Rosetta Stone Language Software

Introduction to Pashto

Before beginning the Itty Bitty Pashto Course, there are a few things you should know.

1. Pashto is written with a Persio-Arabic script. The English transliterations here are a mishmash of Rudelson’s in the Lonely Planet Central Asian Phrasebook, Awde’s in the Pashto Dictionary and Phrasebook and my own based on my own way of taking notes from Arabic script. Apologies are offered for any confusion. The main thing you need to know is to really emphasize consonants that are capitalized. While this won’t lead, strictly speaking, to the proper retroflex consonants (which is what they represent), it should approximate them acceptably.

2. Pashto is from the same source as Persian and has a lot of vocabulary in common with it. Ironically, a lot of that vocabulary is Turkish, including the words for “Please” and “Thank you.” There’s also a fair amount of Arabic vocabulary, including the word for “Hello.” (The word for “Thank you,” though Turkish, is probably also ultimately Arabic, derived from “shukran”.)
3. There are one or two grammatical points that may make the Pashto here make more sense. First of all, “dë” in front of a word means it’s possessive: “dë basano haDa” means “of the bus – station,” i.e. “the bus’s station.” “ná/në” mean “un/not” so: “zë khwaSH në yëm” = “I happy not am” while “zë nákhwaSH yëm” = “I not-happy (unhappy) am.”