is a member of the Hindustani group of languages which is a subgroup of
the Indo Aryan group of languages.
probably developed in the
from where it spread to
of South Asia.
The major difference between Urdu and
Hindi is that Urdu is written in the Nasta'liq font of the modified Arabic script while
Hindi is written in the Devanagari script.
In Pakistan Urdu is spoken as a mother tongue by a majority of urban
dwellers in cities such as Karachi and Hyderabad in the southern province
of Sindh. Despite the fact that it is the national language
Of Pakistan only
8% of the Pakistanis speak Urdu as their first language with about 48%
Punjabi as a mother tongue. It is, however, the language of prestige and is compulsory in the Pakistani
school system. In India, Urdu is spoken as mother tongue by many
inhabitants of the
northern and central states. While, in India, Muslims tend to identify
more with Urdu, substantial numbers of Hindus and Sikhs in traditional
strongholds of Urdu, such as Lucknow and Hyderabad, also speak this
language as a mother tongue. A large number of people use Urdu as their
mother tongue in cities with large South Asian diasporas throughout the
world particularly New York City, London, Dubai, Jeddah and Kuwait City.
Urdu nouns fall into two grammatical genders : masculine and feminine.
However there is much disagreement over the gender of some words, particularly
those that have been borrowed from
Urdu has many words of South Asian and Middle
Eastern origin. Most of them were borrowed from languages
is also a number of
words. It is
assumed that many
terms have found their way into
Urdu is written in a derivative of the
Persian alphabet which is itself
a derivative of the
Arabic alphabet. It is read from right to left. Urdu is
similar in appearance and letters to
Persian, and Pashto. Urdu
differs in appearance from
Arabic in that it uses the more complex and
sinuous nastaliq script whereas
Arabic tends to the more modern naskh.
Nastaliq is notoriously difficult to typeset, so Urdu newspapers are made
from hand-written masters. Although the styles are different, people who
can read Urdu can read
Arabic uses the same alphabet but with
fewer letters. There are efforts underway to develop more practical Urdu
support on computers.