Pashto, Northern


A language of Pakistan

Alternate Names
Pakhto, Pashtu, Pushto, Yousafzai Pashto, Yusufzai Pashto
پښتو‎ (Pashto)

18,700,000 in Pakistan (2013 SIL). Ethnic population: Possibly 49,600,000 Pashto in all countries. Total users in all countries: 20,850,900.


Khyber Pakhtunkwa province: Peshawar district and Yusufzai area; Federally Administered Tribal Areas Province, mainly central and northern areas; Punjab province: Mianwali district; all along Afghanistan border.

Language Status

4 (Educational).


Ningraharian Pashto, Northeastern Pashto, Eastern Afghan 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. A member of macrolanguage Pushto [pus].


SOV; noun head final; gender (masculine/feminine); no articles; case-marking (3 cases); verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject; passives; tense and aspect; causatives.

Language Use

Rich literary tradition. The Powinda are a nomadic Pashto-speaking group. Used as L2 by Gawar-Bati [gwt], Palula [phl], Southern Hindko [hnd].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: Low. Taught in primary schools. Literature. Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. NT: 1818–1991.


Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab], primary usage. Arabic script, Nastaliq variant [Aran].

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