Day 8 - Pashto in Afghanistan

Day 8 will be dedicated to one of the important languages of Afghanistan, Pashto. Questions of the history of this language, as well as its grammatical characteristics, political weight, and the political geography of the Pashtun-speaking areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are going to be discussed in the class.

Homework (15 min.) - At the beginning of the class, the instructor will discuss the homework article and assignments with the students. This will include also asking and answering questions from yesterday’s lesson.

Part One (1 hour) - Pashto is an Eastern Iranian language. It is mostly spoken in Afghanistan (south-eastern half) and Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the former Northwest Frontier Province) and partially in North Balochistan). In the former, it is spoken by around half of the population of the country (around 18 million). In Pakistan, it is spoken by 8% of the total population. In this part of the class, we are going to take a closer look at the history and grammatical characteristics of Pashto and its place among the Iranian languages.

Break (15 min.)

Part Two (40 min.) - Today Pashto is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan, alongside Dari, and plays an important role in the domestic policies of Afghanistan. In the second part of the class, we are going to talk about the political importance of Pashto inside Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Discussion (20 min.) - In the end, the students and instructor will discuss different issues and questions related to the topic. The participants will ask questions to the instructor concerning particular points of interest.


Morgenstierne, G., Afghanistan vi. Paštō, in Enc. Ir., 1983.

Boyle David, A., Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects, De Gruyter, 2014.