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PASHTO


Pashto is the language of the Pashtun, occasionally referred to as the biggest tribal group in the world. The Pashtun are the predominant ethnolinguistic element within Afghanistan and the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, constituting a population of between fifty to sixty million. , also known historically as Afghani and Pathani.

The name Pashto is thought to derive from the reconstructed proto-Iranian form, parsawā 'Persian language.

The native language of the Pashtun people of South-Central Asia.  Pashto is spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as among the Pashtun diaspora around the world. Pashto is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan (the other being Dari).

Table of Contents

 

History

Pashto language, Pashto also spelled Pashtu, also called Pakhtu, member of the Iranian division of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages. Extensive borrowing has caused Pashto to share many features of the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European languages as well.

Pashto was made the national language of Afghanistan by royal decree in 1936. Pashto first appeared in writing during the 16th century in the form of an account of Shekh Mali's conquest of Swat. It is written with a version of the Arabic script. There are two standard written forms: one based on the dialect of Kandahar, the other on the dialect of Peshawar.

 

Dialect

Pashto is written with a modified Arabic alphabet. The sentence construction of Pashto is akin to that of Hindi. Unlike Persian, but as in the Prakrits, the Pashto noun comes after the adjective and the possessor precedes the possessed in the genitive construction. The earliest literary form is poetry; Mohammad Hotak’s Pata Khazana (1728–29; “The Hidden Treasure”) is a collection of Pashto poetry from the 8th century onward. The national poet of Afghanistan, Khushhal Khan Khatak (1613–94), wrote spontaneous and forceful poetry of great charm. His grandson Afdal Khan was the author of an early history of the Pashtun.

 

Number of speakers

The exact number of Pashto speakers is not known for sure, but most estimates range from 45 million to 55 million. Pashto is the first language of between 40% and 55% (11 to 15.4 million) of the people of Afghanistan, and 10% to 28% (2.8 to 7.8 million) speak it as a second language, and the total is around 18 or 19 million.  Pashto has about 25 million speakers in Pakistan (15% of the population) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the provinces of Balochistan, Mianwali, Attock, Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

 

Countries wherin the language is in used

There are also communities of Pashto speakers in the northeast of Iran, Tajikistan and India, as well as in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries.

 

References

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/445534/Pashto-language

http://www.soas.ac.uk/languagecentre/languages/pashto/

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