Urdu language


Urdu language
Indo-Aryan language used by Muslims in India and Pakistan.

In the sociopolitical realm, Urdu and Hindi are different languages, but the colloquial basis of both is identical, and as a written language Urdu differs from Hindi principally in its greater acceptance of Persian-Arabic vocabulary and in some syntactic features. It is written in the Arabic alphabet with modification of some letters to denote specifically Indo-Aryan sounds. As Pakistan's official language, Urdu has been promoted as a token of national unity, though less than 8% of Pakistanis
mainly immigrants and descendants of immigrants from India after the 1947 partition
speak it as a first language.

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      Indo-Aryan language originating in the region between the Ganges and Jamuna rivers near Delhi, now the official language of Pakistan. Numbering some 48,980,000 speakers in the late 20th century, Urdu is the primary language of the Muslims of both Pakistan and northern India.

      As a spoken language, Urdu originally derived from Hindustani, the lingua franca of northern India before the partition of 1947. Although Urdu and Hindi (Hindi language) arose from the same or very similar colloquial bases, their literary forms are almost mutually unintelligible because of the strong influences of Sanskrit on Hindi and of Persian and Arabic on Urdu. Grammar in the two languages is still nearly the same, however, except in instances in which literary Urdu adopts Persian or Arabic constructions. Nouns and pronouns show only two cases, nominative and oblique; the place of inflectional (inflection) endings is taken by postpositions (similar to English prepositions, but following the object) attached to the oblique case. Urdu is written in a modified form of the Persian Arabic alphabet.

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Universalium. 2010.

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