Pashto Language: Solving the Mysteries of the Past Tense

Unlike English, Pashto is an ergative language. Because of the absence of any English language structures similar to ergativity, ergativity presents a significant obstacle for English speakers as they gain skill in speaking Pashto. As Pashtu language has a split feature of ergativity, it clearly appears in Pashto when someone learns the past tense. Also, to English speakers, an ergative construction may appear to be an exotic feature of Pashto. However, according to Trask (1996), hundreds of ergative languages have been described by modern linguistics. According to other sources, one in four languages spoken in the world show ergative features.


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