Learn Urdu!

To learn Urdu is to learn one of the most widely spoken languages of the world. Spoken primarily in Pakistan, it is essentially the same language as Hindi, also called Hindustani, which is spoken in India. Together they are spoken by 600 million people in South Asia and in pockets of South Asian communities in cities around the world.

The Urdu language is written in the Arabic script and in this differs from Hindi which uses the Devanagari script. Urdu is a descendant of the great literary and religious language Sanskrit. It is distantly related to Greek, Latin and most of the European languages. As such, it has some characteristics of European languages which may be familiar to native English speakers, or those who have studied a European language.

This is where the similarities end, however. The pronunciation and sounds of Urdu are very different from European languages, given its thousands of years in close contact with other South Asian languages. Combined with the different writing system, and much of its vocabulary coming from Arabic and Persian, learning Urdu makes for an interesting challenge. And unlike the major European languages, or the other major languages of Asia, there are relatively few resources to learn Urdu.

Learn Urdu Podcast
Finally, a podcast for learning Urdu! This is a brand new podcast for Urdu. It is well done and although having some knowledge of Urdu is best, it will be a great benefit for those just starting out as well. And there is an accompanying transcript!

Ukindia Learn to Read Urdu
Free basic tutorial to learn to read Urdu, which is also downloadable. Elsewhere on the site are basic tutorials for reading other South Asian languages as well as news and other information.

Urdu Language Resources
An abundance of links and resources for someone learning Urdu or other South Asian languages. Grammars, dialogues, vocabulary and word lists, fonts and other tools, news and other resources.

Hindi/Urdu Lessons
Basic Urdu lessons. Alphabet, vocabulary and dialogues with sound files.

Transparent Language offers a free vocabulary trainer to get started learning Urdu. Get your Free BYKI™ Lite download by Transparent Language

Book/Audio Combo/Inexpensive
Complete Urdu
This is the updated version of Teach Yourself Urdu. The longstanding Teach Yourself series has always had a wide variety of languages. They are the only major publisher with a book and audio course for Urdu. This coursebook and 2 audio cds introduces the beginner to the sounds, basic grammar and writing of Urdu. It is an excellent beginning course to learn Urdu.


You can get the Lite version of BYKI for free (see the link above), but if you upgrade to BYKI Deluxe, you get a whole lot more, especially with the newly updated version! More than 1000 words and phrases spoken by native speakers, some with pictures, games and other activities, mp3/iPod feature, and the ability to create your own lists and even add your own audio and pictures!

Pimsleur Urdu Comprehensive Level 1
This is a new addition to the Pimsleur line. Pimsleurs all-audio format is a great introduction to the language, and with it you'll develop a better accent and conversation ability than with any other published language method. It's a great way to begin to learn Urdu and complements another course like Teach Yourself very well. For a more in-depth look at how Pimsleur works, read my review of Pimsleur products.

As an alternative to ordering the whole set of Pimsleur cd's in one shot, maybe you would be interested in a more cost effective download from Audible.com? Get five lessons at a time for less money and no waiting!

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