Grammar and Vocabulary of Waziri Pashto


Grammar and Vocabulary of Waziri Pashto is a textbook intended for British officers with knowledge of the Pushto of Peshawar and seeking to learn the Pushto spoken in the Bannu District and in Waziristan (in present-day Pakistan). The author, a political officer in the British Indian army, notes the significant difference in the way the language is spoken in the two locales, which, he ventures, “is hardly less than that which separates broad Scots from cockney English, and like it extends to grammar and idiom as well as vocabulary.” Following a summary overview of Waziri grammar, the bulk of the book is taken up by a vocabulary, in which transliterated Waziri words are listed in alphabetical order with their English equivalents given. The book is intended strictly for learning to speak and to comprehend speech, as the Pushto alphabet is not used and no attention is paid to the written language. Two appendices give examples of an English text translated into Waziri Pushto and a Waziri Pushto text rendered into English. A third appendix, entitled “Some Leading Waziri Characteristics,” discusses what the author regards as the qualities of the people of Waziristan, which he sees as having been formed by the rugged and impassable nature of the territory in which they live. Among the topics discussed in this essay are Islamic religious practice and the role of women in Waziri society. Waziri Pashto is today spoken in Waziristan and Bannu, Pakistan, and adjacent parts of Afghanistan. The book was published in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), India, by the government of India.

Last updated: August 25, 2016