A Standard Pashto D. N. MacKenzie Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 22, No. 1/3. (1959), pp.

231-235.
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2. It can be said. Oslo. The criteria of dialect differentiation in Pashto are primarily phonological. that the extent of the morphological differences between any number of Kurdish dialects is roughly proportional to the distances between them. Abaseen (Karachi). June 1957. in other words.s 37.lO . Morgenatierne. With the use of an alphabet which disguises these phonological differences the language has. seemingly. See W. The increase in literacy among Pashto speakers has given rein to a natural tendency to use phonetic rather than standard spellings. Yet this has been the effect of almost every innovation of recent years and may be expected to continue if. W. 1941. Both languages. PART 2. This literary language has long been referred to in the West as ' common ' or ' standard ' Pashto without. the next further dialect 111 will differ from I in both this and some other feature. The morphological differences between the most extreme north-eastern and south-western dialects are comparatively few and unimportant. Among modern Iranian languages.. and when. ' Yaw xat '. 1. any real attempt to define it. transliteration by a subscript line. but there any similarity ends. other than Persian. Three signs. been a literary vehicle.C. 118 . ZDMG. moreover. The features differentiating one Kurdish dialect from the next are mainly morphological. in the sense that when dialect 11 differs from dialect I in only one feature. Berlin. or features. 1955. Labinalphabet fur d Paachto. Lentz. Pashto shares pride of place with Kurdish as regards both area of territory and number of speakers. A grammar of Paahto : a descriptive etudy of the dialect of Kandahar [GPK]. 1926. The case with Pashto is quite the reverse. 1937. appear almost exclusively in loanwords of Arabic origin and represent no additional phonemes of Pashto.2 If only on this account it seems opportune to attempt to define standard Pashto in more concrete phonemic terms than any adaptation of the Arabo-Persian script permits. They are mere ' allographs '. 17 . Washington. The differences are also progressive. therefore. Lentz.A STANDARD PASHTO 1. ' Die Paachto-Bewegung '. It is perhaps surprising to find support for this somewhat parochial behaviour among Pashtuns a t a tiime when literate Kurds everywhere are thinking of a utopian ' unity ' of their language. Penzl.3 Of the remaining 26 only those numbered 1-5 t. Of the 36 consonant signs of the standard alphabet seven. Begam Jamil. VOL. 3 1 See G. XXII. are prolific in dialects. m See H. One obvious effect of this phenomenon is that to this day no standard Kurdish has emerged as a literary vehicle with any wide scope or vogue. xcv. marked in the d j to some extent . D. widely understood. for a t least four centuries. represent ' elegant phonemes '. Report on a linguistic mission to Afghanisen. the Afghan Academy (Pa2to ri'olam) proceeds to introduce a Latin alphabet. I? I .

. 8 34. GPK. i. j [&I 3. 8. 105 . S.v. 49. Report . owing to coincidence with existing phonemes (in parentheses). 3 35. 77. See GPK.~ which has a phonemic system corresponding to the prevailing orthography '. by. ch. See GPK. . .V. already well-known. MACKENZIE Standard Pashto alphabet and transliteration : I ('j i J d z 7 f C r ' b c [I] L c Y Y cj P t L3 f q j z i 3 5 d b 9 . E V P . E V P . P e n ~ l observing that ' the Kandahar dialect . z 5. 3. may be summarized in the following table : Dialects SW (Kandahar) 1. 11. 1927. there is a steady depletion in the inventory of consonant phonemes. c [ts] 2. $ 34. makes the following inference.mag.232 D. ' The correlation between the Kandahar phonemic pattern and the graphic pattern of the special Pashto symbols of the 1 See Morgenstierne. See GPK. . S. 106.V. is the only dialect . . [31 SE (Quetta) C NW (Central Ghilzai) (s) (2) i NE (Yusufiai) (s) (2) (i) ' j i (i) 4. k 1 g [tl j k g A 8 4 i [a31 cry J I require any further description as they alone are realized appreciably differently in different dialects. The details. Etymological vocabulary of Pashto [ E V P ] . E V P . N. s [%I [gl ? 55 [jl (9) (4 [PI (4 I t will be seen that. 5 4.3 . Afghanistan.4. $ja.Oslo. moving away from the south-western dialect.2 .3.

Moreover they all appear. 'Notes on an old Pmhto manuscript. t. 17.H. . between . where they represent z. Or. The distinction between all the vowel phonemes. While the north-eastern dialects show the most changes in the pattern of consonant phonemes they are more conservative with regard to v o ~ e l s and semivowels. 4228. 1932.A STANDARD PASHTO 233 Arabic alphabet is so close that we must assume that these symbols were created in the area of the Kandahar dialect. 1061/~. was presumably responsible for the change from the old signs used in his model to the new. ' B. . S could only have occurred in the south-west. but were abandoned shortly after. Only later copyists are more prone to give up these distinctions.M. 193940. 1942. e. Report on a linguistic mission to north-weaternIndia. the distinction . 5 from 8. 11. who were probably the creators of Pashto literature '.g. of Akhfind DarwFza '. Kandahar appears to be the cradle of the Pashto alphabet. 4. In one case only. containing the lihair-ul-Bayin of BByazid AnsLri '.2 2 (with subscript dot) is written for j. 1101. This suggests (a) that the older tradition was not exclusively Roshani. s respectively. This is in direct opposition to Morgenstierne's earlier hypothesis l that 'when the orthography of Pashto was fixed in the 16th century.n. but neither phonemic nor morphological system is thereby disturbed. and ' (with central dot) J . I t would be rash to decide this question on orthographic evidence alone. and (b) that the new signs still represented distinct phonemes in the north-east a t this date. g seems stdl to have been preserved even among the northeastern tribes.M.X. 1108/ A. and x. with the possible exception of i : T . Elsewhere he changed this to now used for both c and j. In a MS DZwiin. ' Doaa's mscr. as morphological s relevant L~lai yilables : a a ii e i o u.' I n short. the copyist. -ay > [-E]. XII. A'TS. An earlier orthographic tradition than that now prevailing once existed. 1696-7.567. ' Archaisms and innovations in Pashto morphology '. 4498. written in A. At the time of consciously disguising one distinction (viz. was he obliged to preserve the sign ? a t the end of the rhyme word.* written in A. New Indian Antiquary. These signs were still used in a MS DZwiin of M i r ~ idated A.D.D. is preserved. J a u There are variations in the realization. which still exists) the scribes would be unlikely to perpetuate other distinctions (between 6 & 8 and other phonemes) if they were meaningless.e. Z ay mt aw etc.' A. 27312 and is in fact an indifferent mid-eighteenth century MS. 91. See Morgenstierne. the derivation of the signs 4.H. -y > -e and -u: > -0 in final position following a long vowel. Oslo.1651. B.~ for g'.r (i. 1690. when he noticed the difficulty too late to change the alphabetical order of the DTwSn. sign 4) for 2. See Morgenstierne. In the earliest known Pashto manuscript. u : ii. either expressed or implicit in the standard orthography. alone or in diphthongs. Add. Or. Gul Muhammad PdGwari. but there is this to be said in support of the ' north-eastern ' hypothesis. that between c and j. there conceded to be older.H. of the ('2) Yusufiay poet Najib. is now B.

but direct n h e is preserved (fem. as an allophone of a. the stressed endings masc. More often it is described phonetically with the equivalent of a.. *& would coincide formally with indeclinable adjectives in -i). masc. Thus. While stressed e. a ) and a. ' weak-stressed e varies among speakers of the Kandahar dialect in certain inflectional and derivational morphemes with a centralized allophone of a. ii. e. $ 4. dire o. on the other hand. fem. 6. direct form in unstressed -i would create a new category of nouns). in place of &1 dAy. ii. zhkbe or zhkba " tongue " '. similarly fem. obl. except when morphological confusion would result. present 6se is preserved. supplement to P. 6 (old spelling d)are given as a. Safeev. dir. : Eas " ten ". ibid. sg.e. dir. For morphological reasons it is more convenient to consider unstressed A . fem. D. In the latest invaluable dictionary published by the Afghan Academy an ' archiphoneme ' unstressed A [a el is sometimes marked as having variously a or a in different dialects. ' sometimes e appears in weak-stressed. ' Kratkij grammatiEeskij oCerk Afganskogo jazyka '. sg. in unstressed final position o commonly coincides with u and e with i. No two utterances are distinguished by these sounds alone. N. A. but it has led to some confusion elsewhere. Rzcssb-Afgunskij sslovur'. 6si. as opposed to medium. Pashto zwarakhy. Penzl follows the phonetic verdict implicit in the PmVto QCmGs. .234 D. In the verbal system. For example. nominal ending -&. ch. sg. to avoid confusion with 3rd sg. whatever the realization. ay respectively.. at least one important change has taken place. 5. ed. i. sg. Moscow. MACKENZIE In the south-western dialects. Zudin. sg. Kabul.8. yawboles " eleven " ' . however. ya'we is prwerved (a fem.e. Thus there is modification in detail of certain nominal paradigms only. One small error in interpretation is the adoption of the spelling&> d q ' (he) is '. ch. but dir.Fciy (sara) = *SAT& (sbfay) = *st$Ay (starga) = *st&gA * and Inevitably both the unstressed endings fem. 9 4.g. and a in loud-stressed position. he limits their allophonic range severely. For example : (sa?ay) = *sA. . This is the analysis tacitly adopted. .or loud-stressed. y6we becomes ya'm'. 2nd sg. namely the delimitation of the phonemes a and a. Sadiqullih Riitin et ul. s dir. 1955. unstressed day. This hyper-distinction leads to others. as the gender is there marked. if not of all. B. GPK. It seems certain that in unstressed. One question of the phonemic structure of the western. oblique n6we becomes nduri. sg. position there is no phonemic difference between a and a. In no other dialect recorded do - Pa& QdrnC. No ambiguity arises in the dictionary. 1330-3/19514.3. dialects remains vexed. o are preserved.g. though not altogether consistently.4. sg. in gafeev's short grammatical sketch of western P a ~ h t o He is thereby enabled to define a number of morpho. e. Having established two phonemes e (i. . with the sign designed for the stressed fem.~ logical categories in simple phonemic terms.

ch. It is this conceptual phonemic system. It has various realizations. therefore. which is reflected in the verse of the classical period of X d . In view of the tendency in Kandahar to give up vocalic distinctions. G P K . Moreover. but never both distinctively in one dialect. sg. ay occur. Final -ay denotes both fem. once established. by a comparison of the main north-eastern and south-western dialects. etc. sg. sg. as a universal literary medium among Pashtuns. 465 of 23 September 1958. pl. It is an obvious inference that an older stage of Pashto. proposed a number of standardizations in the use of the present alphabet.] . reported in full in the periodical Kcbecl.3. = ku2ndy aY pdyske = p&ysk st6rrey masc. of ei [-a'i] with ey [-'ail is surely unreal. except when they are morphologically relevant. We have seen that the Kandahar dialect has preserved all the consonant phonemes expressed in the standard alphabet. still current in the seventeenth century if the orthographic evidence is trustworthy. § 10. including the types [-'ail and [-a'i]. combined a ' south-western ' consonant system with a ' north-eastern ' vowel phoneme system. it may well serve as the basis for a simple description of the regular phonetic divergences of other dialects. = k d n 6 y (4) { i I 6. = sHay bosky 2nd pl. No. represent in the main a welcome return to the classical standard described above. sg. held in Kabul during August 1958. By introducing further the concept of A as unstressed a his range of diphthongs is reducible to two. as follows : GPK kutshndy masc. Penzl's added contrast. ii. it appears to have another important application. The other dialects. ey h w i y ei kutshnei fem. and 2nd pl... etc. [A meeting of Pashtun scholars and writers from both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It permits the description of Pashto morphology in more accurate and universal terms than does any single dialect. stressed or not. but that while also preserving the full range of vowel phonemes it has put them to use in novel ways. d X i n and Rabmin Bib& Apart from the evident value of this ' Standard Pashto '. always stressed. = 6sSy (-A) 2nd pl. particularly of the north-east.A STANDARD PASHTO 235 more than two diphthongs of the type ay.. in its discreet native dress. have abandoned a number of consonant phonemes but have generally confirmed the vowels in their morphological positions. These proposals.

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