Learn Urdu

Urdu has official status in Pakistan and 6 states of India. In Pakistan, it is mostly spoken as a second language - only ten per cent of the population speak it natively - and is the lingua franca of the country. It is mutually understandable with Hindi: both are standardised registers of the Hindustani language, although there are differences in vocabulary and writing system - Urdu uses a version of the Perso-Arabic script. The basis of the vocabulary is Sanskrit and Prakrit, with additional influences from Arabic, Persian and English.

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Planet Earth

Where Is It Spoken?

Pakistan

India

People Talking

Number Of Speakers

66,000,000

Family Tree

Language Family

Indo-Aryan

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Fun facts about Urdu

Britain’s former monarch Queen Victoria learned Urdu for 13 years. She was taught by Abdul Karim, her personal servant and a native Urdu speaker.

There’s an Urdu saying: ‘a running thief’s underwear is right’ meaning ‘something is better than nothing’.

The word ‘chutney’ comes from the Urdu verb chatni ‘to crush’ and the word ‘cushy’ comes from the Urdu word khushi for ‘ease/happiness’.

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