For a variety of reasons, the name of the Pashtu language has been spelled in several ways. One reason is that the middle consonant i.e. the [sh] in Pashtu is a sound that differs from one dialect to the other. Speakers of the Kandhar dialect pronounce the word with [sh]- like middle consonant, and the speakers of the central and eastern dialects pronounce it with a sound similar to German [ch] or Greek [x].The second reason for the variety in rendering of the word Pashtu is that there has never been a standardized transliteration system for rendering the language in Roman alphabet and so writers dealing with the language are free to transliterate as they choose.
A look at earlier books and reports on the Pashtuns shows more diversity in the representation of the name. H.W. Bellew’s 1867 grammar of Pashtu, for example is called ‘A Grammar of Pukkhto or Pukshto language’, and Bellew spells the language as Pukkhto, presumably to show that it is a multiple-letter rendition of a single sound or may be to show that it was non-English sound. Pashtu has been written in Persian script (which in turn is a variant of Arabic script) since the late sixteenth century. Certain letters were modified to account for sounds specific to Pashtu. Until the spelling system was standardized in the late eighteenth century, the representation of these consonants varied greatly. The Pashtu alphabet, which has more vowel sounds than either Persian or Arabic, represents the vowels more extensively than either the Persian or the Arabic alphabets.
Pashtu is an SOV language. Adjectives come before nouns. Nouns and adjectives are inflected for gender (Masculine/Feminine), number (Singular/Plural) and case (Direct/Obligue). Direct case is used for subjects and direct objects in the present tense and oblique case is used after most pre- and post-positions as well as in the past tense as the subject of transitive verbs. There is no definite article but instead there is an extensive use of the demonstratives this/that. The verb system is very intricate with the following simple present, subjunctive, simple past, past progressive, present perfect and past perfect. In any of the past tenses (simple past, past progressive, present perfect and past perfect) Pashtu is an ergative language i.e. transitive verbs in any of the past tenses agree with the object of the sentence. Verbs agree with their subjects in person, number, and grammatical gender as well as being marked for tense/aspect. Past tense transitive sentences are formed as ergative: in these, the object rather than the subject agrees with the verb, and weak pronoun objects rather than subjects are omitted if they are not emphatic.

Neelofar Hussain Wani

Languages