‘Pukka’ Urdu language experts
Don’t worry, we’ve not gone all Jamie Oliver on you – ‘Pukka’ is an Urdu word meaning ‘solid’.
You need Urdu translators and interpreters who are not only language experts but also have a solid understanding of your sector.
With over 100 million speakers (400,000 or so in the UK), Urdu is becoming more important as a business language as The East rises.
Although Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, it’s also used in parts of India as well as the Middle East and other territories.
Call us today to discuss your specific requirements.
- Urdu is written from right to left and can be very challenging to master for European students.
- Formality in Urdu is usually denoted by the etymology of the choice of words. Words from Persian or Arabic beginnings are regarded as being grander and more formal.
- Urdu employs a three-tiered system of politeness called ādāb. Urdu’s emphasis on politeness and propriety has come to see it regarded as an aristocratic language in South Asia.
- Urdu has a great literary tradition, especially in poetry.
An introduction to the Urdu language
Urdu, or modern standard Urdu is a standardised version of the Hindustani language
Historically, Urdu is associated with the Muslims of the Hindustani region. It has become the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan and is still the first language of around 5% of Indians. Globally, there are estimated to be around 100 million Urdu speakers, making it the tenth most spoken language in the world.
Modern standard Urdu is based on the prestige dialect of Hindustani – Khariboli, a direct descendant of the Shauraseni language, the vernacular of northern India dating back to the 5th century BC.
Khariboli was the dialect of the people in and around the area of Dehli, which lent it great importance due to the position of power Dehli held in the Indian sub-continent. When the Persian speaking courts of the Mughal Empire established their court in Dehli, their influence and language infused with the local Khariboli dialect. The resulting effect on the local dialect was the emerging prestige dialect that became known as zabān-e Urdu-e mo’alla (language of the court), later shortened to Urdu.
During British rule, tensions arose between Muslims and Hindus over the status of Hindi and Urdu. Hindus believed that Hindustani should revert back to the Devanagri script, whereas Urdu is written in the Nastaliq style of the Persian alphabet. Independence and the creation of Pakistan further entrenched the split, with the new government of Pakistan establishing a highly Persianised literary form of Urdu as the national language. Regardless, both Hindi and Urdu are still mutually intelligible languages with most linguists believing that they are in fact standardised versions of the same language with the differences being mainly sociolinguistic in nature.
Only 8% of Pakistanis have Urdu as their first language, however Urdu is understood throughout Pakistan. It is the language of education, literature and officialdom and despite Punjabi being the most widely spoken language, Urdu is regarded as being representative of the cultural and social heritage of the country.
Due to the influence of English on the region from the long period of British rule, many English words have found their way into Urdu
Examples of English loan words in Urdu
Equally, English has adopted some loan words from Urdu.
Examples of Urdu loan words in English