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Urdu (;"Urdu"
''
Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary ''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary'' is a large American dictionary, first published in 1966 as ''The Random House Dictionary of the English Language: The Unabridged Edition''. Edited by Editor-in-chief Jess Stein, it contained 315,0 ...
''.
ur, , link=no, ) is an
Indo-Aryan language The Indo-Aryan languages (or sometimes Indic languages) are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. As of the early 21st century, they have more than 800 million speakers, primarily ...
spoken chiefly in
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...
. It is the
national language A national language is a language (or variety (linguistics), language variant, e.g. dialect) that has some connection—de facto or de jure—with a nation. There is little consistency in the use of this term. One or more languages spoken as fir ...
and ''
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
'' of
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 24 ...
, where it is also an
official language An official language is a language given supreme status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciary, ...
alongside English. In
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
, Urdu is an Eighth Schedule language whose status and cultural heritage is recognized by the
Constitution of India The Constitution of India (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration, IAST: ) is the supreme law of India. The document lays down the framework that demarcates fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of ...
; Quote: "The Eighth Schedule recognizes India's national languages as including the major regional languages as well as others, such as Sanskrit and Urdu, which contribute to India's cultural heritage. ... The original list of fourteen languages in the Eighth Schedule at the time of the adoption of the Constitution in 1949 has now grown to twenty-two." Quote: "As Mahapatra says: “It is generally believed that the significance for the Eighth Schedule lies in providing a list of languages from which Hindi is directed to draw the appropriate forms, style and expressions for its enrichment” ... Being recognized in the Constitution, however, has had significant relevance for a language's status and functions. it also has an official status in several Indian states. In
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), formerly the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...
, Urdu is a registered regional dialect. The Urdu language has been described as a Persianised register of the
Hindustani language Hindustani (; Devanagari: , * * * * ; Nastaliq, Perso-Arabic: , , ) is the ''lingua franca'' of North India, Northern and Deccan Plateau, Central India and Pakistan. Hindustani is a pluricentric language with two Standard language, stand ...
; Urdu and
Hindi Hindi (Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of North India, northern, Central India, centr ...
share a common
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
- and
Prakrit The Prakrits (; sa, prākṛta; psu, 𑀧𑀸𑀉𑀤, ; pka, ) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the w ...
-derived vocabulary base,
phonology Phonology is the branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds or, for sign languages, their constituent parts of signs. The term can also refer specifically to the sound or sign system of a ...
,
syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relations, hierarchical sentence st ...
, and grammar, making them
mutually intelligible In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related Variety (linguistics), varieties can readily understand each other without prior familiarity or special effort. It ...
during colloquial communication. While formal Urdu draws literary, political, and technical vocabulary from Persian, formal Hindi draws these aspects from Sanskrit; consequently, the two languages' mutual intelligibility effectively decreases as the factor of formality increases. In 1837, the
British East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
chose Urdu as the language to replace Persian across northern India during Company rule; Persian had until this point served as the court language of various Indo-Islamic empires. Religious, social, and political factors arose during the European colonial period that advocated a distinction between Urdu and Hindi, leading to the Hindi–Urdu controversy. Urdu became a literary language in the 18th century and two similar standard forms came into existence in
Delhi Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. Straddling the Yamuna river, primarily its western or right bank, Delhi shares borders wi ...
and
Lucknow Lucknow (, ) is the List of state and union territory capitals in India, capital and the largest city of the List of state and union territory capitals in India, Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and it is also the List of million-plus urban agg ...
. Since the
partition of India The Partition of British India in 1947 was the Partition (politics), change of political borders and the division of other assets that accompanied the dissolution of the British Raj in South Asia and the creation of two independent dominions: ...
in 1947, a third standard has arisen in the Pakistani city of
Karachi Karachi (; ur, ; ; ) is the List of cities in Pakistan by population, most populous city in Pakistan and 12th List of largest cities, most populous city in the world, with a population of over 20 million. It is situated at the Geography of ...
. Deccani, an older form used in
Deccan The large Deccan Plateau in South India, southern India is located between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, and is loosely defined as the peninsular region between these ranges that is south of the Narmada river. To the north, it is bou ...
, became a court language of the
Deccan sultanates The Deccan sultanates were five Islamic Medieval India, late-medieval Indian kingdoms—on the Deccan Plateau between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range—that were ruled by Muslim dynasties: namely Ahmadnagar Sultanate, Ahmadnagar, Berar ...
by the 16th century. According to 2018 estimates by
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as ''Ethnoloɠue'') is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It is the world's most comprehensi ...
, Urdu is the 10th-most widely spoken language in the world, with 230 million total speakers, including those who speak it as a
second language A person's second language, or L2, is a language that is not the First language, native language (first language or L1) of the speaker, but is learned later. A second language may be a neighbouring language, another language of the speaker's home ...
.


Etymology

The name ''Urdu'' was first used by the poet Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi around 1780 for
Hindustani language Hindustani (; Devanagari: , * * * * ; Nastaliq, Perso-Arabic: , , ) is the ''lingua franca'' of North India, Northern and Deccan Plateau, Central India and Pakistan. Hindustani is a pluricentric language with two Standard language, stand ...
even though he himself also used Hindavi term in his poetry to define the language. ''Ordu'' means army in the
Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of over 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Western Asia. The Turkic languag ...
. In late 18th century, it was known as ''Zaban-e-Urdu ay'' ''Mualla'' ''زبانِ'' ''اردو'' ''اے'' ''معلّی'' means ''language of the exalted camp''. Earlier it was known as Hindvi,
Hindi Hindi (Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of North India, northern, Central India, centr ...
and Hindustani.


History

Urdu, like
Hindi Hindi (Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of North India, northern, Central India, centr ...
, is a form of Hindustani. Some linguists have suggested that the earliest forms of Urdu evolved from the medieval (6th to 13th century) Apabhraṃśa register of the preceding
Shauraseni language Shauraseni Prakrit (, ) was a Middle Indo-Aryan language and a Dramatic Prakrit. Shauraseni was the chief language used in drama in northern middle kingdoms of India, medieval India. Most of the material in this language originates from the 3rd ...
, a Middle Indo-Aryan language that is also the ancestor of other modern Indo-Aryan languages.


Origins

In the Delhi region of India the native language was Khariboli, whose earliest form is known as
Old Hindi Old Hindi was the earliest stage of the Delhi dialect (Khariboli) of the Hindustani language, and so the ancestor of Modern Hindi and Modern Urdu. It developed from Shauraseni Prakrit and was spoken by the peoples of the Hindi Belt, especially aro ...
(or Hindavi). It belongs to the
Western Hindi The Central Indo-Aryan languages or Hindi languages are a group of related language Variety (linguistics), varieties Spoken across North India and Central India. These language varieties form the central part of the Indo-Aryan language family, ...
group of the Central Indo-Aryan languages. The contact of Hindu and Muslim cultures during the period of Islamic conquests in the Indian subcontinent (12th to 16th centuries) led to the development of Hindustani as a product of a composite
Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb ''Ganga–Jamuni Tehzeeb'' (Hindustani language, Hindustani for ''Ganges–Yamuna Culture''), also spelled as ''Ganga-Jamni Tehzeeb'' or just Hindustani Tehzeeb, is the high culture that arose in the Yamuna, Yamuna-Gangetic plains of northern I ...
. In cities such as Delhi, the Indian language Old Hindi began to acquire many Persian loanwords and continued to be called "Hindi" and later, also "Hindustani". An early literary tradition of Hindavi was founded by
Amir Khusrau Abu'l Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrau (1253–1325 AD), better known as Amīr Khusrau was an Indo-Persian culture, Indo-Persian Sufi singer, musician, poet and scholar who lived under the Delhi Sultanate. He is an iconic figure in the cultural his ...
in the late 13th century. After the conquest of the
Deccan The large Deccan Plateau in South India, southern India is located between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, and is loosely defined as the peninsular region between these ranges that is south of the Narmada river. To the north, it is bou ...
, and a subsequent immigration of noble Muslim families into the south, a form of the language flourished in medieval India as a vehicle of poetry, (especially under the Bahmanids), and is known as
Dakhini Deccani (also known as Deccani Urdu and Deccani Hindi). https://knowledgehubadda.blogspot.com/2022/02/blog-post_74.html? m=1 or Dakni, Dakhni, Dakhini, Dakkhani and Dakkani (, ''dekanī'' or , ''dakhanī''), is a variety of Urdu language, Hin ...
, which contains loanwords from Telugu and Marathi. From the 13th century until the end of the 18th century the language now known as Urdu was called ''Hindi'', ''Hindavi'', ''Hindustani'', ''Dehlavi'', ''Lahori'', and ''Lashkari''. The
Delhi Sultanate The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic empire based in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526).
established Persian as its official language in India, a policy continued by the
Mughal Empire The Mughal Empire was an early-modern empire that controlled much of South Asia between the 16th and 19th centuries. Quote: "Although the first two Timurid emperors and many of their noblemen were recent migrants to the subcontinent, the d ...
, which extended over most of northern
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...
from the 16th to 18th centuries and cemented Persian influence on Hindustani. According to the Tashih Gharaib-ul-Lughat by Khan-i Arzu, the "Zaban-e Urdu-e Shahi" anguage of the Imperial Camphad attained special importance in the time of Alamgir". By the end of the reign of
Aurangzeb Muhi al-Din Muhammad (; – 3 March 1707), commonly known as ( fa, , lit=Ornament of the Throne) and by his regnal title Alamgir ( fa, , translit=ʿĀlamgīr, lit=Conqueror of the World), was the sixth emperor of the Mughal Empire, ruling ...
in the early 1700s, the common language around Delhi began to be referred to as ''Zaban-e-Urdu'', a name derived from the Turkic word ''ordu'' (army) or ''orda'' and is said to have arisen as the "language of the camp", or "''Zaban-i-Ordu''" means "''Language of High camps''" or natively "''Lashkari Zaban''" means "''Language'' ''of'' ''Army''". It is recorded that Aurangzeb spoke in Hindvi, which was most likely Persianized, as there are substantial evidence that Hindvi was written in the Persian script in this period. During this time period Urdu was referred to as "Moors", which simply meant Muslim, by European writers. John Ovington wrote in 1689:
The language of the Moors is different from that of the ancient original inhabitants of India but is oblig'd to these Gentiles for its characters. For though the ''Moors dialect'' is peculiar to themselves, yet it is destitute of Letters to express it; and therefore, in all their Writings in their Mother Tongue, they borrow their letters from the Heathens, or from the Persians, or other Nations.
In 1715, a complete literary Diwan in Rekhta was written by Nawab Sadruddin Khan. The name ''Urdu'' was first introduced by the poet Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi around 1780. As a literary language, Urdu took shape in courtly, elite settings. While Urdu retained the grammar and core Indo-Aryan vocabulary of the local Indian dialect Khariboli, it adopted the Nastaleeq writing system – which was developed as a style of Persian calligraphy.


Other historical names

Throughout the history of the language, Urdu has been referred to by several other names: Hindi, Hindavi, Rekhta, Urdu-e-Muallah,
Dakhini Deccani (also known as Deccani Urdu and Deccani Hindi). https://knowledgehubadda.blogspot.com/2022/02/blog-post_74.html? m=1 or Dakni, Dakhni, Dakhini, Dakkhani and Dakkani (, ''dekanī'' or , ''dakhanī''), is a variety of Urdu language, Hin ...
, Moors and Dehlavi. In 1773, the Swiss French soldier
Antoine Polier Colonel Antoine-Louis Henri de Polier (1741–1795) was a Swiss people, Swiss adventurer, art collector, military engineer and soldier who made his fortune in India in the eighteenth century. He was the father of Count Adolphe de Polier. Life I ...
notes that the English liked to use the name "Moors" for Urdu:
I have a deep knowledge 'je possède à fond''of the common tongue of India, called ''Moors'' by the English, and ''Ourdouzebain'' by the natives of the land.
Several works of Sufi writers like Ashraf Jahangir Semnani used similar names for the Urdu language. Shah Abdul Qadir Raipuri was the first person who translated The Quran into Urdu. During Shahjahan's time, the Capital was relocated to Delhi and named
Shahjahanabad Old Delhi or Purani Dilli is an area in the Central Delhi district of Delhi, India. It was founded as a walled city named Shahjahanabad in 1648, when Shah Jahan (the Mughal Empire, Mughal Mughal emperors, emperor at the time) decided to shift t ...
and the Bazar of the town was named Urdu e Muallah. In the
Akbar Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (25 October 1542 – 27 October 1605), popularly known as Akbar the Great ( fa, ), and also as Akbar I (), was the third Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1556 to 1605. Akbar succeeded his father, Hu ...
era the word Rekhta was used to describe Urdu for the first time. It was originally a Persian word that meant "to create a mixture".
Amir Khusrau Abu'l Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrau (1253–1325 AD), better known as Amīr Khusrau was an Indo-Persian culture, Indo-Persian Sufi singer, musician, poet and scholar who lived under the Delhi Sultanate. He is an iconic figure in the cultural his ...
was the first person to use the same word for Poetry.


Colonial period

Before the standardization of Urdu into colonial administration, British officers often referred to the language as "
Moors The term Moor, derived from the ancient Mauri, is an Endonym and exonym, exonym first used by Christianity in Europe, Christian Europeans to designate the Muslims, Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta duri ...
" or "Moorish jargon". John Gilchrist was the first in British India to begin a systematic study on Urdu and began to use the term "Hindustani" what the majority of Europeans called "Moors", authoring the book ''The Strangers's East Indian Guide to the Hindoostanee or Grand Popular Language of India (improperly Called Moors)''. Urdu was then promoted in
colonial India Colonial India was the part of the Indian subcontinent that was occupied by European colonial powers during the Age of Discovery. European power was exerted both by conquest and trade, especially in spices. The search for the wealth and prosp ...
by British policies to counter the previous emphasis on Persian. In colonial India, "ordinary Muslims and Hindus alike spoke the same language in the United Provinces in the nineteenth century, namely Hindustani, whether called by that name or whether called Hindi, Urdu, or one of the regional dialects such as
Braj Braj, also known as Vraj, Vraja, Brij or Brijbhoomi, is a region in India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by a ...
or
Awadhi Awadhi (; ), also known as Audhi (), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in North India, northern India and Nepal. It is primarily spoken in the Awadh region of present-day Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, India. The name ''Awadh'' is connected to ...
." Elites from Muslim communities, as well as a minority of Hindu elites, such as Munshis of Hindu origin, wrote the language in the Perso-Arabic script in courts and government offices, though Hindus continued to employ the Devanagari script in certain literary and religious contexts. in Pollock (2003) Through the late 19th century, people did not view Urdu and Hindi as being two distinct languages, though in urban areas, the standardized Hindustani language was increasingly being referred to as Urdu and written in the Perso-Arabic script. Urdu and English replaced Persian as the official languages in northern parts of India in 1837. In colonial Indian Islamic schools, Muslims were taught Persian and Arabic as the languages of Indo-Islamic civilization; the British, in order to promote literacy among Indian Muslims and attract them to attend government schools, started to teach Urdu written in the Perso-Arabic script in these governmental educational institutions and after this time, Urdu began to be seen by Indian Muslims as a symbol of their religious identity. Hindus in northwestern India, under the
Arya Samaj Arya Samaj ( hi, आर्य समाज, lit=Noble Society, ) is a monotheistic Indian Hindu reform movement that promotes values and practices based on the belief in the infallible authority of the Vedas. The samaj was founded by the sanny ...
agitated against the sole use of the Perso-Arabic script and argued that the language should be written in the native
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida (a type of segmental Writing systems#Segmental syste ...
script, which triggered a backlash against the use of Hindi written in Devanagari by the Anjuman-e-Islamia of Lahore. Hindi in the Devanagari script and Urdu written in the Perso-Arabic script established a sectarian divide of "Urdu" for Muslims and "Hindi" for Hindus, a divide that was formalized with the partition of colonial India into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan after
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independ ...
(though there are Hindu poets who continue to write in Urdu, including Gopi Chand Narang and
Gulzar Sampooran Singh Kalra (born 18 August 1934), known professionally as Gulzar, is an Indian Urdu poet, lyricist, author An author is the writer of a book, article, play, or mostly written work. A broader definition of the word "author" ...
).


Post-Partition

Urdu had been used as a literary medium for colonial Indian writers from the
Bombay Presidency The Bombay Presidency or Bombay Province, also called Bombay and Sind (1843–1936), was an Presidencies and provinces of British India, administrative subdivision (province) of British Raj, British India, with its capital in the city that c ...
,
Bengal Bengal ( ; bn, বাংলা/বঙ্গ, translit=Bānglā/Bôngô, ) is a geopolitical, cultural and historical region in South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most not ...
,
Orissa Province Orissa Province was a province of British India created in April 1936 by the Partition (politics), partitioning of the Bihar and Orissa Province. Its territory corresponds with the modern-day Odisha, State of Odisha. On 22 March 1912, both Biha ...
, and
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; , TN) is a States and union territories of India, state in southern India. It is the List of states and union territories of India by area, tenth largest Indian state by area and the List of states and union territories of India ...
as well. In 1973, Urdu was recognized as the sole national language of Pakistan – although English and regional languages were also granted official recognition. Following the 1979
Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
and subsequent arrival of millions of
Afghan refugees Afghan refugees are citizens of Afghanistan who were compelled to abandon their country as a result of war in Afghanistan (1978–present), major wars, persecution of Hazara people, persecution, torture or genocide. The 1978 Saur Revolution foll ...
who have lived in Pakistan for many decades, many Afghans, including those who moved back to Afghanistan, have also become fluent in Hindi-Urdu, an occurrence aided by exposure to the Indian media, chiefly Hindi-Urdu
Bollywood Hindi cinema, popularly known as Bollywood and formerly as Bombay cinema, refers to the film industry based in Mumbai, engaged in production of motion pictures in Hindi language. The popular term Bollywood, is a portmanteau of "Bombay" (fo ...
films and songs. There have been attempts to purge Urdu of native
Prakrit The Prakrits (; sa, prākṛta; psu, 𑀧𑀸𑀉𑀤, ; pka, ) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the w ...
and
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
words, and Hindi of Persian loanwords – new vocabulary draws primarily from Persian and Arabic for Urdu and from Sanskrit for Hindi. English has exerted a heavy influence on both as a co-official language. According to Bruce (2021), Urdu has adapted English words since the eighteenth century. A movement towards the hyper-Persianisation of an Urdu emerged in Pakistan since its independence in 1947 which is "as artificial as" the hyper-Sanskritised Hindi that has emerged in India; hyper-Persianisation of Urdu was prompted in part by the increasing Sanskritisation of Hindi. However, the style of Urdu spoken on a day-to-day basis in Pakistan is akin to neutral Hindustani that serves as the ''lingua franca'' of the northern Indian subcontinent. Since at least 1977, some commentators such as journalist Khushwant Singh have characterized Urdu as a "dying language", though others, such as Indian poet and writer
Gulzar Sampooran Singh Kalra (born 18 August 1934), known professionally as Gulzar, is an Indian Urdu poet, lyricist, author An author is the writer of a book, article, play, or mostly written work. A broader definition of the word "author" ...
(who is popular in both countries and both language communities, but writes only in Urdu (script) and has difficulties reading Devanagari, so he lets others 'transcribe' his work) have disagreed with this assessment and state that Urdu "is the most alive language and moving ahead with times" in India. This phenomenon pertains to the decrease in relative and absolute numbers of native Urdu speakers as opposed to speakers of other languages; declining (advanced) knowledge of Urdu's Perso-Arabic script, Urdu vocabulary and grammar; the role of translation and transliteration of literature from and into Urdu; the shifting cultural image of Urdu and socio-economic status associated with Urdu speakers (which negatively impacts especially their employment opportunities in both countries), the ''de jure'' legal status and ''de facto'' political status of Urdu, how much Urdu is used as language of instruction and chosen by students in higher education, and how the maintenance and development of Urdu is financially and institutionally supported by governments and NGOs. In India, although Urdu is not and never was used exclusively by Muslims (and Hindi never exclusively by Hindus), the ongoing Hindi–Urdu controversy and modern cultural association of each language with the two religions has led to fewer Hindus using Urdu. In the 20th century, Indian Muslims initially more or less gradually collectively embraced Urdu (for example, 'post-independence Muslim politics of
Bihar Bihar (; ) is a states and union territories of India, state in eastern India. It is the list of states and union territories of India by population, 2nd largest state by population in 2019, list of states and union territories of India by are ...
saw a mobilization around the Urdu language as tool of empowerment for minorities especially coming from weaker socio-economic backgrounds'), but in the early 21st century an increasing percentage of Indian Muslims began switching to Hindi due to socio-economic factors, such as Urdu being abandoned as the language of instruction in much of India, and having limited employment opportunities compared to Hindi, English and regional languages. The number of Urdu speakers in India fell 1.5% between 2001 and 2011 (then 5.08 million Urdu speakers), especially in the most Urdu-speaking states of
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 195 ...
(c. 8% to 5%) and Bihar (c. 11.5% to 8.5%), even though the number of Muslims in these two states grew in the same period. Although Urdu is still very prominent in early 21st-century Indian pop culture, ranging from
Bollywood Hindi cinema, popularly known as Bollywood and formerly as Bombay cinema, refers to the film industry based in Mumbai, engaged in production of motion pictures in Hindi language. The popular term Bollywood, is a portmanteau of "Bombay" (fo ...
to social media, knowledge of the Urdu script and the publication of books in Urdu have steadily declined, while policies of the Indian government do not actively support the preservation of Urdu in professional and official spaces. In part because the Pakistani government proclaimed Urdu the national language at Partition, the Indian state and some religious nationalists began to regard Urdu as a 'foreign' language, to be viewed with suspicion. Urdu advocates in India disagree whether it should be allowed to write Urdu in the
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida (a type of segmental Writing systems#Segmental syste ...
and
Latin script The Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic writing system based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet, derived from a form of the Greek alphabet which was in use in the ancient Greece, Greek city of Cumae, in southe ...
(
Roman Urdu Roman Urdu ( ur, ) is the name used for the Urdu language written with the Latin script, also known as the Roman script. According to the Urdu scholar Habib R. Sulemani: "Roman Urdu is strongly opposed by the traditional Arabic alphabet, Arab ...
) to allow its survival, or whether this will only hasten its demise and that the language can only be preserved if expressed in the Perso-Arabic script. For Pakistan, Willoughby & Aftab (2020) argued that Urdu originally had the image of a refined elite language of the Enlightenment, progress and emancipation, which contributed to the success of the independence movement. But after the 1947 Partition, when it was chosen as the national language of Pakistan to unite all inhabitants with one linguistic identity, it faced serious competition primarily from Bengali (spoken by 56% of the total population, mostly in
East Pakistan East Pakistan was a Pakistani province established in 1955 by the One Unit Scheme, One Unit Policy, renaming the province as such from East Bengal, which, in modern times, is split between India and Bangladesh. Its land borders were with India ...
until that attained independence in 1971 as
Bangladesh Bangladesh (}, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million pe ...
), and after 1971 from English. Both pro-independence elites that formed the leadership of the Muslim League in Pakistan and the Hindu-dominated Congress Party in India had been educated in English during the British colonial period, and continued to operate in English and send their children to English-medium schools as they continued dominate both countries' post-Partition politics. Although the Anglicized elite in Pakistan has made attempts at Urduisation of education with varying degrees of success, no successful attempts were ever made to Urduise politics, the legal system, the army, or the economy, all of which remained solidly Anglophone. Even the regime of
general Zia-ul-Haq General officer, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq Hilal-i-Imtiaz, HI, Order of the Star of Jordan, GCSJ, Order of the Rajamitrabhorn, ร.ม.ภ, (Urdu: ; 12 August 1924 – 17 August 1988) was a Pakistani four-star rank, four-star General (Pakis ...
(1977–1988), who came from a middle-class Urdu-speaking family and initially fervently supported a rapid and complete Urduisation of Pakistani society (earning him the honorary title of the 'Patron of Urdu' in 1981), failed to make significant achievements, and by 1987 had abandoned most of his efforts in favor of pro-English policies. Since the 1960s, the Urdu lobby and eventually the Urdu language itself in Pakistan has been associated with religious Islamism and political national conservatism (and eventually the lower and lower-middle classes, alongside regional languages such as Punjabi, Sindhi, and Balochi), while English has been associated with the internationally oriented secular and progressive left (and eventually the upper and upper-middle classes). Despite these governmental attempts at Urduisation, the position and prestige of English only grew stronger in the meantime.


Demographics and geographic distribution

There are over 100 million native speakers of Urdu in India and Pakistan together: there were 50.8 million Urdu speakers in India (4.34% of the total population) as per the 2011 census; approximately 16 million in Pakistan in 2006. There are several hundred thousand in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, United States, and
Bangladesh Bangladesh (}, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million pe ...
. However, Hindustani, of which Urdu is one variety, is spoken much more widely, forming the third most commonly spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English. The
syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relations, hierarchical sentence st ...
(grammar), morphology, and the core vocabulary of Urdu and Hindi are essentially identical – thus linguists usually count them as one single language, while some contend that they are considered as two different languages for socio-political reasons. Owing to interaction with other languages, Urdu has become localized wherever it is spoken, including in Pakistan. Urdu in Pakistan has undergone changes and has incorporated and borrowed many words from regional languages, thus allowing speakers of the language in Pakistan to distinguish themselves more easily and giving the language a decidedly Pakistani flavor. Similarly, the Urdu spoken in India can also be distinguished into many dialects such as the Standard Urdu of
Lucknow Lucknow (, ) is the List of state and union territory capitals in India, capital and the largest city of the List of state and union territory capitals in India, Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and it is also the List of million-plus urban agg ...
and
Delhi Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. Straddling the Yamuna river, primarily its western or right bank, Delhi shares borders wi ...
, as well as the Dakhni (
Deccan The large Deccan Plateau in South India, southern India is located between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, and is loosely defined as the peninsular region between these ranges that is south of the Narmada river. To the north, it is bou ...
) of South India. Because of Urdu's similarity to
Hindi Hindi (Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of North India, northern, Central India, centr ...
, speakers of the two languages can easily understand one another if both sides refrain from using literary vocabulary.


Pakistan

Although Urdu is widely spoken and understood throughout all of Pakistan, only 7% of Pakistan's population spoke Urdu as their native language around 1992. Most of the nearly three million Afghan refugees of different ethnic origins (such as
Pashtun Pashtuns (, , ; ps, پښتانه, ), also known as Pakhtuns or Pathans, are an Iranian peoples, Iranian ethnic group who are native to the geographic region of Pashtunistan in the present-day countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were ...
, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazarvi, and Turkmen) who stayed in Pakistan for over twenty-five years have also become fluent in Urdu. Muhajirs since 1947 have historically formed the majority population in the city of
Karachi Karachi (; ur, ; ; ) is the List of cities in Pakistan by population, most populous city in Pakistan and 12th List of largest cities, most populous city in the world, with a population of over 20 million. It is situated at the Geography of ...
, however. Many newspapers are published in Urdu in Pakistan, including the '' Daily Jang'', '' Nawa-i-Waqt'', and '' Millat''. No region in Pakistan uses Urdu as its mother tongue, though it is spoken as the first language of Muslim migrants (known as Muhajirs) in Pakistan who left India after independence in 1947. Other communities, most notably the Punjabi elite of Pakistan, have adopted Urdu as a
mother tongue A first language, native tongue, native language, mother tongue or L1 is the first language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Language ...
and identify with both an Urdu speaker as well as Punjabi identity. Urdu was chosen as a symbol of unity for the new state of Pakistan in 1947, because it had already served as a ''lingua franca'' among Muslims in north and northwest
British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of British India and still earlier, presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance on the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...
. It is written, spoken and used in all provinces/territories of Pakistan, and together with English as the main languages of instruction, although the people from differing provinces may have different native languages. Urdu is taught as a compulsory subject up to higher secondary school in both English and Urdu medium school systems, which has produced millions of second-language Urdu speakers among people whose native language is one of the other
languages of Pakistan Pakistan is a List of multilingual countries and regions, multilingual country with dozens of languages spoken as first languages. The majority of Pakistan's languages belong to the Indo-Iranian languages, Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European ...
– which in turn has led to the absorption of vocabulary from various regional Pakistani languages, while some Urdu vocabularies has also been assimilated by Pakistan's regional languages. Some who are from a non-Urdu background now can read and write only Urdu. With such a large number of people(s) speaking Urdu, the language has acquired a peculiar Pakistani flavor further distinguishing it from the Urdu spoken by native speakers, resulting in more diversity within the language.


India

In India, Urdu is spoken in places where there are large Muslim minorities or cities that were bases for Muslim empires in the past. These include parts of
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 195 ...
,
Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh (, ; meaning 'central province') is a state in central India. Its capital city, capital is Bhopal, and the largest city is Indore, with Jabalpur, Ujjain, Gwalior, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, Sagar, and Rewa, India, Rewa being the othe ...
,
Bihar Bihar (; ) is a states and union territories of India, state in eastern India. It is the list of states and union territories of India by population, 2nd largest state by population in 2019, list of states and union territories of India by are ...
,
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a States and union territories of India, state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian subcontinent, Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the List of states and union territories of India b ...
,
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a States and union territories of India, state in the south-eastern Coastal India, coastal region of India. It is the List of states and union territories of India by area, seventh-largest state by area coverin ...
,
Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha) is a states and union territories of India, state in the western India, western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. Maharashtra is the List of states and union te ...
(
Marathwada Marathwada () is a Proposed states and union territories of India#Maharashtra, proposed state and geographical region of the States and territories of India, Indian state of Maharashtra. It was formed during the Nizam of Hyderabad, Nizam's rule ...
and Konkanis), Karnataka and cities such as Hyderabad,
Lucknow Lucknow (, ) is the List of state and union territory capitals in India, capital and the largest city of the List of state and union territory capitals in India, Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and it is also the List of million-plus urban agg ...
,
Delhi Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. Straddling the Yamuna river, primarily its western or right bank, Delhi shares borders wi ...
, Malerkotla, Bareilly, Meerut, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Roorkee, Deoband, Moradabad, Azamgarh, Bijnor, Najibabad, Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, Rampur, Aligarh, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Agra, Firozabad, Kanpur, Badaun, Bhopal, Hyderabad, India, Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mysore, Patna, Darbhanga,Gaya, India, Gaya,Madhubani, Bihar, Madhubani,Samastipur,Siwan, Bihar, Siwan, Saharsa, Supaul, Muzaffarpur, Nalanda, Munger, Bhagalpur, Araria, Gulbarga, Parbhani, Nanded, Malegaon, Bidar, Ajmer, and Ahmedabad. In a very significant amount among the nearly 800 districts of India, there is a small Urdu-speaking minority at least. In Araria district,
Bihar Bihar (; ) is a states and union territories of India, state in eastern India. It is the list of states and union territories of India by population, 2nd largest state by population in 2019, list of states and union territories of India by are ...
, there is a plurality of Urdu speakers and near-plurality in Hyderabad district, Telangana (43.35% Telugu speakers and 43.24% Urdu speakers). Some Indian schools teach Urdu as a first language and have their own syllabi and exams. India's
Bollywood Hindi cinema, popularly known as Bollywood and formerly as Bombay cinema, refers to the film industry based in Mumbai, engaged in production of motion pictures in Hindi language. The popular term Bollywood, is a portmanteau of "Bombay" (fo ...
industry frequently employs the use of Urdu – especially in songs. India has more than 3,000 Urdu publications, including 405 daily Urdu newspapers. Newspapers such as ''Neshat News Urdu'', ''Sahara Urdu'', ''Daily Salar'', ''Hindustan Express'', ''Daily Pasban'', ''The Siasat Daily, Siasat Daily'', ''The Munsif Daily'' and ''Inqilab'' are published and distributed in Bangalore, Malegaon, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.


Elsewhere

Outside South Asia, it is spoken by large numbers of migrant South Asian workers in the major urban centres of the Persian Gulf countries. Urdu is also spoken by large numbers of immigrants and their children in the major urban centres of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, and Australia. Along with Arabic language, Arabic, Urdu is among the immigrant languages with the most speakers in Catalonia.


Cultural identity


Colonial India

Religious and social atmospheres in early nineteenth century India played a significant role in the development of the Urdu register.
Hindi Hindi (Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of North India, northern, Central India, centr ...
became the distinct register spoken by those who sought to construct a Hindu identity in the face of colonial rule. As Hindi separated from Hindustani to create a distinct spiritual identity, Urdu was employed to create a definitive Islamic identity for the Muslim population in India. Urdu's use was not confined only to northern India – it had been used as a literary medium for Indian writers from the Bombay Presidency, Bengal, Orissa Province, and Tamil Nadu as well. As Urdu and Hindi became means of religious and social construction for Muslims and Hindus respectively, each register developed its own script. According to Islamic tradition, Arabic, the language spoken by the prophet Muhammad and uttered in the revelation of the Qur'an, holds spiritual significance and power. Because Urdu was intentioned as means of unification for Muslims in Northern India and later Pakistan, it adopted a modified Perso-Arabic script.


Pakistan

Urdu continued its role in developing a Muslim identity as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was established with the intent to construct a homeland for Muslims of South Asia. Several languages and dialects spoken throughout the regions of Pakistan produced an imminent need for a uniting language. Urdu was chosen as a symbol of unity for the new state of Pakistan in 1947, because it had already served as a ''lingua franca'' among Muslims in north and northwest
British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of British India and still earlier, presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance on the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...
. Urdu is also seen as a repertory for the Culture of Pakistan, cultural and social heritage of Pakistan.Zia, Khaver (1999)
"A Survey of Standardisation in Urdu". 4th Symposium on Multilingual Information Processing, (MLIT-4)
, Yangon, Burma, Myanmar. CICC, Japan
While Urdu and Islam together played important roles in developing the national identity of Pakistan, disputes in the 1950s (particularly those in
East Pakistan East Pakistan was a Pakistani province established in 1955 by the One Unit Scheme, One Unit Policy, renaming the province as such from East Bengal, which, in modern times, is split between India and Bangladesh. Its land borders were with India ...
, where Bengali language, Bengali was the dominant language), challenged the idea of Urdu as a national symbol and its practicality as the ''lingua franca''. The significance of Urdu as a national symbol was downplayed by these disputes when English and Bengali were also accepted as official languages in the former East Pakistan (now
Bangladesh Bangladesh (}, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million pe ...
).


Official status


Pakistan

Urdu is the sole national, and one of the two official languages of Pakistan (along with English). It is spoken and understood throughout the country, whereas the state-by-state languages (languages spoken throughout various regions) are the Provincial languages of Pakistan, provincial languages, although only 7.57% of Pakistanis speak Urdu as their first language. Its official status has meant that Urdu is understood and spoken widely throughout Pakistan as a second or third language. It is used in Education in Pakistan, education, Pakistani literature, literature, office and court business, although in practice, English is used instead of Urdu in the higher echelons of government. Article 251(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistani Constitution mandates that Urdu be implemented as the sole language of government, though English continues to be the most widely used language at the higher echelons of Pakistani government.


India

Urdu is also one of the officially recognised languages in Languages with official status in India, India and also has the status of ''"additional official language"'' in the States and territories of India, Indian states of
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a States and union territories of India, state in the south-eastern Coastal India, coastal region of India. It is the List of states and union territories of India by area, seventh-largest state by area coverin ...
,
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 195 ...
,
Bihar Bihar (; ) is a states and union territories of India, state in eastern India. It is the list of states and union territories of India by population, 2nd largest state by population in 2019, list of states and union territories of India by are ...
, Jharkhand, West Bengal,
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a States and union territories of India, state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian subcontinent, Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the List of states and union territories of India b ...
and the national capital territory
Delhi Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. Straddling the Yamuna river, primarily its western or right bank, Delhi shares borders wi ...
. Also as one of the five official languages of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. In the former Jammu and Kashmir (state), Jammu and Kashmir state, section 145 of the Kashmir Constitution stated: "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." India established the governmental Bureau for the Promotion of Urdu in 1969, although the Central Hindi Directorate was established earlier in 1960, and the promotion of Hindi is better funded and more advanced, while the status of Urdu has been undermined by the promotion of Hindi. Private Indian organisations such as the Anjuman-e-Tariqqi Urdu, Deeni Talimi Council and Urdu Mushafiz Dasta promote the use and preservation of Urdu, with the Anjuman successfully launching a campaign that reintroduced Urdu as an official language of Bihar in the 1970s.


Dialects

Urdu has a few recognised dialects, including Dakhni, Dhakaiya Urdu, Dhakaiya, Rekhta, and Modern Vernacular Urdu (based on the Khariboli dialect of the Delhi region). Dakhni (also known as Dakani, Deccani, Desia, Mirgan) is spoken in
Deccan The large Deccan Plateau in South India, southern India is located between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, and is loosely defined as the peninsular region between these ranges that is south of the Narmada river. To the north, it is bou ...
region of southern India. It is distinct by its mixture of vocabulary from Marathi and Konkani language, Konkani, as well as some vocabulary from Arabic, Persian and Chagatai language, Chagatai that are not found in the standard dialect of Urdu. Dakhini is widely spoken in all parts of
Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha) is a states and union territories of India, state in the western India, western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. Maharashtra is the List of states and union te ...
,
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a States and union territories of India, state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian subcontinent, Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the List of states and union territories of India b ...
,
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a States and union territories of India, state in the south-eastern Coastal India, coastal region of India. It is the List of states and union territories of India by area, seventh-largest state by area coverin ...
and Karnataka. 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. Dhakaiya Urdu is a dialect native to the city of Old Dhaka in
Bangladesh Bangladesh (}, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million pe ...
, dating back to the Mughal era. However, its popularity, even amongst native speakers, has been gradually declining since the Bengali Language Movement in the 20th century. It is not officially recognised by the Government of Bangladesh. The Urdu spoken by Stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh is different from this dialect.


Code switching

Many bilingual or multi-lingual Urdu speakers, being familiar with both Urdu and English, display code-switching (referred to as "Urdish") in certain localities and between certain social groups. On 14 August 2015, the Government of Pakistan launched the ''Ilm'' Pakistan movement, with a uniform curriculum in Urdish. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister of Pakistan, said "Now the government is working on a new curriculum to provide a new medium to the students which will be the combination of both Urdu and English and will name it Urdish."


Comparison with Modern Standard Hindi

Standard Urdu is often Hindi#Standard Hindi and Urdu, compared with Standard Hindi. Both Urdu and Hindi, which are considered standard registers of the same language, Hindustani (or Hindi-Urdu), share a core vocabulary and Hindustani grammar, grammar. Apart from religious associations, the differences are largely restricted to the standard language, standard forms: Standard Urdu is conventionally written in the Nastaʿlīq script, 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 Devanagari, Devanāgarī and draws on
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
. However, both share a core vocabulary of native
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
and
Prakrit The Prakrits (; sa, prākṛta; psu, 𑀧𑀸𑀉𑀤, ; pka, ) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the w ...
derived words and a significant amount of Arabic and Persian loanwords, with a consensus of linguists considering them to be two standardised forms of the same language and consider the differences to be sociolinguistics, sociolinguistic; a few classify them separately. The two languages are often considered to be a single language (Hindustani or Hindi-Urdu) on a dialect continuum ranging from Persianised to Sanskritised vocabulary. Old Urdu dictionaries also contain most of the Sanskrit words now present in Hindi. Mutual intelligibility decreases in literary and specialized contexts that rely on academic or technical vocabulary. In a longer conversation, differences in formal vocabulary and pronunciation of some Urdu phonemes are noticeable, though many native Hindi speakers also pronounce these phonemes. At a phonological level, speakers of both languages are frequently aware of the Perso-Arabic or Sanskrit origins of their word choice, which affects the pronunciation of those words. Urdu speakers will often insert vowels to break up consonant clusters found in words of Sanskritic origin, but will pronounce them correctly in Arabic and Persian loanwords. As a result of religious nationalism since the Partition of India, partition of British India and continued communal tensions, native speakers of both Hindi and Urdu frequently assert that they are distinct languages. The Hindustani grammar, grammar of Hindi and Urdu is shared, though formal Urdu makes more use of the Persian "-e-" Ezāfe, ''izafat'' grammatical construct (as in ''Hammam-e-Qadimi'', or ''Nishan-e-Haider'') than does Hindi.


Urdu speakers by country

The following table shows the number of Urdu speakers in some countries.


Phonology


Consonants

; Notes * Marginal and non-universal phonemes are in parentheses. * is Voiced velar fricative, post-velar.


Vowels

; Notes * This table contains a list of phones, not phonemes. In particular, [ɛ] is an allophone of /ə/ near /h/, and the short nasal vowels aren't phonemic either. * Marginal and non-universal vowels are in parentheses.


Vocabulary

Syed Ahmed Dehlavi, a 19th-century lexicographer who compiled the ''Farhang e Asifiya, Farhang-e-Asifiya'' Urdu dictionary, estimated that 75% of Urdu words have their etymological roots in
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
and
Prakrit The Prakrits (; sa, prākṛta; psu, 𑀧𑀸𑀉𑀤, ; pka, ) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the w ...
, and approximately 99% of Urdu verbs have their roots in Sanskrit and Prakrit. Urdu has borrowed words from Persian and to a lesser extent, Arabic through Persian, to the extent of about 25% to 30% of Urdu's vocabulary. A table illustrated by the linguist Afroz Taj of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill likewise illustrates the amount of Persian loanwords to native Sanskrit-derived words in literary Urdu as comprising a 1:3 ratio. The "trend towards Persianisation" started in the 18th century by the Delhi school of Urdu poets, though other writers, such as Meeraji, wrote in a Sanskritised form of the language. There has been a move towards hyper Persianisation in Pakistan since 1947, which has been adopted by much of the country's writers; as such, some Urdu texts can be composed of 70% Perso-Arabic loanwords just as some Persian texts can have 70% Arabic vocabulary. Some Pakistani Urdu speakers have incorporated Hindi vocabulary into their speech as a result of exposure to Indian entertainment. In India, Urdu has not diverged from Hindi as much as it has in Pakistan. Most borrowed words in Urdu are nouns and adjectives. 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. There are also a smaller number of borrowings from Portuguese language, Portuguese. Some examples for Portuguese words borrowed into Urdu are ''chabi'' ("chave": key), ''girja'' ("igreja": church), ''kamra'' ("cámara": room), ''qamīz'' ("camisa": shirt). Although the word ''wikt:Urdu, Urdu'' is derived from the Turkic word ''wikt:ordu, ordu'' (army) or Orda (organization), orda, from which English ''wikt:horde, horde'' is also derived, Turkic borrowings in Urdu are minimal and Urdu is also not Genetic relationship (linguistics), genetically related to the
Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of over 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Western Asia. The Turkic languag ...
. Urdu words originating from Chagatai language, Chagatai and Arabic were borrowed through Persian and hence are Persianised versions of the original words. For instance, the Arabic ''ta' marbuta'' (  ) changes to ''He (letter), he'' (  ) or ''Taw (letter), te'' (  ).An example can be seen in the word "need" in Urdu. Urdu uses the Persian version ضرورت rather than the original Arabic ضرورة. See
John T. Platts "A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English" (1884) Page 749
Urdu and Hindi use Persian pronunciation in their loanwords, rather than that of Arabic– for instance rather than pronouncing ض as the ''wikiwikiweb:emphatic consonant, emphatic consonant'' "ḍ", the original sound in ''Arabic phonology, Arabic'', Urdu uses the Persian pronunciation "z". See
John T. Platts "A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English" (1884) Page 748
/ref> Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, Urdu did not borrow from the Turkish language, but from Chagatai language, Chagatai, a Turkic language from Central Asia. Urdu and Turkish both borrowed from Arabic and Persian, hence the similarity in pronunciation of many Urdu and Turkish words.


Formality

Urdu in its less formalized register has been referred to as a ''Rekhta, '' (, ), meaning "rough mixture". The more formal register of Urdu is sometimes referred to as ( ), the "Language of the Exalted Camp", referring to the Imperial army or in approximate local translation ''Lashkari Zabān'' ( []) or simply just ''Lashkari''. The etymology of the word used in Urdu, for the most part, decides how polite or refined one's speech is. For example, Urdu speakers would distinguish between ''pānī'' and ''āb'', both meaning "water": the former is used colloquially and has older
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
origins, whereas the latter is used formally and poetically, being of Persian origin. If a word is of Persian or Arabic origin, the level of speech is considered to be more formal and grander. Similarly, if Persian or Arabic grammar constructs, such as the izafat, are used in Urdu, the level of speech is also considered more formal and grander. If a word is inherited from
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
, the level of speech is considered more colloquial and personal.


Writing system

Urdu is written right-to left in an extension of the Persian alphabet, which is itself an extension of the Arabic alphabet. Urdu is associated with the Nastaʿlīq script, Nastaʿlīq style of Persian calligraphy, whereas Arabic is generally written in the ''Naskh (script), Naskh'' or ''Ruq`ah script, Ruq'ah'' styles. ''Nasta’liq'' is notoriously difficult to typeset, so Urdu newspapers were hand-written by masters of calligraphy, known as ''kātib'' or ''khush-nawīs'', until the late 1980s. One handwritten Urdu newspaper, ''The Musalman'', is still published daily in Chennai. A highly Persianised and technical form of Urdu was the ''lingua franca'' of the law courts of the British administration in Bengal 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, Ashley Eden, Sir Ashley Eden, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal in colonial India abolished the use of the Persian alphabet in the law courts of Bengal and ordered the exclusive use of Kaithi, a popular script used for both Urdu and Hindi; in the Bihar Province, the court language was Urdu written in the Kaithi script. Kaithi's association with Urdu and Hindi was ultimately eliminated by the political contest between these languages and their scripts, in which the Persian script was definitively linked to Urdu. More recently in India, Urdu speakers have adopted
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida (a type of segmental Writing systems#Segmental syste ...
for publishing Urdu periodicals and have innovated new strategies to mark Urdu 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 (''Ayin, ‘ain''), in violation of Hindi orthographic rules. For Urdu publishers, the use of Devanagari gives them a greater audience, whereas the orthographic changes help them preserve a distinct identity of Urdu. Some poets from Bengal, namely Qazi Nazrul Islam, have historically used the Bengali script to write Urdu poetry like ''Prem Nagar Ka Thikana Karle'' and ''Mera Beti Ki Khela'', as well as bilingual Bengali-Urdu poems like ''Alga Koro Go Khõpar Bãdhon'', ''Juboker Chholona'' and ''Mera Dil Betab Kiya''. Dhakaiya Urdu is a colloquial non-standard dialect of Urdu which was typically not written. However, organisations seeking to preserve the dialect have begun transcribing the dialect in the Bengali script.


See also

* List of Urdu-language poets * List of Urdu-language writers * Urdu-speaking people * Urdu movement * Persian and Urdu * States of India by Urdu speakers * Urdu in the United Kingdom * Uddin and Begum Hindustani Romanisation * Urdu poetry * Urdu Digest * Urdu in Aurangabad * Urdu Informatics * Urdu Wikipedia * Urdu keyboard * Glossary of the British Raj * Persian language in the Indian subcontinent


Notes


References


Sources

* * *


Further reading

* the University of Michigan * the University of Michigan * Oxford University * Oxford University * the New York Public Library * Oxford University * Alam, Muzaffar. 1998. "The Pursuit of Persian: Language in Mughal Politics." In ''Modern Asian Studies'', vol. 32, no. 2. (May 1998), pp. 317–349. * Asher, R. E. (Ed.). 1994. ''The Encyclopedia of language and linguistics''. Oxford: Pergamon Press. . * Azad, Muhammad Husain. 2001 [1907]. ''Aab-e hayat'' (Lahore: Naval Kishor Gais Printing Works) 1907 [in Urdu]; (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 2001. [In English translation] * Azim, Anwar. 1975. Urdu a victim of cultural genocide. In Z. Imam (Ed.), ''Muslims in India'' (p. 259). * Bhatia, Tej K. 1996. ''Colloquial Hindi: The Complete Course for Beginners''. London, UK & New York, NY: Routledge. (Book), 0415110882 (Cassettes), 0415110890 (Book & Cassette Course) * Bhatia, Tej K. and Koul Ashok. 2000. "Colloquial Urdu: The Complete Course for Beginners." London: Routledge. (Book); (cassette); (book and casseettes course) * Chatterji, Suniti K. 1960. ''Indo-Aryan and Hindi'' (rev. 2nd ed.). Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay. * Dua, Hans R. 1992. "Hindi-Urdu as a pluricentric language". In M. G. Clyne (Ed.), ''Pluricentric languages: Differing norms in different nations''. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. . * Dua, Hans R. 1994a. Hindustani. In Asher, 1994; pp. 1554. * Dua, Hans R. 1994b. Urdu. In Asher, 1994; pp. 4863–4864. * Durrani, Attash, Dr. 2008. '' Pakistani Urdu''.Islamabad: National Language Authority, Pakistan. * * Hassan, Nazir and Omkar N. Koul 1980. ''Urdu Phonetic Reader''. Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages. * * Kelkar, A. R. 1968. ''Studies in Hindi-Urdu: Introduction and word phonology''. Poona: Deccan College. * Khan, M. H. 1969. Urdu. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), ''Current trends in linguistics'' (Vol. 5). The Hague: Mouton. * * * * * * Ohala, M. 1972. Topics in Hindi-Urdu phonology. (PhD dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles).
"A Desertful of Roses"
a site about Ghalib's Urdu ghazals by Dr. Frances W. Pritchett, Professor of Modern Indic Languages at Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. * * The Comparative study of Urdu and Khowar. Badshah Munir Bukhari National Language Authority Pakistan 2003. * Rai, Amrit. 1984. ''A house divided: The origin and development of Hindi-Hindustani''. Delhi: Oxford University Press. . * Snell, Rupert ''Teach yourself Hindi: A complete guide for beginners.'' Lincolnwood, IL: NTC * * Ramkrishna Mukherjee (2018). Understanding Social Dynamics in South Asia: Essays in Memory of Ramkrishna Mukherjee. Springer. pp. 221–. . * Economic and Political Weekly. Sameeksha Trust. 1996.


External links

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Directory of Urdu websites

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