This post is a list of interesting and fun facts about the Urdu language. These facts include information about where Urdu is spoken, how common Urdu is today and the history of Urdu.
Have you ever wondered about the Urdu language? Things like, why is Urdu so similar to Hindi? What even is the difference between Urdu and Hindi? Is Urdu related to Arabic or Persian? Where did Urdu originate?
1. Where Is It Used?
Urdu is widely spoken in Pakistan, being its official language, parts of India and in many parts of South Asia. Urdu is distinguished slightly from Hindi in terms of its script and vocabulary and is thus one of the official languages of India. Urdu is also spoken in the UK by Muslims from Pakistan and Northern India and is quite popular among the Middle East countries.
2. Language Of Beauty And Grace
Urdu is one such beautiful language that has a way of saying things that mark the courteous from the unlearned and the noble from the ordinary. Literature and poetry are depicted in Urdu so gracefully that the world knows of it. It is known to touch the soul the way it imparts hidden meanings in a prose or poetry like no other language can.
3. Importance In Academic Discipline
An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Urdu can play a vital part if you are interested in any academic discipline that includes the study of South Asia — including law, medicine, business, agriculture, life sciences, humanities, and social sciences as it is considered a significant language for it.
4. Urdu And The Fire Bible
Urdu is a key language in reaching Pakistan and many other Middle Eastern countries. Another interesting fact about Urdu language is that the Pastors and mature believers who want to learn God’s Word in depth will be thrilled to have the Pentecostal study notes, maps, and commentary which have made the Fire Bible an important tool in equipping leadership and building the body of Christ in that part of the world. Thus having Fire Bibles in the Urdu language is a key win the Middle East to Christ.
5. English Words That Come From Urdu
English is said to have been derived from a lot of languages. Here are some English words of Urdu origin:
Cummerbund- “waist binding”,
Khaki- dusty, grey,
Typhoon- Toofan or storm and some others.
6. Languages Similar To Urdu
Most South Asian languages have a lot in common and they seem to be related in one or the other way. Urdu is related to most of the languages of India and northern South Asia, all of them having similar grammatical structures and a certain common vocabulary.
The Punjabi language is very similar to Urdu. Written Punjabi can be understood by speakers of Urdu, with a little difficulty, but spoken Punjabi has a different phonology and cannot be easily understood by Urdu speakers.
The closest linked language to Urdu is Hindi. Linguists think of Hindi and Urdu as the same language, the difference being that Hindi is written in Devanagari and draws vocabulary from Sanskrit, while Urdu is written in Arabic script and draws on Persian.
I have you covered – here are an array of interesting facts about Urdu that will answer many of your questions and more.
Fun and Interesting Facts about Urdu
- Urdu is the official national language of Pakistan.
- Urdu is also commonly spoken across South Asian, especially in some parts of India like the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Hyderabad and Uttar Pradesh.
- It is estimated that Urdu is spoken by 100 million people across the world!
- That makes Urdu the 11th most commonly spoken language in the world!
- In the UK, it is estimated that there are 400,000 people who speak Urdu
- In the USA, it is estimated there are 300,000 people who speak Urdu
- The most similar language to Urdu is Hindi – you may have noticed this if you’ve ever watched a Bollywood movie! Spoken Urdu and Hindi are almost identical, aside from a few words, phrases and tone of speaking. If you know Hindi, it’ll make Urdu extremely easy to learn, and vice versa.
- Spoken Hindi and Urdu may be similar, but the scripts in which they are written are completely different!
- In terms of script, Urdu is over 90% similar to Persian and Arabic. If you ever learnt how to read the Quran as a child, learning how to read Urdu will not be a huge feat for you. I’ve written about this here.
- Urdu vocabulary also borrows about 40% from Arabic and Persian. So again, if you know Arabic or Persian already, learning Urdu won’t be a huge challenge – and vice versa!
- Urdu is written from left to right
- Traditional Urdu is written in a font called nastaliq which is also used for Persian
- It’s believed that Urdu developed around the 12th century in Delhi
- Until the end of the 18th century, Urdu was not known as Urdu! Other names for Urdu used before the 18th century included: Hindvi, Dehlvi, Lahori, Lashkari and Hindustani
- Urdu became a unifying symbol for Muslims during the 19th-century tensions and the colonization by the British Empire
- Urdu comes from the Turkish word ‘Urdo’ meaning army
- Some common words used in English that originate from Urdu: khaki, pyjama, cummerband
- Urdu is known to be a a poetic language. There is a vast body of poetry and literature written in Urdu
- Urdu is spoken a lot across the Middle East due to the number of Pakistanis who live there
- Urdu is almost spoken by over 5 million Afghanistanis – this may be due to the number of Afghanistanis who sought refuge in Pakistan
- The Urdu language has 36 letters
- Amir Khusrau (1253–1325 AD) is considered to be the first Urdu writer – he was a Persian poet, musician and scholar associated with the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate
- Urdu is on the list of significant languages compiled by the U.S. State Department.
- Research suggests 720 hours of serious study is required to reach basic proficiency in Urdu (6 hours a day for 4 months). Furthermore, to achieve complete mastery of Urdu it would take a study time of 1100 hours (approximately 6 hours a day for 6 months)
- India has more than 2900 daily Urdu newspapers
- The words of the Pakistani national anthem are all words that are Urdu and Persian except the word ‘ka’ (of).
- Two of the most famous, influential poets of Urdu literature are Mirza Ghalib and Allama Iqbal