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A Grammar of Pashto A Descriptive Study of the Dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan [Paperback]

Herbert Penzl , Ismail Sloan

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Book Description

2 July 2009 0923891722 978-0923891725 Updated
Pashto is a language spoken by at least 40 million people in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan and in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. Estimates of the number of Pashto speakers range from 40 million to 60 million, which should make it among the most widely spoken languages in the world. One source ranks it as number 20 in the world in the number of speakers of the language. Another source ranks it as number 35. However, most sources do not rank it at all. The language seems to be virtually unknown except among those in contact with it. This is at least in part due to the nature of the people who speak Pashto. At one time, Pashto was spoken primarily by desert tribal people. The Kuchi tribes, nomads who live out in the desert with their herds of sheep and camels, all speak Pashto. The Kuchis have little need for reading and writing and almost all are illiterate. As a result, there is little Pashto literature, except for songs and poetry. In Afghanistan, there are few if any books and newspapers in Pashto. In Pakistan, the situation is a bit better, but not much.

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About the Author

Herbert Penzl, born 1910-09-02, Neufelden (Austria), died 1995, was an Austrian-born American philologist and historical linguist. He studied English Philology at the University of Vienna under Karl Luick. In 1936 he completed his Ph.D. dissertation The Development of Middle English a in New England Speech. He spent some time in the United States working on the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada at Brown University, having been recommended for the exchange by Sigmund Freud. While in the US, he published his first article, "New England Terms for Poached Eggs," which received media coverage by the Associated Press among others. After a brief return to Austria, he decided in 1936 to move to the United States permanently. He was appointed at Rockford College, Illinois (1936-1938). In 1938, he received an appointment at the University of Illinois, where he worked until 1950. In 1944 he became a naturalized US citizen and from 1943 to 1945 he served in the United States Army, working on the development of military dictionaries. After the war, he worked on the publication of A Grammar of Pashto: A Descriptive Study of the Dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan' (1955). From 1950 to 1963, he taught at the University of Michigan. In 1963, he received an offer from the Linguistics Department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he spent the rest of his career. Penzl's research included a wide variety of topics, but his main interests were Germanic historical phonology. He wrote over 250 research articles and published 11 books, many of which have become standard works for students of Germanic Philology. Penzl described himself as an "American-style Structuralist."

Herbert Penzl, (born September 2, 1910 in Neufelden, Austria, died September 1, 1995 in Berkeley, California), wrote this, the definitive work on the Pashto Language. Penzl was a Professor of Linguistics and Germanic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful 9 Jun 2010
By Edwin A. Blanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is totally useless for beginners, the author doesn't even attempt to teach the alphabet,favoring his own shaky transliteration,the book is just a disorganized mess in general, the author attempts to hide his lack of target knowledge by using lots of technical terms, ive read chapters in lonely planet pocket guides that were more useful for teaching grammar than this whole book is
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a reprint of a scholarly text on the Kandahar dialect 6 April 2014
By hsw27 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a reprint of a descriptive study of Kandahari Pashto as it was spoken in the 1950s. Pashto and also its Kandahari dialect have gone through some changes over the years, one should not expect the language studied in this book as the language spoken today. The samples were collected from one or two informants and certainly reflected certain his or their idiosyncrasies. This book is a solid piece of scholarly work, but NOT intended to be used as a textbook or reference grammar.

Ishi Press reprinted it because there is no copy right claim on the book. It is a so-called updated edition, because certain Ismail Sloan wrote an irrelevant preface, which is a piece of junk by any standard. It is brazen for Ishi Press to reprint this book with such an offensive cover and note, and mislead today's potential Pashto learners. Really shameless!!
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars offensive 10 Mar 2011
By Taimur - Published on Amazon.com
"Would you like to be able to speak to the fellows on the cover of this book?"
The above statement is offensive. it is a deliberate and shameful attempt to depict native speakers of Pashto as violent.
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