LINGUIST List 12.2973

Wed Nov 28 2001

Sum: Pashto Language Follow-up

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. Jamil Daher, Re: 12.2919, Pashto Language

Message 1: Re: 12.2919, Pashto Language

Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 10:50:04 -0500
From: Jamil Daher <>
Subject: Re: 12.2919, Pashto Language

At the suggestion of Steven Donahue, I am posting a commentary of
clarification to the word Taliban that was mentioned in his summary of
Pashto Language (Linguist 12.2919)

The word 'Taliban' has been widely described as an Arabic loan word
meaning "students", or "religious students". This is not entirely
accurate. In Arabic, the word 'taalibaan' is the dual masculine
(nominative) form of the word taalib "student" (with no particular
religious connotation), thus taalibaan would only mean "two (male)
students". (Talaba/tullaab is the plural masculine form in Arabic,
meaning students.) The word was probably borrowed from Arabic in its
singular form, and then given the plural marker, here (-an), in
Pashto, or some other language in that area. It is common for Arabic
words borrowed into Pashto, or any other language for that matter, to
undergo certain changes in order to conform to the phonological and
morphological systems of the borrowing language.

Jamil Daher
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