Pashto, an affix is called تاړی [tâṛay].[4] An affix is an addition to the base form or stem of a word in order to modify its meaning or create a new word.

Prefixes[edit]

These are attached at the beginning of words. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Prefix Meaning
نا a negative prefix to nouns or particles having the same meaning as English "un, in, dis, non" etc
بې this means "without". When prefixed to words it is equivalent to the English "dis, less" etc
بيا this means again. When prefixed to words it is equivalent to English "re"
هم this means same, equivalent. When prefixed with the word it is equivalent to the English "co and homo"
ګڼ this means crowded and numerous. When prefixed with the word it is equivalent to the English "multi"
دوه this means two. When prefixed with the word it is equivalent to the English "bi"

A list of Examples:

Word English Meaning Prefixed Word English Meaning
نا
وړ suitable ناوړ unsuitable
بې
be
کور home بې کوره homeless
بيا
byâ
جوړول to make بيا جوړول to remake
هم
ham
[زولی [نارينه]، زولې [ښځينه age همزولی، همزولې coeval
ګڼ
gəṇ
هېواديز national ګڼ هېواديز multinational
دوه
dwə
اړخيز aṛx= side, xíz = adjective forming suffix دوه اړخيز bilateral

Suffixes[edit]

These are attached at the end of a word. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Prefix Meaning
توب this is affixed to nouns and adjectives to form masculine concept/abstract nouns.
تیا this is affixed to nouns and adjectives to form feminine concept/abstract nouns.
ي this is affixed to noun to make adjectives.
ي a suffix also used to create nouns of profession.
يز [masculine]
يزه [feminine]
adjectival suffix. Used to make adjectives from nouns. Becomes "yiz" if preceded by a vowel e.g. سوله=سوله ييز
من suffix that forms nouns and adjectives that mean possessing a quality or object
ور an adjective forming suffix to show endowment/possession.
ښت this is affixed to adjectives (including verbal adjectives) to show a state of being
ګلوي this is affixed to nouns to form feminine concept/abstract nouns mostly to do with association e.g پیژند ګلوي, پلار ګلوي etc
والی this is affixed to nouns and adjectives to form masculine concept/abstract nouns.
ولي this is affixed to nouns and adjectives to form feminine concept/abstract nouns.
ځی this makes nouns denoting place of the action
نه this is the most common suffix used to makes nouns from verb. The new suffixed word has feminine gender.
ون less frequently used than نه. This also creates nouns from verbs
ونکی [masculine]
ونکې [feminine]
The verb's or the compound-verb's ل is dropped and this suffix is added to create an agent noun showing that the noun is the doer of the action [example: جوړول to make - جوړوونکی - maker].
اک this is used to make only two nouns [خوراک and څښاک] denoting consumable noun. Like Japanese particle もの.
تون used to create nouns of place. Meaning the "(main) place of"
پال [masculine]
پاله [feminine]
means someone is the cherisher/nourisher of the word attached. It is like Persian پرست but unlike پرست only used for agentive nouns not as an adjective.
پالنه makes concept/abstract nouns showing the root's cherishing/fostering. Like Persian پرستي
واکي makes nouns which signify "mastery of", "rule of" or "endowment with in quality" with the root word. Related to word واک [authority].
وال makes nouns showing that noun is a resident of that place, is engaged in the activity indicated in the root word, possessor of the root word. Like English suffix "er", "or" and "ist".
ګر used to form an actor noun. Denoting maker, doer, worker etc of the root.
چي a agent-noun suffix borrowed from Ottoman Turkish. Only used with borrowed words.
ګوټی a diminutive suffix. Example مېز [table] - مېزګوټی [small table].
وزمه suffix to indicate something is like/similar to the root word but not that word. Also used to denote shades of colour.
ګنۍ suffix for nouns expressing kinship/relationships
وړ [masculine]
وړه [feminine]
this is used exactly as the English -able. Forms adjectives meaning fit/able to be done or suitable to.
يالی [masculine]
يالۍ [feminine]
forms adjectives from nouns. The adjective shows a quality that can be possessed.
غاړی [masculine]
غاړې [feminine]
forms actor/agent nouns that have to do with an art/skill [example: لوبغاړی, سندرغاړی]. Also used to create adjective/nouns related to the throat [غاړه] such as بوږغاړی [harsh sounding]
چک an adjectival suffix showing that the new word is "somewhat" like the root word. Similar to "ish" suffix in English.
ډله this means group. It can be used as suffix to denote team, group, company etc
هار according to Z. A. Pashtoon: "suffix used to form onomatopoeic words indicating the repetition or intensification of a sound". according to H. G. Raverty: a suffix "affixed to nouns signifying sound of any kind, in forming the plural".

A list of Examples:

Word English Meaning Prefixed Word English Meaning
توب
tob
بربنډ nude بربنډتوب nudeness/nudity
تیا
tyâ
روغ healthy روغتيا health
ي
í
ولس nation ولسي national
ي
í
ترکاڼ carpenter ترکاڼي carpentry
يز/يزه
íz/íza
لمر sun لمريز
لمريزه
solar
يز/يزه
yíz/yíza
وټه economy وټه ييز
وټه ييزه
economic
من
man
ځاځ anger ځاځمن angry
ور
war
ګټه profit ګټور advantageous
ښت
əx̌t
جوړ made/built جوړښت structure
ګلوي
galwí
پلار father پلارګلوي paternity
والی
wâlay
اوږد long اوږدوالی length/height
ولي
walí
ورور brother ورورولي brotherhood
ځی
d͡zay
ښوول to teach ښونځی school
نه
əna
غوښتل to demand غوښتنه demand
ون
un
بدلول to change بدلون change
ونکی /ونکې
unkay/unka
شنل to analyse شنونکی
شنونکې
analyst
اک
âk
څښل
خوړل
to drink
to eat
څښاک
خوراک
drink
food
تون
tun
پوهنه knowledge پوهنتون university
پال/پاله
pâl/pâla
مېلمه guest مېلمه پال
مېلمه پاله
host
پالنه
pâlana
مېلمه guest مېلمه پالنه hospitality
واکي
wâkí
پلار father پلارواکي patriarchy
وال
wâl
ليک writing ليکوال writer
ګر
gar
کوډه magic کوډګر magician
چي
chí
توپ cannon توپچي cannoneer
ګوټی
goṭay
کتاب book کتاب ګوټی booklet
وزمه
wazma
تور black تور وزمه blackish
ګنۍ
ganai
پلار
مور
father
mother
پلارګنۍ
مورګنۍ
paternal-family
maternal-family
وړ/وړه
waṛ/waṛa
خندا laughter خنداوړ
خنداوړه
laughable
يالۍ /يالی
yâlay/yâlai
ننګ honor ننګيالی
ننګيالۍ
honorable
غاړې /غاړی
ğâṛay/ğâṛe
سندره song سندرغاړی
سندرغاړې
singer
چک
cək
سپين white سپين چک whitish
ډله
ḍala
لوب root word of
play
لوبډله team (sports)
هار
hâr
پړک slap/clap پړکهار clapping/sounds of claps

Verbs[edit]

  • Pashto has three tenses: Past, Present and the Future tense. The future tense is the same as present tense with the exception of markers.
  • Aspect: Pashto in every tense has perfective aspect [بشپړاړخ][5] and imperfective aspect [نابشپړاړخ]. The Perfective Aspect indicates completion of an action while the Imperfective Aspect indicates continuous or habitual action.
  • Pashto Verbs can be classed as Simple Verbs, Irregular Verbs and Doubly Irregular Verbs.
  • Verbs [کړۀ] agree in person and in number with either the objects or subjects of sentences, depending on tense and construction. Agreement is indicated with affixes following the verb stem which indicate person and number.

Verbal Suffixes[edit]

Pashto utilises verbal suffixes [د کړ تاړې]. It is easy to demonstrate these in Regular Verbs in the Imperfective.

Present Tense[edit]

Gəḍēẓ̌ is the present imperfective stem of the verb Gaḍedəl [to dance].

Number Person Verbal Suffix Example Translation
Singular 1st Person م
əm
زه ګډېږم
Zə Gaḍeẓ̌əm
I am dancing
2nd Person ې
e
ته ګډېږې
Tə Gaḍeẓ̌ē
You are dancing
3rd Person ي
i
دی/دا ګډېږي
Day/Dā Gaḍeẓ̌i
He/She is dancing
Plural 1st Person و
ū
موږ ګډېږو
Muẓ̌ Gaḍeẓ̌u
We are dancing
2nd Person ئ
ai
تاسو ګډېږئ
Tâso Gaḍeẓ̌ai
Your are dancing
3rd Person ي
i
دوی/هغوی ګډېږي
Dui/Hağui Gaḍeẓ̌i
They are dancing

Past Tense[edit]

Gəḍēd is the past stem of the verb Gaḍēdəl [to dance].

Number Person Gender Verbal Suffix Example Translation
Singular 1st Person م
əm
زه ګډېدم
Zə Gaḍedəm
I was dancing
2nd Person ې
ē
تۀ ګډېدې
Tə Gaḍede
You were dancing
3rd Person Masculine ۀ
ə or
و
o
دی ګډېدۀ
Day Gaḍedə
دی ګډېدو
Day Gaḍedo
He was dancing
Feminine ه
a
دا ګډېده
Dâ Gaḍeda
She was dancing
Plural 1st Person و
ū
موږ ګډېدو
Muẓ̌ Gaḍedu
We were dancing
2nd Person ئ
ai
تاسو ګډېدئ
Tâso Gaḍedai
Your were dancing
3rd Person ل
əl
دوی/هغوی ګډېدل
Dui/Hağui Gaḍedəl
They were dancing
Feminine ې
e
دوی/هغوی ګډېدې
Dui/Hağui Gaḍede
They were dancing

The Verb ""to be""[edit]

The Verb to be is irregular in Pashto and does not have an infinitive form.

Present Imperfective[edit]

Present Imperfective tense of "to be":

Person Singular Plural
1st زه يم
zə yəm

زه يمه
zə yəma

موږ يو
muẓ̌ yū
2nd ته يې
tə ye
تاسو يئ \ ياست
tâso yai
(in Western dialect - yâst)[2][6]
3rd دی دی
day day[2]

دا ده
dâ da

دوی دي
dūy di

The word شته [shta] is also used; this is the third person singular and plural of the present tense of the verb to be.

Sentence Literal Meaning Meaning
پړنګ شته ؟ Tiger there-is/are (exists) ? Is there a tiger ?
نشته not-there-is/are There isn't

Present Perfective form[edit]

Present Perfective tense of "to be

Person Singular Plural
1st زه شم
zə shəm
موږ شو
muẓ̌ shu
2nd ته شې
tə she
تاسو شئ
tâso shai
2nd (command) ته شه
tə sha
3rd دی شي
day shi

دا شي
dâ shi

دوی شي
dui shi

Past Imperfective form[edit]

Past Imperfective tense of "to be":

Person Singular Plural
1st زه وم
zə wəm

زه ومه
zə wəma

موږ وو
muẓ̌ wu
2nd ته وې
tə we
تاسو وئ\واست
tâso wai
(in Western dialect - wâst)[2]
3rd (masc.) دی ؤ
day wo
دوی وو\ول
dui wu
(in Western dialect - wəl)[3][6]
3rd (fem.) دا وه
dâ wa
دوی وې
dui we


Past Perfective form[edit]

Past Perfective tense of "to be":

Person Singular Plural
1st شوم/شولم
zə shwəm/shwələm
موږ شوو/شولو
muẓ̌ shwu/shwəlu
2nd ته شوې/شوې
tə shwe/shwəle
تاسو شوئ/شولئ
tâso shwai/shwəlai
3rd (masc.) دی شوۀ/شو
day shwə
(in Northeastern dialect - de sho
دوی وو\ول
dui wu
3rd (fem.) دا شوه
dâ shwa
دویشول
dui shwəl

Future Tense[edit]

In Pashto the Future Tense [ راتلونکی مهال][7] is the same as the Present Tense [اوسنی مهال][8] with the exception that in the future tense the marker به [bə] is added; به has a similar meaning to will/shall in English. In the Third Person Future Tense, also, irrespective of number or gender وي is used.

To Be in Future Tense[edit]

Future Tense Present Tense Pronoun
به يم يم زه
به يو يو موږ/مونږ
به يې يې ته
به يئ يئ تاسو/تاسی
به وي دی دی، هغۀ
به وي ده دا، هغه
به وي دي دوی، هغوی

Simple Irregular[edit]

These are verbs whose Past Stems differ from their Present Stems like english think vs thought,

a) where ل is replaced by ن in the Present Tense:

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
وژل
wažəl
to kill -و وژن
wə/we wažən-
-وژن
wažən-
-(و وژ(ل
wə/we waž(əl)-
-(وژ(ل
waž(əl)-

b) where و is added in the middle in the Present Tense:

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
بلل
baləl
to call -و بول
wə/o bol-
-بول
bol-
-و بلل
wə/o baləl-
-بلل
baləl-

c) The verb ختل [to climb]:

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
ختل
xatəl
to climb -و خېژ
wə/o xež-
-خېژ
xež-
-(و خت(ل
wə/o xat(əl)-
-(خت(ل
xat(əl)-

d) where دل is dropped in the Present Tense:

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
پېژندل
pežandəl
to know -و پېژن
wə/o pežan-
-پېژن
pežan-
-(و پېژند(ل
wə/o pežand(əl)-
-(پېژند(ل
pežand(əl)-
اوبدل
obdəl
to weave -و اوب
wə ob-
-اوب
ob-
-(و اوبد(ل
wə ob(əl)-
-(اوبد(ل
obd(əl)-

Doubly Irregular[edit]

These are verbs whose imperfective and perfective stems differ as well as their present and past stems. The difference between perfective and imperfective is carried by stress; in perfective the stress is on the first part of the verb whilst in imperfective the stress is on the last syllables.
Here is list of these verbs with their verbal stems [note without verbal suffix]:
a) ښودل, as a part of the verb.

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
کېښودل
kex̌odəl
to put -کېږد
keẓ̌d-
-ږد
ẓ̌d-
-(کېښود(ل
kex̌od(əl)-
-(کېښود(ل
kex̌od(əl)-
پرېښودل
prex̌odəl
to leave -پرېږد
preẓ̌d-
-پرېږد
preẓ̌d-
-(پرېښود(ل
prex̌od(əl)-
-(پرېښود(ل
prex̌od(əl)-

b) The verb "to go":

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
تلل
tləl
to go -لاړ ش
lâṛ sh-

d͡z-
-لاړ
lâṛ-
-(تل(ل
tl(əl)-

c) The verb "to take" [to a place]:

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
بوتلل
botləl
to take [to a place] -بوځ
bod͡z-
-بياي
byây-
-(بوتل(ل
botl(əl)-

Idiosyncratic Third Person Form[edit]

Some doubly irregular verbs have idiosyncratic 3rd Person forms in the past forms, parallel to the idiosyncratic forms of the simple irregular verbs.

The list :

Verb Meaning Present Past 3rd Person Sing. Masc. 3rd Person Plural. Masc.
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
راتلل
râ tləl
to come (towards 1st Person) -راش
râ sh-
-راځ
râ d͡z-
-راغل
râ ğl-
-(راتل(ل
râ tl(əl)-
راغی
râ ğay
درتلل
dar tləl
to go (towards 2nd Person) -درش
dar sh-
-درځ
dar d͡z-
-درغل
dar ğl-
-(درتل(ل
dar tl(əl)-
درغی
dar ğay
ورتلل
war tləl
to go (towards 2nd Person) -ورش
war sh-
-ورځ
war d͡z-
-ورغل
war ğl-
-(ورتل(ل
war tl(əl)-
ورغی
war ğay
ننوتل
nənawatəl
to enter/get-in -ننوځ
nənawad͡z-
-ننوځ
nənawad͡z-
-(ننوت(ل
nənawat(əl)-
-(ننوت(ل
nənawat(əl)-
ننوت
nənawət
ننواتۀ
nənəwātə
پرېوتل
prewatəl
to fall or to lie-down -پرېوځ
prewad͡z-
-پرېوځ
prewad͡z-
-(پرېوت(ل
prewat(əl)-
-(پرېوت(ل
prewat(əl)-
پرېوت
prewət
پرېواتۀ
prēwātə
وړل
wṛəl
to take -يوس
yos
-وړ
wṛ-
-يووړ
yowṛ-
-وړل
wṛal-
وې ووړ
wewoṛ

Infinitive[edit]

This is called Kaṛnūmay [کړنومی] in Pashto that is “the name of a verb”.[9] It shows an infinite action or occurrence. In Pashto the verb acquires the gender and number of a masculine plural noun. They are formed from the verbal root and end with the verbal suffix: ل. Example:

هغوی په خپلو کې وهل وکړل

Hağui pa xpəlo ke wahəl wə-kṛəl

Literally: They in themselves in "to beat" done

Meaning: They have fought amongst themselves

The verb وکړل [past tense of verb کړل - perfective state of "to do"] shows agreement with masculine plural object that is the infinitive وهل.

Type of Infinitives[edit]

There are various types of infinitives.

Simple Infinitives[edit]

They are in there morpheme state. Examples: تلل [to go], وتل [to go out], ګرځېدل [to walk], ګرځول [to make someone/thing walk] etc.

Prefixed Infinitives[edit]

These are formed by attaching a prefix to the simple infinitive. These prefixes are usually directional/locative in nature. Examples:
1. را + تلل = راتلل
Râ [locative towards speaker] + Tləl [to go] = Râtləl [to come]
2. ور+ کول = ورکول
War [locative towards third party] + Kawəl [to do] = Warkawəl [to give]

Compound Infinitives[edit]

There are two categories of compound infinitives. There are also some exceptions to these.

First Category[edit]

These are formed by adding ول [from کول] and ېدل [from کېدل] verbal-suffixes to nouns, adjectives or adverbs. The attaching noun, adjective and adverb should not end in a vowel. Example:
ښخ [buried, adjective] - ښخول [to bury, verb]

Second Category[edit]

These are formed adding auxiliary verbs کول and کېدل to the noun and adjectives. The attaching noun and adjective end in a vowel.Examples:
1. پوښتنه [question, noun] - پوښتنه کول [to question, verb]
2. لېشه [seductive, adjective] - لېشه کېدل [to become seduced, verb]

Exceptions[edit]

There are also exception to the attachment of auxiliary verbs on the basis of vowel endings. Example: سوچ کول etc.

Phrasal Infinitives[edit]

This is done by adding words with infinitives to make a metaphoric meaning.

Examples Literal Meaning
توره کول to do sword to perform a brave act
تڼۍ شلول to tear button(s) to toil/endeavour
Double Infinitives[edit]

These are formed by combining two infinitives.
Either by combining a Simple Infinitive with a Prefixed Infinitive.

Simple Infinitive Prefixed Infinitive Double Infinitive
تلل [going] راتلل [coming] تلل راتلل [coming and going]
ګرځېدل [to walk/wallking] راګرځېدل [to repass] ګرځېدل راګرځېدل [walking about]


Or either by combining two Simple Infinitives.

Simple Infinitive 1 Simple Infinitive 2 Double Infinitive
خوړل [eating] څښل [drinking] خوړل څښل [eating drinking]
وهل [beating/hitting] ټکول [knocking] وهل ټکول [beating]

Prepositions and Postpositions[edit]

Pashto has pre-positions, post-positions and pre-post-positions. Adpositions generally govern either oblique or ablative case assignment to their objects. [10]

Prepositions[edit]

There are two Preposition in Pashto:
1. د [də] meaning "of"
2. په [pə] meaning "with" and "at"

Example Transliteration Literal Meaning
د سړي لاس Də saṛi las Of man hand A man's hand
سړي په چاړې پړی پرې کړ Saṛi pa čäṛe paṛay pre kəṛ [ko] man with knife rope cut [past-tense کړل] The man cut the rope with a knife
په يوه بجه Pa yawa baje At 1 O'Clock At 1 O'Clock

Postpositions[edit]

In Pashto there is the dative post-position: ته.

Example Transliteration Literal Meaning
کور ته ځم Kor d͡zəm House to (i) am-going I am going to the house

Ambipositions[edit]

Pashto uses a significant amount of ambipositions (circumpositions). These usually have two elements, with the noun object positioned between the two elements.

The first element is likely to be ones of these four elements:

Pashto Transliteration
په
له
تر tər

The second element is likely to be one of these words:

Pashto Transliteration
لاندې lânde
پسې pasē
نه na
پورې pore
سره sara
کې/کښې ke/kx̌e
باندې bande
څخه t͡səxa

Here is a list of the most common formations:

Pashto Meaning Example Example's meaning
په ... کې in, at په سيند کې in the river
په ... پسې after په ما پسې after me
په ... باندې on, upon په مېز باندې on the table
له ... سره with له سړي سره with a man
تر ... لاندې under تر مېز لاندې under the table
له ... څخه from له سړي څخه from a man
له ... نه from له سړي نه from a man
د ... نه from د سړي نه from a man
تر ... پورې till تر پېښور پورې till Peshawar
تر ... وروستو after تر خوراک وروستو after food

Sometimes in colloquial Pashto, the word له is dropped from نه and سره.

Pashto Colloquial Pashto
له سړي نه سړي نه
له سړي سره سړي سره

The first element must be dropped when the object of the pre-position is a weak pronoun. Examples:

Example Sentence Meaning
سړی ور سره ځي A man is going with him/her
سړي ور سره ځي Men are going with him/her
چاړه مې در نه واخس I took the knife from you
ليک ور باندې ايښی دی The letter is on it

Phrases[edit]

A number of common phrases translate into English prepositional phrases, which in Pashto consist of combinations of prepositional phrases and additional words.

Some Examples:

Components Phrase Meaning Sentence Meaning
له..نه + پخوا
From+Before
له .. نه پخوا before له تا نه پخوا راغله She came (here) before you
له...نه+ بهرر
From+Outside
له ... نه بهر outside له ور نه بهر ولاړ و He was standing outside the door

In phrases that start with the possessive phrase د [də] plus noun, the possessive phrase [də/د] can be substituted for with a weak possessive pronouns. Examples:

Meaning Sentence where د not dropped' Meaning Sentence with weak possessive pronouns Meaning
د ... په اړه
də pə aṛa
about[note 1] د سړي په اړه يې څه ووی What did he say about the man زما په اړه يې څه ووی What did he say about me
د ... په شان
də pə šân
like د سپوږمۍ په شان ښځه غواړم I want a wife like the moon ستا په شان ښځه غواړم I want a wife like you

Conjunctions[edit]

Pashto utilises conjunctions. These are used as adverbs. Example:

Conjunction Transliteration Literal Meaning English Approximate
هيڅ کله نه hīt͡s kəla na nothing when no never, at no time
که هر څنګه kə hər t͡sənga if ever how howsoever, in whatever way
راځه چې rād͡za chē come that (come) let's
تر اوسه پورې tər osa porē till now upto/till so far, as yet, up till now
تر دغه پورې tər dağa porē till this till as far as this
تر کله پورې tər kala porē till when till till when?, how long?
تر کمه پورې tər kəma porē till where till how far, to where

Syntax[edit]

Pashto has subject-object-verb (SOV) word order as opposed to English subject-verb-object (SVO) word order. In intransitive sentences where there is no object Pashto and English both have subject-verb (SV) word order.[11]

In Pashto, however, all modifiers precede the verb where as in English most of the verbal modifiers follow the verb.[12]

Phrasal Syntax[edit]

Pashto exhibits strong head-final order in noun phrases and verb phrases.[13]

Noun Phrases[edit]

Pashto noun phrases generally exhibit the internal order Determiner - Quantifier - Adjective - Noun.[14]

Adpositional phrases[edit]

The salient exception to the head-final principle can be found in adpositional phrases, given the existence of prepositions, postpositions, and circumpositions.[15]

Verb phrases[edit]

Generally, head-final order is found also in the verb phrase, with the verb, if any, as the final element. Relative clauses and sentence-level modifiers may appear in postclausal position.[16]

Light Verb Constructions[edit]

Pashto has a robust system of light verb constructions (LVC), two-word expressions that are semantically interpretable as a single predicate. Only one of the two canonical types—those of the form Noun/Adjective + Verb (N-V).[17]

As verbs are a closed class in Pashto, the LVC is the only means of creating new verbal forms in the language; it is also used as a way of importing loanwords, with the borrowed word filling the complement slot.[18]

The inventory of light verbs in Pashto should not surprise anyone familiar with LVCs. In addition to the verbs کېدل /kedəl/ ‘to become’ and کو ل /kawəl/ ‘to make; to do’, which we refer to as the intransitive and transitive verbalisers when they act as light verbs, Pashto uses the verbs اخیستل /axistəl/ ‘to take’, وهل /wahəl/ ‘to beat’, نيول /niwəl/ ‘to seize; to grasp’, and ایستا /istəl/ ‘to throw out’ as light verbs, as in the following examples:

  • سا اخیستل - ‘to breathe’ < سا /sā/ ‘(f.) breathing, respiration’
  • ڼېل وهل - ‘to push, shove (one another)’ < ڼېل /ṭel/ ‘(m.) push, shove’[19]

Adjective complements of N-V LVCs always show agreement with the undergoer of the action of the verb, which is in turn marked in accordance with Pashto’s system of split ergativity. Nominal complements are usually treated as the direct object of the verb, and are therefore also case-marked according to split-ergative alignment. The undergoer of the action, on the other hand, cannot be a direct object, as the verb can have at most two arguments; it is instead indicated by an adposition and accordingly case-marked oblique.[20]

Elements in the verbal group[edit]
The verbal group in General Pashto[edit]

Certain particles can be inserted between:

  • The aorist prefix و /wə/́and its verb.
  • A prefix or pseudo-prefix and its verb. (This includes both the a-initial complex verbs and second conjugation, or prefixed, verbs.)
  • The complement of a denominal verb and its verbalizer.[21]

The particles that interact with verbs in this way are:

  • The modal clitics به /bə/ and د ې /de/
  • The weak personal pronouns, or pronominal clitics م ې /me/ , دې /de/ , یې /ye/ , and مو /mo/
  • The adverbial clitics خو /xo/ and نو /no/
  • The negatives نه /ná/ and مه /má/

Modals, weak personal pronouns, and adverbials are all second-position clitics. They also obey strict rules of ordering relative to each other. Tegey (1977) reports the following ordering of enclitics between verbal components: خو /xo/> به /bə/> { مو /mo/| مې /me/| دې /de/| یې /ye/} > نو /no/. If the first syllable of the verb does not carry stress (that is, if it is a non-aorist form), the negative precedes the verb, and the clitics follow the negative. Also, if an aorist form is negated, the negative marker—not the initial syllable of the verb—takes the stress.[22]

Negative placement in the aorist verb phrase[edit]

The negative particle نه /ná/ nearly always precedes the verb and is placed as close to the verb stem as possible. In aorist constructions, it therefore follows the aorist marker و /wə/ for simplex verbs, and either initial /a/, the prefix, or the light verb complement for complex verbs. Because it carries an inherent stress, it takes the main stress in an aorist verb phrase.[23]

Pashto and Borrowings[edit]

Contemporary Pashto contains a lot of Persian and Persianised-Arabic[24] words, although Pashto equivalents for these words often do exist.[25][26]

"Pure" Pashto Persian loan Arabic loan English translation
هيله
híla
[27]
اميد
umid
hope
اړتيا
aṛtyâ
[28]
ضرورت
zarurat
necessity
تود/توده
tod/tawda
[29][30]
گرم
garm
warm
نړۍ
naṛai
[31]
دنيا
dunyâ
world

Borrowed Phonology[edit]

The sounds /q/, /f/ are non-native Pashto sounds borrowed from Arabic and Persian. The phonemes /q/, /f/ tend to be replaced by [k], [p].[32] So for instance, the Arabic word فرق would be pronounced as /par(ə)k/.

Greeting Phrases[edit]

Greeting Pashto Transliteration Literal Meaning
Hello ستړې مه شې stəṛe mə she May you not be tired
ستړي مه شئ stəṛí mə shai May you not be tired [said to people]
Thank You مننه manəna Acceptance [from the verb منل]
Good Bye په مخه دې ښه pə məkha de x̌ə On your front be good
Good Bye خدای پامان xwdâi pâmán From: خدای په امان [With/On God's mercy]
Hello په خير راغلې pə xair râğle With blessing (you) came

Numbers[edit]

Cardinal Numbers (direct case, masc.)[33]

Pashto Pronunciation
صفر[34] sifur 0
یو yaw, yo 1
دوه dwa 2
درې dre 3
څلور tsalor 4
پنځه pindzə 5
شپږ špəg 6
اووه owə 7
اته atə 8
نه، نهه nə, nəha 9
لس las 10
یوولس yawolas 11
دوولس dwolas 12
دیرلس dyārlas 13
څوارلس، څورلس tswarlas, tswārlas 14
پنځلس pindzəlas 15
شپاړس špāṛas 16
اووه‌لس owəlas 17
اته‌لس atəlas 18
نونس, نورلس nunas, nurlas 19
شل šəl 20
یوویشت yavwišt 21
دوه‌ویشت dwawišt 22
درویشت dərwišt, dreyšt 23
څلېرویشت tsalerwišt 24
پنځه‌ویشت pindzəwišt 25
شپږویشت špagwišt 26
اوه‌ویشت owəwišt 27
اته‌ویشت atəwišt 28
نه‌ویشت nəwišt 29
دېرش derš 30
یودېرش yawderš 31
دودېرش dwaderš 32
دریدېرش drederš 33
څلوردېرش tsalorderš 34
پنځه‌دېرش pindzəderš 35
شپوږدېرش špugderš 36
اوه‌دېرش owəderš 37
اته‌دېرش atəderš 38
نه‌دېرش nəderš 39
څلوېښت tsalvešt 40
پنځوس pindzos 50
شپېته špetə 60
اویا awya 70
اتیا atya 80
نوي nwi, nəwi 90
سل səl 100
یوسلویو yaw səlo yav 101
یوسلودوه yaw səlo dwa 102
یوسلوشل yaw səlo šəl 120
دوه‌سوه dwa sawa 200
دوه سوه او لس dwa sawa aw las 210
درې سوه dre sawa 300
زر zər 1000
یوزرویو yaw zəro yaw 1001
یوزرودوه‌سوه اوپنځه‌دېرش yaw zəro dwa sawa aw pindzəderš 1235
لک lak 100 000
ملیون milyon 1 000 000
کروړ kroṛ 10 000 000
ملیارد milyard 1 000 000 000

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

  • 1st لومړی lumṛai
  • 2nd دويم dwaim
  • 3rd دريم drəyam
  • 4th څلورم t͡saloram
  • 5th پنځم pind͡zam
  • 6th شپږم špaẓ̌am
  • 7th اووم ūwam
  • 8th اتم atam
  • 9th نهم nəham
  • 10th لسم lasam

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ په بارې کې [pə bâre ke] is also used but this is a word-for-word borrowing from Hindi/Urdu के बारे में/کے بارے میں [kē bārē mēⁿ]. The Hindi word bārē [बारे/بارے] is itself from Persian در بارهٔ [dar bāraye\dar bāreye]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tegey, Habibullah; Robson, Barbara (1996). A Reference Grammar of Pashto (PDF). Washington: Center for Applied Linguistics. p. 4. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Лебедев К. А. Афганистан: Язык, литература, этнография. — Москва : "Муравей", 2003.
  3. ^ a b PASHTO LANGUAGE: SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF THE PAST TENSE
  4. ^ Neologism Dictionary [M. A. Zeyar]
  5. ^ Neologism Dictionary [M. A. Zeyar]
  6. ^ a b Short Summary of Pashto Grammar
  7. ^ Pashto Garshod [M. S. Wakili]
  8. ^ Pashto Garshod [M. S. Wakili]
  9. ^ Neologism Dictionary [M. A. Zeyar]
  10. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 399. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  11. ^ Tegey, Habibullah; Robson, Barbara (1996). A Reference Grammar of Pashto (PDF). Washington: Center for Applied Linguistics. p. 178. 
  12. ^ Tegey, Habibullah; Robson, Barbara (1996). A Reference Grammar of Pashto (PDF). Washington: Center for Applied Linguistics. p. 179. 
  13. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 399. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  14. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 399. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  15. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 400. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  16. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 401. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  17. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 401. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  18. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 401. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  19. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 401. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  20. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 403. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  21. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 403. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  22. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 403 to 404. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  23. ^ Anna B. David (2014). A Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 406. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2. 
  24. ^ John R. Perry, "Lexical Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic" in Éva Ágnes Csató, Eva Agnes Csato, Bo Isaksson, Carina Jahani, Linguistic convergence and areal diffusion: case studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic, Routledge, 2005. pg 97: "It is generally understood that the bulk of the Arabic vocabulary in the central, contiguous Iranian, Turkic and Indic languages was originally borrowed into literary Persian between the ninth and thirteenth centuries"
  25. ^ Ehsan M Entezar (2008). Afghanistan 101: Understanding Afghan Culture. Xlibris Corporation. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-4257-9302-9. 
  26. ^ Carol Benson; Kimmo Kosonen (13 June 2013). Language Issues in Comparative Education: Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Non-Dominant Languages and Cultures. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-94-6209-218-1. 
  27. ^ Qamosona.com
  28. ^ Qamosona.com
  29. ^ Qamosona.com
  30. ^ Zahid Qamos Pashto Glossary [Zahid Mishwanai]
  31. ^ Qamosona.com
  32. ^ Tegey, Habibullah; Robson, Barbara (1996). A Reference Grammar of Pashto (PDF). Washington: Center for Applied Linguistics. p. 15. 
  33. ^ M A Zyar (2012). Pashto Dictionary (Neologisms) (2 ed.). Peshawar: Danish Press. p. 363. 
  34. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

  • Anne Boyle David, "Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects"
  • Habibullah Tegey & Barbara Robson ""A Reference Grammar of Pashto"" (PDF).  (1996) Center for Applied Linguistics
  • Herbert Penzl, A Grammar of Pashto: A Descriptive Study of the Dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan
  • Georg Morgenstierne, "'AFGHANISTAN vi. Paṧtō'", Encyclopaedia Iranica
  • Longnow, Rosettaproject, Pashto, Southern Grammar
  • Mohammad Abid Khan & Fatima-Tuz-Zuhra, "Towards the Computational treatment of the Pashto Verb" 18(1) Scientific Khyber Pages: 123-141 (2005)
  • Noor Ullah, "Pashto Grammar" (2011), ISBN 978-1-4567-8007-4
  • M. Zyar, "ليک لارښود - Writing Guide" (2006)