Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in Pakistan and India, and also in Nepal, Bangladesh and several other countries. It is also known as Modern Standard Urdu or Lashkari (لشکری), and is described as a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language [source].
In 2015 there were about 109 million speakers of Urdu in Pakistan, 15 million of whom speak it as a native language. There were about 58 million Urdu speakers in India in 2011, mainly in Jammu, Kashmir and Maharashtra states. There were about 738,000 speakers of Urdu in Nepal in 2011, and the language was spoken by about 250,000 in Bangladesh in 2003. There are also Urdu speakers in other countries, such as South Africa, Mauritius and Guyana.
Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Hindi, though a lot of Urdu vocabulary comes from Persian and Arabic, while Hindi contains more vocabulary from Sanskrit. Linguists consider Standard Urdu and Standard Hindi to be different formal registers both derived from the Khari Boli dialect, which is also known as Hindustani. At an informal spoken level there are few significant differences between Urdu and Hindi and they could be considered varieties a single language.
Urdu has been written with a version of the Perso-Arabic script since the 12th century and is normally written in Nastaliq style. The word Urdu is Turkish for 'foreign' or 'horde'.
The letter nūn g̱unnah appears only at the ends of words and nasalises the preceding vowel.
A recording of the Urdu alphabet by محمد شکیب بیگ (Mohammad Shakeb Baig) from بھوپال، بھارت (Bhopal, India)
This recording does not include nūn-e ğunnah or the aspirated consonants.
Numerals image provided by Muhammed Nabeel Tahir Sheikh
Download an alphabet chart for Urdu (Excel)
How to write and pronounce Urdu letters:
Tamām insān āzād ôr ḥuqūq-o ʿizzat ke ėʿtibār se barābar peidā hū'e heiṅ. Inheṅ żamīr ôr ʿaql vadīʿat hū'ī he. Isli'e inheṅ ek dūsre ke sāth bhā'ī čāre kā sulūk karnā čāhi'e.
A recording of this text by Mustansar Malik
A recording of this text by Ganesh Deshmukh
A recording of this text by محمد شکیب بیگ (Mohammad Shakeb Baig) from بھوپال، بھارت (Bhopal, India)
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about Urdu | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Family words | Tower of Babel | Learning materials
Information about Urdu
Information about the Urdu script
Online Urdu lessons
Online Urdu Dictionaries
Free Urdu fonts
National Language Authority of Pakistan
Online Urdu radio
Online Urdu news
UrduPoint - information in Urdu about a wide variety of topics
Online Urdu literature
Ibtada - an Urdu portal (in Urdu)
Learn Urdu online with UrduPod101
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Page last modified: 06.10.22
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