Ethnologue: Languages of the World
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Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Asia > Pakistan > Pashto, Northern

Pashto, Northern

A language of Pakistan

ISO 639-3pbu

Population  9,590,000 in Pakistan (1993). Includes all Pashto varieties. Population total all countries: 9,720,700. Ethnic population: 49,529,000 possibly total Pashto in all countries.
Region  Afghanistan border, most of NWFP, Yusufzai, and Peshawar. Also in Afghanistan, Canada, India, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.
Language maps  Northern Pakistan, reference number 14
Southern Pakistan
Alternate names   Pakhto, Pashtu, Pushto, Yusufzai Pashto
Dialects  Ningraharian Pashto, Northeastern Pashto. Much similarity with Northwestern Pashto in Afghanistan. Subdialects of Northeastern Pashto are Kohat (Khatak), Yusufzai (Peshawar), Afridi, Shinwari, Mohmand, Shilmani. Lexical similarity: 80% between Northeastern and Southwestern Pashto.
Classification  Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pashto
A member of macrolanguage Pushto [pus] (Pakistan).
Language use  Rich literary tradition. The Powinda are a nomadic Pashto-speaking group.
Language development  Literacy rate in L2: Low. Taught in primary schools. Newspapers. Radio programs. Films. TV. Dictionary. Bible: 1895.
Writing system  Arabic script, Nastaliq style. Arabic script, Naskh style.
Comments  Muslim (Sunni and Shi’a).

Also spoken in:


Language name   Pashto, Northern
Region  Central Ghilzai area.
Alternate names  Afghan, Pakhtoo, Pakhtu, Paktu
Dialects  Northwestern Pakhto, Ghilzai, Durani.
Language use  1 of 2 official languages taught in schools. Ghilzai are nomadic, 24% of the population. Durani, 16%, live in permanent settlements. Also use Eastern Farsi [prs].
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: 5%–10%. Literacy rate in L2: 15%–25%.
Comments  Called ‘Pakhtoon’ in the north, ‘Pashtoon’ in the south. Pashto clans are: Mohmandi, Ghilzai, Durani, Yusufzai, Afridi, Kandahari (Qandahari), Waziri, Chinwari (Shinwari), Mangal, Wenetsi. Muslim (Hanafi Sunni).

United Arab Emirates

Language name   Pashto, Northern
Population  100,000 in United Arab Emirates (1986).
Alternate names  Pakhtoo, Pashtu, Passtoo, Pushto, Pusto
Comments  Called Pathans, and came from Pakistan. Unskilled laborers; drivers. Muslim.

Entries from the SIL Bibliography about this language:

Academic Publications

BACKSTROM, Peter C.; RADLOFF, Carla F., authors. 1992. Languages of northern areas.  Available online

DECKER, Kendall D., author. 1992. Languages of Chitral.  Available online

DECKER, Sandra J.; HALLBERG, Daniel G.; RENSCH, Calvin R., authors. 1992. Languages of Kohistan.  Available online

HALLBERG, Calinda E.; O'LEARY, Clare F.; RENSCH, Calvin R., authors. 1992. Hindko and Gujari.  Available online

HALLBERG, Daniel G., author. 1992. Pashto, Waneci, Ormuri.  Available online

RADLOFF, Carla F., author. 1991. Sentence Repetition Testing for Studies of Community Bilingualism.  Available for purchase

SHAH, Sayed Wiqar Ali, author. 2003. "The impact of the "Khudai Khidmatgar" movement on Pashto literature."