Pashto grammar

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Pashto[1] 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, ablative and vocative). The verb system is very intricate with the following tenses: Present; 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.

In the following article stress is represented by the following markers over vowels: ә́, á, ā́, ú, ó, í and é.

Pronouns[edit]

  • Note: هغه as a demonstrative pronoun (that) has initial stress [ğa] whereas the personal pronoun (he, she, it) has final stress [hağá].[1]

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
day
دا
هغه
hağá
موږ\مونږ
muẓ̌/munẓ̌
تاسو\تاسې
tā́so/tā́se[2][3]
دوی
dui
هغوی
hağúi
Indirect ما
تا
دۀ
دې
de
هغۀ
hağә́
هغې
hağé

Demonstrative pronouns[edit]

دغه dağa (this)

Direct دغه
dáğa
Indirect دې
de

هغه háğa (that)

Singular Plural
Masc. Fem.
Direct هغه
háğa
Indirect هغۀ
háğә
هغې
háğe
هغو
háğo

Possessive pronouns[edit]

Independent forms

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

د دې
də de (fem.)

د دوی
də dúi
(invis.) د هغۀ
də hağә́ (masc.)

د هغې
də hağé (fem.)

د هغوی
də hağúi

Enclitic forms

Person Singular Plural
1st مې
me
مو
mo, mu
2nd دې
de, di
مو
mo, mu[2]
3rd يې
ye

Interrogative pronouns[edit]

who which which

[ord. numbers]

Literary

which

[ord. numbers]

Yusapzai

what how many how much how
Direct Masc. څوک
tsok
کوم

kom

څووم

tsowə́m

څويم

swajə́m

څه

tsə

څومره

tsómra

څونه

tsóna

څنګه

tsə́nga

Fem. کومه

kóma

څوومه

tsowə́ma

څويمه

swaima

Oblique Masc. چا
čā
کوم

kom

څووم

tsowə́m

څويم

swajə́m

Fem. کومې

kóme

څوومې

tsowə́me

څويمې

swaime

Indefinite[edit]

  • In order to distinguish sentences with indefinites from questions, یو /yaw/ ‘one’ may be added, to yield یو څوک /yaw ʦok/ ‘someone’ and یو څه /yaw ʦə/ ‘something’.
  • When هر /har, ar/ ‘every’ precedes the indefinite pronouns, the combination can mean everyone [هر څوک], everything [هر څه], each one [هر یو]

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.

Direct case[edit]

The direct case form is used for noun phrases that fulfill nominative, accusative, or absolutive functions, in present-tense and past-tense sentences, respectively. In the present tense, grammatical function is indicated by word order, with subjects preceding objects.

Oblique case[edit]

In past-tense sentences, subject noun phrases appear in the oblique case form; in accordance with split ergativity.

The oblique case is used for objects of most adpositions.

Ablative case[edit]

The ablative case is used with certain adpositions.

Vocative case[edit]

Pashto also employs the vocative case.

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".

Noun inflection[edit]

  • Nouns are primarily inflected on animacy [e.g. ان vs ونه direct plural endings in the masculine] and gender [e.g. ګانې (direct plural female) vs ګان (direct plural female)].
  • They are then inflected by their final-syllable ending [e.g. direct plural ending يان where masculine animate noun ends in /i/ vs direct plural ending ان where masculine animate noun ends in a consonant]
  • Nouns related to kinship do not follow these rules; they are inflected irregularly.
  • Pashto also has mass nouns - where nouns lack number.

Class 1[edit]

Masculine animate [Category A][edit]

Here all plural forms are affected. Change is dependent on ending of the noun.

Ending in a consonant[edit]
Singular Plural
Direct ان
ā́n
Oblique انو
ā́no
Ablative ه

a

Vocative

Example: پلار [father]

Singular Plural
Direct پلار
plār
پلاران
plārā́n
Oblique پلارانو
plārā́no
Ablative پلاره

plā́ra

Vocative
Ending in "i"[edit]
Singular Plural
Direct يان

yā́n

Oblique یانو

yā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example: درزي [tailor]

Singular Plural
Direct درزي

darzí

درزيان

darzyā́n

Oblique درزیانو

darzyā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Masculine animate [Category B][edit]

Here all plural change is not consistent.

Ending in "ā"[edit]

The plural may change to ګان or يان

Singular Plural 1 Plural 2
Direct يان

yā́n

ګان

gā́n

Oblique يانو

yā́no

ګانو

gā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example 1: باچا [king]

Singular Plural
Direct باچا

bāčā́

باچايان

bāčāyā́n

Oblique باچايانو

bāčāyā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example 2: ماما [mother's brother]

Singular Plural
Direct ماما

māmā́

ماماګان

māmāgā́n

Oblique ماماګانو

māmāgā́no

Ablative
Vocative
Ending in "ə"[edit]

The plural generally change to ان. A smaller number change to ونه.

Singular Plural 1 Plural 2
Direct ә́ → deleted

+

ان ā́n

ә́ → deleted

+

ونه úna

Oblique ә́ → deleted

+

انو ā́no

ә́ → deleted

+

ونو úno

Ablative
Vocative

Example 1: لېوه [wolf]

Singular Plural
Direct لېوه

lewә́

لېوان

lewā́n

Oblique لېوانو

lewā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example 2: مېړه [husband]

Singular Plural
Direct مېړه

meṛә́

مېړونه

meṛúna

Oblique مېړونو

meṛúno

Ablative
Vocative

Masculine inanimate[edit]

Ending in a consonant[edit]

In plural ونه is added

Singular Plural
Direct ونه

úna

Oblique ونو

úno

Ablative ه

a

Vocative

Example: غوږ [ear]

Singular Plural
Direct غوږ

ğwəg

غوږونه

ğwəgúna

Oblique غوږونو

ğwəgúno

Ablative غوږه

ğwə́ga

Vocative

Sometime when the stem can also change: a → ə in the singular oblique and all plural cases

Singular Plural
Direct á → ә

ونه úna

Oblique á → ә́ á → ә

ونو úno

and

á → ә́ و

o

Ablative ه

a

Vocative

Example: سړک [street] to saṛák → saṛək

Singular Plural
Direct سړک

saṛák

سړکونه

saṛəkúna

Oblique سړک

saṛә́k

سړکونو

saṛəkúno

and

سړکو

saṛә́ko

Ablative سړکه

saṛáka

Vocative
Ending in "ə"[edit]

In plural ونه is added

Singular Plural
Direct ә → deleted

+

ونه úna

Oblique ә → deleted

+

ونو úno

Ablative
Vocative

Example: زړه [Heart]

Singular Plural
Direct زړه

zṛә́

زړونه

zṛúna

Oblique زړونو

zṛúno

Ablative
Vocative
Ending in "ə" before previous syllable with "ā"[edit]

The "ā" is changed to "a" in plural forms and ونه is added

Singular Plural
Direct ā → a

+

ونه úna

Oblique ā → a

+

ونو úno

Ablative
Vocative

Example: واده [wedding] wādә́ → wad → wadúna

Singular Plural
Direct واده

wādә́

ودونه

wadúna

Oblique ودونو

wadúno

Ablative
Vocative

Masculine animate and inaminate[edit]

Ending in "u"[edit]

Plural can change from ending in و [u] to وان [wān] or ګان

Singular Plural 1 Plural 2
Direct u → w

+

ان ā́n

ګان

gā́n

Oblique u → w

+

انو ā́no

ګانو

gā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example 1: ډاکو [bandit]

Singular Plural
Direct ډاکو

ḍākú

ډاکوان

ḍākwā́n

Oblique ډاکوانو

ḍākwā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example 2: الو [potato]

Singular Plural
Direct الو

alú

الوګان

alugā́n

Oblique الوګانو

alugā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Feminine animate[edit]

Most Class l feminine [animate and inanimate] nouns end in (unstressed) ه /a/

Ending in "a"[edit]
Singular Plural
Direct a → deleted

+

ې e

Oblique a → deleted

+

ې e

a → deleted

+

و o

Ablative
Vocative

Example: اسپه [mare]

Singular Plural
Direct اسپه

áspa

اسپې

áspe

Oblique اسپې

áspe

اسپو

áspo

Ablative
Vocative
Ending in "e"[edit]
Singular Plural
Direct e → deleted

+

یانې

yā́ne

Oblique e → deleted

+

یانو yā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example: خواښې [mother-in-law]

Singular Plural
Direct خواښې

xwā́x̌e

خواښیانې

xwax̌yā́ne

Oblique خواښیانو

xwax̌yā́no

Ablative
Vocative
Ending in "ā" and "o"[edit]

In plural both ګانې and وې can be taken

Singular Plural
Direct ګانې

gā́ne

وې

ā́we

Oblique ګانو

gā́no

وو

wo

Ablative
Vocative

Example: برېښنا [lightning] - ending in "ā"

Singular Plural
Direct برېښنا

brex̌nā́

برېښناګانې

brex̌nāgā́ne

برېښناوې

brex̌nā́we

Oblique برېښناګانو

brex̌nāgā́no

برېښناوو

brex̌nā́wo

Ablative
Vocative

Example: بیزو [monkey] ending in "o"

Singular Plural
Direct بیزو

bizó

بیزوګانې

bizogā́ne

بیزووې

bizówe

Oblique بیزوګانو

bizogā́no

بیزوو

bizówe

Ablative
Vocative

Feminine inanimate[edit]

Ending in "a"[edit]

Change to ې in plural

Singular Plural
Direct a → deleted

+

ې e

Oblique a → deleted

+

ې e

a → deleted

+

و

o

Ablative
Vocative

Example: جنډه [flag]

Singular Plural
Direct جنډه

janḍá

جنډې

janḍé

Oblique جنډې

janḍé

جنډو

janḍó

Ablative
Vocative
Ending in consonant[edit]

Add to ې in plural

Singular Plural
Direct ې

e

Oblique ې

e

و

o

Ablative
Vocative

Example: مياشت [month]

Singular Plural
Direct مياشت

myā́št

مياشتې

myā́šte

Oblique مياشتې

myā́šte

مياشتو

myā́što

Ablative
Vocative
Ending in "ā"[edit]

Add وې in plural

Singular Plural
Direct وې

we

Oblique وو

wo

Ablative
Vocative

Example: رڼا [light]

Singular Plural
Direct رڼا

raṇā́

رڼاوې

raṇā́we

Oblique رڼاوو

raṇā́wo

Ablative
Vocative

Class 2 A[edit]

This consists of only masculine nouns.

Animate [Category A][edit]

Final stem = u/o + consonant[edit]
  1. Vowel "u/o" becomes "ā" in singular oblique and direct plural case
  2. Vowel "u/o" becomes "a" in plurals: oblique, ablative and vocative case
Singular Plural
Direct u→ā

+ final consonant

+

ه ə́

Oblique u→ā

+ final consonant

+

ه ə́

u→a

+ final consonant

+

و ó

Ablative ه

a

Vocative

Example: پښتون [a Pashtun]

Singular Plural
Direct پښتون

pəx̌tún

پښتانه

pəx̌tānə́

Oblique پښتانه

pəx̌tānə́

پښتنو

pəx̌tano

Ablative پښتونه

pəx̌túna

Vocative

Another Example: شپون [shepherd]

Singular Plural
Direct پښتون

špún

پښتانه

špānə́

Oblique پښتانه

špānə́

پښتنو

špano

Ablative پښتونه

špúna

Vocative

Inanimate [Category A][edit]

Final stem = u/o + consonant[edit]

The "u/o" may become ə in all plurals or may not change

Singular Plural
Direct u→ə

+

ونه

úna

Oblique ه

ə́

u→ə

+

ونو úno

Ablative ه

a

Vocative

Example: تنور [oven]

Singular Plural
Direct تنور

tanúr

تنرونه

tanərúna

تنورونه

tanurúna

Oblique تنوره

tanurə́

نرونو

tanərúno

تنورونو

tanurúno

Ablative تنوره

tanúra

Vocative

Animate [Category B][edit]

Monosyllabic words[edit]

The ə/a at the final stem of the word is deleted

Singular Plural
Direct a → deleted

+

ه

ə

Oblique a → deleted

+

ه ə

a → deleted

+

و

o

Ablative ه

a

Vocative

Example: غل [thief]- ğal →ğl →ğlə

Singular Plural
Direct غل

ğal

غله

ğlə

Oblique غله

ğlə

غلو

ğlo

Ablative غله

ğála

Vocative

Inanimate [Category B][edit]

Monosyllabic words[edit]

The ə/a at the final stem of the word is deleted and ونه is added in plural.

Singular Plural
Direct a → deleted

+

ونه

úna

Oblique a → deleted

+

ونو

úno

Ablative ه

a

or

a → deleted

+

ه

ə

Vocative

Example: غر [mountaint] - ğar →ğr → ğrúna

Singular Plural
Direct غر

ğar

غرونه

ğrúna

Oblique غرونو

ğrúno

Ablative غره

ğára

ğrə

Vocative

Inanimate [Category C][edit]

Ending in a stressed á[edit]

These end in a stressed /aˈ/ sound

Singular Plural Plural other form
Direct á → ə́ á → deleted

+

انه

ānə́

Oblique á → ə́ á → deleted

+

و ó

á → deleted

+

انو

ānó

Ablative
Vocative

Example: مېلمه [Guest]

Singular Plural
Direct مېلمه

melmá

مېلمه

melmə́

مېلمانه

melmānə́

Oblique مېلمه

melmə́

مېلمو

melmó

مېلمانو

melmānó

Ablative مېلمه

melmá

Vocative

Class 2 B[edit]

This contains only a few nouns. They end in a Consonant and there is a stem shift from "a" → "ə"/

Singular Plural
Direct á → ə́
Oblique á → ə́ á → ə́

+

و o

Ablative ه

a

Vocative

Example: دښمن [enemy, enemies]

Singular Plural
Direct دښمن

dux̌mán

دښمن

dux̌mə́n

Oblique دښمن

dux̌mə́n

دښمنو

dux̌mə́no

Ablative دښمنه

dux̌mána

Vocative

Class 3 A[edit]

Masculine animate[edit]

The direct singular "ay" ی changes to ي in the plural

Singular Plural 1 Plural 2
Direct áy → deleted

+

ي í

áy → deleted

+

يان

yā́n

Oblique áy → deleted

+

ي í

áy → deleted

+

و ó

or

یو

ío

áy → deleted

+

يانو

yā́no

Ablative یه →ی

áy →áya

Vocative

Example: سپی [Dog]

Singular Plural
Direct سپی

spáy

سپي

spí

Oblique سپي

spí

سپو

spó

سپیو

spío

Ablative سپیه

spáya

Vocative

The sequence ان is optionally used such as for tribal denominations e.g. اپریدی /apridáy/ ‘Afridi’.

Singular Plural
Direct اپريدی

apridáy

اپريدي

apridí

اپريديان

apridyā́n

Oblique اپريدي

apridí

اپريدو

apridó

اپريديو

apridío

اپرريديانو

apridyā́no

Ablative اپريدیه

apridáya

Vocative

Masculine inanimate[edit]

The direct singular "ay" ی changes to ي in the plural

Singular Plural
Direct áy → deleted

+

ي í

Oblique áy → deleted

+

ي í

áy → deleted

+

و ó

Ablative یه →ی

áy →áya

Vocative

ګډی= car

Singular Plural
Direct ګډی

gaḍáy

ګډي

gaḍí

Oblique ګډي

gaḍí

ګيو

gaḍó

Ablative ګډیه

gaḍáya

Vocative

Feminine

Here are the nouns ending with ۍ [animate and inanimate]. The various plural alternatives mentioned here are not always freely interchangeable, yet there is no clear rule for which form is preferred.

Singular Plural 1 Plural 2 Plural 3
Direct no change

from singual from

ə́i → deleted

+

یانې

yā́ne

ə́i → deleted

+

ګانې

gā́ne

Oblique و

o

ə́i → deleted

+

یانو

yā́no

ə́i → deleted

+

ګانو

gā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Example: سپۍ [female-dog] - all can be used

Singular Plural
Direct سپۍ

spə́i

سپۍ

spə́i

سپیانې

spə́iyā́ne

سپيګانې

spə́igā́ne

Oblique سپیو

spə́io

سپیانو

spə́iyā́no

سپيګانو

spə́igā́no

Ablative
Vocative

Class 3 B[edit]

Here the is no distinction in animacy.

Masculine[edit]

Singular Plural
Direct ay → deleted

+

ي i

Oblique ay → deleted

+

ي i

ay → deleted

+

و o

or

یو

yo

Ablative یه →ی

ay →ya

Vocative

Example: ملګری [Friend - masculine]

Singular Plural
Direct ملګری

malgə́ray

ملګري

malgə́ri

Oblique ملګري

malgə́ri

ملګرو

malgə́ro

ملګریو

malgə́ryo

Ablative ملګریه

malgə́rya

Vocative

Feminine[edit]

Singular Plural
Direct same as singular
Oblique e → deleted

+

و o

or

یو

yo

Ablative
Vocative

Example: ملګرې [Friend - feminine]

Singular Plural
Direct ملګرې

malgə́re

ملګرې

malgə́re

Oblique ملګرو

malgə́ro

ملګریو

malgə́ryo

Ablative
Vocative

Mass nouns[edit]

They are uncountable. They take و /o/ in the oblique and ablative forms. These generally relate to things such as grain, food or liquid.

Feminine[edit]

Examples include اوړه [oṛә́ - flour], اوبه [obә́ -water], پۍ [pə́i - milk] etc.

Example: اوبه - water

Singular Plural
Direct اوبه

obә́

Oblique اوبو

obә́

Ablative
Vocative

Example: پۍ - water

Singular Plural
Direct پۍ

pə́i

Oblique پيو

pə́io

Ablative
Vocative

Masculine[edit]

Examples include: ږدن [ẓ̌dәn -sorghum], دال [dāl -lentils], شراب [šarā́b - alcohol]

Example: دال - lentils

Singular Plural
Direct دال

dāl

Oblique دالو

dā́lo

Ablative
Vocative داله

dā́la

Kinship class[edit]

These are limited to nouns denoting kinship.

Feminine - "or" stem[edit]

These include:

مور /mor/ ‘mother’; plural stem /máynd-/

خور /xor/ ‘sister’; plural stem /xwáynd-/

ترور /tror/ ‘paternal aunt’; plural stem /tráynd-/

نګور /ngor/ ‘daughter-in-law’; plural stem /ngáynd-/

Example:

Singular Plural
Direct مور

mor

مېندې

máynde

Oblique مېندو

máyndo

Ablative مورې

móre

Vocative

Brother and daughter - وڼ plural stem with variance on gender ه and ې[edit]

ورور= brother takes وڼه in direct plural

Singular Plural
Direct ورور

wror

وروڼه

wrúṇa

Oblique وروڼو

wrúṇo

Ablative وروره

wrorá

Vocative

لور= daughter takes وڼې in direct plural

Singular Plural
Direct لور

lur

لوڼې

lúṇe

Oblique لوڼو

lúṇo

Ablative لورې

lúre

Vocative

Son[edit]

Singular Plural
Direct زوی

zoy

زامن

zāmə́n

Oblique زامنو

zāmə́no

Ablative زویه

zoya

Vocative

Noun Gender: Phoneme endings[edit]

As pointed out by Abid Khan, Pashtun grammarians Zyar and Rashteen have used phoneme ending of nouns as a guide to indicate gender.[4]

Masculine Nouns Feminine Nouns
Ending Phoneme Ending Phoneme
Ends in diphthong oɪ Ends in diphthong əi
زوی

zoy

son هوسۍ

hosә́i

deer
Ends in diphthong ɑi Ends in e
ځای

dzā́y

place ملګرې

malgә́re

friend [female]
Ends in unstressed aɪ Ends in unstressed a
ګاډی

gā́ḍay

car ژبه

žә́ba

tongue, language
Ends in stressed aɪ Ends in o
سړی

saṛáy

man پيشو

pišó

cat
Ends in stressed a [few nouns] Ends in stressed a [most nouns]
ګېنډه

genḍá

rhino مېله

melá

a fair
Ends in ə
ورارۀ

wrārә́

brother's son
Ends in consonant [most nouns] Ends in consonant [few nouns]
تنور

tanúr

oven مېچن

mečә́n

handmill
Ends in u
څانډو

tsānḍú

husband of a wife’s sister
Ends in diphthong aw Ends in əw
پلو

paláw

side کټو

kaṭә́w

cooking pot
End in i [only for professions] End in i [most nouns]
دوبي

dobí

washerman بدي

badí

hostility
Ends in ɑ [few nouns] Ends in ɑ [most nouns]
ماما

māmā́

maternal uncle رڼا

raṇā́

light

Adjectives[edit]

An adjective is called stāynúm in Pashto [ستاينوم]. The adjectives or stāynumúna agree with the nouns they modify in gender, number, and case.

Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
Masculine Singular Direct - -ay
Oblique II -a -aya -i
Vocative -e
Oblique - -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.
  • Categories 2 and 3 have stem and stress alternations among different cases. Category 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). Category 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").

Class 1[edit]

Case-marking suffixes[edit]

Class I adjectives are consonant-final in their citation form and keep the stress on the final syllable of the stem.

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct ه
a
ې
e
Oblique و
o
ې
e
و
o
Ablative ه
a
Vocative

Stem allomorphy[edit]

In the Southern dialects, Class I adjectives with certain stem shapes will undergo mutation either:

  1. Vowel harmony

or

  1. Centralization

In other dialects these vowels do not mutate.

Vowel harmony[edit]

Class I adjectives with the stressed stem vowel /ə́/ (Southern), such as دنګ /dəng/ ‘tall’, undergo regressive harmony in the feminine direct plural and in both oblique plural forms—when the suffix vowel is /o/.

Centralization[edit]

Class I adjectives for which the last syllable in the masculine direct singular form is ور /‑wár/, ګر /‑gár/, جن /‑ján/, or م ن /‑mán/, as well as ordinal numbers ending in م /‑ám/, undergo a different vowel alternation: the vowel /á/ of the final syllable centralizes to /ə́/ in feminine non-direct singulars and in all plural forms, irrespective of gender.

Class I forms with stem allomorphy[edit]

Example 1 = سپک (light - in weight)

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct سپک
spak
spək (Southern)
سپک
spak
spək (Southern)
سپکه
spáka
spə́ka (Southern)
سپکې
spáke
سپکي
spə́ki (Southern)
Oblique سپکو
spáko
spə́ko (Southern)
spóko (Southern)
سپکې
spáke
سپکي
spə́ki (Southern)
سپکو
spáko
spə́ko (Southern)
spóko (Southern)
Ablative سپکه
spáka
spə́ka (Southern)
Vocative

The paradigm for the adjective سپک /spək/ ‘light’ in above shows the Southern dialect's Vowel harmony rule.

Example 2 = زړور (brave)

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct زړور
zṛawár
زړور
zṛawár
zṛawə́r (Southern)
زړوره
zṛawára
زړورې
zṛawáre
زړوري
zṛawə́ri (Southern)
Oblique زړورو
zṛawáro
zṛawə́ro (Southern)
زړورې
zṛawáre
زړوري
zṛawə́ri (Southern)
زړورو
zṛawáro
zṛawə́ro (Sothern)
Ablative زړوره
zṛawár
Vocative

The paradigm for the adjective زړور /zṛawár/ 'brave' illustrates centralization rule for the Southern dialect.

Animacy[edit]

When modifying animate nouns, some Class I adjectives may take the animate plural suffixes of Class I nouns example:

مشران وروڼه

Məʃarɑn wruɳa

'Elder brothers'

Class 2[edit]

Class 2 adjectives can end in either a consonant or a stressed schwa ( ه /‑ə́/). Except for the masculine singular ablative and vocative suffixes, the suffixes of Class II are inherently stressed. These stressed suffixes are the chief difference between Class 1 and Class 2, although there are a few differences in suffix shape as well. Whether a consonant-final adjective belongs to Class 1 (stem-stressed) or Class II (suffix-stressed) is a property of the lexeme and is not predictable.

Case-marking suffixes[edit]

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct ۀ
ə́
ه
á
ې
é
Oblique ۀ
ə́
و
ó
ې
é
و
ó
Ablative ه

-

Vocative

Stem allomorphy[edit]

Some Class2 adjectives undergo stem allomorphy processes upon inflection, all of them stress-conditioned. The first, Syncope I, affects the final vowels of /ə́/-final Class 2 adjectives; the rest affect the stem vowels of consonant-final Class 2 adjectives (which either lower or delete when unstressed). Lowering affects only back vowels, but not all of them. It is not possible to predict which rule, Back vowel lowering or Syncope II, applies to a given consonant-final adjective. The rules are:

  1. Syncope I
  2. Back vowel lowering
  3. Monophthongization
  4. Lengthening
  5. Syncope II
  6. Epenthesis
Syncope I[edit]
  • V2 → Ø/ V́1_
  • V́1 → Ø/ _V́2

If suffixation results in two adjacent vowels and only one is stressed, the unstressed vowel deletes. If both are stressed, the first vowel deletes. This rule applies to vowel-final adjectives.

Examole: Vowel-final adjectives that end in stressed ۀ /‑ə́/

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct تېرۀ
terə́
تېرۀ
terə́
تېره
terá
تېرې
teré
Oblique تېرو
teró
تېرې
teré
تېرو
teró
Ablative
Vocative

Vowel-final adjectives that end stressed ه /‑ə́/ in their citation form include تېره /terə/́ ‘sharp’. These can be reliably identified from this citation form as belonging to Class 2; no other class has adjectives ending in /-ə́/. The final stem-vowel of these adjectives undergoes one or other of the morphophonemic rules of Syncope I.

Back vowel lowering[edit]
  • V-stress] [+back, → V[-high]/ C_

Inmost Class 2 consonant-final adjectives with non-initial back vowels, و /o/, /u/ lowers to /a/ when unstressed.

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct پوخ
pox
پاخۀ
pāxə́
پخه
paxá
پخې
paxé
Oblique پاخۀ
pāxə́
پخو
paxó
پخې
paxé
پخو
paxó
Ablative پوخه
póxa
Vocative
Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct ړوند
ṛund
ړاندۀ
āndə́
ړنده
andá
ړندې
andé
Oblique ړاندۀ
āndə́
ړندو
andó
ړندې
andé
ړندو
andó
Ablative ړوند
únda
Vocative

In most consonant-final adjectives where the stem vowel is a back vowel, و /o/, /u/, it will undergo vowel lowering in unstressed position, followed by lengthening when the next syllable contains /ə́/ such as for the words, پو خ /pox/ ‘cooked, ripe’ and ړوند /ṛund/ ‘blind’, illustrated above.

Monophthongization[edit]
  • a[+stress]w → V-high] [+back,
  • wa[+stress] → V-high] [+back,

In adjectives with /aw/ or /wa/ in the stem [usually seen in the feminine tense], those sequences simplify to /o/ when stressed.

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct تود
tod
تاودۀ
tāwdə́
توده
taw
تودې
tawdé
Oblique تاودۀ
tāwdə́
تودو
tawdó
تودې
tawdé
تودو
tawdó
Ablative توده
tóda
Vocative

Back vowel breaking: تود /tod/ ‘hot’; stem = /tawd/.

Lengthening[edit]
  • a → ā /_(C)Cə́

Short /a/ lengthens to long /ā/ when the syllable following it contains /ə́/. This rule affects those adjectives that undergo back vowel lowering, such as for پاخۀ → پوخ and ړاندۀ → ړوند and those that undergo monophthongization, such as تاودۀ → تود.

Lengthening[edit]
  • V[-stress] → Ø

In a few consonant-final adjectives the stem vowel is deleted when not stressed.

Example = سور /sur/ - red

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct سور
sur
سرۀ
srə
سره
sra
سرې
sre
Oblique سرۀ
srə
سرو
sro
سرې
sre
سرو
sro
Ablative سوره
súra
Vocative
Epenthesis[edit]
  • Ø → a/C_CC or CC_C

If syncope results in a triple consonant cluster, an /a/ might be inserted after the first or second consonant.

Class 3[edit]

These adjectives end in the diphthong participial suffix, ی /‑ay/, in the masculine direct singular form/. This suffix may be stressed or unstressed.

Case-marking suffixes[edit]

Stressed

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct ی

áy

ي

í

ۍ

ə́i

ۍ

ə́i

Oblique ي

í

و

ó

یو

ə́yo/ío

و

ó

یو

ə́yo/ío

Ablative یه

áya

Vocative

Unstressed

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct ی

ay

ي

i

ې

e

ې

e

Oblique ي

i

و

o

و

o

Ablative
Vocative یه

ya

Stressed[edit]

Example = زلمی (young/youth - the ی is stressed)

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct زلمی
zalmá y
زلمي
zalmí
زلمۍ
zalmə́i
زلمۍ
zalmə́i
Oblique زلمي
zalmí
زلمو
zalmó
زلمیو
zalmío (Southern)
zalmə́yo (Northern)
زلمو
zalmó
زلمیو
zalmío (Southern)
zalmə́yo (Northern)
Ablative
Vocative زلمیه
zalmáya

Unstressed[edit]

Example = سوی (burnt- the ی is unstressed)

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct سوی
sə́way

sə́wəy (South Western)

sə́we (North Eastern)

سوي
sə́wi
سوې
sə́we
سوې
sə́we
Oblique سوي
sə́wi
سویو
sə́wyo (Northern)
سوو
sə́wo
سویې
sə́wye (Northern)
سوې
sə́we
سویو
sə́wyo (Northern)
سوو
sə́wo
Ablative
Vocative سویه(Northern)
sə́wya
سوې(Southern)
sə́we
سوو
sə́wo
سوې
sə́we
سوو
sə́wo

Class 4[edit]

This the "non-declining" class - these do not decline. These adjectives are generally borrowed from other languages. They do not have masculine-feminine or singular-plural distinction.

But but some speakers use the oblique suffixes  و /‑o/, وو /‑wo/ on these adjectives in the plural oblique, ablative and vocative cases.

Example = شمالي (Persian-Arabic borrowing)

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct شمالي
šamālí
Oblique
Ablative
Vocative

Example = شمالي (Southern Dialect)

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct شمالي
šamālí
Oblique شمالي
šamālí

شمالو
šamāló
شمالي

šumālí


شمالو
šamāló
Ablative
Vocative

Derivational affixes[edit]

Pashto utilities morphological derivation: there is an addition to the base form or stem of a word in order to modify its meaning [not grammatical function like verbal suffixes].

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.

Considered a preposition.

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

waṛ

suitable ناوړ

nāwáṛ

unsuitable
بې
be
کور

kor

home بې کوره

be kóra

[کور in the ablative case]

homeless
بيا
byā
جوړول

joṛawә́l

to make بيا جوړول

byā joṛawә́l

to remake
هم
ham
[زولی [نارينه]، زولې [ښځينه

zólay, zóle

age [classical Pashto] همزولی، همزولې

hamzólay, hamzól

coeval
ګڼ
gaṇ
هېواديز

hewādíz

national ګڼ هېواديز

gaṇhewādíz

multinational
دوه
dwa
اړخيز

aṛxíz

aṛx= side, íz = adjective forming suffix دوه اړخيز

dwa aṛxíz

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
جن adjective-forming suffix; having the quality of the noun e.g. چنجن [worm-eaten; stubbornly picky]
ين an adjective-forming suffix applied to nouns denoting a material
ور an adjective forming suffix to show endowment/possession.
م forms ordinal number names from cardinals
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
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".
والا makes nouns denoting owenership
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.
نی suffix affixed to words having to do with time and location
ی suffix affixed to place names to form a masculine noun living or found in that place
ۍ suffix affixed to place names to form a feminine noun living or found in that place
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

barbə́nḍ

nude بربنډتوب

barbənḍtób

nudeness/nudity
تیا
tyā
روغ

roğ

healthy روغتيا

roğtyā́

health
ي
i
ولس

(w)ulə́s

nation ولسي

(w) uləsí

national
ي
i
ترکاڼ

tarkā́ṇ

carpenter ترکاڼي

tarkāṇí

carpentry
يز/يزه
iz/iza
لمر

lmar

sun لمريز

lmaríz
لمريزه

lmaríza

solar
يز/يزه
yiz/yiza
وټه

wáṭa

economy وټه ييز

waṭayíz
وټه ييزه

waṭayíza

economic
من
man
لانجه

lānjá

problem لانجمن

lānjamán

lānjamə́n

problematic
جن

jən

کرکه

krә́ka

repugnance کرکجن

krәjә́n

someone who is repugnant

to something

ين

in

زر

zar

gold زرين

zarín

golden
ور
war
ګټه

gáṭa

profit ګټور

gaṭawár

advantageous
م

am/əm

اووه

uwə́

seven اووم

uwə́m

seventh
ښت
əx̌t
جوړ

joṛ

made/built جوړښت

joṛə́x̌t

structure
ګلوي
galwi
پلار

plār

father پلارګلوي

plār

paternity
والی
wālay
اوږد

uẓ̌d

long اوږدوالی

uẓ̌dwā́lay

length/height
ولي
wali
ورور

wror

brother ورورولي

wrorwalí

brotherhood
ځی
dzay
ښوول

x̌owə́l

to teach ښونځی

x̌owə́ndzay

school
نه
əna
غوښتل

ğox̌tə́l

to demand غوښتنه

ğox̌tə́na

demand
ون
un
بدلول

badlawə́l

to change بدلون

badlún

change
اک
āk
څښل

tsx̌ə́l
خوړل

xwaṛə́l

to drink
to eat
څښاک

tsx̌āk
خوراک

xwaṛā́k

drink
food
تون
tun
پوهنه

pohə́na

knowledge پوهنتون

pohəntún

university
پال/پاله
pal/pāla
مېلمه

melmá

guest مېلمه پال

melmapā́l
مېلمه پاله

melmapā́la

host
پالنه
pālana
مېلمه

melmá

guest مېلمه پالنه

melmapālə́na

hospitality
واکي
wāki
پلار

plār

father پلارواکي

plārwākí

patriarchy
وال
wāl
ليک

lik

writing ليکوال

likwā́l

writer
والا

wālā

غنم

ğanə́m

wheat غنم والا

ğanəmwālā́

wheat-merchant
ګر
gər
کوډه

kóḍa

magic کوډګر

koḍgə́r

koḍgár

magician
چي
chi
توپ

top

cannon توپچي

topčí

cannoneer
ګوټی
goṭay
کتاب

kitā́b

book کتاب ګوټی

kitābgóṭay

booklet
وزمه
wazma
تور

tor

black تور وزمه

torwázma

blackish
نی

(a)náy

کال

kāl

year کالنی

kālanáy

annual
ی

áy

جاپان

jāpā́n

Japan جاپانی

jāpānáy

a Japanese male
ۍ

ə́i

جاپان

jāpā́n

Japan جاپانۍ

jāpānə́i

a Japanese female
ګنۍ
ganai
پلار

plār
مور

mor

father
mother
پلارګنۍ

plārganə́i
مورګنۍ

morganə́i

paternal-family
maternal-family
وړ/وړه
waṛ/waṛa
خندا

xandā́

laughter خنداوړ

xandāwáṛ
خنداوړه

xandāwáṛa

laughable
يالۍ /يالی
yālay/yālə́i
ننګ

nang

honor ننګيالی

nangyāláy
ننګيالۍ

nangyālə́i

honorable
غاړې /غاړی
ğāṛay/ğāṛe
سندره

sandə́ra

song سندرغاړی

sandərğā́ṛay
سندرغاړې

sandərğā́ṛe

singer
چک
cak
سپين

spin

white سپين چک

spinčák

whitish
ډله
ḍala
لوب

lob

root word of
play
لوبډله

lobḍála

team (sports)
هار
hār
پړک

pṛak

slap/clap پړکهار

pṛakahā́r

clapping/sounds of claps

Creating new words[edit]

Other than the recognised words above; new words can be coined by speakers through these affixes

Example:

Creating a new word process
Existing word Existing suffix New word
غو

ğo

ييز

yíz

غوييز

ğoyíz

sex adjective-forming suffix sexual

Infinitive[edit]

This is called Kaṛnúmay [کړنومی] in Pashto that is "the name of a verb".[5] It shows an infinite action or occurrence. It is used as a noun. It acquires the gender and number of a masculine plural noun.

Formed: Past Imperfective Stem + verbal ل (ә́l)

Formed: Past Imperfective Stem + verbal ل (ә́l)
Conjugation Class Past Imperfective Stem Infinitives
First -کېد

ked-

"become"

کېدل

kedә́l

"to become"

Second -ننوت

nənawat-

ننوتل

nənawatә́l

"to enter"

Third Joined -ښخو

x̌axaw-

"do bury"

ښخول

x̌axawә́l

"to bury"

Unjoined -سوچ کو

soč kaw-

"do think"

سوچ کول

soč kawә́l

"to think"

Example: وکړل [past perfective tense of the transitive verb کول - "to do"] shows agreement with masculine plural object that is the infinitive وهل.

هغوی په خپلو کښې وهل وکړل

Hağúi

they:DIR:3:PL

on:PREP

xpә́lo

own:OBL:M:PL

ke

on:POST

wahә́l

to-beat:PST:CONT:3:M:PL

wә́kṛəl

do:PST:PRF:3:PL

Hağúi pә xpә́lo ke wahә́l wә́kṛəl

they:DIR:3:PL on:PREP own:OBL:M:PL on:POST to-beat:PST:CONT:3:M:PL do:PST:PRF:3:PL

They have fought amongst themselves

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/walking] راګرځېدل [to repass] ګرځېدل راګرځېدل [walking about]


-- or 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]

Verb[edit]

  • Pashto has three tenses: Past, present and future.
  • The future tense is the same as present tense with the exception of markers.
  • Aspect: Pashto in every tense has perfective aspect [بشپړاړخ][6] and imperfective aspect [نابشپړاړخ]. The perfective aspect indicates completion of an action while the imperfective aspect indicates continuous or habitual action.
  • Pashto verbs are of four categories: simple verbs, prefixed verbs, a-initial verbs and compound verbs.
  • Prefixed verbs, a-initial verbs and compound verbs are separable.
  • Pashto verbs can be conjugated by the bases they have.
  • Present and imperative forms are formed on present bases. Past, optative, and infinitive forms are formed on past bases.
  • Based on the stems they classed as either single stemmed, two stemmed or multiple stemmed
  • Verbs agree in person and in number with either the objects or subjects of sentences, depending on tense and construction.
  • Agreement is indicated with verbal suffixes following the verb stem which indicate person and number.

Verbs: categories[edit]

Simple verbs[edit]

They are in the morpheme state.

Examples:

Infinitive Transliteration Meaning
تلل tlə́l to go
وتل watə́l to go out
ګرځېدل gardzedə́l to walk
کول kawə́l to do
خوړل xwaṛә́l to eat

Prefixed verbs[edit]

These are described below as doubly irregular.

They take the form of a derivational prefix plus a verb base.

Deictic prefixed verb[edit]

These correspond to the oblique pronominal and directionals clitics.

Prefix Direction Example Example meaning
را

towards 1st person راتلل

rā tlә́l

to come
در

dər/dar

towards 2nd person درتلل

dәr tlә́l

to go towards you
ور

wər/war

towards 3rd person ورکول

wәr kawә́l

to give

Non-productive prefixed verbs[edit]

Like deictic prefixed these are subject to the same rules of stress movement to show perfective aspect, as well as to separation from the rest of the verb by negative morphemes and second-position clitics. But generally their meanings are not synchronically separable from the verbal lexeme of which they are a part of.

Prefix Transliteration Example Example meaning
کښې kxe [Northern]

kṣ̌i [Southern]

کښېوتل

kxewatә́l

to drop into
کې ke [Northern]

ki [Southern]

کېښودل

kex̌awdә́l

to put
نن nəna ننوتل

nənawatә́l

to enter
پورې pore پورې ايستل

pore istә́l

to traverse
تېر ter تېروتل

terwatә́l

to get mistaken
پرا prā پرانيستل

prānistә́l

to open
پرې pre پرېوتل

prewatә́l

to lie down

Example: پرېکول - to cut. The prefix [پرې] is separated from the verb stem [کول] by a second position clitic [يې]

پرې يې کړه

pré

cut:VB:PREFIX:AOR

ye

it/he/she:3:WK

kṛá

cut:VB:AOR:IMP:SG

pré ye kṛá

cut:VB:PREFIX:AOR it/he/she:3:WK cut:VB:AOR:IMP:SG

Cut it

a-initial verbs[edit]

These begin with ا /a/; but they do not include compound verbs beginning with /a/.

Examples:

Infinitive Transliteration Meaning
اڼول aṇawə́l to gather
استول astawə́l to send
اخيستل axistə́l to buy

Their syntactic behaviour resembles that of prefixed verbs: the initial /a/ can separate from the rest of the verb as though it were a prefix. Unlike prefixed verbs, a-initial verbs differ in that

they take the prefix و  /wə́/ for perfective forms.

وا مې خيستل

wā́

buy:AOR

me

I:SG:WK

xistəl

buy:PST:3PL:M

wā́ me xistəl

buy:AOR I:SG:WK buy:PST:3PL:M

I bought them

Unlike all the verbs; they are unusual, in that their stress is variable in the imperfective aspect: it can be either be initial or non-initial. Other verbs can not have initial stress. When the /a/ is separated from the rest of the verb in the imperfective aspect it has initial stress.

Example: initial stress

ا مې خيستل

á

buy:CONT

me

I:SG:WK

xistəl

buy:PST:3PL:M

á me xistəl

buy:CONT I:SG:WK buy:PST:3PL:M

I was buying them

Example: non-initial stress اخيستل مې

axistə́l

buy:CONT:PST:3PL:M

me

I:SG:WK

axistə́l me

buy:CONT:PST:3PL:M I:SG:WK

I was buying them

Compound verbs[edit]

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

First category[edit]

These are formed by adding ول [-wә́l] and ېدل [edә́l] verbal-suffixes to nouns, adjectives or adverbs. The attaching noun, adjective and adverb should not end in a vowel.

Example:

Word Verb formed
ښخ

x̌ax

adjective, singular, mas ښخول

x̌awә́l

buried to bury
Exceptions[edit]

There are also exceptions to this category. Example: سوچ کول etc.

Word Verb formed
سوچ

soč

noun, singular masculine سوچ کول

soč kawә́l

though to think

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:

Word Verb formed
ښايسته

x̌āistá

adjective, feminine, class 4 ښايسته کول

x̌āista kawә́l

prettty to make pretty
ستړی

stә́ṛay

noun, sing. masc., class 3 ستړی کول

stəṛay kawә́l

tired to tire

Verbs: conjugation classes[edit]

These can be divided in reference to the verb categories as above:[7]

  • First Conjugation Class: Simple Verbs and A-Initial Verbs
  • Second Conjugation Class: Prefixed Verbs
  • Third Conjugation Class: Compound Verbs

Verbs: bases[edit]

Pashto verb bases are formed according to the tense (present/past) and aspect (perfective/imperfective) of a verb.[7]

Aspect

The perfective aspect is indicated by the stressed prefix و /wә́/ or in the case of complex verbs [prefixed verbs, a-initial and compound verbs] by stress on the prefix or complement. The imperfective aspect is indicated by the absence of و /wə/ or stress on the verb itself rather than the prefix or complement.[7]

Tense

The present tense either by the absence of this suffix (transitives), or by the suffix ېږ /ég/ (intransitives).[7]

For single stem verbs: the past tenses is indicated by either the suffix ل /ə́l/ (for transitive verbs) or ېد /ed(ə́l)/ (for intransitives).

For two or more stemmed verbs: the past tense is indicated by stem allomorphy.

Bases

Therefore, the following four-fold-method to differentianate of bases:

1. present perfective

2. present imperfective

3. past perfective

4. past impefective

Inflection

In order to make fully inflected verbs, you add either of the following to these bases:[7]

  • a verbal suffix
  • an imperative or optative suffix, or
  • an adjectival suffix (to form a participle)

Verbs: Single Stems[edit]

These are referred to as Weak Verbs by Anna Boyle.[7] These have one stem. From this single stem from all four bases are predictable.

First Conjugation Class[edit]

Transitve[edit]

Here is an example first conjugation class transitive verb: "to tie"

Verb Stem Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
-وتړ
wә́ taṛ-
-تړ
taṛ-
-وتړل

wә́ taṛ-

-تړل

taṛә́l-

تړل

taṛә́l

تړ

taṛ

Notes:

  • present imperfective base = stem
  • present perfective base: و /wә́/ + stem
  • past imperfective base: stem+ ل /ə́l/ (suffix obligatory)
  • past perfective base: و /wә́/ + stem+ ل /əl/(suffix obligatory)

Intransitve[edit]

Here is an example first conjugation class intransitive verb: "to reach"

Verb Stem Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
-ورسېږ
wә́ raseẓ̌-
-رسېږ
raseẓ̌-
-(ورسېد(ل
wә́ rased(ә́l)-
-(رسېد(ل
rásed-
رسېدل
rasedә́l
رس

ras

Notes:

  • present imperfective base: stem+ ېږ /eg/
  • present perfective base: و /wә́/ + stem+ ېږ /eg/
  • past imperfective base: stem + ېد /ed/ (+ ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)
  • past perfective base: و /wә́/ + stem + ېد /ed/( + ل /əl/— prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

Second Conjugation Class[edit]

In the second conjugation, perfectives are formed by a shift of stress to the existing prefix, rather than the addition of the و /wә́/ prefix.

Here is an example first conjugation class transitive verb: "to bring (to speaker)"

Verb Stem Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
-راوړ

rā́ wṛ-

-راوړ

rā wṛ-

-راوړل

rā́ wṛә́l-

-راوړل

rā wṛә́l-

راوړل

rāwṛә́l

راوړ

rā wṛ

Notes:

  • present imperfective base = stem
  • present perfective base: stressed prefix + stem
  • past imperfective base: prefix + stem+ ل /ə́l/(suffix obligatory)
  • past perfective base: stressed prefix + stem+ ل /ə́l/(suffix obligatory)

Verbs: Two Stems[edit]

These are referred to as Strong Verbs by Anna Boyle[7]

These have two stems: present stem and a past stem.

First Conjugation Class[edit]

The stems can either share initial sounds as in example:

a) where ل is replaced by ن in the present tense:

Verb Present Stem Present Past Stem Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
وژل
wažә́l
وژن

wažən

-و وژن
wә́ wažən-
-وژن
wažən-
وژ

waž

-(و وژ(ل
wә́ waž(əl)-
-(وژ(ل
waž(ә́l)-

b) where و is added in the middle in the present tense:

Verb Present Stem Present Past Stem Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
بلل
balә́l
بول

bol

-و بول
wә́ bol-
-بول
bol-
بل

bal

-(و بل(ل
wә́ baləl-
-(بل(ل
bal(ә́l)-

c) The verb ختل [to climb]:

Verb Present Stem Present Past Stem Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
ختل
xatә́l
خېژ
xež
-و خېژ
wә́ xež-
-خېژ
xež-
خت

xat

[or خوت xot]

-(و خت(ل
wә́ xat(əl)-
-(خت(ل
xat(ә́l)-

d) where دل is dropped in the present tense:

Verb Present Stem Present Past Stem Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
پېژندل
pežandә́l
پېژن
pežan
-و پېژن
wә́ pežan-
-پېژن
pežan-
پېژند
pežand
-(و پېژند(ل
wә́ pežand(əl)-
-(پېژند(ل
pežand(ә́l)-
اوبدل
obdә́l
اوب
ob
-و اوب
wә́ ob-
-اوب
ob-
اوبد

obd

-(و اوبد(ل
wә́ ob(əl)-
-(اوبد(ل
obd(ә́l)-

Or they can be share no similar sounds

Example: the verb لیدل [to see]

Verb Present Stem Present Past Stem Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfect
لیدل

lidә́l

وین
win
-ووین

wә́ win-

-وین

win-

لید

lid

-(ولید(ل

wә́ lid(əl)-

-(لید(ل

lid(ә́l)-

In either case the same rules apply, as noted by Anna Boyle:[8]

Notes:

• present imperfective base = present stem

• present perfective base: و  /wә́/ + present stem

• past imperfective base: past stem (+ ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

• past perfective base: و  /wә́/ + past stem(+ ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

Second Conjugation Class[edit]

As above, in the second conjugation, perfectives are formed by a shift of stress to the existing prefix, rather than the addition of the و /wә́/ prefix.

Example one: the verb پرېښودل [to leave]

Verb Present Stem Past Stem Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
پرېښودل
prex̌odә́l
پرېږد
preẓ̌d
پرېښود
prex̌od
-پرېږد
pré ẓ̌d-
-پرېږد
pre ẓ̌d-
-(پرېښود(ل
pré x̌od(əl)-
-(پرېښود(ل
pre x̌od(ә́l)-

Notes:[8]

• present imperfective base = present stem

• present perfective base: stressed prefix + present stem

• past imperfective base: prefix + past stem (+ ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc.; optional elsewhere)

• past perfective base: stressed prefix + past stem(+ ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

Verbs: Multiple Stems[edit]

These are referred to as Strong Verbs by Anna Boyle.[7]

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 whereas in imperfective the stress is on the last syllables.

These examples have been taken from Anna Boyle, pages 219–224 with the tables rearranged:[9]

Examples:

Observation: either three stemmed [ږد, کېږد, کېښود] or four stemmed [یښود ږد, کېږد, کېښود]

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfectiv Perfective Imperfective
یښودل
ix̌odә́l
to put -کېږد
kéẓ̌d-
-ږد
ẓ̌d-
-(کېښود(ل
kéx̌od(əl)-
-(کېښود(ل
kex̌od(ә́l)-

-(یښود(ل
ix̌od(ә́l)-

Observation: Four stems

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
بېول
bewә́l

بوول bowә́l

to take [to a place]

to lead away

-بوځ
bódz-
-بياي
byāy-
-(بوتل(ل
bótl(əl)-
-(بېو(ل
bew(ә́l)-

or -(بوو(ل
bow(ә́l)-

Observation: Four Stems

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
تلل
tlә́l
to go -و)لاړش)
(w)lā́ṛ š‑-

dz-

-و)لاړل)

(w)lā́ṛəl‑

-(تل(ل
tl(ә́l)-


Observation: This example contains locative prefixes را,در,ور

Verb Meaningg Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
راتلل
rā tlә́l
to come (towards 1st person) -راش
rā́ sh-
-راځ
rā dz-
-(راغ(ل
rā́ ğ(l)-
-(راتل(ل
rā tl(ә́l)-
درتلل
dar tlә́l
to go (towards 2nd person -درش
dә́r sh-
-درځ
dәr dz-
-(درغ(ل
dә́r ğ(l)-
-(درتل(ل
dәr tl(ә́l)-
ورتلل
war tlә́l
to go (towards 3rd person) -ورش
wә́r sh-
-ورځ
wәr dz-
-(ورغ(ل
wә́r ğ(l)-
-(ورتل(ل
wәr tl(ә́l)-

Observation:Three stems:وړ [wṛ] for imperfective and یوس + یووړ for the perfectives . Note - Prefixed وړل /wṛә́l/ ‘to carry’, use its weak stem [as illustrated with پرېوتل above]

Verb Meaning Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
وړل
wṛә́l
to carry -یوس
yós-
-وړ
wṛ-
-(یووړ(ل
yówṛ(әl)-
-(وړ(ل
wṛ(ә́l)-

Notes:[9]

• Present imperfective base = (present) imperfective stem

• Present perfective base: initial-stressed present perfective stem

• Past imperfective base: (past continuous) stem+ (ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

• Past perfective base: initial-stressed past perfective stem + (ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

کول and کېدل[edit]

Here there use as main verbs are eluded to. To the verb - to do: The brackete [ṛ] in the present perfective base of کول /kawә́l/ ‘to do’ indicates that it sometimes is not pronounced in speech[10]

Important: Here there use as main verbs are eluded to - when کول and کېدل are used as verbalizers, their perfective forms are not formed with the first conjugation prefix و  /wә́/, but are irregular.[10]

کول

kawә́l

Imperfective Perfective
Stem Base Stem Base
Present کو

kaw

-کو

kaw- ́

کړ

k[ṛ]

-وکړ

wə́ k[ṛ]‑

Past -(کو(ل

kaw(ə́l)-

کړ

kṛ

-(وکړ(ل

wə́ kṛ(əl)-

To the verb - to become

کېدل

kedә́l

Imperfective Perfective
Stem Base Stem Base
Present کېږ

kéẓ̌

-کېږ

kéẓ̌-

ش

š

-وش

wə́ š‑

Past کېد

ked

-(کېد(ل

ked(ə́l)-

شو

šw

-(و)شو(ل)

wə́ šw(əl)-

Notes[11]:

• Present imperfective base = (present) imperfective stem

• Present perfective base: و  /wә́/ + present perfective stem

• Past imperfective base: (past continuous) stem+ ( ل /ə́l/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

• Past perfective base: و  /wә́/ + past perfective stem + ( ل  /‑ə́l-/—prohibited in 3rd Person Sing. Masc; optional elsewhere)

Verbs: aspect[edit]

Pashto in every tense has an aspect: perfective aspect [بشپړاړخ] and imperfective aspect [نابشپړاړخ]. The perfective aspect indicates completion or termination of an action. The imperfective aspect indicates continuity of an action or the habitual nature of the action.

Present Past
Perfective Imperfective Perfective Imperfective
Verb - خوړل [to eat] زه ډوډۍ وخورم نو بيا به راشم
[Once] I eat food then i'll come
زه ډوډۍ خورم
I am eating
ما ډوډۍ وخوړه
I ate food
ما ډوډۍ خوړه چې هغۀ راغلو
I was eating when he came
Nuanance Completing the action [to eat]

in the present moment

Continuing the action [to eat]

in the present moment

Completion of the action [to eat]

in the past

Continuity of the action [to eat]

in the past

Stress[edit]

In both aspects the stress [خج] is applied to the verb. In perfective, the stress is applied to the initial part of the verb, while in the imperfective it is generally applied to the final part of the verb.[12]

Aspect
Perfective Imperfective
Example: Wahə́l [to beat] ما ډوکړه ووهله زه ډوکړه وهم
Transliteration Mā ḍukṛá wə́-wahəla Zə ḍukṛá wahə́m
Stress notes Stress shifts to the prefix wə́ Stress to the final verbal suffix ə́m
Literal meaning I [pronoun oblique case] small-drum [female-singular noun] beat [feminine 3rd person past tense] I [pronoun direct case] small-drum [female-singular noun] am-beating [1st person present tense]
English Equivalent I played the small-drum. I am playing the small drum

First conjugation[edit]

First conjugation verbs, e.g. وهل as above, can be recognised by perfective form, which begin with the prefix و /wə́/, which carries an inherent stress. In a-initial verbs, the perfecive prefix و /wə́/ coalesces with the /a/ to form a prefix وا /wā́/. [8] Example:

Aspect
Perfective Imperfective
Example: Wahə́l [to beat] ما پانګه واچوله زه پانګه اچوم
Transliteration Mā pā́nga wā́cawə́la Zə pā́nga acawə́m
Stress notes Stress shifts to the prefix wā́ Stress to the final verbal suffix ə́m
Literal meaning I [pronoun oblique case] capital [female-singular noun] pour [feminine 3rd person past tense] I [pronoun direct case] capital [female-singular noun] pour [1st person present tense]
English Equivalent I investeded I am investing

Second conjugation[edit]

These are referred to as prefixed verbs aboves: all of the form prefix + stem. These behave morphosyntactically: they undergo stress shift to form the perfectived, and they can be separated from the stem by a second-position clitic or the negative morpheme.[8]

Example:

Aspect
Perfective Imperfective
Example: K[x̌]enɑstə́l [to sit] کښېناستم کښېناستم
Transliteration nɑstəm kenɑstə́m
Stress notes Stress shifts to the prefix ké Stress to the final verbal suffix ə́m
Literal meaning sit [1st person past tense] sit [1st person past tense]
English Equivalent I sat down I was sitting down

Third conjugation[edit]

These are called compound verbs above - those with adjective complements and noun complements + forms of کول /kawə́l/ or کېدل /kedə́l/. Here the perfective is formed by:[8]

  • shifting stress from the verbalizer to the noun or adjective complement, according to the lexical stress of noun or adjective
  • using the irregular perfective forms of the verbalizer (rather than the forms with و /wə́/).

Many third conjugation verbs are contracted in the imperfective aspect, in perfective constructions, the complement is always separate from the verbalizer.

Example 1:

Aspect
Perfective Imperfective
Transitive: Joṛ-awə́l [to make] ډوډۍ مې جوړه کړه ډوډۍ جوړوم
Transliteration ḍoḍə́i me ṛa kṛa ḍoḍə́i joṛawə́m
Stress notes Stress shifts to the adjective element jóṛa Stress to the verb element in ə́m
Literal meaning food/bread [feminine noun] I [1st person sing. weak pronoun] made [singular feminine adjective] do [3rd person sing. fem. past tense] food/bread [feminine noun] make [1st person present tense]
English Equivalent I made food I am making food

Example 2:

Aspect Note
Perfective Imperfective The verbal suffix ېږ [éẓ̌] is stressed in the imperfective.

Due to this the final syllable ي[i] in our example is not stressed.

Compare the past imperfective sentence

کور جوړېده

kor joṛedə́

The house was getting made

Here the normal rules of aspect-stress are followed with the final syllable də́ being stressed.

Intransitive: Joṛ-edə́l [to get made] کور جوړ شه کور جوړېږي
Transliteration kor ṛ šə kor joṛéẓ̌i
Stress notes Stress shifts to the adjective element jó Stress to the verbal element in éẓ̌i
Literal meaning house [masc. sing. noun] made [singular masc. adjective] do [3rd person sing. masc. past tense] house [masc. sing. noun] make [1st person present tense]
English Equivalent The house got made The house is getting made

Verbs: verbal suffixes[edit]

Pashto utilises verbal suffixes [د کړ تاړي].

Personal suffixes[edit]

Verbal suffixes in Pashto denote person, gender and number.[13]

Number Person Gender Verbal suffix Dialect variation
Singular 1st person م
əm
Feminine مه
əma
2nd person ې
e
3rd person present ي
i
3rd person past Masculine verb stem only [no suffix]
or
ۀ / ه
ə
و
o - in Peshawar Dialect
See below
Feminine ه
a
Plural 1st person و
u
ي
i - in Wazirwola and Dzadrani
2nd person ئ
əɪ
است
āst - in South Western
3rd person present ي
i
3rd person past Masculine ل
əl
Feminine ې
e

It is easy to demonstrate these in with intransitive verbs in the imperfective.

Present imperfective tense[edit]

Gəḍéẓ̌ 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 gaḍéẓ̌əm
I am dancing
2nd person ې
e
ته ګډېږې
Tə gaḍéẓ̌ē
You are dancing
3rd person ي
i
دی/دا ګډېږي
Day/Dā gaḍéẓ̌i
He/She is dancing
Plural 1st person و
ū
موږ ګډېږو
Muẓ̌ gaḍéẓ̌u
We are dancing
2nd person ئ
ai
تاسو ګډېږئ
Tā́so gaḍéẓ̌ai
You are dancing
3rd person ي
i
دوی/هغوی ګډېږي
Dúi/Hağúi gaḍéẓ̌i
They are dancing

Past imperfective 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 gaḍedә́m
I was dancing
2nd person ې
e
تۀ ګډېدې
Tə gaḍedé
You were dancing
3rd person Masculine ۀ
ə
دی ګډېدۀ
Day gaḍedә́
He was dancing
Feminine ه
a
دا ګډېده
Dā gaḍedá
She was dancing
Plural 1st person و
u
موږ ګډېدو
Muẓ̌ gaḍedú
We were dancing
2nd person ئ
әi
تاسو ګډېدئ
Tā́so gaḍedә́i
Your were dancing
3rd person ل
əl
دوی/هغوی ګډېدل
Dúi/Hağúi gaḍedә́l
They were dancing
Feminine ې
e
دوی/هغوی ګډېدې
Dúi/Hağúi gaḍedé
They were dancing

Note: In the plural the 3rd person past masculine can denote both genders when talking about a group. While in the plural the 3rd person past feminine is only used when talking about a group of individuals classed in the female gender.

Example:

  • هغوی ګډېدل [They were dancing] - can imply only males dancing or both males and females dancing
  • هغوی ګډېدې [They were dancing] - implies only women were dancing. It can also be used for transgenders [ايجړاګان] by itself. But you can not say ايجړاګان ګډېدې since ايجړا is a masculine noun so one would use ايجړاګان ګډېدل.

3rd Person Past Singular Masculine[edit]

Generally ه [ə] or no-stem suffix is employed. But sometimes ئ [əi] is found also.

PAST - 3rd Person Singular Masculine
Morphology Verb Verbal Suffix employed Imperfective Perfective
وتل-

-watəl

الوتل

alwatә́l

to fly

none الوت

alwát

والوت

wā́lwat

پرېوتل

prewatә́l

to fall

پرېووت

prewót

پرېووت

préwot

پوري وتل

pori watә́l

to cross

پوري ووت

pori wót

پوري ووت

póri wot

ننوتل

nənawatә́l

to enter

ننوت

nənawát

ننوت

nә́nawat

وتل

watә́l

to go out

وت

wát

wót

ووت

wә́wat

wә́wot

تېروتل

terwatә́l

to be mistaken

تېروت

terwát

تېروت

térwat

تلل-

-tləl

راتلل
rā tlә́l

to come

ئ

əi

راغئ

rāğә́i

راغئ

rā́ğəi

درتلل
dar tlә́l

to go

[towards 2nd person]

درغئ

darğә́i

درغئ

dárğәi

ورتلل
war tlә́l

[towards 3rd person]

ورغئ

warğә́i

ورغئ

wárğəi

اروېدل

to hear

ۀ

ə

اروېده

arwedә́

وروېده

wárweda

ایشېدل

to boil

ایشېده

išedә́

وایشېده

wә́ išedә́

برېښېدل

to shine/appear

برېښېده

brex̌dә́

وبرېښېده

wә́ brex̌də

درومېدل

to march

درومېده

drumedә́

ودرومېده

wә́ drumedə

زېږېدل

to be born

زېږېده

zeẓ̌edә́

وزېږېده

wә́ zeẓ̌edə

Plural suffix of وتل watəl[edit]

With وتل the plural suffix ل(əl) is not used instead:

PAST - 3rd Person Singular Masculine Change PAST - 3rd Person Plural Masculine
Verb Verbal Suffix employed Imperfective Perfective Imperfective Perfective
الوتل

alwatә́l

to fly

none الوت

alwát

والوت

wā́lwat

ووت← واتۀ

wot → wātə

الوته

alwātә́

والواته

wā́lwātə

پرېوتل

prewatә́l

to fall

پرېووت

prewót

پرېووت

préwot

پرېواته

prewātә́

پرېواته

préwātә́

پوري وتل

pori watә́l

to cross

پوري ووت

pori wót

پوري ووت

póri wot

پوري واته

pori wātә́

پوري واته

póri wātə

ننوتل

nənawatә́l

to enter

ننوت

nənawát

ننوت

nә́nawat

ننواته

nənawātә́

ننواته

nә́nawātə

وتل

watә́l

to go out

وت

wát

wót

ووت

wә́wat

wә́wot

واته

wātә́

وواته

wә́wātə

تېروتل

terwatә́l

to be mistaken

تېروت

terwát

تېروت

térwat

تېرواته

terwātә́

تېرواته

térwātә́

Verbs: agreement[edit]

Intransitive verbs[edit]

As can be seen from the intransitive verb above [ګډېدل] - the verb agrees with the subject.

Agreement - transitive verbs[edit]

  • Ergative construction is used in the past tense of transitive verbs: the predicate [verb] agrees in person, number and gender with the object. The subject changes to into the oblique case.
  • In the present tense the transitive verb agrees with the subject: in person, number and gender.

Example 1: خوړل - transitive verb - to eat

Past
Verb Object Subject
وخړه / وخړله

wә́xwṛa / wә́xwṛәla

دوډۍ

ḍoḍә́i

سړي

saṛí

eat food man
past perfective stem - with

3rd person singular feminine verbal suffix

noun - singular, feminine, direct case noun - singular, masculine, oblique case
The man ate the food

Compare:

Present
Verb Object Subject
خوري

xwrí

دوډۍ

ḍoḍә́i

سړی

saṛáy

eat food man
present imperfective stem - with

3rd person singular masculine verbal suffix

noun - singular, feminine, direct case noun - singular, masculine, direct case
The man is eating the food

Example 2: اغوستل - transitive verb - to put on/dress

Past
Verb Object Subject
واغوستې

wā́ğoste

جامې

jāmé

ما

wear clothes I
past perfective stem - with

3rd person plural feminine verbal suffix

noun - plural feminine direct case noun - singular, oblique case
I wore the clothes

Compare:

Present
Verb Object Subject
اغوندم

ağundә́m

جامې

jāmé

زه

put-on clothes I
present imperfective stem - with

1st person singular verbal suffix

noun - plural, feminine, direct case noun - singular, direct case
I am wearing the clothes

Compound transitive verbs - split agreement[edit]

In the present tense the nominal/adjectival part of the compound verb agrees with the object. But the auxiliary کول [to do] agrees with the subject.

Example: پاکول - compound transitive verb - to clean

Present
Compound verb
Auxiliary Adjectival component Object Subject
كړي

ki

پاکه

pā́ka

کوټه

koṭá

سړی

saṛáy

do clean room man
present perfective stem - with

3rd person singular masculine verbal suffix

adjective - singular, feminine, direct case noun - singular, feminine, direct case noun - singular, masculine, direct case
[When] the man cleans the room

In the past both nominal/adjectival and auxiliary components agree with the object.

Example: پاکول - compound transitive verb - to clean

Past
Compound verb
Auxiliary Adjectival component Object Subject
كولې

kawә́le

پاکې

pāke

کوټې

koṭé

سړي

saṛí

do clean rooms man
past imperfective stem - with

3rd person plural feminine verbal suffix

adjective - plural, feminine, direct case noun - plural, feminine, direct case noun - singular, masculine, oblique case
The man was cleaning the rooms


Verbs: participle[edit]

Present participle[edit]

The present participle is formed with the past imperfective stem without ل (əl) + ونک (unk) and declension follows the pattern of unstressed ی (ay).

Example ليکل [likəˈl] - writer → ليک [lik] past imperfective stem → ليکونکی [likəwúnkay] - writer

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct ليکونکی
likúnkay
ليکونکي
likúnki
ليکونکې
likúnke
ليکونکې
likúnke
Oblique ليکونکي
likúnki
ليکونکو
likúnko
ليکونکې
likúnke
ليکونکو
likúnko
Ablative ليکونکي
likúnki
ليکونکو
likúnko
ليکونکې
likúnke
ليکونکو
likúnko
Vocative ليکونکیه
likúnkya
ليکونکو
likúnko
ليکونکې
likúnke
ليکونکو
likúnko

Past participle[edit]

Past participle suffix[edit]

The past participle employs the following stems. It is used in perfect constructions of the verb.

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
ی
ay
ي
i
ې
e

Present perfect[edit]

This is formed in the following ways:

Category 1 [non-compound verbs]: Past imperfective stem + past participle suffix + present imperfective of "to be"

Category 2 [compound verbs]: Past perfective stem of کېدل-ېدل and کول-ول + past participle suffix + present imperfective of "to be"

Example: of Category 1 verb رسېدل

Singular Plural Translation
1st person Masculine رسېدلی یم

rasedə́lay

yəm

رسېدلي یو

rasedə́li yu

Singular: I have reached

Plural: We have reached

Feminine رسېدلې يمه

rasedə́le

yəmá

رسېدلې یو

rasedə́le yu

2nd person Masculine رسېدلی یې

rasedə́lay ye

رسېدلي یئ

rasedə́li yəy

Singular: You have reached

Plural: You have reached

Feminine رسېدلې یې

rasedə́le ye

رسېدلې یئ

rasedə́le yəy

3rd person Masculine رسېدلی دی

rasedə́lay day

رسېدلي دي

rasedə́li di

Singular masc: He has reached

Singular fem.: She has reached

Plural: The has reached

Feminine رسېدلې ده

rasedə́le da

رسېدلې دي

rasedə́le di

Future perfect[edit]

Formed by به [future marker] +present perfect

Singular Plural Translation
1st person Masculine به رسېدلی یم

bə rasedə́lay

yəm

به رسېدلي یو

bə rasedə́li yu

Singular: I will have reached

Plural: We will have reached

Feminine به رسېدلې يمه

bə rasedə́le

yəmá

به رسېدلې یو

bə rasedə́le yu

2nd person Masculine به رسېدلی یې

bə rasedə́lay ye

به رسېدلي یئ

bə rasedə́li yəy

Singular: You will have reached

Plural: You will have reached

Feminine به رسېدلې یې

bə rasedə́le ye

به رسېدلې یئ

bə rasedə́le yəy

3rd person Masculine به رسېدلی دی

bə rasedə́lay day

به رسېدلي دي

bə rasedə́li di

Singular masc: He will have reached

Singular fem.: She will have reached

Plural: They will have reached

Feminine به رسېدلې ده

bə rasedə́le da

به رسېدلې دي

bə rasedə́le di

Past perfect[edit]

This is formed in the following ways:

Category 1 [non-compound verbs]: Past imperfective stem + past participle suffix + past imperfective of "to be"

Category 2 [compound verbs]: Past perfective stem of کېدل-ېدل and کول-ول + past participle suffix + past imperfective of "to be"

Example:

Singular Plural Translation
1st person Masculine رسېدلی وم

rasedə́lay

wəm

رسېدلي وو

rasedə́li wu

Singular: I had reached

Plural: We had reached

Feminine رسېدلی ومه

rasedə́lay

wəmá

رسېدلې وو

rasedə́le wu

2nd person Masculine رسېدلی وې

rasedə́lay we

رسېدلي وئ

rasedə́li wəy

Singular: You had reached

Plural: You all had reached

Feminine رسېدلې وې

rasedə́le we

رسېدلې وئ

rasedə́le wəy

3rd person Masculine رسېدلی وه

rasedə́lay wə

رسېدلي وو

rasedə́li wu

Singular masc.: He had reached

Singular fem.: She had

Plural: They had reached

Feminine رسېدلې وه

rasedə́le wa

رسېدلې وې

rasedə́le we

Agreement[edit]

  1. Transitive verbs uses ergative construction: Past participle + verb "to be" agree with object; subject is in oblique case
  2. Intransitive verbs: Past participle+ verb "to be" agree with the subject

Example: Intransitive Category 2 verb پخېدل [to ripen, mature]

Subject Past participle To be [present] To be past Grammar
زه [masculine] پوخ شوی

pox šə́way

يم

yəm

وم

wəm

1st person, singular, masculine
زه[feminine] پخه شوې
paxa šə́we
يمه

yəmá

ومه

wəmá

1st person, singular, feminine
موږ پاخه شوي
pāxə šə́wi
يو

yu

وو

wu

1st person, plural, masculine
موږ [all women] پخې شوې

paxe šə́we

يو

yu

وو

wu

1st person, plural, feminine
ته [masculine] پوخ شوی

pox šə́way

يې

ye

وې

we

2nd person, singular, masculine
ته [femine] پخه شوې
paxa šə́we
يې

ye

وې

we

2nd person, singular, feminine
تاسو پاخه شوي
pāxə šə́wi
يئ

yəi

وئ

əi

2nd person, plural, masculine
تاسو [all woment] پخې شوې

paxe šə́we

يئ

yəi

وئ

əi

2nd person, plural, feminine
الو پوخ شوی

pox šə́way

دی

day

وه

3rd person, singular, masculine
الوګان پاخه شوي
pāxə šə́wi
دي

di

وو

wu

3rd person, plural, masculine
مڼه پخه شوې
paxa šə́we
ده

da

وه

wa

3rd person, singular, feminine
مڼې پخې شوې

paxe šə́we

دي

di

وې

we

3rd person, plural, feminine

Verbs: potential construction[edit]

Optative[edit]

The imperfective optative = past imperfective base of verb+ ای-āy [Southern Dialects], ی-ay [North Western Dialects], ې [North Eastern Dialects]

The perfective optative = past perfective base of verb+ ای-āy [Southern Dialects], ی-ay [North Western Dialects], ې [North Eastern Dialects]

Present potential[edit]

Formed by:

Imperfective optative + present perfective of کېدل

Example:

Singular Plural Translation
1st person رسېدلی شم

rasedə́lay šəm

رسېدی شم

rasedáy šəm

رسېدلی شو

rasedə́lay šu

رسېدی شو

rasedáy šu

I/We can reach
2nd person رسېدلی شې

rasedə́lay še

رسېدی شې

rasedáy še

رسېدلی شئ

rasedə́lay šəy

رسېدی شئ

rasedáy šəy

You can reach
3rd person رسېدلی شي

rasedə́lay ši

رسېدی شي

rasedáy ši

He/She/They can reach

Past potential[edit]

Past potential 1[edit]

To indicate:

  1. Event did not take place: مونږ تېر کال جوار کرلی شوه [We might have been able to plant corn last year]
  2. Event carried out over extended period of time: مونږ ډرامې ليدلی شوې [We were able to watch TV-shows]

Formed by:

Imperfective optative + present perfective of کېدل

Example:

Singular Plural
1st person رسېدلی شو(ل)م

rasedə́lay šw(əl)əm

رسېدی شو(ل)م

rasedáy šw(əl)əm

رسېدلی شو(ل)و

rasedə́lay šw(əl)u

رسېدی شو(ل)و

rasedáy šw(əl)u

2nd person رسېدلی شو(ل)ې

rasedə́lay šw(əl)e

رسېدی شو(ل)ې

rasedáy šw(əl)e

رسېدلی شو(ل)ئ

rasedə́lay šw(əl)əy

رسېدی شو(ل)ئ

rasedáy šw(əl)əy

3rd person رسېدلی شو(ل)ه

rasedə́lay šw(əl)e

رسېدی شو(ل)ه

rasedáy šw(əl)e

Past potential 2[edit]

To indicate:

  1. Where the event was actually carried out e.g. تۀ هلته په وخت ورسېدلی شوې؟ [You were able to get there on time]

Formed by:

Perfective optative + past perfective of کېدل

Singular Plural
1st person ورسېد(ل)ی شو(ل)م

wə́rased(əl)ay šw(əl)əm

ورسېد(ل)ی شو(ل)و

wə́rased(əl)ay šw(əl)u

2nd person ورسېد(ل)ی شو(ل)ې

wə́rased(əl)ay šw(əl)e

رسېدلورسېد(ل)ی شو(ل)ئ

wə́rased(əl)ay šw(əl)əy

3rd person ورسېد(ل)ی شو(ل)ه

wə́rased(əl)ay šw(əl)ə

Auxiliary: "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
tā́so yəy
(in Southern dialect - yāst)[2][14]
3rd Masculine دی دی
day day[2]
دوی دي
duy di
Feminine دا ده
dā da

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
tā́so šəy
3rd Masc. دی وي
day wi
دوی وي
dui wi
Fem. دا وي
dā wi

Past form[edit]

Past 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
tā́so wəy
(in Southern dialect - wāst)[2]
3rd Masc. دی ؤ
day wə
دوی وو\ول
dui wu
(in Southern dialect - wəl)[3][14]
3rd Fem دا وه
dā wa
دوی وې
dui we

Future tense[edit]

In Pashto the future tense [ راتلونکی مهال][15] is the same as the present tense [اوسنی مهال][16] with the exception that in the future tense the marker به [bə] is added.

In the third person future tense, also, irrespective of number or gender وي is used.[17]

Future tense of "to be":

Person Singular Plural
1st به يم

bə yəm

به يو

bə yu

2nd به يې

bə ye

به يئ

bə yəy

3rd Person Masculine به وي

bə wi

Feminine

Imperative Form[edit]

Also known as Command Form

Person Singular Plural
2nd ته شه
tə sha-can
تاسو شئ

tā́so yəi

"Wi" - usage[edit]

وي [wi] is also used; this is the third person singular and plural of the present tense of the verb to be. وي is used when an assumption or a given fact is being discussed where as دی/ده/دي are used reporting an observation. شته functions as "there is" in English.

Sentence Meaning
وي سړي دلته ناست وي Men sit here [fact; speaker assumes this as true]
دي سړي دلته ناست دي Men are sitting here [an observation; speaker sees them]

Verbs: causative construction[edit]

This is used to make verbs that mean "to make (someone/something) do X" [where do X is the original verb].

Formation: verb stem + an affix و  /‑aw‑/.

The causative can either use the present stem or past stem [and sometimes both] - depending on the original verb.

Original verb Stem used in bold Causative verb
Present Past
لوستل
lwastә́l

to read

-لول
lwal-
‑ لوست

lwast-

لولول
lwalawә́l

to cause to read

زنګل

zangә́l

to swing

-زانګ

zāng-

-زنګ

zang-

زنګول

zangawә́l

to rock [e.g. in a cradle]

الوتل

alwatә́l

to fly

-الوز

alwuz-

-الوت

alwat-

الوزول

alwuzawә́l

to make fly; to explode something

اغوستل

aghustә́l

to wear

-اغوند

aghund-

-اغوست

aghust-

اغوندول/ اغوستول

aghundawә́l/aghustawә́l

to dress someone

Example:

خندل - original verb خندول - causative verb
مه خانده

má xānda

مه (يې) خندوه

má (ye) xandawa

Don't laugh ! Don't make him/her laugh !

Verbs: imperative form[edit]

This is used to make commands. The present stems of the verbs are used to make commands:

Verb Stem used in bold
Present Past
لوستل
lwastә́l

to read

-لول
lwal-
‑ لوست

lwast-

Number[edit]

The two verbal suffixes are employed:

Number Suffix
Singular ه

a

Plural ئ

əi

Example:

Verb Number
Singular Plural
راتلل
rātlә́l

to come

راځه
rādzá
راځئ

rādzә́i

come come

The singular is told to one person; the plural is told to more than one person or as form of respectful command.

Positive command[edit]

Pashto positive imperative have two aspects: perfective (initial stress) an imperfective (final stress)

وهل - to beat

wahә́l

Imperfective Perfective
وهه

wahá

و وهه

wә́ waha

beat it [focus on continuance] beat it [focus on completion]

In general the perfective aspect is used to make commands. However, for doubly irregular verbs, the imperfective aspect is used.

Intensive[edit]

The imperfective aspect in the imperative is also used to convey a sense of an urgent command example:

خوره چې ځو
xwrá če dzú

— Finish eating, so we go.

Compound verbs[edit]

Transitive[edit]

For compounds in the transitive, the nominal/adjective part of the verb agrees with the direct object.

پاکول - to clean

pākawә́l

Masculine object Feminine object
کور کوټه
ته کور پاک کړه

tә kor pā́k ka

ته کوټه پاکه کړه

tә koṭá pā́ka ka

Clean the house Clean the room

Where the is no object, the nominal/adjective part of the verb agrees with the subject

پاکول - to clean

pākawә́l

No object of the verb
Masculine subject Feminine subject
Said to a male Said to a female
ته پاک کړه

tә pā́k ka

ته پاکه کړه

tә pā́ka ka

You clean it You clean it
Intransitive[edit]

For compounds in the intransitive, the nominal/adjective part of the verb agrees with the subject

پاکېدل - to get clean

pākedә́l

Masculine subject Feminine subject
ته پاک شه

tә pā́k ša

ته پاکه شه

tә pā́ka ša

Get clean Get clean

Negative command[edit]

Pashto Negative Imperatives only employs the Imperfective Aspect with stress on the particle مه /má/.

Compare:

وهل - to beat

wahә́l

Imperfective -positive Negative command
وهه

wahá

مه وهه

má waha

beat it don't beat it

Prefixed verbs[edit]

North Eastern Pashto treats negative forms differently for prefixed verbs, placing the negative particle before the entire verb, whereas some other dialects place it between the prefix and the stem.

پرېکول - to cut

prekawә́l

Prefix: پرې

Stem: کول

North Eastern Other
مه پرېکوه

má pre kawa

پرې مه کوه

pre má kawa

don't cut don't cut

Verbs: phrasal verbs[edit]

These by adding noun to verbs to make verbs phrase-like meaning.

Examples Word Root verb Final verb
توره کول

túra kawə́l

sword to do to perform a brave act
تڼۍ شلول

taṇә́i šlawə́l

button(s) to tear to toil/endeavour
ټېل وهل

ṭel wahə́l

push to beat to shove
سا اخستل

sā axәstә́l

breath to take to breathe

Verbalisers: Kawə́l and Kedə́l[edit]

These two verbs, کول and کېدل, are used to form compound verbs (denominal verbs). They use the irregular form in the perfective: without prefix و  /wə́/.

Kawə́l[edit]

Here are the forms of Kawə́l[18] as a verbaliser [not a main verb]:

Present Past
Imperfective Perfective Imperfective Perfective
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st Person کوم

kawə́m

کوو

kawú

کړم

kəm

kṛəm

کړو

ku

kṛu

1st Person کولم

kawə́ləm

کولو

kawə́lu

کړم

kṛəm

کړلم

kṛə́ləm

کړو

kṛu

کړلو

kṛə́lu

2nd Person کوې

kawé

کوئ

kawə́y

کړې

ke

kṛe

کړئ

kəy

kṛəy

2nd Person کولې

kawə́le

کولئ

kawə́ləy

کړې

kṛe

کړلې

kṛə́le

کړئ

kṛəy

کړلئ

kṛə́ləy

3rd Person کوي

kawí

کړي

ki

kṛi

3rd Person Masculine کوه

kawə́

کاوه

kāwə́

(کول(ه

kawə́l(ə)

کړ

kəṛ

که

کړل

kṛəl

کړله

kṛə́lə

Feminine کوله

kawə́la

کوه

kawá

کولې

kawə́le

کوې

kawé

کړه

kṛa

که

ka

کړله

kṛə́la

کړلې

kṛə́le

کړې

kṛe

As mentioned by Anna Boyle : ړ /ṛ/ in present perfective forms is written, and pronounced in careful speech, but is unpronounced in many dialect.[19] She mentions that in past 3rd person, even the /ṛ/ can be dropped, since the

personal suffixes differ from those in the present: past  ه /ə, a/ as opposed present ي /i/; thus revealing tense without need of ړ /ṛ/.[20]

Kedə́l[edit]

Here are the forms of Kedə́l[21] as a verbaliser [not a main verb]:

Present Past
Imperfective Perfective Imperfective Perfective
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st Person کېږم

kéẓ̌əm

کېږو

kéẓ̌u

شم

šəm

شو

šu

1st Person کېد(ل)م

ked(ə́l)ə́m

کېد(ل)و

ked(ə́l)ú

شو(ل)م

šw(ə́l)əm

شو(ل)و

šw(ə́l)u

2nd Person کېږې

kéẓ̌e

کېږئ

kéẓ̌əy

شې

še

شئ

šəy

2nd Person کېد(ل)ې

ked(ə́l)é

کېد(ل)ئ

ked(ə́l)ə́y

شو(ل)ې

šw(ə́l)e

شو(ل)ئ

šw(ə́l)əy

3rd Person کېږی

kéẓ̌i

شي

ši

3rd Person Masculine کېده

kedə́

کېدل(ه)

kedə́l(ə́)

شه

šə

شول(ه)

šwə́l(ə́)

Feminine کېد(ل)ه

ked(ə́l)á

کېد(ل)ې

ked(ə́l)é

شو(ل)ه

šw(ə́l)á

شو(ل)ې

šw(ə́l)é

As mentioned by Anna Boyle the 1st and 2nd person forms of Kedə́l are the same to those of the present perfective forms of "to be".[22]

Future Tense[edit]

The future tense is form with the addition of به /bә/; which has been defined by Tegey as a "future marker"[23] and as a "modal clitic" by Boyle.[24]

Future Expression[edit]

The clitic به /bә/ is added to the present perfective verb to convey future time event, speculation, or doubt.[24]

Verb Present Perfective Future
وهل

wahә́l

to beat

-ووه

wә́ wah-

-به ووه

bə wә́wah-

Example:

1st Person Singular

زه ووهم

(zə) wә́ wahәm

زه به ووهم

(zə) bə wә́wahəm

I beat [completed in present] I will beat

Example:

پلار به مې ګانده پيسې ولېږي

plār

father:M:DIR

will:FUT

me

I:1:SG:WK

paisé

money:F:DIR:PL

wә́leẓ̌i

send:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

plār bә me paisé wә́leẓ̌i

father:M:DIR will:FUT I:1:SG:WK money:F:DIR:PL send:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

My father will send money

With Present Imperfective Tense[edit]

The clitic به /bә/ is added to the present imperfective verb to convey future event - but with. different nuances explained below.

Verb Present Imperfective Future
وهل

wahә́l

to beat

-ووه

wә́ wah-

-به ووه

bə wә́wah-

Example:

1st Person Singular

زه وهم

(zə) wahә́m

زه به وهم

(zə) bə wahә́m

I am beating I will keep on beating
  • To describe a future reference that is repeated or ongoing:[24]

پلار به مې پيسې لېږي او زه به خورمه

plār

father:M:DIR

will:FUT

me

I:1:SG:WK

paisé

money:F:DIR:PL

léẓ̌i

send:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

aw

and

I:1:SG:STR:DIR

will:FUT

xwrә́ma

eat:CONT:PRS:3:SG:F

plār bә me paisé léẓ̌i aw zә bә xwrә́ma

father:M:DIR will:FUT I:1:SG:WK money:F:DIR:PL send:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M and I:1:SG:STR:DIR will:FUT eat:CONT:PRS:3:SG:F

My father will send money and I will (continue to) eat

  • Present Imperfective verb base is also used where future marker like "tomorrow", "next week" etc. is used:[25]

پلار به مې پيسې ګانده لېږي

plār

father:M:DIR

will:FUT

me

I:1:SG:WK

paisé

money:F:DIR:PL

gā́nda

tomorrow:F:DIR

léẓ̌i

send:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

plār bә me paisé gā́nda léẓ̌i

father:M:DIR will:FUT I:1:SG:WK money:F:DIR:PL tomorrow:F:DIR send:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

My father will send money tomorrow

  • To contrast a future action with another future action:[26]

ته به ځې زه به پاتې کېږم

you:2:SG:STR:DIR

will:FUT

dzé

go:CONT:PRS:2:SG

I:1:SG:STR:DIR

will:FUT

pāte

behind:F

kéẓ̌әm

become:CONT:PRS:1:SG

tә bә dzé zә bә pāte kéẓ̌әm

you:2:SG:STR:DIR will:FUT go:CONT:PRS:2:SG I:1:SG:STR:DIR will:FUT behind:F become:CONT:PRS:1:SG

You'll be going, I'll be staying.

Negative Future Expressions[edit]

With Present Perfect Base, negative future expressions can be created with the negative marker نه /nә/ and future marker به /bә/.[27]

First Conjugattion Class[edit]

Simple Verbs[edit]

If there is a grammatical subject or object:[28]

Subject/Object + به /bә/ + و /wә́/ + نه /nә/ + present verb stem + verbal suffix

مېوه به و نه خوري

mewá

fruit:F:SG:DIR

will:FUT

wә́

eat...:AOR:PRS:3

not:NEG

xwri

...eat:AOR:PRS:3

mewá bә wә́ nə xwri

fruit:F:SG:DIR will:FUT eat...:AOR:PRS:3 not:NEG ...eat:AOR:PRS:3

He/She/They will not eat the fruit

If there is both a grammatical subject and object:[28]

Subject + به /bә/ + object+ و /wә́/ + نه /nә/ + present verb stem + verbal suffix

زه به ليک و نه لېږم

I:1:SG:STR:DIR

will:FUT

lik

letter:SG:M:DIR

wә́

send...:AOR:PRS:1:SG

not:NEG

léẓ̌әm

...send:AOR:PRS:1:SG

zә bә lik wә́ nə léẓ̌әm

I:1:SG:STR:DIR will:FUT letter:SG:M:DIR send...:AOR:PRS:1:SG not:NEG ...send:AOR:PRS:1:SG

I will not send the letter

If there is no grammatical subject nor grammatical object:[28]

و /wә́/ + به /bә/ + نه /nә/ + present verb stem + verbal suffix

و به نه ګرځي

wә́

walk...:AOR:PRS:3

will:FUT

not:NEG

gardzi

...walk:AOR:PRS:3

wә́ bә nə gardzi

walk...:AOR:PRS:3 will:FUT not:NEG ...walk:AOR:PRS:3

He/She/They will not walk

a-initial verbs[edit]

The و /wә́/ changes to وا /wā́/.[29] Thereby:


If there is a grammatical subject or object:

Subject/Object + به /bә/ + وا /wā́/ + نه /nә/ + present verb stem + verbal suffix

Verb: اخستل [axstә́l]

مېوه به وا نه خلي

mewá

fruit:F:SG:DIR

will:FUT

wā́

buy...:AOR:PRS:3

not:NEG

xli

...buy:AOR:PRS:3

mewá bә wā́ nə xli

fruit:F:SG:DIR will:FUT buy...:AOR:PRS:3 not:NEG ...buy:AOR:PRS:3

He/She/They will not buy the fruit

If there is both a grammatical subject and object:

Subject + به /bә/ + object+ وا /wā́/ + نه /nә/ + present verb stem + verbal suffix

Verb: استول [astawә́l]

موږ به ليک وا نه ستوو

munẓ̌

we:1:PL:STR:DIR

will:FUT

lik

letter:SG:M:DIR

wā́

send...:AOR:PRS:1:SG

not:NEG

stawu

...send:AOR:PRS:1:SG

munẓ̌ bә lik wā́ nə stawu

we:1:PL:STR:DIR will:FUT letter:SG:M:DIR send...:AOR:PRS:1:SG not:NEG ...send:AOR:PRS:1:SG

We will not send the letter

If there is no grammatical subject nor grammatical object:

وا /wā́/ + به /bә/ + نه /nә/ + present verb stem + verbal suffix

Verb: اچول [ačawә́l]

وا به نه چوې

wā́

put...:AOR:PRS:2:SG

will:FUT

not:NEG

čawe

...put:AOR:PRS:2:SG

wā́ bә nə čawe

put...:AOR:PRS:2:SG will:FUT not:NEG ...put:AOR:PRS:2:SG

You will not put it

Second Conjugation Class[edit]

First: Between the prefix and the verb base نه /nә́/ is placed[30]

Verb Example Future
بوول

bowә́l

to take

بوزو

bózu

بو نه زو

bo nә́ zu

we take (we) not take

Second: به /bә/ can then be placed

Before verb:

کور ته به لاړ نه شو

kor

house:M:SG:DIR

ta

to:POST

will:FUT

lāṛ

go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL

nә́

not:NEG

šu

go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL

kor ta bә lāṛ nә́ šu

house:M:SG:DIR to:POST will:FUT go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL not:NEG go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL

We wont got to the house

Or before the object (likely where there is a subject) موږ به کور ته  لاړ نه شو

muẓ̌

we:1:PL:STR:DIR

will:FUT

kor

house:M:SG:DIR

ta

to:POST

lāṛ

go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL

nә́

not:NEG

šu

go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL

muẓ̌ bə kor ta lāṛ nә́ šu

we:1:PL:STR:DIR will:FUT house:M:SG:DIR to:POST go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL not:NEG go...:AOR:PRS:1:PL

We wont got to the house

Third Conjugation Class[edit]

With compound verbs: نه /nә/ is inserted between the verb element and the noun/adjective element.[31]

Example: روغېدل [roğedә́l]

ته به روغه نه شې

you:2:SG:STR:DIR

will:FUT

róğa

recover...:F:ADJ:SG

not:NEG

še

...become:AOR:PRS:2:SG

tə bә róğa nə še

you:2:SG:STR:DIR will:FUT recover...:F:ADJ:SG not:NEG ...become:AOR:PRS:2:SG

You won't recover

"Bә" With Past Imperfective Tense[edit]

The marker به /bә/ is also used to convey habitual actions in the past.[32]

Verb Past Imperfective With به
وهل

wahә́l

to beat

-وهل

wahә́l-

-به وهل

bə wahәl-

Example:

1st Person Singular

وهلم

wahә́lәm

به وهلم

bə wahә́lәm

I was being beaten I would be beat

Example:

کله چې هغۀ به ډول غږوۀ زه به ګډېدم

kála

when

če

that:COMP

would

hağә́

he:3:SG:M:STR:OBL

ḍol

drum:SG:M:DIR

ğaẓ̌awә́

sound:PST:3:SG:M

I:1:SG:STR:DIR

would

gaḍedә́m

dance:PST:1:SG

kála če bә hağә́ ḍol ğaẓ̌awә́ zә bә gaḍedә́m

when that:COMP would he:3:SG:M:STR:OBL drum:SG:M:DIR sound:PST:3:SG:M I:1:SG:STR:DIR would dance:PST:1:SG

When he would play the drum, I would dance

Adverbs[edit]

Adverbs that modify adjectives, verbs or verb phrases, and sentences; can been divided into the classes of time, place, manner, and degree.[33]


These adverbs can act alone or as part of an adpositional phrase.

Acting alone:

مخکښې راغله

mə́xkx̌e

before:ADV

rā́ğla

come:AOR:PST:3:SG:F

mə́xkx̌e rā́ğla

before:ADV come:AOR:PST:3:SG:F

She came earlier

Acting as adipositional phrase:

د ماما نه مخکښې راغله

of

māmā́

maternal-uncle:DIR:M:SG

na

from

mə́xkx̌e

before:ADV

rā́ğla

come:AOR:PST:3:SG:F

də māmā́ na mə́xkx̌e rā́ğla

of maternal-uncle:DIR:M:SG from before:ADV come:AOR:PST:3:SG:F

She came before (my) uncle

Adverbs of time[edit]

These include adverbs with time reference and quantifier-like items.[34]

Common adverbs of time:

Adverb Tranliteration Meaning
تل təl always
هر کله har kә́la whenever
هیڅ کله (نه) hits kә́la (na) never
اوس os

[some dialects: وس "was"]

now
نن nən today
پرون parún yesterday
ګانده gā́nda tomorrow
سبا sabā́
وختي waxtí early
وروسته wrústa later
پس pas
مخکښې mə́xkx̌e before
لا yet

Example sentence:

تل دې خدای لره

təl

always:ADV

de

NEC

xwdā́y

god:DIR

lará

have:CONT:PRS:IMP:SG

təl de xwdā́y lará

always:ADV NEC god:DIR have:CONT:PRS:IMP:SG

May God keep you (well/alive) forever !

Adverbs of place[edit]

This informs us where something takes place.

Common adverbs of time:[35]

Adverb Tranliteration Meaning
پورته pórta above
پاسه рā́sa
دننه danə́na inside
ننه nə́na
دباندي dəbā́ndi outside
بهر bahár
باندې bā́nde on top
لاندې lā́nde below
نژدې nəždé near
پوري póre around
لرې lә́re far
کښته kx̌ə́ta underneath
هيچرې hičárta nowher
هيچرته hičáre

Example sentence:

کښته کښېنه

kx̌ə́ta

underneath:ADV

kx̌éna

sit:AOR:PRS:IMP:SG

kx̌ə́ta kx̌éna

underneath:ADV sit:AOR:PRS:IMP:SG

Sit down.

Demonstrative pronouns[edit]

These are both adverbs and demonstrative pronouns

Adverb Tranliteration Meaning
دلته də́lta here
Waziri دېلې

déle

دولته

dɔláta

Other Dialects دلې

dále

هلته hálta there
Other Dialects هلې

hále

Example sentence in Waziri:

دېلې ځں

déle

hereADV

dzə̃

go:CONT:PRS:1:SG

déle dzə̃

hereADV go:CONT:PRS:1:SG

I am going here

Adpositions[edit]

Pashto has pre-positions, post-positions and pre-post-positions. Adpositions generally govern either oblique or ablative case assignment to their objects.[36]

Prepositions[edit]

List of prepositions

Preposition Dialect variaition Meaning Uses
د

/de/, /ye/, /e/

[Middle dialects]

of
  1. Mark possession e.g. د سړي لاس [A man's hand]
  2. To mark the objects of transitive nominalizations or gerunds
  3. To mark the subjects of intransitive nominalizations or gerunds
  4. Marks the item denoting the possessor or the holonym of which another adpositional phrase may denote the possessed item or be the meronym
له

د

[North Eastern]

from
  1. It is only considered part of a circumposition/ambiposition.
  2. However, له /lə/ can function as a preposition of ablative function or of origin, when its object appears with ablative case marking. e.g. له پلاره راغلئ یم [I have come from father; North Western and South Western Dialects]
بې

be

without
  1. Considered as prefix. But can also be considered a preposition since the noun followed by بې shows ablative case-marking e.g. بې پلاره - with پلار being in the ablative case
په

پر

/pər/

on; at
  1. Used as preposition to express location e.g. په مېز مې کېښود [I kept it on the table]
  2. Used as part circumposition containing it may be used to express location e.g. په ... باندې
  3. Can govern a noun that refers to a time of day e.g. په يوې بجې راشه [Come at 1 O'Clock]
تر

tər

till; than
  1. Usually used as a ambiposition/circumpositions to express "upto, until" e.g. تر پېښور پورې لاړم [I went till Peshawar]
  2. As a preposition; is used in comparative and superlative constructions e.g. زه تر ماما دنګ يم [I am taller than my maternal-uncle]
لکه

laká

like
  1. As a preposition used as "like"e.g. لکه د زمري زورور يم [I am strong like a lion]

Postpositions[edit]

Preposition Dialect variaition Meaning Uses
ته

to
  1. Denotes destination. The object appears in the oblique case form. Example کور ته ځم [I am going to the house]
ته

له

[North Eastern]

for
  1. Denotes receipents e.g. ځان ته څپلۍ هم اخلم [I am buying shoes also for myself]

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 initial element is likely to be one of these four elements:

Transliteration
په
له
د
تر tər

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

Transliteration Meaning
لاندې lā́nde below
پسې pəsé after
نه na
پورې póre
سره sará with
کې/کښې ke/kx̌e on
باندې bā́nde on
څخه tsә́xa
غوندې ğwә́nde like

Here is a list of the simple formations:

Second Component → کښې...

... ke

نه....

... na

لاندې...

...lā́nde

باندې...

... bā́nde

پسې...

... pəsé

پورې...

... póre

سره...

... sará

څخه...

...tsә́xa

وروستو...

wrústo.

First Component

...د

də ...

د...نه

də...na

‘from’

د ...لاندې

də...lā́nde

‘under’

د ... پسې

də...pəsé

‘after’

د ... پورې

də...póre

‘up to,

across’

د...سره

də...sará

‘with’

د...څخه

də...tsә́xa

‘from’

...له

lə ...

له...نه

lə...na

‘from’

له...لاندې

lə...lā́nde

‘under’

له...سره

lə...sará

‘with’

له...څخه

lə...tsә́xa

‘from’

...پر

pər ...

په... کښې

pə...ke

‘in, at, on’

په...باندې

pə...bā́nde

‘on top of, by

means of’

په...پسې

pə...pəsé

‘after,

behind’

پر ... پورې

pər...póre

‘with’

په...سره

pə...sará

‘with’

...په

pə ...

...تر

tər ...

تر...لاندې

tər...lā́nde

‘under’

تر...پورې

tər...póre

‘until, up to’

تر ... وروستو

tər...wrústo

'after'

Examples

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

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

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

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

Phrases[edit]

Pashto consist of combinations of circumposition phrases and additional words.

With له.... نه[edit]

These use ambiposition له.... نه + additional word

In some dialects له is replaced by د

Componnent Meaning
له.... نه پخوا

له ... نه مخکې

From + before before
له...نه پس

له...نه پسته

له...نه ورستو

له ... نه وروستۀ

From + after after
له...نه+ بهرر From + outside outside

Examples

Phrase Sentence Meaning
له .. نه پخوا له تا نه پخوا راغله She came before you
د ...نه مخکې ستا نه مخکې راغله

[د+تا = ستا]

She came before you
له ... نه وروستو له تا نه وروستو راغله She came after you
د ... نه بهر د ور نه بهر ولاړ و He was standing outside the door

With د ... په[edit]

Examples:

Meaning
د ... په اړه
də ... pə aṛá
about[2]
د ... په شان
də ... pə šān
like
د ... په وړاندې

də ... pə wṛā́nde

against/opposite
د ... په پرتله

də ... pə partalá

in comparison to
د ... له مخې

də ... lə mә́xe

according to
د ... په ځای

də ...pə dzāy

instead of

Examples:

Note: the possessive phrase [də/د] can be substituted with a weak possessive pronoun.

Sentence where د not dropped Meaning Sentence with possessive pronouns Meaning
د ... په اړه د سړي په اړه يې څه ووې

də saṛí pə aṛá ye tsə wә́ we

What did he/she say about the man زما په اړه يې څه ووې

zmā pə aṛá ye tsə wә́ we

What did he/she say about me
د ... په شان د سپوږمۍ په شان ښځه غواړم

də spoẓ̌mә́i pa šān x̌ә́dza ğwāṛә́m

I want a wife like the moon ستا په شان ښځه غواړم

stā pa šān x̌ә́dza ğwāṛә́m

I want a wife like you
د ... په وړاندې د بلې ډلې په وړاندې يې وينه وکړه

də bә́le ḍále pə wṛā́nde ye wә́ina wә́ kṛa

[They/He/She] talked against the other party ستا په وړاندې يې وينه وکړه

stā pə wṛā́nde ye wә́ina wә́ kṛa

[They/He/She] talked against you.
د ... په پرتله د پيشوګانو په پرتله سپي زيات مينه ناک وي

də pišogā́no pə partalá spí zyāt minanā́k wi

In comparison to cats, dogs are more affection زموږ په پرتله هغوی لټ دي

zmuẓ̌ pə partalá hağúi laṭ di

In comparison to us, they are lazy
د ... له مخې د دې څېړنې له مخې دا ډېر ګټور دی

də de tseṛә́ne lə mә́xe dā ḍer gaṭawár day

According to this research this is very beneficial ستا له مخې څنګه شانتې سړی دی

stā lə mә́xe tsə́nga šā́nte saṛáy day

According to you, what kind of a guy is he.
د ... په ځای د کابل په ځای کندهار ته لاړ شه

də kābə́l pə dzāy kandahā́r tə lā́ṛ sha

Instead of Kabul go to Kandahar زما په ځای بل کس ټاکل شوی دی

zmā pə dzāy bəl kas ṭākə́l šə́way day

He has been elected instead of me

Adpositions and noun cases[edit]

Oblique case[edit]

Most common case. The object [noun] of an adposition is most often assigned the oblique case.

Used with:

  • ته /tə/ ‘to’
  • سره /səra/ ‘[comitative] with’
  • the prepositions د /də/ ‘of’ and په /pə/ ‘at’, plus any circumposition consisting of a postposition and one of these two prepositions;
  • the circumposition له ... نه /lə ... na/ ‘from/.

Example: سړی [using preposition د] and ښځه [using preposition په] are in oblique case; compare ملګری in direct case

د سړي ملګری په ښځې اوسېږي

of:PREP

saṛí

man:M:OBL

malgə́ray

friend:M:DIR

on:PREP

x̌ə́dze

woman:F:OBL

oséẓ̌i

live:CONT:PRS:3:SG:M

də saṛí malgə́ray pə x̌ə́dze oséẓ̌i

of:PREP man:M:OBL friend:M:DIR on:PREP woman:F:OBL live:CONT:PRS:3:SG:M

The man's friend lives on [his] wife

Example: ما -oblique pronoun used with circumposition په...کښې

په ما کښې ده

on:PREP

me:1:SG:STR:OBL

ke

in:POST

da

be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:F

pə mā ke da

on:PREP me:1:SG:STR:OBL in:POST be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:F

She/it is in me

Ablative case[edit]

Used with:

  • له /lə/ ‘from’; and also د /də/ having the same meaning 'from'
  • تر /tər/ ‘from, originating from'
  • Circumposition containing تر /tər/, له /lə/; except له ... نه /lə ... na/ ‘from/
  • په /pə/ the instrumental usage only found in construction with an adjectival, rather than nominal, object

Example: circumposition تر ... پورې

تر کوره پورې تلم

tər

till:PREP

kóra

house:M:ABL

póre

till:POST

tlә́m

go:CONT:PST:1:SG

tər kóra póre tlә́m

till:PREP house:M:ABL till:POST go:CONT:PST:1:SG

I was going till the house

With د /də/, having the object marked in the ablative case gives the sense of ‘(motion) away from’:

د کوره راغلم

from:COMIT

kóra

house:M:ABL

rā́ğləm

come:AOR:PST:1:SG

də kóra rā́ğləm

from:COMIT house:M:ABL come:AOR:PST:1:SG

I came from the house

په /pə/ ‘the instrumental usage + adjective:

کور مې په ګرانه جوړ کړی دی

kor

house:M:DIR

me

I:1:SG:WK

with:INSTR

grā́na

difficult:ADJ:M:DIR

joṛ

make:M:DIR

kә́ṛay

do:AOR:PTCP:M:DIR

day

be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:M

kor me pә grā́na joṛ kә́ṛay day

house:M:DIR I:1:SG:WK with:INSTR difficult:ADJ:M:DIR make:M:DIR do:AOR:PTCP:M:DIR be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:M

I have made the house with difficulty

Mixed ablative case and oblique cases[edit]

Other adpositions can assign either oblique or ablative case to the object, without a difference in meaning.

Example: with سړی in oblique case

بې سړي کور تش وي

be

without:PREP

saṛí

man:M:OBL

kor

house:M:DIR

tә́š

empty:ADJ:M

wi

be:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

be saṛí kor tә́š wi

without:PREP man:M:OBL house:M:DIR empty:ADJ:M be:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

Without a man, a house is empty

Example: with سړی in ablative case

بې سړیه کور تش وي

be

without:PREP

saṛiya

man:M:ABL

kor

house:M:DIR

tә́š

empty:ADJ:M

wi

be:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

be saṛiya kor tә́š wi

without:PREP man:M:ABL house:M:DIR empty:ADJ:M be:AOR:PRS:3:SG:M

Without a man, a house is empty

Passive voice[edit]

Pashto does not have a distinguishable morphological passive construction. The construction identified by some comprises a special case of denominal verbs.[37] The verbal part of the construction consists of a form of the verbaliser کېدل /kedә́l (‘to become’) and a verbal complement (in the infinitive form).The actor is expressed as the subject of the sentence, and that noun is case-marked direct and triggers verb agreement (in both past and present).

Example:

په ښار کښې ددوو ودانیو بنسټ کېښودل شو

in:PREP

x̌ār

city:M

ke

in:POST

of:PREP

dwo

two:F:PL:OBL

wədānə́yo

building:F:PL:OBL

bənsáṭ

foundation:M:DIR

kex̌awdə́l

place:INF

šo

become:AOR:PST:3:SG:M

pә x̌ār ke dә dwo wədānə́yo bənsáṭ kex̌awdə́l šo

in:PREP city:M in:POST of:PREP two:F:PL:OBL building:F:PL:OBL foundation:M:DIR place:INF become:AOR:PST:3:SG:M

The foundations of two buildings were laid in the city

The auxiliary verb کېدل combined with the infinitive وهل:

Active "Passive" Example: Present Past
Imperfective Perfective Imperfective Perfective
وهل

wahә́l

وهل کېدل

wahә́l kedә́l

زه وهل کېږم که زه ووهل شم زه وهل کېدلم زه ووهل شوم
zә wahә́l kéẓ̌әm kә zә wә́ wahәl šәm zә wahә́l kedә́lәm zә wә́ wahәl šwәm
to beat to beaten I am being beaten Should I be beaten I was being beaten I was beaten

If the actor, if expressed, will most likely appear in an adpositional phrase governed by the circumposition د ...له خوا /də...lə xwā/ or د...له لورې /də...lə lure/.

Present Past
Imperfective Perfective Imperfective Perfective
وهل زه د خځې له خوا وهل کېږم که زه د خځې له خوا ووهل شم زه د خځې له خوا وهل کېدلم زه د خځې له خوا ووهل شوم
zә dә x̌ә́źe lә xwā wahә́l kéẓ̌әm kә zә dә x̌ә́źe lә xwā wә́ wahәl šәm zә dә x̌ә́źe lә xwā wahә́l kedә́lәm zә dә x̌ә́źe lә xwā wә́ wahәl šwәm
Meaning I am being beaten by the woman Should I be beaten by the woman I was being beaten by the woman I was beaten by the woman

As with active sentences, the subject may be expressed through the verb agreement suffix alone

Example:

د خځې له خوا وهل کېږم

of:PREP

x̌ә́źe

woman:F:OBL

from:PREP

xwā

side:F:OBL

wahә́l

beat:INF

kéẓ̌әm

become:CONT:PRS:1:SG

dә x̌ә́źe lә xwā wahә́l kéẓ̌әm

of:PREP woman:F:OBL from:PREP side:F:OBL beat:INF become:CONT:PRS:1:SG

I am being beaten by the woman

This construction may modify a noun; like most noun modifiers, it precedes the head.

Example:

د  ښځې لوري ليکل شوي څېړنې لټوم

of:PREP

x̌ә́źe

woman:F:OBL

from:PREP

lúre

side:F:OBL

likә́l

write:INF

sә́wi

become:AOR:PST:PTCP:PL:M:DIR

śeṛáne

research:F:PL:DIR

laṭawә́m

find:CONT:PRS:1:SG

dә x̌ә́źe lә lúre likә́l sә́wi śeṛáne laṭawә́m

of:PREP woman:F:OBL from:PREP side:F:OBL write:INF become:AOR:PST:PTCP:PL:M:DIR research:F:PL:DIR find:CONT:PRS:1:SG

I am finding the studies that were written by the woman

Adverbial Clauses[edit]

Pashto utilises conjunction phrases as adverbs. Examples:

Conjunction Transliteration Literal meaning English approximate
هيڅ کله نه hits kә́la na nothing when no never, at no time
که هر څنګه kə hər tsә́nga if ever how howsoever, in whatever way
راځه چې rādzá che come that (come) let's
تر اوسه پورې tər ósa póre till now up to/till so far, as yet, up till now
تر دغه پورې tər dáğa póre till this till as far as this
تر کله پورې tər kә́la póre till when till till when?, how long?
تر کومه پورې tər kóma póre till where till how far?, to where?

Particles[edit]

Anna Boyle Davids defines particles "any lexically free item that does not host inflection and that does not function as the argument or complement of a verb or adposition".[38]

Existential[edit]

The word شته [shta] and its negative form نشته /nə́ šta/ is used to denote existence.

Sentence Literal meaning Meaning
پړنګ شته ؟

pṛāng šta ?

Tiger there-is/are (exists)? Is there a tiger?
نشته

ná šta

not-there-is/are There isn't

Modal Particles[edit]

Anna Boyle Davids defines these as: "...uninflected sentence-level modifiers. The clause within the scope of the particle may appear as a main clause or as a finite subordinate clause". [39] چې /t͡ʃe/ can appear as a main clause and as a finite subordinate clause.

Affirmative[edit]

که نه[edit]

Affirmation questions and statements contain the affirmation particle: که نه /kə ná/ (literally: "if/or no").[40]

Affirmative Question Example:

لاړې که نه ؟

lā́ṛe

go:AOR:PST:2:SG

or:PARTICLE

no:NEG

lā́ṛe kə ná

go:AOR:PST:2:SG or:PARTICLE no:NEG

You went, didn't you ?

Affirmative Statement Example:


نه که نه

no:NEG

or:PARTICLE

no:NEG

ná kə ná

no:NEG or:PARTICLE no:NEG

No, of-course not; No, I didn't you know

Deontic[edit]

دې[edit]

The modal دې [de; Southern dialects: di] expresses a duty or obligation like "must " when used with the perfective tense of a verb.[41]

Example:

هغه دې وګډېږي

hağá

he:3SG:STR:DIR

de

NEC

wә́gaḍegi

dance:AOR:PRS:3:SG

hağá de wә́gaḍegi

he:3SG:STR:DIR NEC dance:AOR:PRS:3:SG

He should/must dance

باید[edit]

The modal "bāyád" is also found in construction with the present perfective form of the verb. Tegey notes that like English "should" it carries ambiguity.[42]

Example:

هغه بايد وګډېږي

hağá

he:3SG:STR:DIR

bāyád

NEC

wә́gaḍegi

dance:AOR:PRS:3:SG

hağá bāyád wә́gaḍegi

he:3SG:STR:DIR NEC dance:AOR:PRS:3:SG

He should dance

پکار دى[edit]

"Pəkā́r day" [it is needed] is also used as deontic clause

Example:

پکار دی چې ته دلته راشې

pəkā́r

necessary

day

be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:M

če

COMP

you:2:SG:STR:DIR

də́lta

here:DEM

rā́še

come:AOR:PRS:2:SG

pəkā́r day če tә də́lta rā́še

necessary be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:M COMP you:2:SG:STR:DIR here:DEM come:AOR:PRS:2:SG

You should come here

Emphatic[edit]

خو[edit]

The particle خو /xo/ appears in the second-position and denotes emphasis.[43]

دا خو منو ده

this:DIR

xo

xo:EMPH

manó

shark:F:DIR

da

be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:F

dā xo manó da

this:DIR xo:EMPH shark:F:DIR be:CONT:PRS:3:SG:F

This is a shark !

Note: as an emphatic خو /xo/ is considered to be different from the conjunction خو /xo/ ‘but’.

Possibility[edit]

ښایي / ښائي[edit]

The particle x̌ā́yi is placed sentence-initially and can appear in construction with the complementizer چې [če][44]

Example:

ښايي چې سبا ته راشي

x̌ā́yi

maybe:PARTICLE

če

that:COMP

sabā́

tomorrow:ADV

ta

to

rā́ši

come:AOR:PRS:3

x̌ā́yi če sabā́ ta rā́ši

maybe:PARTICLE that:COMP tomorrow:ADV to come:AOR:PRS:3

Maybe he/she will come tomorrow

The particle x̌ā́yi can also demonstrate deonitic "should"

کېدی شي[edit]

Kedáy ši (could become) which potential construction of the verb "to become" - کېدل /kedә́l/ is also used as particle to denote possibility - again as above چې maybe used

Example:

کېدی شي [چې] سبا راشي

kedáy

become:CONT:PST:OPT

ši

become:AOR:PRS:3

[če]

[that:COMP]

sabā́

tomorrow:ADV

rā́ši

come:AOR:PRS:3

kedáy ši [če] sabā́ rā́ši

become:CONT:PST:OPT become:AOR:PRS:3 [that:COMP] tomorrow:ADV come:AOR:PRS:3

Maybe/perhaps he/she will come tomorrow

Vocative[edit]

The following vocatives have been noted:

Vocactive Transliteration Meaning Example
اي ai hey ! اي نجلۍ

ai njlə́i

hey girl

اې e اې سړیه

e saṛáya

hey man

آ ā آ ښځې

ā x̌ə́dze

hey woman

الۍ alə́i oh ! الۍ دا دې څه وکړه

alə́i dā de tsə wə́ kṛə

oh what did you do

وئ[45] wə́i darn it, ouch وئ خوږ شوم

wə́i xúẓ̌ šwəm

Wish[edit]

کاشکې[edit]

The particle کاشکې /kāške/ or کاشکي /kāški/ is used as English "if only"; to express wish or desire that something would happen or would have happened.[46]

It can be used with a optative verb, to express a counterfactual wish.

Example:

کاشکې وختي تللی وای!

kā́ške

if-only:PARTICLE

waxtí

early:ADV

tlә́lay

gone:AOR:PST:PTCP:M:DIR

wāy

be:CONT:PST:OPT

kā́ške waxtí tlә́lay wāy

if-only:PARTICLE early:ADV gone:AOR:PST:PTCP:M:DIR be:CONT:PST:OPT

I wish you had gone earlier

It can also be used with the present perfective verb, to express a polite request.

Example, from Ghani Khan's poetry:

[47] هغې وې خوږه دلبره کاشکې ستا عقل زما شي

hağé

she:3:F:STR:OBL

we

say:CONT:PST:3

xoẓ̌á

sweet:ADJ:M:VOC

dilbára

beloved:N:M:VOC

kā́ske

if-only:PARTICLE

stā

your:2:SG:STR:POSS

akә́l

intelligence:N:M:DIR

zmā

my:1:SG:STR:POSS

ši

become:AOR:PRS-PRS:3

hağé we xoẓ̌á dilbára kā́ske stā akә́l zmā ši

she:3:F:STR:OBL say:CONT:PST:3 sweet:ADJ:M:VOC beloved:N:M:VOC if-only:PARTICLE your:2:SG:STR:POSS intelligence:N:M:DIR my:1:SG:STR:POSS become:AOR:PRS-PRS:3

She was saying oh sweet beloved, if only your intelligence be mine

Nuance[edit]

In this section the nuances or the semantics in relation to specific words will be explained.

راوړل and راوستل[edit]

Both راوستل /rāwastә́l/ and راوړل /rāwṛә́l/ are both transitive verbs denoting the meaning of "to bring"; but their nuance is different. راوړل /rāwṛә́l/ has the meaning in which the subject is directly involved thus have the meaning more inline with "to bring and carry". راوستل /rāwastә́l/ has the meaning in which the subject is causing the object to be brought but the object by its own motion is come thus having a meaning closer to "to bring along".[48]

Tangible Objects[edit]

Example راوړل:

اوبه مې راوړې

obә́

water:N:F:DIR

me

I:SG:WK

rā́wṛe

bring:AOR:PST:3:F:PL

obә́ me rā́wṛe

water:N:F:DIR I:SG:WK bring:AOR:PST:3:F:PL

I brought the water

Explanation: Here the water is being brought by the speaker by his own hand or through a container e.g. by a glass

Example راوستل:

اوبه مې راوستې

obә́

water:N:F:DIR

me

I:SG:WK

rā́waste

bring:AOR:PST:3:F:PL

obә́ me rā́waste

water:N:F:DIR I:SG:WK bring:AOR:PST:3:F:PL

I brought the water

Explanation: Here the water is being brought by the speaker as he/she has caused its bringing e.g. has made a canal/channel from the river bringing about the water

Intangible Objects[edit]

For intangible object راوستل /rāwastә́l/ is better suited; as the object or concepts comes by its own motion. Example:

پرمختګ يې راوست

parmәxtág

development:N:M:DIR

ye

3:WK

rā́wast

bring:AOR:PST:3:M:SG

parmәxtág ye rā́wast

development:N:M:DIR 3:WK bring:AOR:PST:3:M:SG

He/she/they brought development

But for bringing "news", "omens/luck" or "diseases" راوړل /rāwṛә́l/ is used - perhaps as the subject is implied to carry it. Example: ښه خبر دې راوړ

x̌ə

good:ADJ

xabár

news:N:M:DIR

de

2:WK

rā́waṛ

bring:AOR:PST:3:M:SG

x̌ə xabár de rā́waṛ

good:ADJ news:N:M:DIR 2:WK bring:AOR:PST:3:M:SG

You brought good news

Adjectives[edit]

As noted by Ghaza Noor, the choice of an adjective suffix can also have a change on the meaning.[49]

Example: اغېز - ağéz - effect [noun.masc.sing and plural]

Adjective Trannsliteration Meaning Nuance Example Sentence
اغېزمن ağezmán affected to describe the subject or object being influenced زه له تا څخه اغېزمن شوم
zə stā na ağezmán šwəm

I am affected by you

اغېزناک ağeznā́k effective to describe the subject or object having the effective influence ته اغېزناکه وينه کوې
tə ağeznā́ka waina kawé

You talk effectively

Slang[edit]

Pashto also has rich slang language. Examples:

Slang Literary Meaning Notes
بمبه راخوشې که

bambá rā́ xwǝše ka

بمبه ولګوه

bambá wə́ lagawa

Turn on the faucet/tap خوشې (xwǝ́še) means "set free/loose";

so a literal translation would be "Let loose the tap!"

غوړي مې په کټوۍ کې ور وويشتل

ğwaṛí me pə kaṭwə́i ke war wə́ wištəl

غوړي مې په کټوۍ کښې ور واچول

ğwaṛí me pə kaṭwə́i kx̌e war wə́ wištəl

I have put the oil in the cooking pot ويشتل (wištǝ́l) means "to shoot [e.g a gun";

so a literal translation would be "I flung the oil in the cooking pot"

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.[50]

In Pashto, however, all modifiers precede the verb whereas in English most of the verbal modifiers follow the verb.[51]

Phrasal syntax[edit]

Pashto exhibits strong head-final order in noun phrases and verb phrases.[36]

Noun phrases[edit]

Pashto noun phrases generally exhibit the internal order determiner - quantifier - adjective - noun.[36]

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.[52]

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.[53]

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).[53]

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.[53]

The inventory of light verbs in Pashto should not surprise anyone familiar with LVCs. In addition to the verbs کېدل /kedəl/ ‘to become’ and کول /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 ایستل /istəl/ ‘to throw out’ as light verbs.

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.[54]

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

Certain particles can be inserted between:

  • The perfective 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.[54]

The particles that interact with verbs in this way are:

  • The modal clitics به /bə/ and دې /de/
  • The weak personal pronouns, or pronominal clitics مې /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 an imperfective form), the negative precedes the verb, and the clitics follow the negative. Also, if an perfective form is negated, the negative marker—not the initial syllable of the verb—takes the stress.[55]

Negative placement in the perfective 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 perfective constructions, it therefore follows the perfective 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 perfective verb phrase.[13]

Numbers[edit]

Cardinal numbers[edit]

Direct case, masculine[56]

Pashto Pronunciation
نشت nasht 0
یو yaw, yo 1
دوه dwa 2
درې dre 3
څلور tsalor 4
پنځه pindzə 5
شپږ špəg/špəʐ 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 awyā 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[edit]

Direct case, masc., sing.

  • 1st لومړی lumṛai [also ړومبی]
  • 2nd دويم dwaim [also دوهم]
  • 3rd درېيم drəyam
  • 4th څلورم tsaloram
  • 5th پنځم pindzam
  • 6th شپږم špaẓ̌am
  • 7th اووم uwam
  • 8th اتم atam
  • 9th نهم nəham
  • 10th لسم lasam

Notes[edit]

1.^ په بارې کښې [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]
2.^ Pashto has a rich number of dialects due to which the language has been spelled several ways in English: Pashto, Pakhto, Pukhto.[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David, Anne Boyle (2014). Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and Its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-61451-303-2.
  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 Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine
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  6. ^ Neologism Dictionary [M. A. Zeyar]
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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 pp. 123–141 (2005)
  • Noor Ullah, "Pashto Grammar" (2011), ISBN 978-1-4567-8007-4
  • M. Zyar, "ليک لارښود - Writing Guide" (2006)