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2. Linguistique
2.2. Langues vivantes et dialectes

Matteo De Chiara, Daniel Septfonds. Le verbe simple en pashto. État des lieux

Ronald I. Kim
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Matteo De Chiara et Daniel Septfonds. Le verbe simple en pashto. État des lieux. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2022, 414 p. (Beiträge zur Iranistik, 47)

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1The book under review, by two of the foremost living authorities on Pashto, forms the sequel to Le verbe pashto. Parcours d’un territoire. Du verbe simple à la locution verbale (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2019; Beiträge zur Iranistik 43; see the review by A. Korn in AbstIr. vol. 42–43, R2.2, no6). That work (hereafter DCS1) presented the morphosyntax of the Pashto verb, along with the main features of dialectal variation and classification into simple, compound, and “mixed” verbs, light verbs (“verbes verbalisateurs”), and verbal collocations. Appendix 1, an overview of Pashto verb conjugation, was followed by a lengthy Appendix 2 containing detailed entries (“fiches détaillées”) for 12 verbs selected to illustrate the different classes and dialect zones.

2That Appendix 2 served as a sort of appetizer or “sneak peek” to this elegant volume, which will immediately become an essential reference for all researchers of Pashto and Modern Iranian languages. After the abbreviations (p.9–10), bibliography (p.11–12), and introduction (p.13), chapter 1 (p.15–24) recapitulates the terminology and classifications adopted in DCS1, so that the work can be used on its own without the absolute need to refer to its earlier companion. Chapter 2 (p.25–30) describes the structure of the entries, including the sources and their dialectal origin, data on accentuation, and procedure for arriving at French translations.

3This brief section A is followed by section B, which contains detailed entries for a total of 154 “verbes utilisés” (p.33–303) and brief entries for 248 “verbes non utilisés” (p.305–379). Of the former group, 146 are “verbes simples nus”, i.e. unanalyzable simple verbs: these are broken down into 25 irregular, 75 regular, and 46 which are “on the border” of regularization or show suffixed or compound forms; to these are added the two all-purpose light verbs kedə́l ﺪﯧﻛﻝ / šwəl شول ‘become’ and kawə́l ﻝﻮﻛ / kṛəl كړل ‘do’ and six “mixed verbs”, which align with simple verbs in the imperfective and compound verbs in the perfective. Each detailed entry contains a rundown of dialectal variants, French translations, examples of present and past stem for as many meanings as possible, and finally the definitions given by the principal Pashto lexica: Raverty 1860 (English, of a markedly Victorian flavor), Aslanov 1966 (Russian), Pashtoon 2009 (English), Kabir & Akbar 1999 plus Akbar 2005 (French), and two native sources, the 2005 Academy of Science Dictionary and the 1994 Daryāb dictionary. For the “verbes non utilisés”, which are cited in dictionaries but not employed by speakers, only the dictionary definitions are provided.

4As noted on p.25, the examples are taken from the authors’ own oral corpus and fieldwork notes, other descriptive grammars, collections of Pashto oral literature, and various published texts. Each example is identified for dialectal provenience, e.g. STD (“standard” Pashto), BKR (Bar Kunaṛ), QAND (Qandahar), WAZ (Waziri), and morphosyntactic categories: imperfective vs. perfective, eventual, imperative, passive, perfect, etc. Given the great diversity of sources, it would perhaps also have been beneficial to specify the origin of at least the longer citations or more unusual usages.

5The volume concludes with an index, revised from DCS1, of simple verbs in Roman transcription and Perso-Arabic script with morphosyntactic information and, for the “verbes utilisés”, French gloss and classification (p. 383–397); a useful index of French translations, with Pashto verbs listed in transcription and original orthography and cross-referenced to the section in which they appear (399–412); and a glossary of grammatical terms, also repeated from DCS1 (413–414).

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Ronald I. Kim, « Matteo De Chiara, Daniel Septfonds. Le verbe simple en pashto. État des lieux »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 45 | 2023, document 1, mis en ligne le 30 mai 2023, consulté le 01 octobre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Ronald I. Kim

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

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