Spoken in: Pakistan
  • spoken as Minority language in:

India, Fiji. Also spoken as minority language in USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Norway, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Malaysia. 

Region: South Asia
Total speakers: 60 million (first language) 
Ranking: 19
Language family: Indo-European
   Central zone
    Western Hindi (claimed by Wikipedia, not in reality)
Writing system: Urdu alphabet (Nasta'liq script) 
Official status
Official language of: Flag of Pakistan Pakistan
Flag of India India (five states)
Regulated by: National Language Authority (Pakistan)
National Council for Promotion of Urdu language (India)
Language codes
ISO 639-1: ur
ISO 639-2: urd
ISO 639-3: urd

Urdu in Nastaliq script

Urdu (Nasta'liq: اردو) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in South Asia. It is the national and one of the two official languages of Pakistan. Spoken in five Indian states, it is also one of the 22 official languages of India. It's vocabulary is composed from Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Sanskrit.

On the Net[]

July's cover story in Spider magazine the Dawn Group's Internet Magazine is titled Sifting Scripts Is Urdu ready for the information superhighway.

Highlights of the whole edition, including the full articles on Urdu on the Net are available off the Spider web page at:

Top Story provides a good assessement of the state of Urdu on the Net and a critique of what has been going wrong so far. Another story critiques Microsoft's recent launch of an Urdu version of MS Word. Another stories covers how the blogosphere is evolving (


Urdu was originated in 7th century, it was developed in the 11th or 12th century CE from the regional Apabhramsha of northwestern India, serving as a linguistic modus vivendi after the Muslim conquest. Its first major poet was Amir Khosrow (1253–1325), who composed dohas (couplets), folk songs, and riddles in the newly formed speech, then called Hindvi. This mixed speech was variously called Hindvi, Zaban-e-Hind, Hindi, Zaban-e-Delhi, Rekhta, Gujari, Dakkhani, Zaban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla, Zaban-e-Urdu, or just Urdu, literally ‘the language of the camp.’ Major Urdu writers continued to refer to it as Hindi or Hindvi until the beginning of the 19th century, although there is evidence that it was called Hindustani in the late 17th century. (Hindustani now refers to a simplified speech form that is the Indian subcontinent’s largest lingua franca.)

Urdu is closely related to Hindi, a language that originated and developed in the Indian subcontinent. They share the same Indo-Aryan base and are so similar in phonology and grammar that they appear to be one language. In terms of lexicon, however, they have borrowed extensively from different sources—Urdu from Arabic and Persian, Hindi from Sanskrit—so they are usually treated as independent languages. Their distinction is most marked in terms of writing systems: Urdu uses a modified form of Perso-Arabic script known as Nastaliq (nastaʿlīq), while Hindi uses Devanagari.


Urdu has a few recognised dialects, including Dakhni, 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 region of southern India. It is distinct by its mixture of vocabulary from Marathi and Konkani, as well as some vocabulary from Arabic, Persian and Chagatai that are not found in the standard dialect of Urdu. Dakhini is widely spoken in all parts of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh 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. In terms of pronunciation, the easiest way to recognize native speakers is by their pronunciation of the letter Template:Transl (ق) as Template:Transl (خ).

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."[1][2][3]

List of Urdu dialects

  • Standard Urdu (the modern form of Urdu)
  • Standard Hindi (the language which is divided from Urdu)
  • Hindustani language (older name of Urdu)
  • Dakhini (the dialect of Urdu, spoken in Occupied Hyderabad)
  • Hyderabadi (the dialect of pre-urdu language, Dakhini)
  • Khariboli dialect (the dialect of Urdu, but argued as a Hindi dialect)
  • Rekhta (the earliest stage of Urdu)
  • Braj Bhasha (the earliest stage of Urdu)
  • Haryanvi language (The dialect, that spoken in Haryana)
  • Pinjari (The dialect that spoken by Pinjaris)
  • Aurangabad Urdu (The dialect or form in Aurangabad area)
  • British Urdu (British form of Urdu)
  • Roman Urdu (The Urdu written in English alphabets)
  • Urdish (pidgin or creole of Urdu, mixed with Pakistani English)
  • Devanagari Urdu (The dialect that written in the Devanagari script)
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