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Interesting Facts About The Pashto Language

Pashto is known as the language of the Pashtuns that live in Afghanistan. While it is mainly only spoken in Afghanistan, there are other countries that it reaches out to as well. The language is said to be about 2500 years old and has been spoken by a wide number of people. There are almost 40 million to 50 million people that speak this language in the world, out of which the majority resides in Afghanistan. 


8 facts about the Pashto language

Like any other language, Pashto holds a lot of uniqueness to it. If you’re not aware of this language, then here are some interesting facts about it.  


The official language of Afghanistan: Pashto is known the be one of the two official languages of Afghanistan. The other being Dari. Currently, there are more Pashto speakers as opposed to Dari speakers in the country, therefore, the state’s first language is known to be Pashto. 


Symbol of the Afghan identity: Since the 1920s, the Pashto language is considered a symbol of the Afghan identity, and anyone who speaks the language is automatically assumed to be an Afghani. 


Written in the Arabic Naskh script: The basic letters of Pashto language have been derived from Arabic. With some tweaking and additions done to the Arabic letters, Pashto language now accounts for 46 letters and is written in Naskh script. The additions add to the sound effect of Pashto language and give it a unique touch. 


Different dialect groups exist: Pashto has about two to three different kinds of dialects present. Since the language is not only spoken in Afghanistan, there are bound to be variations in it. These include northern Pashto, southern Pashto, and central Pashto. Each of these dialects is different and spoken in different locations. 


Extensive literature: There are various pieces of literature written in Pashto. These include long-form poems and a series of stories. Each of them holds an important place in the Afghan literature and is usually sung loudly to the beating of a drum. 


Spoken in Pakistan as well: Afghanistan is the main location where Pashto is largely spoken, however, it is also spoken in Pakistan. One of the prime locations where you will find people speaking Pashto in Pakistan is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  


Vocabulary similar to Iranian languages: Much of Pashto language seems similar to various Iranian languages. These include Avestan, Pamir, and Ossetic. But these are not the only similarities that can be seen. Arabic is another language that can be observed to be similar to Pashto.


Twice as many Pashto speakers as opposed to Dutch speakers: Pashto speakers sum up to almost 40 million to 50 million in the world while there are approximately only 23 million that speak the Dutch language, therefore Pashto speakers almost double in number. 

Pashto is a great and fun language to learn. If you’ve already mastered speaking Arabic, then learning Pashto will not be difficult at all. While initially it might be a bit tricky to understand, but you will surely get a hang of it once you start practicing frequently. 



School children in Afghanistan

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