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The Urdu Language

Urdu, also known as Lashkari, is the national language of Pakistan. It is also recognized as one of the 22 official languages approved by the constitution of India. The name Urdu is derived from the Turkish word “Ordu”, which means “army”.

With over 70 million speakers using it as their first language and more than 100 million people using it as their second, Urdu is one of the most widely spoken languages across the world. Apart from Pakistan and India, Urdu is also used in countries across the Middle East, Bangladesh, Nepal and many other countries around the world where Pakistani communities have settled.

History of Urdu

Urdu came into existence during the 12th century when the Indian subcontinents were invaded by Persian and Turkish forces. Later, it was further developed during the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526) and the Mughal Empire (1526–1858).

Hindi is found to be very closely related to the spoken form of Urdu however, both languages have different influences and scripts. Hindi is influenced by Sanskrit and uses the Devanagari script, whereas Urdu resembles Persian and Arabic and is written with the Nastaliq script.

Due to the Persian and Arabic influences, Urdu’s scripts are written right-to-left and are traditionally written in a Perso-Arabic script called a Nastaliq. Nastaliq is a flowy, ornate and hanging script. But when used on software applications or websites, Urdu is depicted in Naskh, which is known as an angular and rather stodgy script that comes from Arabic.

Some of the Urdu dialects recognized include Rekhta, Dakhni and Modern Vernacular Urdu.

Fun Facts about Urdu

  • Urdu is one of the world’s most sophisticated and beautiful languages.
  • Poets use it to write poems because of its beauty and grace.
  • The Urdu language contains up to 40 alphabets.
  • Urdu’s words have an emphasis on politeness and many of the words are used to show respect. These words are mainly used when addressing elders or new acquaintances.
  • Here are some English words with Urdu origins:
    • Cummerbund: waist binding.
    • Khaki: dusty, grey.
    • Pashmina: shawl or scarf.
    • Pajamas: trouser.
    • Typhoon: storm.


Not only are the words of Urdu pleasant to see, but the sounds of the words are mystical. From using this language to write songs and poems to being used in schools and courts,  the grace and class keeps Urdu as one of the most dignified languages in the world.