Urdu

Urdu

Overview
Urdu is a register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 of the Hindustani language
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

 that is identified with Muslims in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages
Languages of India
The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languages—Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages...

 and an official language of five states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

. Based on the Khariboli
Khariboli
Khariboli , also Khari Boli, Khadiboli, Khadi Boli or simply Khari, is a Western Hindi dialect spoken mainly in the rural surroundings of Delhi, the northern areas of Western Uttar Pradesh and the southern areas of Uttarakhand in India...

dialect of Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, Urdu developed under the influence of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, Arabic, and Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 over the course of almost 900 years.
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Encyclopedia
Urdu is a register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 of the Hindustani language
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

 that is identified with Muslims in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages
Languages of India
The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languages—Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages...

 and an official language of five states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

. Based on the Khariboli
Khariboli
Khariboli , also Khari Boli, Khadiboli, Khadi Boli or simply Khari, is a Western Hindi dialect spoken mainly in the rural surroundings of Delhi, the northern areas of Western Uttar Pradesh and the southern areas of Uttarakhand in India...

dialect of Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, Urdu developed under the influence of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, Arabic, and Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 over the course of almost 900 years. It began to take shape in what is now Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 during the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

 (1206–1527), and continued to develop under the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 (1526–1858). Standard Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi. Both languages share the same Indic base and are so similar in phonology and grammar that they appear to be one language. The combined population of Hindi and Urdu speakers is the fourth largest in the world.

Mughals hailed from the Barlas
Barlas
The Barlas were a Mongol - later Turkicized - nomadic confederation in Central Asia and the chief tribe of the Timurids who ruled much of Central Asia, Iran, and South Asia in the Middle Ages.- Origins :According to the Secret History of the Mongols, written during the reign of Ögedei Khan, the...

 tribe which was of Mongol origin, the tribe had embraced Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 and Persian culture, and resided in Turkestan
Turkestan
Turkestan, spelled also as Turkistan, literally means "Land of the Turks".The term Turkestan is of Persian origin and has never been in use to denote a single nation. It was first used by Persian geographers to describe the place of Turkish peoples...

 and Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

. Their mother tongue was the Chaghatai language (known to them as Turkī, "Turkic") and they were equally at home in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

of the Timurid elite. but after their arrival in the Indian subcontinent, the need to communicate with local inhabitants led to use of Indic languages written in the Persian alphabet, with some literary conventions and vocabulary retained from Persian and Turkic; this eventually became a new standard called Hindustani, which is the direct predecessor of Urdu.
Urdu is often contrasted with Hindi. Apart from religious associations, the differences are largely restricted to the standard forms
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

: Standard Urdu is conventionally written in the Nastaliq style of the Persian alphabet and relies heavily on Persian and Arabic as a source for technical and literary vocabulary, whereas Standard Hindi is conventionally written in Devanāgarī
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 and draws on Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

. However, both have large numbers of Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit words, and most linguists consider them to be two standardized forms of the same language, and consider the differences to be sociolinguistic
Sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society...

, though a few classify them separately.
Mutual intelligibility decreases in literary and specialized contexts which rely on educated vocabulary. Because of religious nationalism since the partition of British India and continued communal tensions, native speakers of both Hindi and Urdu frequently assert them to be completely distinct languages, despite the fact that they generally cannot tell the colloquial languages apart.

History




Urdu arose in the contact
Language contact
Language contact occurs when two or more languages or varieties interact. The study of language contact is called contact linguistics.Multilingualism has likely been common throughout much of human history, and today most people in the world are multilingual...

 situation which developed from the invasions of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 by Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 dynasties from the 11th century onwards, first as Sultan Mahmud
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...

 of the Ghaznavid empire conquered Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 in the early 11th century, then when the Ghurids invaded northern India in the 12th century, and most decisively with the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

.

The official language of the Ghurids
Ghurids
The Ghurids or Ghorids were a medieval Muslim dynasty of Iranian origin that ruled during the 12th and 13th centuries in Khorasan. At its zenith, their empire, centred at Ghōr , stretched over an area that included the whole of modern Afghanistan, the eastern parts of Iran and the northern section...

, Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

, the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

, and their successor states, as well as the cultured language of poetry and literature, was Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, while the language of religion was Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. Most of the Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

s and nobility in the Sultanate period were Turks from Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 who spoke Turkic
Chagatai language
The Chagatai language is an extinct Turkic language which was once widely spoken in Central Asia, and remained the shared literary language there until the early twentieth century...

 as their mother tongue. The Mughals
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 were also Chagatai, but later adopted Persian. Muzaffar Alam
Muzaffar Alam
Muzaffar Alam is the George V. Bobrinskoy Professor in South Asian Languages and Civilization at the University of Chicago.-Biography:...

 asserts that Persian became the lingua franca of the empire under Akbar for various political and social factors due to its non-sectarian and fluid nature. However, the armies, merchants, preachers, Sufis, and later the court, also incorporated the local people and the medieval Hindu literary language, Braj Bhasha. This new contact language soon incorporated other dialects, such as Haryanvi, Panjabi, and in the 17th century Khariboli
Khariboli
Khariboli , also Khari Boli, Khadiboli, Khadi Boli or simply Khari, is a Western Hindi dialect spoken mainly in the rural surroundings of Delhi, the northern areas of Western Uttar Pradesh and the southern areas of Uttarakhand in India...

, the dialect of the new capital at Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

. By 1800, Khariboli had become dominant.

The language went by several names over the years: Hindawi
Hindawi
The Hindawi Publishing Corporation is a commercial publisher of scientific, technical, and medical literature. Founded in 1997, Hindawi currently publishes more than 300+ peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as, more recently, a number of scholarly monographs. However, as of 2011-09-07, only...

or Hindī
Hindi (disambiguation)
Hindi is the name of various Indo-Aryan languages, commonly referred to as the Hindi languages with various definitions. These include:*in the narrowest sense, Modern Standard Hindi, a literary style and standard register of Hindustani...

, "[language] of India"; Dehlavi "of Delhi"; Hindustani
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

, "of Hindustan
Hindustan
Hindustan or Indostan, literal translation "Land of River Sindhu ", is one of the popular names of South Asia. It can also mean "the land of the Hindus"...

"; and Zaban-e-Urdu, "the language of the [army] camp", from which came the current name of Urdu around the year 1800.

When Wali Mohammed Wali
Wali Mohammed Wali
Wali Muhammad Wali , was a classical Urdu poet of the subcontinent....

 arrived in Delhi, he established Hindustani with a light smattering of Persian words, a register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 called Rekhta
Rekhta
Rekhta was the Persianized form of the Khariboli dialect of Hindi now known by the names "Hindustani", "Hindi", and "Urdu", although Rekhta is now almost synonymous with Urdu, as its poetry is still used and made today by Urdu speakers. From the late 17th century till the closing decades of the...

, for poetry; previously the language of poetry had been Persian. When the Delhi Sultanate expanded south to the Deccan Plateau
Deccan Plateau
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in India, making up the majority of the southern part of the country. It rises a hundred meters high in the north, rising further to more than a kilometers high in the south, forming a raised triangle nested within the familiar downward-pointing triangle of...

, they carried their literary language with them, and it was influenced there by more southerly languages, producing the Dakhini dialect of Urdu. During this time Hindustani was the language of both Hindus and Muslims. The communal nature of the language lasted until it replaced Persian as the official language in 1837 and was made coofficial along with English in the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

. This triggered a Hindu backlash in northwestern India, which argued that the language should be written in the native Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 script. This "Hindi" replaced traditional Urdu as the official register of Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 in 1881, establishing a sectarian divide of "Urdu" for Muslims and "Hindi" for Hindus, a divide that was formalized with the division of India and Pakistan after independence from the British, though there are Hindu poets who continue to write in Urdu to this day.

Although there have been attempts to purge Urdu and Hindi, respectively, of their Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 and Persian words, and new vocabulary draws primarily from Persian and Arabic for Urdu and Sanskrit for Hindi, this has primarily affected academic and literary vocabulary, and both national standards remain heavily influenced by both Persian and Sanskrit. English has exerted a heavy influence on both as a coofficial language.

Speakers and geographic distribution




There are between 60 and 70 million speakers of Urdu: there were 52 million in India per the 2001 census, some 6% of
the population; 13 million in Pakistan in 2008, or 8%; and several hundred thousand apiece in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, where it is called "Bihari". However, a knowledge of Urdu allows one to speak with far more people than that, as Hindi-Urdu
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

 is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

.

Owing to interaction with other languages, Urdu has become localized wherever it is spoken, including in Pakistan itself. Urdu in Pakistan has undergone changes and has lately incorporated and borrowed many words from Pakistani languages like Pashto, Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

, Sindhi
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

 and Balti
Balti language
Balti is a language spoken in Baltistan, in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and adjoining parts of Ladakh. Baltistan, before 1948, was part of Ladakh province. The Balti language is a dialect of the Ladakhi language, a form of Tibetan. It is mutually intelligible with Ladakhi proper and Burig...

, thus allowing speakers of the language in Pakistan to distinguish themselves more easily and giving the language a decidedly Pakistani Flavour. Similarly, the Urdu spoken in India can also be distinguished into many dialects like Dakhni (Deccan) of South India, and Khariboli of the Punjab region
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 since recent times. Because of Urdu's similarity to Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

, speakers of the two languages can easily understand one another if both sides refrain from using specialized vocabulary. The syntax (grammar), morphology, and the core vocabulary are essentially identical. Thus linguists usually count them as one single language and contend that they are considered as two different languages for socio-political reasons.
In Pakistan Urdu is mostly learned as a second or a third language as nearly 93% of Pakistan's population has a mother tongue other than Urdu. Despite this, Urdu was chosen as a token of unity and as a lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 so as not to give any native Pakistani language preference over the other. Urdu is therefore spoken and understood by the vast majority in some form or another, including a majority of urban dwellers in such cities as Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, Sialkot
Sialkot
Sialkot is a city in Pakistan situated in the north-east of the Punjab province at the foothills of snow-covered peaks of Kashmir near the Chenab river. It is the capital of Sialkot District. The city is about north-west of Lahore and only a few kilometers from Indian-controlled Jammu.The...

, Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

, Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

, Multan
Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

, Faisalabad
Faisalabad
Faisalabad , formerly known as Lyallpur, is the third largest metropolis in Pakistan, the second largest in the province of Punjab after Lahore, and a major industrial center in the heart of Pakistan. Before the foundation of the city in 1880, the area was very thinly populated. The population has...

, Hyderabad
Hyderabad, Sindh
is the second largest city in the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is the seventh largest city in the country. The city was founded in 1768 by Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro upon the ruins of a Mauryan fishing village along the bank of the Indus known as Neroon Kot...

, Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

, Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, Jhang
Jhang
- Demographics :According to 1981 census of Pakistan population of Jhang was 1,970,944 with the 434,495 housing units in Jhang. In 1998 census, population of Jhang was 2,834,545, whose annually growth rate was 2.16%. Male population was 1,474,099 and female population was 1,360,446...

, Sargodha
Sargodha
Sargodha is a city in the Sargodha District of Punjab province, Pakistan.Sargodha is located in the northwest of Pakistan. It is the eleventh largest city of Pakistan and also known as Pakistan's best citrus-producing area. It is an agricultural trade centre with various industries...

 and Skardu
Skardu
Skardu , is the main town of the region Baltistan and the capital of Skardu District, one of the districts making up Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan....

. It is written, spoken and used in all Provinces/Territories of Pakistan
Subdivisions of Pakistan
The administrative units of Pakistan consist of four provinces, one federal capital territory, and a group of federally-administered tribal areas...

 despite the fact that the people from differing provinces may have different indigenous languages, as from the fact that it is the "base language" of the country. For this reason, it is also taught as a compulsory subject up to higher secondary school in both English and Urdu medium school systems. This has produced millions of Urdu speakers from people whose mother tongue is one of the State languages of Pakistan
Provincial languages of Pakistan
The provincial languages of Pakistan are a set of languages that are spoken and used in the five Provinces of Pakistan, which are Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan respectively...

 such as Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

, Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

, Sindhi
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

, Balochi
Balochi language
Balochi is a Northwestern Iranian language. It is the principal language of the Baloch of Balochistan, Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. It is also spoken as a second language by some Brahui. It is designated as one of nine official languages of Pakistan.-Vowels:The Balochi vowel...

, Potwari, Hindko
Hindko language
Hindko , also Hindku, or Hinko, is the sixth main regional language of Pakistan. It forms a subgroup of Indo-Aryan languages spoken by Hindkowans in Pakistan and northern India, some Pashtun tribes in Pakistan, as well as by the Hindki people of Afghanistan...

, Pahari
Pahari languages
The Pahari languages are a geographic group of Indic languages spoken in the lower ranges of the Himalayas, from Nepal in the east to the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in the west.-Classification:The Pahari languages fall into three groups:*Eastern, consisting...

, Saraiki
Saraiki language
Saraiki , transliterated as Sirāikī and sometimes spelled Seraiki and Saraiki, is a standardized written language of Pakistan belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages. It is a language spoken in the heart of Pakistan...

, Balti
Balti language
Balti is a language spoken in Baltistan, in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and adjoining parts of Ladakh. Baltistan, before 1948, was part of Ladakh province. The Balti language is a dialect of the Ladakhi language, a form of Tibetan. It is mutually intelligible with Ladakhi proper and Burig...

, and Brahui but they can read and write only Urdu. It is absorbing many words from the regional languages of Pakistan. This variation of Urdu is sometimes referred to as Pakistani Urdu. So while most of the population is conversant in Urdu, it is the mother tongue only of an estimated 7% of the population, mainly Muslim immigrants (known as Muhajir in Pakistan) from different parts of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 (India, Burma, Bangladesh etc.). The regional languages are also being influenced by Urdu vocabulary. There are millions of Pakistanis whose mother tongue is not Urdu, but since they have studied in Urdu medium schools, they can read and write Urdu along with their native language. Most of the nearly five million Afghan refugees of different ethnic origins (such as Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

, Tajik, Uzbek
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

, Hazarvi, and Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

) who stayed in Pakistan for over twenty-five years have also become fluent in Urdu. With such a large number of people(s) speaking Urdu, the language has in recent years acquired a peculiar Pakistani flavour further distinguishing it from the Urdu spoken by native speakers and diversifying the language even further.


A great number of newspapers are published in Urdu in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, including the Daily Jang
Daily Jang
The Daily Jang is an Urdu newspaper based in Pakistan. It is the oldest newspaper of Pakistan in continuous publication since its foundation in 1939. Its current Group Chief Executive & Editor-in-Chief is Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman....

, Nawa-i-Waqt
Nawa-i-Waqt
Nawa-i-Waqt is an Urdu daily newspaper in Pakistan. Nawa-i-Waqt started its publishing on March 23, 1940 under the leadership of Hameed Nizami. The tradition is continued by his brother Majid Nizami. Nawa-i-Waqt is one of the largest circulating newspapers in the country...

, Millat
Millat
This article is about the Pakistani newspaper. For the Afghan TV channel, see Millat TVMillat is a bilingual Gujarati and Urdu daily newspaper based in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan....

, among many others (see List of newspapers in Pakistan#Urdu-language newspapers).

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Urdu is spoken in places where there are large Muslim minorities or cities which were bases for Muslim Empires in the past. These include parts of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 (Marathwada
Marathwada
The name Marathwada identifies one of the five regions in Maharashtra state of India. The region coincides with the Aurangabad Division.-Historical highlights:...

), Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 and cities namely Lucknow
Lucknow
Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh in India. Lucknow is the administrative headquarters of Lucknow District and Lucknow Division....

, Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, Bareilly
Bareilly
Bareilly is a prominent city in Bareilly district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Standing on the Ramganga river, it is the capital of the Bareilly division and the geographical region Rohilkhand...

, Meerut, Saharanpur
Saharanpur
Saharanpur is a city and a Municipal Corporation in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. It is the administrative headquarters of Saharanpur District as well as Saharanpur Division...

, Muzaffarnagar
Muzaffarnagar
Muzaffarnagar is a major city and a municipal board in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city was established in Mughal period by a Sayyid Jagirdar, Munawar Lashkar Ali, and so named in honour of his father, Muzaffar Ali Khan. It is the headquarters of the Muzaffarnagar district. It is a...

, Roorkee
Roorkee
Roorkee is a city and seat of a municipal council in Uttarakhand, in far northern India. It is located on the banks of the Ganges canal on the national highway between Delhi and Dehradun. Roorkee is known for Roorkee Cantonment, one of the country's oldest cantonments, and the headquarters of...

, Deoband
Deoband
Deoband is a city and a municipal board in Saharanpur district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is located in the upper Doab region of Uttar Pradesh. Deoband used to be surrounded by dense forests, and was believed to be the abode of the Goddess Durga, according to one tradition this is...

, Moradabad
Moradabad
Moradabad is a city and a municipal corporation in Moradabad district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It was established in 1600 by prince Murad, the son of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan; as a result the city came to be known as Moradabad. It is the administrative headquarters of...

, Azamgarh
Azamgarh
Azamgarh is a town in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is headquarters of Azamgarh district and Azamgarh Division.-History:Azamgarh, one of the easternmost districts of the State, once formed a part of the ancient Kosala kingdom, except the north-eastern part of it which was included in the...

, Bijnor
Bijnor
Bijnor variously spelt as Bijnaur and Bijnour, is a city and a municipal board in Bijnor district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India...

, Najibabad
Najibabad
Najibabad is a pleasant city / partially hill station and a municipal board in Bijnor district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It has a railway junction and is one of the administrative blocks of the Bijnor district...

, Rampur
Rampur, Uttar Pradesh
Rampur is a city and a municipality located in Rampur District in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Rampur district is located at Longitude 78-0-54 to 69-0-28 East and Latitude 28-25 to 29-10 North and spans an area of 2,367 km².It also gave its name to a former princely state of British...

, Aligarh, Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

, Gorakhpur
Gorakhpur
Gorakhpur is a city in the eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, near the border with Nepal. It is the administrative headquarters of Gorakhpur District and Gorakhpur Division. Gorakhpur is one of the proposed capitals of the Purvanchal state which is yet to be formed...

, Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

, Kanpur, Badaun, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Bengaluru
Bangalore
Bengaluru , formerly called Bengaluru is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is nicknamed the Garden City and was once called a pensioner's paradise. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and...

, Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, Mysore, Patna
Patna
Paṭnā , is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the second largest city in Eastern India . Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world...

, Gulbarga
Gulbarga
Gulbarga is a city in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is the administrative headquarters of Gulbarga District. It was formerly part of Nizam's Hyderabad state...

, Nanded
Nanded
Nanded is the second largest city in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, India. It is also headquarters of Nanded district in the Marathwada Division of the state. It is an important holy place for the Sikh faith and is famous for the Hazur Sahib Gurudwara. It is the district headquarters once...

, Bidar
Bidar
Bidar is a city in the Indian state of Karnataka. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the north-eastern part of Karnataka. It is the headquarters of the Bidar District....

, Ajmer
Ajmer
Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

, and Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad also known as Karnavati is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the former capital of Gujarat and is also the judicial capital of Gujarat as the Gujarat High Court has its seat in Ahmedabad...

. Some Indian schools teach Urdu as a first language and have their own syllabus and exams. Indian madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

s also teach Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as well as Urdu. India has more than 3,000 Urdu publications including 405 daily Urdu newspapers. Newspapers such as Sahara Urdu, Daily Salar, Hindustan Express, Daily Pasban, Siasat Daily, The Munsif Daily
The Munsif Daily
The Munsif Daily is a Urdu language newspaper published from Hyderabad in India. Its editor is Khan Abdul Lateef Khan. The Munsif Daily is the largest circulating Urdu newspaper in the area ....

 and Inqilab are published and distributed in Bengaluru, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 (see List of newspapers in India).

In Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, there are few publications in Urdu language, written in Nastaliq or local scripts. Radio Nepal
Radio Nepal
Radio Nepal was established on 1 April 1951. Initially, the transmission lasted for 4 hours and 30 minutes through a 250 Watt short-wave transmitter. Over the years, Radio Nepal has strengthened its institutional capacity considerably and diversified itself in terms of programme format, technical...

 broadcasts a short news pragramme in Urdu on a daily basis. Speakers of the language are mainly concentrated in the southern Terai
Terai
The Terai is a belt of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests located south of the outer foothills of the Himalaya, the Siwalik Hills, and north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and their tributaries. The Terai belongs to the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion...

 province and in the capital Kathmandu. There are a few historical settlements of Muslim population in the hills around Kaski district who continue to learn Urdu even today.

Outside South Asia, it is spoken by large numbers of migrant South Asian workers in the major urban centres of the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 countries and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. Urdu is also spoken by large numbers of immigrants and their children in the major urban centres of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Along with Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Urdu is among the immigrant languages with most speakers in Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

.

Official status


Urdu is the national and one of the two official languages of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, the other being English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, and is spoken and understood throughout the country, while the state-by-state languages (languages spoken throughout various regions) are the provincial languages
Provincial languages of Pakistan
The provincial languages of Pakistan are a set of languages that are spoken and used in the five Provinces of Pakistan, which are Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan respectively...

. It is used in education
Education in Pakistan
Education in Pakistan is overseen by the government Ministry of Education and the provincial governments, whereas the federal government mostly assists in curriculum development, accreditation and some financing of research....

, literature
Pakistani literature
Pakistan literature, that is, the literature of Pakistan, is a distinct literature that gradually came to be defined after Pakistan gained nationhood status in 1947, emerging out of literary traditions of the Indian subcontinent. The shared tradition of Urdu literature and English literature of...

, office and court business. It holds in itself a repository of the cultural
Culture of Pakistan
The society and culture of Pakistan comprises numerous diverse cultures and ethnic groups: the Punjabis, Kashmiris, Sindhis in east, Muhajirs, Makrani in the south; Baloch and Pashtun in the west; and the ancient Dardic, Wakhi and Burusho communities in the north...

 and social heritage of the country. Although English is used in most elite circles, and Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

 has a plurality of native speakers, Urdu is the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 and national language in Pakistan.

Urdu is also one of the officially recognised languages in India and has official language status in the Indian states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, Jharkhand
Jharkhand
Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east...

, Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 and the national capital, New Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

.

In Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

, section 145 of the Kashmir Constitution provides: "The official language of the State shall be Urdu but the English language shall unless the Legislature by law otherwise provides, continue to be used for all the official purposes of the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of the Constitution." As of 2010, the English language continues to be used as an official language for more than 90% of official work in Kashmir. There are ongoing efforts to make Kashmiri and Dogri, spoken as mother tongues by nearly 80% of the population of Indian-administered Kashmir, as official languages alongside English.

The importance of Urdu in the Muslim world is visible in the Holy cities of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, where most informational signage is written in Arabic, English and Urdu, and sometimes in other languages.

Dialects


Urdu has a few recognised dialects, including Dakhni, Rekhta
Rekhta
Rekhta was the Persianized form of the Khariboli dialect of Hindi now known by the names "Hindustani", "Hindi", and "Urdu", although Rekhta is now almost synonymous with Urdu, as its poetry is still used and made today by Urdu speakers. From the late 17th century till the closing decades of the...

, and Modern Vernacular Urdu (based on the Khariboli
Khariboli
Khariboli , also Khari Boli, Khadiboli, Khadi Boli or simply Khari, is a Western Hindi dialect spoken mainly in the rural surroundings of Delhi, the northern areas of Western Uttar Pradesh and the southern areas of Uttarakhand in India...

 dialect of the Delhi region). Dakhni (also known as Dakani, Deccani, Desia, Mirgan) is spoken in Deccan
Deccan Plateau
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in India, making up the majority of the southern part of the country. It rises a hundred meters high in the north, rising further to more than a kilometers high in the south, forming a raised triangle nested within the familiar downward-pointing triangle of...

 region of southern India. It is distinct by its mixture of vocabulary from Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

 and Konkani
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

, as well as some vocabulary from Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 that are not found in the standard dialect of Urdu, and may actually be a distinct Hindi language. In terms of pronunciation, the easiest way to recognize a native speaker is their pronunciation of the letter "qāf" (ﻕ) as "kh" (ﺥ). Dakhini is widely spoken in all parts of Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

. Urdu is read and written as in other parts of India. A number of daily newspapers and several monthly magazines in Urdu are published in these states.

Pakistani variant of the language spoken in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

; it becomes increasingly divergent from the Indian dialects and forms of Urdu as it has absorbed many loan words, proverbs and phonetics from Pakistan's indigenous languages such as Pashto, Panjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

 and Sindhi
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

. Furthermore, due to the region's history, the Urdu dialect of Pakistan draws heavily from the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Arabic languages, and the intonation and pronunciation are informal compared with corresponding Indian dialects.

In addition, Rekhta
Rekhta
Rekhta was the Persianized form of the Khariboli dialect of Hindi now known by the names "Hindustani", "Hindi", and "Urdu", although Rekhta is now almost synonymous with Urdu, as its poetry is still used and made today by Urdu speakers. From the late 17th century till the closing decades of the...

 (or Rekhti), the language of Urdu poetry, is sometimes counted as a separate dialect, one famously used by several British Indian poets of high acclaim in the bulk of their work. These included Mirza Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib
Dabir-ul-Mulk, Najm-ud-Daula Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan , pen-name Ghalib and Asad , was a classical Urdu and Persian poet from India during British colonial rule...

, Mir Taqi Mir
Mir Taqi Mir
Khuda-e-sukhan Mir Taqi Mir , whose real name was Muhammad Taqi and takhallus was Mir , was the leading Urdu poet of the 18th century, and one of the pioneers who gave shape to the Urdu language itself...

 and Muhammad Iqbal
Muhammad Iqbal
Sir Muhammad Iqbal , commonly referred to as Allama Iqbal , was a poet and philosopher born in Sialkot, then in the Punjab Province of British India, now in Pakistan...

, the national poet-philosopher of Pakistan.

Vocabulary



Urdu has a vocabulary rich in words with and Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern origins. The language's Indic base has been enriched by borrowing from Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. There are also a smaller number of borrowings from Chagatai
Chagatai language
The Chagatai language is an extinct Turkic language which was once widely spoken in Central Asia, and remained the shared literary language there until the early twentieth century...

, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, and more recently English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. Many of the words of Arabic origin have been adopted through Persian and have different pronunciations and nuances of meaning and usage than they do in Arabic.

Levels of formality


Urdu in its less formalised register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 has been referred to as a rekhta
Rekhta
Rekhta was the Persianized form of the Khariboli dialect of Hindi now known by the names "Hindustani", "Hindi", and "Urdu", although Rekhta is now almost synonymous with Urdu, as its poetry is still used and made today by Urdu speakers. From the late 17th century till the closing decades of the...

(ریختہ, [reːxt̪aː]), meaning "rough mixture". The more formal register of Urdu is sometimes referred to as zabān-e-Urdu-e-mo'alla (زبان اردو معلہ [zəbaːn eː ʊrd̪uː eː moəllaː]), the "Language of the Exalted Camp", referring to the Imperial Bazar.

The etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 of the word used in the Urdu language for the most part decides how polite or refined one's speech is. For example, Urdu speakers would distinguish between پانی pānī and آب āb, both meaning "water" for example, or between آدمی ādmi and مرد mard, meaning "man". The former in each set is used colloquially and has older Hindustani
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

 origins, while the latter is used formally and poetically, being of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 origin.

If a word is of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 or Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 origin, the level of speech is considered to be more formal and grand. Similarly, if Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 or Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 grammar constructs, such as the izafat
Izafat
The Izāfa or ezāfé , also written as İzafet, Izafat and Izofa, is a Persian language grammatical construct which links two words together; it consists of an unstressed vocal -e or -i that sometimes approximately corresponds to the English preposition of...

, are used in Urdu, the level of speech is also considered more formal and grand. If a word is inherited from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

, the level of speech is considered more colloquial and personal.

That distinction has likenesses with the division between words from a French or Old English origin while speaking English.

Politeness


Urdu syntax and vocabulary reflect a three tiered system of politeness called ādāb. Due to its emphasis on politeness and propriety, Urdu has always been considered an elevated, somewhat aristocratic, language in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It continues to conjure a subtle, polished affect in South Asian linguistic and literary sensibilities and thus continues to be preferred for song-writing and poetry, even by non-native speakers.

Any verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

 can be conjugated as per three or four different tiers of politeness. For example, the verb to speak in Urdu is bolnā (بولنا) and the verb to sit is baiţhnā (بیٹھنا). The imperatives "speak!" and "sit!" can thus be conjugated five different ways, each marking subtle variation in politeness and propriety. These permutations exclude a host of auxiliary verbs and expressions which can be added to these verbs to add even greater degree of subtle variation. For extremely polite or formal situations, nearly all commonly used verbs have equivalent formal synonyms (Row 5 below). The phrase category '[āp] bolo', mentioned in Row 3 below, is associated with the Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

 usage 'tusi bolo' and is rarely used in written Urdu. It is considered grammatically incorrect, particularly in the Gangetic Plain, where the influence of Punjabi on Urdu is minimal.
Literary* [tu] bol! تو بول [tu] baiţh! تو بیٹھ
Casual and Intimate [tum] bolo. تم بولو [tum] baiţho تم بیٹھو
Polite and Intimate [āp] bolo آپ بولو [āp] baiţho. آپ بیٹھو
Formal yet Intimate [āp] bolen آپ بولیں [āp] baiţhen. آپ بیٹھیں
Polite and Formal [āp] bolīye آپ بولیئے [āp] baiţhīye. آپ بیٹھیئے
Ceremonial / Extremely Formal [āp] farmaīye آپ فرمایئے [āp] tašrīf-rakhīye. آپ تشریف رکھیئے


Similarly, nouns are also marked for politeness and formality. For example, uskī vālida, "his mother" is a politer way of say uskī ammī. Uskī vālida-mohtarmā is an even more polite reference, while saying uskī mān would be construed as derogatory. None of these forms are slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 or shortenings, and all are encountered in writing.

Expressions are also marked or politeness. For example, the expression "No!" could be , nahīn or jī-nahīn in order of politeness. Similarly, "Yes!" can be hān-jī, hān, or jī-hān in order of politeness.

Writing system



Persian script


Urdu is written right-to left in an extension of the Persian alphabet, which is itself an extension of the Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

. Urdu is associated with the Nastaʿlīq style of Persian calligraphy
Persian calligraphy
Persian Calligraphy is the calligraphy of Persian writing system. It has been one of the most revered arts throughout Persian history. It is considered to be one of the most eye catching and fascinating manifestations of Persian culture.-History:...

, whereas Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 is generally written in the Naskh
Naskh (script)
Naskh is a specific calligraphic style for writing in the Arabic alphabet, thought to be invented by the Iranian calligrapher Ibn Muqlah Shirazi . The root of this Arabic term means "to copy". It either refers to the fact that it replaced its predecessor, Kufic script, or that this style allows...

or Ruq'ah
Ruq`ah script
or is a calligraphic variety of Arabic script. The style of handwriting is the most common type of handwriting. It is known for its clipped letters composed of short, straight lines and simple curves, as well as its straight and even lines of text. It was probably derived from the Thuluth and...

styles. Nasta’liq is notoriously difficult to typeset, so Urdu newspapers were hand-written by masters of calligraphy, known as katib or khush-navees, until the late 1980s.

Kaithi script


Urdu was also written in the Kaithi
Kaithi
Kaithi , also called "Kayathi" or "Kayasthi", is the name of a historical script used widely in parts of North India, primarily in the former North-Western Provinces, Oudh and Bihar...

 script. A highly Persianized and technical form of Urdu was the lingua franca of the law courts of the British administration in Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, and the North-West Provinces & Oudh. Until the late 19th century, all proceedings and court transactions in this register of Urdu were written officially in the Persian script. In 1880, Sir Ashley Eden
Ashley Eden
The Hon. Sir Ashley Eden KCSI CIE was an official and diplomat in British India.Eden was the third son of Robert John Eden, 3rd Lord Auckland and bishop of Bath and Wells. His uncle was George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland...

, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal abolished the use of the Persian alphabet in the law courts of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 and ordered the exclusive use of Kaithi
Kaithi
Kaithi , also called "Kayathi" or "Kayasthi", is the name of a historical script used widely in parts of North India, primarily in the former North-Western Provinces, Oudh and Bihar...

, a popular script used for both Urdu and Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

. Kaithi's association with Urdu and Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 was ultimately eliminated by the political contest between these languages and their scripts, in which the Persian script was definitively linked to Urdu.

Devanagari script


More recently in India, Urdu speakers have adopted Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 for publishing Urdu periodicals and have innovated new strategies to mark Urdū in Devanagari as distinct from Hindi in Devanagari. Such publishers have introduced new orthographic features into Devanagari for the purpose of representing the Perso-Arabic etymology of Urdu words. One example is the use of अ (Devanagari a) with vowel signs to mimic contexts of ع (‘ain
Ayin
' or ' is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic . It is the twenty-first letter in the new Persian alphabet...

), in violation of Hindi orthographic rules. For Urdu publishers, the use of Devanagari gives them a greater audience, while the orthographic changes help them preserve a distinct identity of Urdu.

Roman script


Urdu is occasionally also written in the Roman script
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

. Roman Urdu
Roman Urdu
Roman Urdu is the name used for the Urdū language written with the Roman alphabet.According to the famous Urdū scholar Habib R. Sulemani: "Roman Urdu is strongly opposed by the traditional Arabic script lovers...

 has been used since the days of the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

, partly as a result of the availability and low cost of Roman movable type
Movable type
Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document ....

 for printing presses. The use of Roman Urdu was common in contexts such as product labels. Today it is regaining popularity among users of text-messaging and Internet services and is developing its own style and conventions. Habib R. Sulemani
Habib R. Sulemani
Habib R. Sulemani is a poet, writer and journalist, living in Pakistan. He has been writing in three languages: English, Urdu and Wakhi....

 says, "The younger generation of Urdu-speaking people around the world, especially Pakistan, are using Romanised Urdu on the Internet and it has become essential for them, because they use the Internet and English is its language. Typically, in that sense, a person from Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

 in Pakistan may chat with another in Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 on the Internet only in Roman Urdū. They both speak the same language but would have different scripts. Moreover, the younger generation of those who are from the English medium schools or settled in the west, can speak Urdu but can’t write it in the traditional Arabic script and thus Roman Urdu is a blessing for such a population."

Differences with Persian alphabet


Persian alphabet has been extended for Urdu with additional letters ٹ,ڈ,ڑ. In order to make the language suitable for the people of South Asia (mainly Pakistan), two letters ہ and ی have added dimensions in use. ہ is used independently as any other letter in words such as ہم (we) and باہم (mutual). As an extended use, ہ is also used denote uniquely defined phonetics of South Asian origin. Here it is referred as do-chashmi he and it follows the nearest letters of the Persian alphabet to render the required phonetic. Some example of the words are دھڑکن (heartbeat), بھارت (India). On the other hand ی is used in two vowel forms: Chhoti ye (ی) and Badi ye (ے). Chhoti ye denotes the vowel sound similar to "ea" in the English word beat as in the word ساتھی (companion). Chhoti ye is also used as the Urdu consonant "Y" as in word یار (companion/friend). Badi ye is supposed to give the sound similar to "a" in the word "late" (full vowel sound - not like a diphthong) as in the word کے (of). However, in the written form both badi ye and chhoti ye are same when the vowel falls in the middle of a word and the letters need to be joint according to the rules of the Urdu grammar. Badi ye is also used to play a supporting role for a diphthong sound such as the English "i" as in the word "bite" as in the word مے (wine). However, no difference of ye is seen in words such as کیسا (how) where the vowel comes in the middle of the written word. Similarly the letter و is used to denote vowel sound -oo similar to the word "food" as in لوٹ (loot), "o" similar to the word "vote" as in دو (two) and it is also used as a consonant "w" similar to the word "war" as in وظیفہ (pension). It is also used as a supportive letter in the diphthong construction similar to the "ou" in the word "mount" as in the word کون (who). و is silent in many word of Persian origin such as خواب (dream), خواہش (desire). It has diminutive sound similar to "ou" in words such as "would", "could" as in the words خود (self), خوش (happy). The vowel/accent marks (اعراب) mainly support the core Arabic vowels. Non-Arabic vowels such as -o- in mor مور- (peacock) and the -e- as in Estonia (ایسٹونیا) are referred as مجہول (alien/ignorant phonetics) and hence are not supported by the vowel/accent marks (اعراب). A description of these vowel marks and the word formation in Urdu can be found at this website.

Encoding Urdu in Unicode


Like other writing systems derived from the Arabic Script, Urdu uses the 0600-06FF Unicode range. Certain glyphs in this range appear visually similar (or identical when presented using particular fonts) even though the underlying encoding is different. This presents problems for information storage and retrieval. For example, the University of Chicago's electronic copy of John Shakespear's "A Dictionary, Hindustani, and English" includes the word 'بهارت' (India). Searching for the string "بھارت" returns no results, while querying with the (identical-looking in many fonts) string "بهارت" returns the correct entry. This is because the medial form of the Urdu letter do chashmi he (U+06BE) - used to form aspirate digraphs in Urdu - is visually identical in its medial form to the Arabic letter hāʾ (U+0647; phonetic value /h/). In Urdu, the /h/ phoneme is represented by the character U+06C1, called gol he (round he), or chhoti he (small he).
[Confusable Glyphs in Urdu and Arabic script]
Urdu-use Characters Arabic-use Characters
ہ (U+06C1), ھ (U+06BE) ه (U+0647)
ی (U+06CC) ى (U+0649), ي (U+064A)
ک (U+06A9) ك (U+0643)


In 2003, the Center for Research in Urdu Language Processing (CRULP) - a research organization affiliated with Pakistan's National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences
National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences
The National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences is a university in Pakistan with headquarters at Islamabad and campuses at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar...

 - produced a proposal for mapping from the 1-byte UZT encoding of Urdu characters to the Unicode standard. This proposal suggests a preferred Unicode glyph for each character in the Urdu alphabet.

Sample text



The following is a sample text in (formal Urdu), of the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

 (by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

):

Persian text


Transliteration (ALA-LC)

.

IPA Transcription

d̪əfa ek: t̪əmam ɪnsan azad̪ ɔɾ hʊquq o ʔizət̪ ke ɪʔt̪ɪbaɾ se bəɾabəɾ pɛda hʊe hẽ. ʊnʱẽ zəmiɾ ɔɾ ʔəqəl ʋədiət̪ hʊi he. ɪslɪe ʊnʱẽ ek d̪usɾe ke sat̪ʰ bʱai tʃaɾe ka sʊluk kəɾna tʃahɪe.

Gloss (word-for-word)

Article 1: All humans free[,] and rights and dignity *('s) consideration from equal born are. To them conscience and intellect endowed is. Therefore, they one another *('s) with brotherhood *('s) treatment do should.

Translation (grammatical)

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience. Therefore, they should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Note: *('s) represents a possessive case which when written is preceded by the possessor and followed by the possessed, unlike the English "of".

Literature


Religious


Urdu holds the largest collection of works on Islamic literature
Islamic literature
Islamic literature is literature written with an Islamic perspective, in any language.The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , which was a compilation of many earlier folk tales told by the Persian Queen Scheherazade...

 and Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

. These include translations and interpretation of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 as well as commentary on Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

, Fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

, history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, spirituality
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

, Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 and metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

. A great number of classical texts from Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, have also been translated into Urdu. Relatively inexpensive publishing, combined with the use of Urdu as a lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 among Muslims of South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, has meant that Islam-related works in Urdu far outnumber such works in any other South Asian language. Popular Islamic books are also written in Urdu.

Literary



Poetry


Urdu has been one of the premier languages of poetry in South Asia for two centuries, and has developed a rich tradition in a variety of poetic genres. The Ghazal
Ghazal
The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century...

 in Urdu represents the most popular form of subjective music and poetry, while the Nazm
Nazm
Urdu Nazm is a major part of the Urdu poetry, that is normally written in rhymed verse and also in modern prose style poems. Nazm has many different forms as,* Doha * Geet * Hamd * Hazal * Hijv...

 exemplifies the objective kind, often reserved for narrative, descriptive, didactic or satirical purposes. Under the broad head of the Nazm we may also include the classical forms of poems known by specific names such as Masnavi
Masnavi
The Masnavi, Masnavi-I Ma'navi or Mesnevi , also written Mathnawi, Ma'navi, or Mathnavi, is an extensive poem written in Persian by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, the celebrated Persian Sufi saint and poet. It is one of the best known and most influential works of both Sufism and Persian literature...

 (a long narrative poem in rhyming couplets on any theme: romantic, religious, or didactic), Marsia
Marsia
Marsiya is an elegiac poem written to commemorate the martyrdom and valour of Hussain and his comrades of the Karbala...

 (an elegy traditionally meant to commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Husayn ibn Ali
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

, grandson of Muhammad, and his comrades of the Karbala
Karbala
Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people ....

 fame), or Qasida
Qasida
The qaṣīdaᵗ , in Arabic: قصيدة, plural qasā'id, قــصــائـد; in Persian: قصیده , is a form of lyric poetry that originated in preIslamic Arabia...

 (a panegyric written in praise of a king or a nobleman), for all these poems have a single presiding subject, logically developed and concluded.

Probably the most widely recited, and memorised genre of contemporary Urdu poetry is nāt
Naat
A Na`at is a poetry that specifically praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Many of the famous scholars in the earlier days of Islam wrote Naat. People who recite Naat are known as Naat-Khua'an or Sana'a-Khua'an.-History:...

—panegyric poetry written in praise of the Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

. Nāt can be of any formal category, but is most commonly in the ghazal form. The language used in Urdu nāt ranges from the intensely colloquial to a highly Persified formal language. The great early 20th century scholar Ala Hazrat, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, who wrote many of the most well known nāts in Urdu (the collection of his poetic work is Hadaiq-e-Baqhshish), epitomised this range in a ghazal of nine stanzas (bayt) in which every stanza contains half a line each of Arabic, Persian, formal Urdu, and colloquial Hindi. The same poet composed a salām—a poem of greeting to the Prophet Muhammad, derived from the unorthodox practice of qiyam, or standing, during the mawlid
Mawlid
Mawlid or sometimes ميلاد , mīlād is a term used to refer to the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which occurs in Rabi' al-awwal,...

, or celebration of the birth of the Prophet—Mustafā Jān-e Rahmat, which, due to being recited on Fridays in some Urdu speaking mosques throughout the world, is probably the most frequently recited Urdu poem of the modern era. Another notable nāt
Naat
A Na`at is a poetry that specifically praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Many of the famous scholars in the earlier days of Islam wrote Naat. People who recite Naat are known as Naat-Khua'an or Sana'a-Khua'an.-History:...

 natkhwan (writer) is Maulana Shabnam Kamali whose nāts have been widely appreciated and acknowledged.

Another important genre of Urdu prose are the poems commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

(r.a) at the Battle of Karbala
Battle of Karbala
The Battle of Karbala took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 of the Islamic calendar in Karbala, in present day Iraq. On one side of the highly uneven battle were a small group of supporters and relatives of Muhammad's grandson Husain ibn Ali, and on the other was a large military detachment...

, called noha
Noha
Noha is a genre of Arabic, Persian, or Urdu prose depicting the martyrdom of the Holy Imams. Strictly speaking noha is the sub-parts of Marsia. Nohas are usually poetry expressing the sorrow felt by Shia Muslims for their leaders....

 (نوحہ) and marsia
Marsia
Marsiya is an elegiac poem written to commemorate the martyrdom and valour of Hussain and his comrades of the Karbala...

. Anees
Mir Babar Ali Anis
Mir Babbar Ali Anees was a renowned Urdu poet. He was born in Faizabad in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in 1803 and died in 1874....

 and Dabeer
Mirza Salaamat Ali Dabeer
Mirza Salaamat Ali Dabeer was a leading Urdu poet who excelled and perfected the art of Marsiya writing. He is considered the leading exponent of Marsiya Nigari or marsiya writing along with Mir Anis....

 are famous in this regard.

Terminology


Ash'ār (اشعار, couplet). It consists of two lines called Misra (مصرعہ); first line is called مصرع اولی (Misra-e-oola) and the second is called (مصرعہ ثانی) (Misra-e-sānī). Each verse embodies a single thought or subject (singular) شعر She'r.

In the Urdu poetic tradition, most poets use a pen name called the takhallus. This can be either a part of a poet's given name or something else adopted as an identity. The traditional convention in identifying Urdu poets is to mention the takhallus at the end of the name. Thus Ghalib, whose official name and title was Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan, is referred to formally as Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, or in common parlance as just Mirza Ghalib. Because the takhallus can be a part of their actual name, some poets end up having that part of their name repeated, such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

The word takhallus is derived from Arabic, meaning "ending". This is because in the ghazal form, the poet would usually incorporate his or her pen name into the final couplet (maqta) of each poem as a type of "signature".

Urdu poetry example


This is Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib
Dabir-ul-Mulk, Najm-ud-Daula Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan , pen-name Ghalib and Asad , was a classical Urdu and Persian poet from India during British colonial rule...

's famous couplet in which he compares himself to his great predecessor, the master poet Mir
Mir Taqi Mir
Khuda-e-sukhan Mir Taqi Mir , whose real name was Muhammad Taqi and takhallus was Mir , was the leading Urdu poet of the 18th century, and one of the pioneers who gave shape to the Urdu language itself...

:

Transliteration

Translation
You are not the only master of Rekhta*, Ghalib
They say that in the past there also was someone named Mir.


Urdu and Hindi



Modern Standard Urdu and Modern Standard Hindi are considered different languages officially and in the sociolinguistic sense. However, they are not even distinct dialects, but rather different literary styles of a single dialect, Dehlavi. At the colloquial level they are virtually identical, to the point that speakers often cannot tell whether someone is speaking "Hindi" or "Urdu". There are minor differences in vocabulary and the pronunciation of foreign sounds, but the grammar is identical, and both styles have heavy Persian and Sanskrit influences. This ambiguous colloquial language is often called Hindustani
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

, and is intentionally used in Bollywood films to target a more universal audience, including Pakistan. In formal and academic register
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

s, however, the differences in vocabulary become substantial, with Urdu drawing from Arabic and Persian, and Hindi from Sanskrit, to the point where they become mutually unintelligible. There is also the convention, generally followed, of Urdu being written in Persio-Arabic script, and Hindi in Devanagari.

These two standardised registers of Hindustani have become so entrenched as separate languages that often nationalists, both Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 and Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

, claim that Urdu and Hindi have always been separate languages. There have been some observations that the "fully standardized" Hindi register is artificial enough to make it partially incomprehensible to many people classified as Hindi speakers.

Because of the difficulty in distinguishing between Urdu and Hindi speakers in India and Pakistan and estimating the number of people for whom Urdu is a second language the estimated number of speakers is uncertain and controversial. For further information the reader is referred to the following Wikipedia articles: Hindi-Urdu controversy
Hindi-Urdu controversy
The Hindi–Urdu controversy is an ongoing dispute—dating back to the 19th century—regarding the establishment of a single standard language in certain areas of north and northwestern India; while the debate was officially settled by government order in 1950, some resistance remains...

, Hindustani language
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

 and Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...


Phrases

English Urdu Transliteration Notes
Peace be upon you (Hello) السلام علیکم lit. "Peace be upon you." (from Arabic)
Peace be upon you too (Hello) و علیکم السلام lit. "And upon you, peace." Response to (from Arabic)
Hello (آداب (عرض ہے ādāb (arz hai) lit. "Regards (are expressed)", a very formal secular greeting
Goodbye خُدا حافظ lit. "May God be your Guardian" (from Persian).
yes ہاں casual
yes جی formal
yes جی ہاں confident formal
no نہ casual
no نہیں، جی نہیں casual; formal
please مہربانی lit. "kindness" Also used for "thank you"
thank you شُکریہ from Arabic shukran
Please come in تشریف لائیے lit. "(Please) bring your honour"
Please have a seat تشریف رکھیئے lit. "(Please) place your honour"
I am happy to meet you آپ سے مل کر خوشی ہوئی
Do you speak English? کیا آپ انگریزی بولتے ہیں؟ lit. "Do you speak English?"
I do not speak Urdu. میں اردو نہیں بولتا/بولتی boltā is masculine, boltī is feminine
My name is ... میرا نام ۔۔۔ ہے
Which way to Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

?
لاھور کس طرف ہے؟ lit. "What direction is Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 in?"
Where is Lucknow
Lucknow
Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh in India. Lucknow is the administrative headquarters of Lucknow District and Lucknow Division....

?
لکھنؤ کہاں ہے؟
Urdu is a good language. اردو اچھی زبان ہے lit. "Urdu is a good language"

Software


The Daily Jang
Daily Jang
The Daily Jang is an Urdu newspaper based in Pakistan. It is the oldest newspaper of Pakistan in continuous publication since its foundation in 1939. Its current Group Chief Executive & Editor-in-Chief is Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman....

/daily waqt was the first Urdu newspaper to be typeset digitally in Nasta’liq by computer. There are efforts underway to develop more sophisticated and user-friendly Urdu support on computers and the Internet. Nowadays, nearly all Urdu newspapers, magazines, journals, and periodicals are composed on computers via various Urdu software programmes, the most widespread of which is InPage
InPage
InPage is a page layout software for languages such as Urdu, Persian, Pashto and Arabic under Windows which was first developed in 1994. It is primarily used for creating pages in the language of Urdu, using the Nasta`līq style of Arabic script...

 Desktop Publishing package. Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 has included Urdu language support in all new versions of Windows and both Windows Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

 and Microsoft Office 2007
Microsoft Office 2007
Microsoft Office 2007 is a Windows version of the Microsoft Office System, Microsoft's productivity suite. Formerly known as Office 12 in the initial stages of its beta cycle, it was released to volume license customers on November 30, 2006 and made available to retail customers on January 30, 2007...

 are available in Urdu through Language Interface Pack
Language Interface Pack
In Microsoft terminology, a Language Interface Pack is a localized skin for localizing software in emerging or minority language markets, such as Lithuanian, Serbian, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Thai...

 support. Most Linux Desktop distributions allow the easy installation of Urdu support and translations as well.

See also


  • Badshah Munir Bukhari
    Badshah Munir Bukhari
    Badshah Munir Bukhari Badshah Munir Bukhari Badshah Munir Bukhari (Urdu: بادشاہ منیر بخاری; is a linguist from Northern Pakistan. A native of Chitral, he is an Professor in linguistics and a member of the Department of Urdu, University of Peshawar....

  • Ghazal
    Ghazal
    The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century...

  • Hindi–Urdu controversy
  • Hindi-Urdu phonology
    Hindi-Urdu phonology
    Modern Standard Hindi is the official language of India, while Urdu is the national language of Pakistan as well as a scheduled language in India...

  • Languages of India
    Languages of India
    The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languages—Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages...

  • Languages of Pakistan
    Languages of Pakistan
    Languages of Pakistan include two official languages: Urdu, which is also Pakistan's national language and lingua franca, and English. Additionally, Pakistan has four major provincial languages: Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Farsi and Balochi, as well as three major regional languages: Saraiki, Hindko...

  • List of Urdu language poets
  • List of Urdu language writers
  • List of Wikipedias
  • National Translation Mission
    National Translation Mission
    National Translation Mission is a Government of India initiative to make knowledge texts accessible, in all Indian languages listed in the VIII schedule of the Constitution, through translation. NTM was set up as per National Knowledge Commission's recommendation...

    (NTM)
  • Persian and Urdu
    Persian and Urdu
    The Persian language influenced the formation of many modern languages of the Greater Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asian regions, including Urdu....

  • Urdu in Aurangabad
    Urdu in Aurangabad
    Aurangabad is one of the historical cities of the Deccan, India. It is well-known for its literary and cultural traditions. As this city was the stronghold of the Mughals, a number of civil and military officers, men of letters, citizens, etc., from Delhi came here with the result that Aurangabad...

  • States of India by Urdu speakers
    States of India by Urdu speakers
    As per Government of India census data of 2001 total number of Urdu speakers in India were 51,536,111 which amounts to 5.01% of total population.-Regional distribution:...

  • Uddin and Begum Urdu-Hindustani Romanization
    Uddin and Begum Urdu-Hindustani Romanization
    The Modern International Standard Letters of Alphabet for URDU - HINDUSTANI - ["THE" INDIAN LANGUAGE]Urdu, Hindustani or The Indian Language is a language that has evolved over the subcontinent of Hindustan over the centuries as its lingua franca among a rich and fertile grounds of diverse Indian...

  • Urdu Digest
    Urdu Digest
    Urdu Digest is a monthly magazine of Pakistan. It is first Digest of Pakistan, 1st print published on November 1960 in Lahore. Appearance is similar to the famous USA monthly, Reader's Digest. It is popular among upper, middle and lower middle classes of Pakistan. Its writings present a...

  • Urdu Informatics
    Urdu Informatics
    Urdu Informatics relates to the research and contributions in bringing the utilities and usage of Urdu to the modern information and communication technologies in education and business. National Language Authority in Pakistan has been at the forefront in introducing Urdu Informatics as a tool for...

  • Urdu keyboard
    Urdu keyboard
    The Urdu keyboardاردو is any keyboard layout for an Urdu computer and typewriter keyboards. Since the first Urdu typewriter was made available in 1911, the layout has gone through various phases of evolution. With time, the variety of layouts introduced in the 1950s for mechanised compositions have...

  • Urdu literature
    Urdu literature
    Urdu literature has a long and colorful history that is inextricably tied to the development of that very language, Urdu, in which it is written...

  • Urdu poetry
    Urdu poetry
    Urdu poetry is a rich tradition of poetry and has many different types and forms. Borrowing much from the Persian language, it is today an important part of Pakistani and North Indian culture....


Further Reading

the University of Michiganthe University of MichiganOxford UniversityOxford Universitythe New York Public LibraryOxford University