by Abdul Hadi Hairan
A quick guide on how and where you can learn the Pashto language.
Pashto (also known as Pashtu, Pakhto, Pakhtu, Paxto) is the language of the Afghans. These days, many people are learning it, particularly those who are on military and reconstruction missions in Afghanistan.
There are three steps to learn any language: reading, writing and speaking.
To learn the language, you must read it frequently. This way you become familiar with words and increase your vocabulary. There are numerous Pashto sites where you can read articles, stories, news, books and other stuff, and discuss things with other Pashto speaking people for free.
For general reading, you can visit Tolafghan.com, Benawa.com and Khyberwatch.com. To read current and classic Pashto literature, you can go to Baheer.com, Hewad.com and Lekwal.com.
For latest news reading, there is Pajhwok.com. I must tell you that any news item they publish on this site in Pashto is also available in English. Learnpashto.wordpress.com is a blog where you can find valuable information about learning the language.
To write Pashto with correct grammar is a bit difficult for beginners. But a lot of people have done it and there are many non-Pashtoons who have written good books in Pashto. If you are familiar with other Eastern languages like Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Sindhi, then you would have no problem to write Pashto. When you read any interesting article or news on a site, write it yourself. Write some every day phrases and sentences that we use in conversations. Write with correct alphabets and grammar. This way you improve not only your writing but also increase your reading power and vocabulary.
Speaking fluently is a dream of every language learner. There are many softwares available online that help speak Pashto. Like Rosetta Stone,Squido and some others CD programmes.
But the easiest and most effective way is to find a native Pashto speaker and talk to him/her. This way you can learn speaking with fast and properly.There are many sites on the Internet where you can find a Pashto speaking partner. There are mylangaugeexchange.com, poly-glot-learn-language.com,language-exchanges.org,italki.com,sharedtalk.com etc.
Listening to radio and music will also help you improve your speaking power. To listen to Pashto radios go to BBCPashto.com,voapashto.com, azadiradio.org, http://www.mashaalradio.com/.
To find a full list of Pashto sources on the Internet, click here.