The word Pax̌tó written in the Pashto alphabet
Pronunciation[pəʂˈto], [pʊxˈto], [pəçˈto], [pəʃˈto]
Native toAfghanistan, Pakistan
Native speakers
40–60 million
Standard forms
DialectsPashto dialects
Pashto alphabet
Official status
Official language in
Afghanistan Afghanistan[1]
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by Pashto Academy Quetta
Language codes
ISO 639-1ps – Pashto, Pushto
ISO 639-2pus – Pushto, Pashto
ISO 639-3pus – inclusive code – Pashto, Pushto
Individual codes:
pst – Central Pashto
pbu – Northern Pashto
pbt – Southern Pashto
wne – Wanetsi
Glottologpash1269  Pashto
A map of Pashto-speaking areas
Areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan where Pashto is:
  the predominant language
  spoken alongside other languages
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Pashto[a] (/ˈpʌʃt/,[5][3][4]/ˈpæʃt/;[b] پښتو, Pəx̌tó, [pəʂˈto, pʊxˈto, pəʃˈto, pəçˈto]), is an Eastern Iranian language in the Indo-European language family. It is known in historical Persian literature as Afghani (افغانی, Afghāni).[7]

Spoken as a native language mostly by ethnic Pashtuns, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan alongside Dari,[8][1][9] and it is the second-largest provincial language of Pakistan, spoken mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern districts of Balochistan.[10] Likewise, it is the primary language of the Pashtun diaspora around the world. The total number of Pashto-speakers is at least 40 million,[11] although some estimates place it as high as 60 million.[12] Pashto is "one of the primary markers of ethnic identity" amongst Pashtuns.[13]

  1. ^ a b Constitution of AfghanistanChapter 1 The State, Article 16 (Languages) and Article 20 (Anthem)
  2. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier. 6 April 2010. pp. 845–. ISBN 978-0-08-087775-4.
  3. ^ a b "Pashto (also Pushtu)". American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Pashto (also Pushtu)". Oxford Online Dictionaries, UK English. Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ "Pashto (less commonly Pushtu)". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Pashto (also Pushto or Pushtu)". Oxford Online Dictionaries, US English. Oxford University Press.
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference Leyden was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ "Article Sixteen of the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan". 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2012. From among the languages of Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmani, Baluchi, Pashai, Nuristani, Pamiri (alsana), Arab and other languages spoken in the country, Pashto and Dari are the official languages of the state.
  9. ^ Banting, Erinn (2003). Afghanistan: The land. Crabtree Publishing Company. p. 4. ISBN 0-7787-9335-4. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  10. ^ Population by Mother Tongue, Population Census – Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan
  11. ^ Pashto (2005). Keith Brown (ed.). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4. (40 million)
  12. ^ Penzl, Herbert; Ismail Sloan (2009). A Grammar of Pashto a Descriptive Study of the Dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Ishi Press International. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-923891-72-5. Estimates of the number of Pashto speakers range from 40 million to 60 million...
  13. ^ Hakala, Walter (9 December 2011). Language Policy and Language Conflict in Afghanistan and Its Neighbors: The Changing Politics of Language Choice. Brill. p. 55. ISBN 978-90-04-21765-2. As is well known, the Pashtun people place a great deal of pride upon their language as an identifier of their distinct ethnic and historical identity. While it is clear that not all those who self-identify as ethnically Pashtun themselves use Pashto as their primary language, language does seem to be one of the primary markers of ethnic identity in contemporary Afghanistan.

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