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Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)
Central Eurasian Studies >> Courses >> Course List
Introductory Pashto I
CEUS-T 153/553


The aim of this semester is to provide students with an introductory knowledge of the Pashto language as it is spoken and written today in Afghanistan. Cultural issues related to language will also be discussed. The focus will be the language of educated native speakers and the contemporary literary language as reflected in the media. By stressing extensive practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, this course will familiarize students with the alphabet and sound system of Pashto and will provide a systematic presentation of its basic structure and ordinary use. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to such visual materials as authentic video clips and photographs illustrating contemporary life of the Pashtuns.

By the end of the course the student should be able to read simple prose texts and deal with basic everyday situations.

Required texts and materials:

  1. Pashto. An Elementary Textbook, developed by CeLCAR, Indiana University.
  2. Pashto Script. Student Workbook, developed by CeLCAR, Indiana University.
  3. Multimedia materials from Afghanistan.
  4. Rahimi, M.H., Rohi, M.S., Pashto-English Dictionary (Peshawar, Pakistan: Aryana Book Agency, 2005-2006).
  5. English-Pashto Dictionary. Aryana book sellers. Peshawar. 2005-2006


  1. Complete dictionary: English-Pushto dictionary. Design by Abdullah Qari Zada. (Peshawar, Pakistan, 2002).
  2. Dictionary: English-Pushto (Language of the Afghans), compiled and edited by the Board of Scholars from the Afghan National Islamic Council in the United States of America, Revised Edition (New Delhi – New York, 1999).
  3. Zyar, M.A., Pashto Grammar(Oxford: Danish Publishing Association, 2005).
  4. Rishtin, S. Pashto Grammar (Peshawar, Pakistan: Al-azhar, 1382/2003).

Additional materials will be adapted from the following recourses:

      • Khan, Qazi Rahimullah, Introduction to Pushtu: An official Language of Afghanistan (New York, NY: Hippocrene Books, 2002).
      • Tegey, Habibullah, Robson, Barbara, Beginning Pashto: Textbook, Revised Edition (Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1993).
      • Pashto kili (The key of Pashto) (Kabul, Afghanistan: Pashto Academy, 1343/1964).
      • Zyar, M.A., An English-Pashto Dictionary of Preposition and Postpositions, Expressions, Idioms: Translation and Comparison (Peshawar, Pakistan: Sapi’s Center of Pashto Research and Development, 2000).
      • Pashtoon, Naseer Hoonar, Pashtoon, Zeeya A., A Handbook of Pashto Verbal Conjugation (Hyattsville, MD: Dunwoody Press, 2006).
      • Pashto audiotapes are available at: (CeLCAR’s website)
        and (the Language and Computer Labs in Ballantine Hall).

      Assignments and grading policy:

      The assignments include work from the textbook, including activities for reading, writing, listening, and working with new vocabulary and grammar and with online materials.


    The grade will be based on the student's preparation and participation in daily classroom work, weekly quizzes and tests, an oral exam, a midterm exam, and a final exam testing the student’s knowledge and proficiency for the current semester. Each examination consists of speaking, listening, reading, writing and structures. The final grade will be determined according to the following components:

    Participation                                        30%
    Homework                                          20%
    Midterm Exam                                    10%
    Final Exam                                          15%
    Final Oral Interview                            10%
    Tests and quizzes                                15%


    Language learning requires greater participation in the classroom than most other subjects in the university curriculum. Students are expected to attend ALL classes. Students are allowed to miss three instructional hours during the course of one semester without grade penalty. Absences beyond three instructional hours will result in grade penalty of 2% per day. Additional absences can be considered by the department only with proper documentation of attested medical needs for which a doctor's note will be required, and with the possibility of a tutoring requirement to preclude class disruption for other students.

    Departmental Policies

    • Auditing: The Department of Central Eurasian Studies does not allow auditing of language courses. Any inquiries must be addressed to CEUS Chair directly.
    • Enrollment: Students enrolled in CEUS language courses obtain a grade at the end of each semester. The Department does not offer pass/fail options.
    • Incompletes are not given in CEUS language courses. Any inquiries must be addressed to CEUS Chair directly.
    • If you are a native speaker of a language or you are a citizen of a country where the language is commonly spoken, or you graduated from a high school in that country, Indiana University and departmental policy may (or may not) prohibit you from enrollment in this language class. Please direct all related questions to the Department of Central Eurasian Studies, Goodbody Hall 157, 855-2233, or