By Georg Morgenstierne. Compiled and edited by J. Elfenbein, D. N. MacKenzie and Nicholas Sims-Williams

A New Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto

17.0 x 24.0 cm, 148 p., cloth
49,00 €

ISBN: 9783895003646

Short Description

Pashto, one of the national languages of Afghanistan, is an archaic language of the Iranian family with a vocabulary of extraordinary variety and interest. In his "New Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto", Georg Morgenstierne identifies loanwords and traces inherited words back to their origins in Old Iranian and beyond. A completely new work, it supersedes the same author's "Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto", which has been a standard work of reference ever since its publication in 1927.


Pashto is one of the national languages of Afghanistan, which is also spoken by a significant minority in Pakistan. An archaic language of the Iranian family, it offers a vocabulary of extraordinary variety and interest. As well as retaining many words inherited from Old Iranian and ultimately from proto-Indo-European, Pashto has also absorbed a great deal of foreign vocabulary, from Classical Greek to Persian and modern Indian.
Georg Morgenstierne's "Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto", published in Oslo in 1927, was the first work to explore these multiple relationships in a systematic and comprehensive way. Soon after its publication, Morgenstierne began collecting material for a revised and expanded version, but this
remained unfinished when he died more than half a century later in 1978.
After the lapse of another quarter of a century, it is at last possible to present the long-awaited "New Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto", a completely new work compiled from Morgenstierne's handwritten notes by three leading scholars in the field of Iranian linguistics. In all essentials it remains Morgenstierne's work, though considerably augmented by additional references which take into account the greatly increased information available today on modern Indo-Aryan as well as on Middle Iranian languages such as Bactrian and Khwarezmian.
This work supersedes Morgenstierne's earlier "Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto" and will take its place beside the same author's "Etymological Vocabulary of the Shughni Group" (Reichert Verlag, 1974) as a standard modern work of reference on the history of the languages of Afghanistan.
Complete indexes of all words cited from Iranian, Indo-Aryan and other languages help to make the contents accessible to those who are not specialists in Pashto or other Iranian languages.


„Summing up, the new edition of the etymological vocabulary of Pashto is a valuable and useful aid for those scholars who are interested in the Iranian, Indo-Iranian and Indo-European linguistics, etymology and philology. One can only regret that it was not given to the excellent and competent etymologist Morgenstierne himself to complete and publish the dictionary 25 years ago.“

In: Studia Iranica. Tome 35 (2006), fasc. 1. S. 109-122. (zwei Rezensionen)
hier S. 122, von Krysztof Tomasz Witczak, Lodz


„Etymologische Wörterbücher sind nie abgeschlossen; so finden sich auch in diesem „Morgenstierne“ Lücken, die man in einer dritten Bearbeitung des Stoffs geschlossen wünschte. Vorerst aber steht der Dank dafür im Vordergrund, daß ein meisterliches Unternehmen des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts nach fast acht Jahrzehnten diese Erneuerung und Verbesserung gefunden hat.“

In: Kratylos. 50 (2005). S. 89-91.

Biographical Note

Georg Morgenstierne (1892-1978), Emeritus Professor of Indian philology in the University of Oslo, was recognised as the uncontested master of Iranian and Indo-Iranian dialectology. Many of his numerous publications were devoted to the languages of Afghanistan and to the "Indo-Iranian Frontier languages", the little-known dialects spoken on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, some of which he was the first to describe.

The compilation and edition of this posthumous work by Morgenstierne was initiated by the late D. N. MacKenzie (Professor Emeritus of Oriental Philology, University of Göttingen) and has been completed by Josef Elfenbein and Nicholas Sims-Williams.

Series Description

The series Beiträge zur Iranistik was founded in the 1960s by Georges Redard and subsequently edited by Nicholas Sims-Williams from 1997 to 2020; the present series editor is Agnes Korn. The series publishes works on the languages of the Iranian branch of Indo-European. The focus is on linguistics, including grammars, dictionaries, text editions, philology as well as diachronic and synchronic studies of linguistic topics. Neighbouring fields such as literature, archaeology and anthropology are likewise represented. The languages of the series are English, German and French. The Beiträge zur Iranistik are represented in libraries internationally and are widely used standard works of Iranian studies.

Verwandte Reihen:


Afghanistan (36) || Etymologie (37) || Historical & comparative linguistics (398) || Indic, East Indo-European & Dravidian languages (107) || Indo-Arisch || Indo-Iranian languages (97) || Indogermanistik (55) || Iranistik (57) || Linguistics (731) || Pakistan (10) || Pashto (5) || Pashto (Pushto, Afghan) (2) || Sprachwissenschaft (142)