15 things you (probably) didn’t know about Urdu
1. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, along with English. It is also spoken and understood in parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Middle East.
2. The first Urdu book printed by a printing press brought to India by the Portuguese, was باغ و بہار [Bagh-o-bahar] by Mir Amman, published in 1801.
3. The Urdu alphabet has 39 basic letters and 13 extra characters, 52 all together. It is written from right to left and is closely related to the Arabic and Persian alphabets, but also contains some sounds from Sanskrit.
4. It is mutually intelligible with Hindi and if they were considered the same language, the population of Hindi-Urdu speakers is the fourth largest of the languages of the world, after Mandarin Chinese, English and Spanish.
5. Urdu is spoken by over 100 million people worldwide. It is spoken by 65 million as a first language and 40 million as a second language. The total, including Hindi, is over 490 million.
6.The language’s Indo-Aryan base has been enriched by borrowing from Persian and Arabic. There are also a smaller number of borrowings from Chagatai, Portuguese, and more recently English
7. Any verb in Urdu can be conjugated as per three or four different tiers of politeness.
8. Urdu has been one of the premier languages of poetry in South Asia for two centuries.
9. When saying web or email addresses, the words hyphen,slash, dot and at are all pronounced as in English.
10. English has acquired words form Urdu including:
cushy from خوشی [khushi], ease, happiness
pukka from پکّا [pakka], solid
cummerbund from کمر بند [kamarband], waist binding
chutney from چٹنی [chatni], to crush
jungle from جنگل [jangal], jungle
thug from ٹھگ [thhug], cheat, swindler
verandah from برآمدہ [bar’aamdah], verandah
garam masala from گرم مصالحہ [garam masaalah], hot mix
11. Whilst spoken Urdu and Hindi are almost identical Hindi is written in a different script. The Urdu script is over 90% similar to the Persian and Arabic scripts. Urdu vocabulary also borrows about 40% from Arabic and Persian.
12. FAMOUS QUOTE: ثبات ایک تغیر کو ہے زمانے میں Only change is permanent. By famous Urdu poet Allama Iqbal (1877-1938)
13. The first Urdu book printed by a printing press brought to India by the Portuguese, was باغ و بہار [Bagh-o-bahar] by Mir Amman, published in 1801.
14. Urdu has been one of the premier languages of poetry in South Asia for two centuries.
15. An Urdu joke:
بچہ باپ سے: ’’ابو لگتا ہے کہ آپ کا قد بڑھ رہا ہے۔،،
باپ: ’’تمھیں کیسے پتہ چلا؟،،
بچہ: ’’آپ کا سر بالوں سے باہر آرہا ہے۔،،
A little boy says to his father: “Dad! You look like you’re getting taller.”
Dad: “How do you know this?”
Boy: “Your scalp is coming out of your hair.”
Ok, so this is a list of 17 things we probably didn’t know about Urdu. Now what else do you know about Urdu?