A good Formspring question!
Who says Peshawar and who says Pekhawar? It seems some accents in Pashto say the -sh- as -kh- like I heard a song with dushman as dukhman. Tell us about Pashto dialects/accents :) Thanks.
There are two (main) dialects in Pashto, soft and hard. The soft dialect is spoken in Quetta, Waziristan, Kandahar, and other southern Pashtun areas; the hard one is spoken in northern areas, like Peshawar, Swat, Mardan, Dir (in Pakistan) and Nangarhar, Kabul, Jalalabad (in Afghanistan). The map below should help with identifying the northern and southern Pashto-speaking regions.
|Pashto-speaking regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan together are called Pashtunistan, highlighted in green above.|
That said, the "kh" (Pekhawar, Pukhtun, Pukhto, Pakhto, kha) is used in the hard dialect. The soft dialect uses "sh" for the same words: Peshawar, Pushtun/Pashtun, Pashto/Pushto, sha.
You see, in Pashto, we have more letters than we do in Arabic. One of the ones not included in Arabic is "khin" ( ښ ), and that's the "kh" sound you hear in the hard dialect. The "sh" sound is the same as "sheen" ( ش ). Pashto and Arabic both have the letter "kha"/"khey" ( خ ), however, so ښ does not replace kha/khey.
Me, since I'm from northern Pashtunkhwa, I use the "kh" dialect, but since "kh" is a hell of a difficult letter for most westerners or others who don't have the letter in their languages, I prefer to use "sh" when talking to a non-Pashtun audience. With my family, though, using "sh" instead of "kh" sounds really weird.
There are other differences in the dialects, too. For instance, the soft dialect uses "zh" where the hard dialect uses "g" (e.g., mung vs muzh (both mean we)).
You may find more information about the dialects in this article called "Four Varieties of Pashto" by Michael M. T. Henderson. The article, available on JSTOR, shows that it's actually far more complicated than innocent me is making it! But, hey, this is basically what it all comes down to, I swear.
P.S. Here are some nice sites for learning Pashto (I know it looks disorganized and you don't really know where to begin and all, but the moment I find site that starts from the very basics, I'll share it with you. Promise!)
- lib.umn.edu (this one looks very good, actually!)
- Pashto: An Elementary Textbook (Volume 1)
- Pashto: An Elementary Textbook (Volume 2)
- Your First 100 Words in Pashto (Your First 100 Words In...Series)
- A Grammar of the Pukkhto or Pukshto Language: On a New and Improved System, Combining Brevity With Practical Utility and Including Exercises and Dialo (Pashto Edition)
- A Grammar of Pashto A Descriptive Study of the Dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan
- A Handbook of Pashto Verbal Conjugation
- Byki Pashto Language Tutor Software & Audio Learning CD-ROM for Windows & Mac
- Notes on Pushtu Grammar: Together With an Appendix Containing All the Recent Sentences and Passages for Translation (Pashto Edition)
- Instant Immersion Level 1 - Pashto [Download]
- Introduction to Pushtu (Multilingual Edition)
- EuroTalk Interactive - Talk Now! Learn Pashto
- Pashto-English/ English-Pashto Dictionary & Phrasebook (Hippocrene Dictionary & Phrasebooks)