• Language: Pashtu
  • Alternate names: Mahsudi, Pashtu, Pushto, Pushtu, Quetta-Kandahar Pashto, Pakhto, Yusufzai Pashto
  • Language code: pus
  • Language family: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pashto
  • Number of speakers: 20304734
  • Script: Arabic script


Pashtu speaking areas

Pashto is an Indo-European language spoken primarily in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. In Afghanistan, Pashto is a national and official language (along with Dari).

The name Pashto is thought to derive from the reconstructed proto-Iranian form, parsawā 'Persian' language. In northen Afghanistan speakers of Pashto are called Pakhtūn; in sourthen Afghanistan they are known as Pashtūn, and as Pathān or Afghan in Pakistan.

There are two major dialects of Pashto: Western Pashto spoken in Afghanistan and in the capital, Kabul, and Eastern Pashto spoken in northeastern Pakistan. Most speakers of Pashto speak these two dialects. Two other dialects are also distinguished: Southern Pashto, spoken in Baluchistan (western Pakistan and eastern Iran) and in Kandahar, Afghanistan; Central Pashto spoken in northern Pakistan (Wazirstan).

The verb

The verb system is very intricate with the following tenses/moods:

In any of the past tenses (simple past, past progressive, present perfect and past perfect), Pashto is an ergative language; i.e., transitive verbs in any of the past tenses agree with the object of the sentence

Sample verb: to be

Present Past
Sg.1 zə yəm zə wəm
Sg.2 tə ye tə we
Sg.3 dai dae

dā da

(m) dai wə
(f) dā wa
Pl.1 muγ̌ yu muγ̌ wu
Pl.2 tāse yāst/yəi tāse wəi
Pl.3 duy di (m) duy wi
(f) duy we