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What is Urdu Language?
Urdu is a language primarily spoken in South Asia. It is one of the two official languages of Pakistan, the other being English, and is also one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. Urdu holds a significant cultural and linguistic presence in these countries. It has many similarities with the Hindi language, and the two languages share a common script, known as the Devanagari script. However, the main difference between them is the script used for writing; Urdu is typically written in the Perso-Arabic script, while Hindi is primarily written in the Devanagari script.
History of Urdu Language
Early Development (6th to 13th Century):
Urdu evolved from the medieval Apabhraṃśa register of the Shauraseni language, known as Old Hindi in the Delhi region.
Formation of Hindavi (13th Century):
Amir Khusrau founded an early literary tradition of Hindavi in the late 13th century.
Dakhini and Persian Influence (14th to 17th Century):
A form of the language, Dakhini, flourished, with a significant Persian influence during the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire.
Zaban-e-Urdu (17th Century):
In the early 1700s, the language became known as Zaban-e-Urdu, reflecting its use in military camps and Persianized form.
Introduction of the Term “Urdu” (Late 18th Century):
The name “Urdu” was introduced around 1780 by Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi, marking a shift in identity.
Colonial Period (19th Century):
Urdu was promoted by British policies, replacing the previous emphasis on Persian.
Post-Independence Era (20th Century Onward):
Urdu became the sole national language of Pakistan in 1973, facing challenges related to script, vocabulary, and socio-economic status.
Throughout these periods, Urdu underwent linguistic and cultural transformations shaped by historical events and interactions.
Interesting Facts about Urdu Language
- Urdu is the official national language of Pakistan.
- Unlike English, Urdu is written from left to right in the Persian-Arabic script.
- Although there are many subtle differences between Urdu and Hindi, it can be challenging for non-native speakers to distinguish them.
- In terms of conversational flow, Hindi and Urdu are nearly interchangeable. The way they are written is where they diverge most.
- About 40% of the vocabulary in Urdu is also borrowed from Arabic and Persian.
- Nastaliq is the typeface used to write traditional Urdu; it is also used for Persian.
- Urdu is derived from the Turkish word “Urdo,” which means “army.”
- Several frequently used words from Urdu that are used in English are: khaki, pajamas, and cummerbund
- Urdu is a poetic language.
- Nearly 5 million people in Afghanistan speak Urdu.
Urdu Speaking Countries
|Urdu Speaking Countries
|Number of Speakers (Approx.)
|United Arab Emirates
Different Dialects of Urdu Language
|Nationwide in Pakistan and parts of India
|Formal and literary form used in education, media, and official communication. Widely understood across Urdu-speaking regions.
|Lahore and surrounding areas
|Characterized by specific vocabulary, pronunciation nuances, and local expressions unique to Lahore and its neighboring regions.
|Karachi and nearby urban areas
|Reflects the linguistic influence of the diverse population in Karachi, with variations in pronunciation, vocabulary, and idioms.
|Punjabi-Urdu Hybrid Dialect
|Punjab region, especially in rural areas
|Exhibits a blend of Punjabi and Urdu elements, with unique expressions and vocabulary influenced by the cultural fusion in Punjab.
|Hyderabad and surrounding regions
|Features distinctive vocabulary, pronunciation, and expressions specific to the linguistic traditions of Hyderabad and its vicinity.
|Kashmiri-Urdu Hybrid Dialect
|Kashmir Valley and adjoining areas
|Represents a fusion of Kashmiri and Urdu, incorporating regional vocabulary and pronunciation particular to the Kashmiri linguistic context.
|Deccan Plateau, including parts of Telangana
|Displays linguistic influences from the Deccan region, with unique vocabulary, pronunciation, and expressions specific to Deccani Urdu.
|Southern regions of India
|Commonly spoken in Southern India, it features variations in vocabulary and pronunciation influenced by the linguistic landscape of the region.
|Awadhi-Urdu Hybrid Dialect
|Awadh region, including Lucknow
|Blends elements of Awadhi and Urdu, showcasing unique vocabulary and pronunciation typical of the cultural amalgamation in the Awadh region.
|Bihari-Urdu Hybrid Dialect
|Bihar and neighboring areas
|Represents a fusion of Bihari languages and Urdu, incorporating regional expressions, vocabulary, and pronunciation specific to Bihar.
How to Learn Urdu Fast?
To learn Urdu quickly, practice with the fundamental Urdu vocabulary available on our ToolsNepal blogs. You can begin by learning the Urdu alphabet, numbers, and important words. Then move on to common phrases, create sentences, and improve your written and spoken skills. Once you’ve got the basics, you can use our Urdu translation tool, Urdu typing tool, and Urdu Keyboard for extra practice.