In Pakistan, two calenders are used: the Gregorian and the Islamic. Readers are familiar with the Gregorian so the Islamic will be discussed. The Islamic calender is a lunar Calendar. The observation of Ramadan can be from September to December. Months are usually 28-29 days long. The Calendar dates from the hijra, or migration, of the Prophet Mu<u>h</u>ammad ﷺ from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. The abbreviation for Muslim dates is AH (''anno Hegiræ''). When writing in Urdu, the word ەجرى, ''hijrī'' should precede/ follow the date.
In Pakistan , two calenders are used: the Gregorian and the Islamic. Gregorian so the Islamic will be discussed. The Islamic calender is a lunar Calendar. Months are usually -days long. The Calendar dates from the hijra, or migration, of the Prophet Mu<u>h</u>ammad ﷺ from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. The abbreviation for Muslim dates is AH (''anno Hegiræ''). When writing in Urdu, the word ەجرى, ''hijrī'' should precede/ follow the date.
Revision as of 14:33, 12 February 2007
Urdu اردو, Sometimes formally called Zabān-e-Urdū-e-Mo‘allah زبانِ اردوِ معلیٰ), is the official language of Pakistan and one of the official languages of India. A dialect called Dakini is also spoken by 5% of a majority Muslim Indian population. Urdu derives its grammar from Persian and Sanskrit, but the vocabulary is mainly Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. It is written in a Perso-Arabic abjad known as Nast'alīq (نستعليق). Dakini is a dialect of Urdu with less Arabic and Persian words and is spoken in the Muslim enclave of the Deccan (India). Urdu emerged during Muslim rule in Central and Southern Asia where Persian was the official language. The word Urdu is itself derived from the Turkish word ordu, ultimately derived from the Mongolian word "horde." In addition to vocabulary, Urdu also adopted the Persian use of the enclitic ezāfe and most poets used takhallus (noms de plume). Urdu is renowned for its poetic tradition dating back to Mughal times when, as mentioned, Persian was the court language; thus the reason why Persian vocabulary and elements are so notable. A mixture of Urdu and Hindi, called Hindustani, is the form heard in most Bollywood films, that try to appeal to the widest audience possible. This phrasebook may help lift the veil of this "exotic" language, in addition to the primary goal of helping travellers who wish to visit Pakistan or certain parts of India.
Urdu; as mentioned earlier, is a modified Perso-Arabic script known as an abjad. An abjad does not write short vowels, except at the beginning of a word with alif' serving as a place holder. This can make it frustrating for the learner as the words I and in are both written ميں in Urdu. Urdu is also written in a stylized form of the Arabic script called nast'alīq (نستعليق). Developed in Persia it is still used for religious and poetic calligraphy in Iran today, Urdu in contrast uses it as its standard script. Meaning; if you want to read an Urdu newspaper, street sign, etc. you will have to learn to read nastaliq, which can prove difficult for the beginner. As a result, a simpler style called Naskh (نسخ), as used in other languages using the Arabic abjad will be used for two reasons. 1. to ease the learner into nastaliq, and 2. because unicode does not support nast'aliq, thus making #1 somewhat of a moot point, but nonetheless an important one. Vowel diacritics do exist, mostly used to modify the alif vowel holder at the beginning of a word. But they are also used for educational purposes, in the Qur'ān, and for clarifying ambiguous spellings.
The Arabic system of writing is much like cursive writing. Most letters have four forms. Others; which do not attach to the following letter, have only two. These forms are quite self-explanatory: initial, medial, final, and isolated. When written alone letters are written in their isolated form. Example:
پ + آ + ك + س + ت + آ + ن
when these isolated letters are joined together they look like this:
After studying the alphabet this system will hopefully become more clear.
At the beginning of a word alif serves as a placeholder for the diacritical mark. Due to directional issues with unicode the medial/final occurs before the initial example, when they should appear after, i.e., to the left of the letter. A final ﻪ is sometimes used do represent an inherent 'a' at the end of a word (c.f. Arabic usage). When choṭī ye and baṛī ye occur in the middle, both take the ﻴ form. For further reference, in Urdu transliteration ai is ae and au is ao.
zer + choṭī ye
pesh + vā'o
zabar + baṛī ye
zabar + vā'o
a, i, ʔ
v, o, ū
دو چَشمى ەے
do chaśmī he
So why are there 5 z's, etc.?! - The letters ق,غ,ع,ظ,ط,ض,ص,ژ,ذ,خ,ح,ث are exclusively Persian (Fārsi) or Arabic sounds. As such; the Arabic sounds especially, are pronounced with the closest Indic equivalent. Thus, to illustrate: the Arabic ث (θ) is pronounced as س, and the Arabic ذ (ð) is pronounced as ز. A rare Urdu letter unique to Persian and Persian loan words is ژ, which is pronounced as the Russian ж, or s in pleasure.
To make aspirated letters in Urdu the do chashmī he is added to the letter it aspirates. In Nastaliq, the do chashmī he, lit. meaning "two-eyed he" looks like this: ﻬ. Unfortunately unicode only supports this character as it exists in Arabic; therefore the Urdu Naskh will have to suffice.
Special Characters & Signs
Special diacritical signs will be used with ت as an example when appropriate. Explanations are given below the table.
nūn-e ghunna - The nasalization symbol in Urdu. In medial form a normal nūn is used.
hamzah - Though part of the alphabet, the hamzah is not really a letter. Nor is it exactly a diacritical sign. It is an entity unto itself. It is a vowel separator similar to the glottal ‘ain. It is used often, on a consonantal "seat" in words ending with the irregular polite imperative suffix -iye.
iẓāfat - Though identical to zer in appearance, it is an element borrowed from the Persian ezafe. This is very common in Urdu and unlike zer is pronounced as a "long" e. It is placed under the last consonant of the adjective which is affecting the noun. Roughly translated as of. It is transliterated as the suffix -e, or -e-. Example:
زخمِ قلب — zakhm-e-qalb — lit. wound of (the) heart, i.e. heartsorrow, or better, German Herzeleid.
When the first word ends in a vowel, the iẓāfat is written under a hamzah placeholder: ءِ.
taśdīd - A small "w" which doubles the consonant it is written over. However; in verbs, the consonant is written twice.
jazm - Placed over a consonant, it indicates there is no short vowel following it. It looks like a circumflex.
ālif maqsūra - Used only in Arabic loanwords. Appears over the final choṭī ye as a superscript ālif. Indicates an -ā sound.
khaṛa zabar - lit. "standing zabar", also only occurs in Arabic origin words. Written over a consonant like the above, it indicates an ā after that consonant. Also called a "dagger alif".
tā marbūtah - Is the Arabic fem. marker. It is often merely replaced by a choṭī he or te.
There are many special ligatures in nast'aliq. Kāf+ālif, kāf+lām, gāf+ālif, gāf+lām, and many more which unicode does not support. Learn the naskh and you will hopefully be able to spot these on your own with some practice; not to mention much patience.
Except for the final dash, most are as in the Roman alphabet; the comma, semi-colon and question mark being inverted.
Phrase List (عبارت)
Hello (used esp. when answering the phone)
See you later
پھر ملیں گے
How are you?
کیا حال ہے؟
kya Haal hai?
How are you? (lit. are you well?)
آپ خيريت سے ہیں؟
āp khairiyat se hain?
I am fine
خزریت الحمدال اللہ
Fine, and you? (more formal reply)
آپ كى دعا ەے
āpkī duā hai
What is your name?
آپ كا نام كيا ەے؟
āpka nam kya hai?
My name is ___ .
ميرا نام ___ ەے۔
mera nam ___ hai.
Nice to meet you (formal).
آپسے ملکر خوشی ہوی
apse mil kar khushi huee.
Nice to meet you too (reply).
Do you speak English?
آپ كو انگریزی آتى ەے؟
āpko angrezi ātī hai?
Is there someone here who speaks English?
یہاں كسى كو انگریزی آتى ەے؟
yahaan kisī ko angrezī ātī hai?
I don't speak Urdu।
مجهے ەندى\اردو نەيں آتى ەے۔
mujhe urdu nahīn
I speak some Urdu.
مجهے تھوڑی اردو آتی ہے;
mujhe thoRi urdū ātī hai।
I don't understand.
Speak more slowly
What does "..." mean?
کہ کیا معنی ہے؟"..."
"..." ka kya ma'ni hai?
How do you say "..."?
كيتے كيسے ەےں؟ "..."
"..." kaise kehte hain?
Where are you from?
آپ كەاں سے ەيں؟
āp kahan se hain?
I'm from ...
ميں ... سے ەوں
main ... se hūn
Thank you very much
... بەت بەت
bahut bahut ...
You're welcome (lit. don't mention it)
کوئی بات نہیں
Koi bat nahin.
Excuse me (getting s.o.'s attention)
Pardon me/I'm sorry
Where is the toilet?
غسلخانه كەاں ەے؟
Good!, nice, etc.
Just one minute
Forms of Address (ختاب)
Interrogatives (علامت سئوال)
how/of what kind?
کب، کس وفت
Leave me alone.
Mujhe tung na karo. (تنگ نہ کرو)
Don't touch me!
Mujhe tamaas nakaro (لمس یا تماس نہ کرو)
I'll call the police.
Mei police ko kall kar doongi <girls> Mei police ko kall kar doonga <guys> (میں پلیس کو ندا دوںگا)
Ay! Sariq!/ Duzd! (ای! دزد)
I need your help.
Maddad kardein. (تماری مدد کی ضرورت ہے)
It's an emergency.
mohim hai. (مہم ہے)
Mei gum hoo. (گم شدہ ہوں)
I lost my bag.
kisa gum kardiya. (کیسہ گم کردیا)
I lost my wallet.
kif jaibi gum hogiya. (کیفِ جیبی گم ہوگیا)
Mei bey-maar hoo. (بیمار ہوں)
I've been injured.
Mei zhakhmi hoo. (زخمہ ہوگیا ہوں)
I need a doctor.
Mujhe daktar ki zaroorat hai. (دکتر کی احتیاج ہے)
Can I use your phone?
Aapka phone ko istumahl kar loon? (فون آپکہ استعمال کرلوں؟)
In Pakistan and other Urdu speaking place, two calenders are used: the Gregorian and the Islamic. Months of Gregorian calendar are used as these are in English so the Islamic will be discussed. The Islamic calender is a lunar Calendar. Months are usually 29-30 days long. The Calendar dates from the hijra, or migration, of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. The abbreviation for Muslim dates is AH (anno Hegiræ). When writing in Urdu, the word ەجرى, hijrī should precede/ follow the date.
Zī Qāda/ Zil Qad
Zī al-Hijjah/ Zil Hajj
تابندہ یا درخشاں
Bus, Train, and Taxi (اتوبس, قطار, و تکسی)
Note: if you stick to Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad, you should be fine with yousing english words in Urdu phrases. THe locals do it all the time. This is why the phrase I need a car becomes mujhe car chahye
گاری کرائے, تاکسی
gari karayai, taxi
هوا پیما, پرواز
How much is a ticket to _____?
How much is a ticket to _____? (یک بلیط یا تذکرہ تا _____ کی کیا قدر ہے؟)
One ticket to _____, please.
One ticket to _____, please. (یک بلیت تا ____ مہرباناً)
Where does this train/bus go?
Where does this train/bus go? (اِس قطار کی کیا منزل ہے؟)
Where is the train/bus to _____?
Where is the train/bus to _____? (یہ قطار سوی کس جا ہے؟)
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
Does this train/bus stop in _____? (یہ قطار در _____ توقف ہوتی ہے؟)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? (قطار برایِ _____ کس وقت خارج ہوتی ہے؟)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
When will this bus arrive in _____? (یہ قطار _____ کس وقت وارد ہوگی؟)