Pashto phonology

Amongst the Iranian languages, the phonology of Pashto is of middle complexity, but its morphology is very complex.[1]

ConsonantsEdit

Consonant phonemes of Pashto[2]
Labial Dental/
alveolar
Post-
alveolar
Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ŋ
Plosive p b t d ʈ ɖ k ɡ (q)
Affricate t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Fricative (f) s z ʃ ʒ ʂ ʐ ç ʝ x ɣ h
Approximant l j w
Rhotic r ɽ

The phonemes /q/, /f/ are only found in loanwords, and tend to be replaced by /k/, /p/ respectively.

  • /n/ has non-phonemic allophones: [ŋ] before /k/ and /ɡ/, [ɳ] before /ʈ/ and /ɖ/, [ɲ] before /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/, and [m] before /b/ and /p/.
  • Voiceless stops and affricates /p, t, ʈ, t͡s, t͡ʃ, k/ are all unaspirated; they have slightly aspirated allophones prevocalically in a stressed syllable, almost like English.
  • /ç/ is a voiceless palatal fricative;[3] used in the Northwestern dialect.[4]
  • /ʝ/ is a voiced palatal fricative;[3] used in the Northwestern dialect.[4]
  • /ɽ/ is voiced back-alveolar retroflex flap [5] and voiced alveolar approximant at the end of a syllable.

DialectsEdit

Dialectal allophones represented by ښ and ږ. The retroflex variants [ʂ, ʐ] are used in the Southwest dialects whereas the post-alveolar variants [ʃ, ʒ] are used in Southeast Dialects. The palatal variants [ç, ʝ] are used in the Wardak and Central Ghilji dialects. In the North Eastern dialects ښ and ږ merge with the velar [x, g].

PhonotacticsEdit

Pashto syllable structure can be summarized as follows; parentheses enclose optional components:

  • (C1 C2 (C3)) (S1) V (S2) (C4 (C5))

Pashto syllable structure consists of an optional syllable onset, consisting of one or two consonants; an obligatory syllable nucleus, consisting of a vowel optionally preceded by and/or followed by a semivowel; and an optional syllable coda, consisting of one or two consonants. The following restrictions apply:

  • Onset
    • First consonant (C1): Can be any consonant, including a liquid (/l, r/).
    • Second consonant (C2): Can be any consonant.
    • Third consonant (C3 ): Can be any consonant. (see #Consonant Clusters below)
  • Nucleus
    • Semivowel (S1)
    • Vowel (V)
    • Semivowel (S2)
  • Coda
    • First consonant (C4): Can be any consonant
    • Second consonant (C5): Can be any consonant

Consonant clustersEdit

Pashto also has a liking for word-initial consonant clusters in all dialects; some hundred such clusters occurs. However consonant gemination is unknown to Pashto.[6]

Examples
Two Consonant Clusters /tl/, /kl/, /bl/, /ɣl/, /lm/, /nm/, /lw/, /sw/, /br/, /tr/, /ɣr/, /pr/, /dr/, /wr/, /kɽ/, , /wɽ/ /xp/, /pʃ/, /pʂ/, /xr/, /zb/, /zɽ/, /ʒb/, /d͡zm/, /md͡z/, /t͡sk/, /sk/, /sp/, /ʃp/, /ʂk/, /xk/, /ʃk/, /kʃ/, /kx/, /kʂ/, /ml/, /gr/, /gm/ and /ʐm/ etc.
Three Consonant Clusters /sxw/, /xwɽ/, /xwl/, /nɣw/ etc.

ExamplesEdit

An edited[note 1] list from the book Pashto Phonology by M.K. Khan:[7]

IPA Meaning
V /o/ was [dialect] و
VC /as/ horse اس
VCC /art/ loose ارت
CV /tə/ you ته
CVC /ɖer/ many, very ډېر
CVCC /luŋd/ wet لوند
CCV /mlɑ/ back ملا
CCVC /klak/ hard کلک
CCVCC /ʒwəŋd/ life ژوند
CCCV /xwlə/ mouth خوله
CCCVC /ŋdror/ sister-in-law ندرور
CCCVCC /ʃxwand/ chewing of food شخوند

VowelsEdit

Most dialects in Pashto have seven vowels and seven diphthongs.[8]

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Open a ɑ
  • Tegey & Robson (1996) also include near-close vowels /ɪ/ and /ʊ/.[9]

DiphthongsEdit

Front Central Back
High
Mid əɪ
Low , aw ɑi, ɑw

Elfenbein notes that the long diphthongs [ɑi, ɑw] are always stressed, whilst the short diphthongs may or may not be stressed.[10]

Orthography of diphthongsEdit

Initial Medial Final
ای َيـ َی
əɪ ۍ and ئ
اوی ويـ وی
اوی ويـ وی
aw او َو َو
ɑi آي اي ای
ɑw آو او او

StressEdit

Pashto has phonemic variable stress,[11] unique amongst Iranian languages.[6]

For instance, in verbs to distinguish aspect:

Verb - Imperfective

(mostly Final Stress)

Meaning Verb - Perfective

(Initial Stress)

Meaning
kenɑstə́ləm I was sitting kénɑstələm I sat down
kenɑstə́m I was sitting kénɑstəm I sat down
ba kenə́m I shall be sitting ba kénəm I shall sit

Basic Word StressEdit

Stress is indicated by the IPA stress marker [ˈ].

In general, the last syllable is stressed if the word ends in a consonant and the penultimate syllable is stressed if the last syllable ends in a vowel.[12] !

Example IPA Meaning
رنځور /ran.ˈd͡zur/ sick [adj. masc.]
رنځوره /ran.ˈd͡zur.a/ sick [adj. fem.]
کورونه /ko.ˈru.na/ houses [noun. masc. plural]
ښځو /ˈʂə.d͡zo/ women [noun. fem. plural. oblique.]
لاندې /ˈlɑn.de/ below [adverb, circumposition]

Masculine Words ending in "ə"Edit

These have final stress generally.[13]

Example IPA Meaning
تېره /te.ˈrə/ sharp [adjective]
لېوه /le.ˈwə/ wolf [noun]

Feminine Words ending in "o"Edit

These end in a stress /o/.[14][15]

Example IPA Meaning
بيزو /bi.ˈzo/ monkey
پيشو /pi.ˈʃo/ cat
ورشو /war.ˈʃo/ meadow, pasture

Wordings ending in AlephEdit

Words ending in IPA /ɑ/ i.e. ا are stressed in the last syllable.

Example IPA Meaning
اشنا /aʃ.ˈnɑ/ familiar [masc. noun]
رڼا /ra.ˈɳɑ/ light [fem. noun]

ExceptionsEdit

Word meanings also change upon stress.

Word IPA: following general stress pattern [penultimate syllable] Meaning 1 IPA: following exception stress pattern Meaning 2
جوړه /ˈd͡ʒo.ɽa/ well /d͡ʒo.ˈɽa/ pair
اسپه /ˈas.pa/ horse [mare] /as.ˈpa/ spotted fever

IntonationEdit

QuestionsEdit

WH-Questions [who, where, when etc] follow a hat pattern of intonation: a rise in pitch followed by a fall in pitch.[16]

تاسو چېرته کار کوئ
[ tā́so ↗čérta kār kawə́ɪ↘ ]

Yes/No-Questions end in a high intonation: a rise in pitch.

غنم يې ورېبل ؟
[ ğanə́m ye wә́rebəl↗ ]

Contrastive FocusEdit

When a word is contrasted with another word it carries a low then high pitch accent, followed by a sharp fall in pitch accent.

نه له د نه کشر يم
[ na↘ lə ↗də nə kə́shər yə́m↘ ]

Dialectal phonologyEdit

ConsonantsEdit

This diagram is based on Anna Boyle's division of the dialect variations on geographic regions:[17]

Dialect ښ ږ څ ځ ژ
South Western Dialects e.g. Kanadahar, Herat etc. ʂ ʐ t͡s d͡z ʒ
South Eastern Dialects e.g. Kasai Tribe, Quetta Region etc. ʃ ʒ t͡s d͡z ʒ
Middle Dialects - Waziri and Dzadrani ɕ in Waziri
ç in Dzadrani
ʑ in Waziri
ʝ in Dzadrani
t͡s d͡z ʒ
North Western Dialects e.g. Wardak, Central Ghilzai [18] ç ʝ s z ʒ and z
North Eastern Dialects e.g. Yusapzai, Peshawar dialect etc. x ɡ s z d͡ʒ

Regional VariationEdit

This diagram however does not factor in the regional variations within the broad geographic areas. Compare the following consonant and vowel differences amongst regions categorised as Northern dialects:[18]

Northern Dialects
Meaning Wardak Jalalabad Bati Kot
دوی they deɪ ˈduwi ˈduwi
راکړه give [imperative of راکول] ˈrɑ.ka ˈrɑ.ka ˈrɑ.kɽa
پوهېدل to know [infinitive] pi.je.ˈdəl po.je.ˈdəl po.ji.ˈdəl
شپږ six ʃpaʝ ʃpag ʃpiʒ
وريځ cloud wər.ˈjed͡z wrez wə.ˈred͡z
ښځه woman ˈçə.d͡za ˈxə.za
اوبه water o.ˈbə u.ˈbə o.ˈbə

Or the difference in vowels and diphthongs in North Eastern Pashto:

Meaning Swat Peshawar
ودرېږه stop [imperative of درېدل] 'wə.dre.ga ˈo.dre.ga
جنۍ girl d͡ʒi.ˈnəɪ d͡ʒi.ˈnɛ

Alveolo-palatal fricativeEdit

Rozi Khan Burki claims that the Ormuri alveolo-palatal fricative /ɕ/ and /ʑ/ may also be present in Waziri.[19] But Pashto linguists such as Josef Elfenbein, Anna Boyle or Yousaf Khan Jazab have not noted this in Waziri Phonology.[20][21][22]

VowelsEdit

Waziri vowelsEdit

Front Central Back
Unrounded Rounded
Close i u
Mid ɛ ə œ ɔ
Near-Open æ
Open a ɒ
The Vowel ShiftEdit

Corey Miller notes that the shift does not affect all words.[23]

In Waziri dialect the [ɑ] in Standard Pashto becomes [ɔː] in Northern Waziri and [ɒː] in Southern Waziri.[24]

Meaning Standard Pashto N.Wazirwola S. Wazirwola
ماسته yougurt /mɑs.ˈtə/ /mɔːs.ˈtə/ /mɒːs.ˈtə/
پاڼه leaf /pɑ.ˈɳa/ /ˈpɔː.ɳjɛː/ /ˈpɒː.ɳjɛː/

In Waziri dialect the stressed [o] in Standard Pashto becomes [œː] and [ɛː]. The [o] in Standard Pashto may also become [jɛ] or [wɛː]. [24]

Meaning Standard Pashto Wazirwola
لور sickle /lor/ /lœːr/
وړه flour /o.ˈɽə/ /ɛː.ˈɽə/
اوږه shoulder /o.ˈɡa/ /jɛ.ˈʒa/
اوس now /os/ /wɛːs/

In Waziri dialect the stressed [u] in standard Pashto becomes []. [25]

Meaning Standard Pashto Wazirwola
موږ we /muɡ/ /miːʒ/
نوم navel /num/ /niːm/

When [u] in begins a word in standard Pashto can become [jiː] or [w[ɛ]]

Meaning Standard Pashto Wazirwola
اوم raw /um/ /jiːm/
اوږه garlic /ˈu.ɡa/ /ˈjiː.ʒa/
اوده asleep /u.ˈdə/ /wɜ.ˈdə/

Elfenbein also notes the presence of the near-open vowel [æ].[26]

Apridi vowelsEdit

Apridi has the additional close-mid central rounded vowel /ɵ/.[27]

Diphthongs in dialectsEdit

The diphthongs varies according to dialect.[28]

Standard Pronunciation Apridi Yusupzai[29] Waziri Mohmand Baniswola/Bannuchi[30] Wanetsi
ʌɪ
ʌː
e ɑ a
ˈaɪ ˈaɪ ˈe æɪ ˈɑːi ˈa
ˈəɪ ˈije ˈəɪ ˈəɪ

ˈe[31]

ˈije ˈi
waɪ we oːi
œːi
eːi
ui, wi ˈojə i
aw ao ow, aːw
ɑi ɑe ˈɑːi
ɑw ɑo oːw

Yousaf Khan Jazab notes that the diphthong /əɪ/ becomes /oi/ in the Khattak Dialect in the verbal suffix /ئ/,[32] but it remains as the diphthong /əɪ/ in the nominal/adjectival /ۍ/ example: مړۍ /ma.ˈɽəɪ/ "bread".[33]

Nasalisation of vowelsEdit

As noted by Yousaf Khan Jazab, the Marwat dialect and the Bansiwola dialect have nasalised vowels also.[34] It is also noted in the Waṇetsi/Tarin dialect.

These are indicated by the diactric mark / ̃ /.

Standard Pronunciation Marwat Meaning
بوی

buɪ

بویں
buĩ
Smell

NotesEdit

  1. ^ With some corrected IPA for words mentioned therein . Sources of correction: Kaye (1997), Zeeya Pashtoon (2009) and Qamosona.com

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Elfenbein (1997), p. 736.
  2. ^ Tegey & Robson (1996), p. 15.
  3. ^ a b David (2014), p. 9.
  4. ^ a b David (2014), p. 35.
  5. ^ Elfenbein (1997), p. 742.
  6. ^ a b Elfenbein (1997), p. 737.
  7. ^ Khan, Muhammad Kamal (2020-04-08). Pashto Phonology: An Evaluation of the Relationship between Syllable Structure and Word Order. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-1-5275-4925-8.
  8. ^ David (2014), p. 11.
  9. ^ Tegey & Robson (1996), p. 17.
  10. ^ Elfenbein (1997), p. 751.
  11. ^ Bečka, Jiří (1969). A Study in Pashto Stress. Academia.
  12. ^ Tegey & Robson (1996), p. 25.
  13. ^ David, Anne Boyle (2015-06-16). Descriptive Grammar of Bangla (in German). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. pp. 56 and 109. ISBN 978-1-5015-0083-1.
  14. ^ Tegey & Robson (1996), p. 56.
  15. ^ David (2014), p. 68.
  16. ^ "Pashto Intonation Patterns". Interspeech 2017.
  17. ^ David (2014), pp. 31–34.
  18. ^ a b Coyle 2014.
  19. ^ "Dying Languages: Special Focus on Ormuri". Pakistan Journal of Public Administration. 6. No. 2. December 2001.
  20. ^ Elfenbein (1997), pp. 740–749.
  21. ^ David (2014), pp. 37–40.
  22. ^ Jazab (2017), pp. 69–70.
  23. ^ Miller, Corey (2014-05-12). "The Waziri Chain Shift". Journal of Persianate Studies. 7 (1): 125. doi:10.1163/18747167-12341267. ISSN 1874-7167.
  24. ^ a b Elfenbein (1997), p. 748.
  25. ^ Elfenbein (1997), p. 749.
  26. ^ Elfenbein (1997), p. 746.
  27. ^ Elfenbein (1997), pp. 740, 750–751.
  28. ^ Elfenbein (1997), pp. 751–753.
  29. ^ Rensch, Calvin Ross (1992). Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan: Pashto, Waneci, Ormuri. National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University. pp. 79–146.
  30. ^ Jazab (2017), pp. 64–65.
  31. ^ Jazab (2020), p. 189.
  32. ^ Jazab (2020), pp. 187–188.
  33. ^ Jazab (2017), p. 65.
  34. ^ Jazab (2017), pp. 60–61.

BibliographyEdit