Pashto language


Pashto language
also called  Pushtu, Pakhto, or Afghan,  

      Eastern Iranian language spoken by the Pashtun in eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. Its dialects fall into two main divisions: the southern, which preserves the ancient sh (as in “Pashto”) and zh sounds, and the northern, which has kh (as in “Pakhto”) and gh sounds instead. Written in a modified Arabic alphabet, Pashto shows strong Indian influence, many Arabic and Persian loanwords, and numerous archaic Persian features. It has been attested from the beginning of the 16th century and became prominent after the creation of the Afghan state in the 18th century. In 1936 Pashto was declared the national language of Afghanistan, and instruction in it is now compulsory. Dari is the other official language.

      Pashto literature exists certainly from the 17th century, less certainly from the 11th. The national poet of Afghanistan, Khushḥāl Khān (1613–94), chief to the Khaṭak tribe, wrote spontaneous and forceful poetry of great charm. His grandson Afḍal Khān was the author of a history of the Pashtun. Popular mystical poets were ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān and ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd, in the late 17th or early 18th century, and Aḥmad Shāh Durrānī, founder of the Afghan nation, was himself a poet. The Pashto Academy publishes a variety of literary works.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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