41 Facts About Urdu


Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia.

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In India, Urdu is an Eighth Schedule language whose status and cultural heritage is recognized by the Constitution of India; it has an official status in several Indian states.

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Urdu language has been described as a Persianised register of the Hindustani language; Urdu and Hindi share a common Sanskrit- and Prakrit-derived vocabulary base, phonology, syntax, and grammar, making them mutually intelligible during colloquial communication.

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Urdu became a literary language in the 18th century and two similar standard forms came into existence in Delhi and Lucknow.

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Name Urdu was first used by the poet Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi around 1780 for Hindustani language.

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Some linguists have suggested that the earliest forms of Urdu evolved from the medieval Apabhramsa register of the preceding Shauraseni language, a Middle Indo-Aryan language that is the ancestor of other modern Indo-Aryan languages.

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Name Urdu was first introduced by the poet Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi around 1780.

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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 .

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Urdu was then promoted in colonial India by British policies to counter the previous emphasis on Persian.

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In colonial Indian Islamic schools, Muslims were taught Persian and Arabic as the languages of Indo-Islamic civilisation; 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.

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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 formalised with the partition of colonial India into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan after independence .

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Urdu was chosen as an official language of Pakistan in 1947 as it was already the lingua franca for Muslims in north and northwest British India, although Urdu had been used as a literary medium for colonial Indian writers from the Bombay Presidency, Bengal, Orissa Province, and Tamil Nadu as well.

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In 1973, Urdu was recognised as the sole national language of Pakistan – although English and regional languages were granted official recognition.

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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.

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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.

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Similarly, the Urdu spoken in India can be distinguished into many dialects such as the Standard Urdu of Lucknow and Delhi, as well as the Dakhni of South India.

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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.

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In India, Urdu is spoken in places where there are large Muslim minorities or cities that were bases for Muslim empires in the past.

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Urdu is 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Urdu is seen as a repertory for the cultural and social heritage of Pakistan.

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Urdu is the sole national, and one of the two official languages of Pakistan .

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Article 251 of the 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.

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Urdu is one of the officially recognised languages in India and has the status of "additional official language" in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Telangana and the national capital territory Delhi.

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Urdu has a few recognised dialects, including Dakhni, Dhakaiya, Rekhta, and Modern Vernacular Urdu .

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Dhakaiya Urdu is a dialect native to the city of Old Dhaka in Bangladesh, dating back to the Mughal era.

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The Urdu spoken by Stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh is different from this dialect.

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Many bilingual or multi-lingual Urdu speakers, being familiar with both Urdu and English, display code-switching in certain localities and between certain social groups.

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Apart from religious associations, the differences are largely restricted to the standard forms: 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 Devanagari and draws on Sanskrit.

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Old Urdu dictionaries contain most of the Sanskrit words now present in Hindi.

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Some Pakistani Urdu speakers have incorporated Hindi vocabulary into their speech as a result of exposure to Indian entertainment.

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In India, Urdu has not diverged from Hindi as much as it has in Pakistan.

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Urdu words originating from Chagatai and Arabic were borrowed through Persian and hence are Persianised versions of the original words.

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Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, Urdu did not borrow from the Turkish language, but from Chagatai, a Turkic language from Central Asia.

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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 Zaban or simply just Lashkari.

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Urdu is written right-to left in an extension of the Persian alphabet, which is itself an extension of the Arabic alphabet.

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Urdu is associated with the Nasta?liq style of Persian calligraphy, whereas Arabic is generally written in the Naskh or Ruq'ah styles.

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

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Dhakaiya Urdu is a colloquial non-standard dialect of Urdu which was typically not written.

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