Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by bjoleniacz, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. bjoleniacz

    bjoleniacz Senior Member

    Durham, NC, USA
    English, USA
    I am trying to learn the language that real people use in the Hindi Belt in Northern India to talk to their families and buy things at the market. From what I have read, this language is called Hindustani, while Hindi is actually a more formal language taught in school. I have read that Hindustani has more Persian words than Sanskrit words and is closer to Urdu than it is to Modern Standard Hindi. This seems to be the case with Bollywood movies as well, which I have read are closer to Urdu in their language than to Suddh Hindi, and sometimes have whole songs in Urdu. So my question is this: If I want to be able to talk to people in the Hindi Belt and understand them, is it better for me to learn Urdu, or Hindi? It seems like Urdu would be the better option, so I don't waste my time learning tons of Sanskrit vocabulary that nobody uses. I already know how to write and read in Devanagari so that is not an issue.

  2. BP. Senior Member

    Honestly if you need to use the language to just find your way through things, you don't need to worry about learning shudh language. Learning proper Urdu would be just as hard as leaning purist Hindi. When you're learning vocabulary, my suggestion would be to always pick the simpler word to memorize, regardless of its origins in either Urdu or Hindi.
  3. bjoleniacz

    bjoleniacz Senior Member

    Durham, NC, USA
    English, USA
    I guess my question is whether I should be spending my time on a Teach Yourself Urdu course or on a Teach Yourself Hindi course. Which would have the most useful vocabulary base?
  4. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I'd like to reiterate BP's comments above, but if you're confused about which book to use (out of those two), I'd suggest Snell's Teach Yourself Hindi. The font is much more friendlier (The TYU font is not beginner friendly and quite tiny) and the text has been used successfully by many learners. The book does however have its share of problems...

    David Mathew's book is also good, and maybe you can use it in conjunction if you can balance both scripts.

  5. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I have all of these which I used to teach some people:

    Teach Yourself Urdu Complete Course by David Matthews, Mohamed Kasim Dalvi

    ISBN-10: 0071420193
    ISBN-13: 978-0071420198

    Colloquial Urdu: The Complete Course for Beginners

    Tej K. Bhatia

    ISBN-10: 0415135400
    ISBN-13: 978-0415135405

    Urdu: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Grammars)

    Ruth Schmidt (Author)

    ISBN-10: 0415163811
    ISBN-13: 978-0415163811

    I also have this:

    Colloquial Hindi: The Complete Course for Beginners

    ~ Tej Bhatia

     ISBN-10: 0415419565
     ISBN-13: 978-0415419567

    Most come with 1 or 2 CDs.

    I also have an old edition of Snell's Hindi.

    The font issue can be a problem for the Urdu learner except for Schmidt’s Essentials of Urdu Grammar.
    Font very clear here.

    I’m not a fan of the noorii nasta’liiq script (the font used almost everywhere) and much prefer nasx / naskh (used in Arabic books) but I don’t know of any “new” Urdu books that uses that. My old Platt’s “A Grammar of the Hindustani or Urdu Languageuses nasx – printed in India.
    Recently, an addition has been made to this collection by the reprinting of A Grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani Language by John Dowson.

    ISBN-10: 1113153261
    ISBN-13: 978-1113153265

    The old copy I have of Dobson also uses the nasx font. Don't know about the new edition.
  6. tamah Senior Member

    Tel aviv, Haifa
    Fluent Hebrew, Avg. Hindi & Marathi, Good English, Horrid Russian
  7. teaboy Senior Member

    The everyday Urdu I learned in Pakistan serves quite well in India, but much of the Hindi I learned at university is not useful in Pakistan. And whenever I speak Urdu in India, people say, "Oh! you speak Hindi!" ;) Whereas the Sanskritized stuff will just get baffled looks in Pakistan.

    Therefore, I think that Urdu is more useful, because it works on both sides of the border.

    Look at it this way: the language of Bollywood and romance and poetry is more Urdu than shuddh Hindi.

    I mean honestly, how many people, except for pandits in Varanasi, go around saying tatha instead of aur?
  8. teaboy Senior Member

    Have you tried using Nafees Nastaleeq? It's a free download and so beautiful and easy to read.
  9. BP. Senior Member

    Thanks teaboy. nasta3liiq and even more so naskh are too Arabic for my taste. I like this nafees nastaliiq. Well I'd be naturally biased towards it: it was developed at my university! The CRULP team is doing a good job indeed.
  10. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Yes, thanks I know about this and much prefer it to the font being used in nearly all of the books I mention above. If this were to be used insted then the font issue would melt away.

    There is only one Urdu-Hindi course I know that has no script issues at all - it is Romanised!

    A new course in Urdu and spoken Hindi for learners in Britain, Volume 1 By Ralph Russell. Link.

    (I met him. Great teacher, good friend.)
  11. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    In Hindi belt, you can use Hindi and hence learn it if you are not comfortable in the language. Learning Urdu won't be practically necessary because most Urdu speakers in India know Hindi but most Hindi speakers don't know Urdu. Hence for your purpose, you can only concentrate on Hindi.

    Also, don't get confused with Bollywood movies with their lyrics which have so many Urdu words. Most Indians don't understand meaning of all those Urdu words but still sing those songs. So movies are no reference places if you want to do conversations in India.
  12. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Strange logic! So, the best thing Bollywood film makers could do is to make the films in Hindi so that all Hindi speakers can understand everything in them. Urdu speakers (by your logic) would know Hindi anyway, so they will be able to enjoy them equally. As for speakers of rest of the languages, they too will probably know Hindi, just like Urdu speakers.
  13. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    The logic is not strange, as I have also said earlier: Indian filmmakers target audiences in Islamic countries, too, and hence the language used in songs is much more Urdu than something often comprehensible in India. This was much truer earlier: now, the language of films and songs is coming more to what is actually spoken (listen to recent movie Barfi's songs, as example: excellent lyrics, sheer poetry as well as complete understandability).

    To answer the original question, Hindi and Urdu are simply two registers of the same language, Hindustani, so as long as you do not immerse yourself in too much Persian/Arabic-derived or Sanskrit-derived words, you should be fine and easily understood by most Hindi-Urdu speakers.
  14. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    There is no simpler way to learn Hindustani than to learn Hindustani!
  15. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    With regard to the truth about what Urdu and what Hindi is, please look at this thread, especially the works by Tara Chand and Faruqi: posts# 4 and 17
  16. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Do I understand the presented logic correctly that the songs or dialogues are (more) Urdu so that they can be understood in islamic countries? Is the consequence of this reasoning that Indian filmmakers use Urdu to gain popularity in the islamic countries, risking incomprehension in India?
  17. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Songs are definitely more Urdu than movie dialogue, tending to use higher-level Urdu words that are not common in colloquial Hindi. Also, this should be a non-issue really. The movies do contain Sanskrit-based Hindi too! I have heard it, but as in reality, it is used from time to time by most speakers.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  18. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Agree, even in modern cinema...for example, in the songs of the movie quoted by greatbear one finds the following Urdu words:
    برفی (barfi) ، اعلٰی (a'alaa) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، گم صم (gum-Sum) ، خرافات (xuraafaat) ، مولا (maulaa) ، پلک (palak) ، دل (dil) ، اف (uff)
    آوارگی (aawaragi)، بیکار (bekaar) ، حالات (Haalaat) ، غلطی (ghalati)
    آشیاں (aashiyaaN) ، خوشی (xushi) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، دیواریں (deewaaroN) ، پردے (parde) ، مستی (masti) ، مہینے (maheene) ، خرچہ (xarchah) ، ترانے (taraane) ، زمین (zameen)
    خاموشی (xaamoshi) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، خواہشیں (xaahisheN) ، زبان (zabaan) ، گفتگو (guftugu) ، جستجو (justuju)
    دل مجبور (dil-e-majboor) ، راس (raas) ، مکمل (mukammal) ، باقی (baaqi) ، یاد (yaad) ، قسمت (qismat) ، منظور (manzoor) ، راس (raas) ، بدستور (badastuur) ، مسلسل (musalsal) ، راہ (raah) ، قبول (qubuul) ، میسّر (muyassar)
    رستوں (rastoN) ، المست (almast) ، پہچانی (pehchaani) ، راہوں (raahoN) ، خیال (xayaal) ، زندگی (zindagi) ، نشے (nashe) ، تلاش (talaash) ، باغیچوں (baaGheechoN) ، فرصت (furSat) ، فضاؤں (fazaa'oN) ، ہواؤں (hawaa'on) ، حال (Haal)
    شروع (shuru'u) ، خیال (xayaal) ، جواں (jawaaN) ، خوابوں (xaaboN)
    مست (mast) ، زبردست (zabardast) ، بطخ (battax) ، مصالح (maSaalaH) ، نیست و نابود (nist-o-naaboud)
    Of course, many of these are even used (perhaps more than the Hindi/shudh variety) and considered part of colloquial Hindi. Most movies probably wouldn't have dialogues like (from GT): "tum mere hirde meiN reh te/ti ho" , "mujhse truti hoga'i" , "meri sthiti buri hai" , "jo upalabdh hai woh svikaar karo. dusre ki akaanksha chhoRo"
  19. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    They are not just "considered" part of colloquial Hindi, Alfaaz, but every one of those words is very much Hindi (and also Urdu). It is words like "anjuman" that are getting rarer as finally Hindi filmmakers are coming of age: people are now seeing what they want, not whatever is available to them. Modern-day Hindi films are refreshing not just because of better stories better told, but also for having dialogues closer to what Indian speakers actually speak.
  20. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    True enough, Alfaaz SaaHib! These words are not only used in films and Indian dramas -both with a wide audience and appeal- but also in common parlance, i.e. colloquial Hindi.
  21. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I think you have a be a little more understanding of what Hindi is. Most of the words, if not all, are equally as much Hindi as they are Urdu. It is easier to say what is not Urdu than what is not Hindi. Notice, you had to give the qualifier shuddh above. Everyday Hindi is not shuddh. It is the language nazis only that try to make it shuddh.

    Hindi is a mixed language drawing from many sources. Shuddh Hindi is mainly found in books, and even less-so now-a-days when it has become more acceptable to write in normal Hindi as well. The difference between Urdu and Hindi in my mind is that in Hindi we can go from saying dil to hRiday. We can go from saying zameen to dhartii or bhoomii. We can go from saying raah to raste to maarg to saDak. We can go from saying zindagii to jiivan. We can go from saying xwaahish to icChaa. We can go from saying xushii to sukh. We can go from saying zabaan to jiibh or zabaan to bhaashaa. It makes no difference at the end of the day. Speaking Hindi gives one a certain freedom to choose words from Persian or Sanskrit based on context, in whatever way the mind fancies and based on the occasion and context.

    Therefore, if Urdu and Shuddh Hindi were circles in a Venn Diagram, they would overlap to some extent on the edges. And then everyday Hindi would be a circle overlapping both Urdu and Literary Hindi shifted more in the direction Urdu circle, but varying from speaker to speaker.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  22. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    :thumbsup: Well said!
  23. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you Tony. I think that seems to depend on whether it suits the argument of the speaker to accept an Urdu word to be a constituent part of Hindi or not. You will remember a number of threads where people have used such words as "plebeian" "oddities", "far from elegant" to describe a number of Urdu words which, I would say, exist within the Hindi fold.

    I find it difficult to accept an average Hindi speaker using a3laa, xuraafaat, aashiyaaN, taraanah, justujuu, guftuguu, musalsal, badastuur, dil-i-majbuur, baaGhiichah (note the Gh please), fazaa, nest-o-naabuud and even maulaa! If these are being used, it is a good thing.

    These words are most certainly used in Urdu too. What is often not in Urdu are direct Sanskrit borrowings.

    For bhuumi, in Urdu the word buum is used but this is very literary
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  24. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    The same misnomers have also been applied to Sanskrit-derived words in many threads: so that's neither here nor there. The problem is that some people generalize what they feel personally: so if someone finds an Urdu word elegant or inelegant, he proclaims that that is so, whereas finding elegance in something is subjective and not objective. As far as I am concerned, no language has some inbred elegance about it!

    And to be more precise, in Alfaaz's quite long list, I recognize only 2 words that are not much used in Hindi: musalsal and muyassar. The rest are very, very common: words like "khuraafaat" are used in everyday speech. And no, one doesn't need to note the "Gh": because "bagiichaa" is probably an even more frequently occurring word than the Gh version, etc. - and is a valid word (maybe not in Urdu, but the thread doesn't discuss Urdu exclusively). As tonyspeed said, Hindi draws from many sources and hence speaking it gives one a certain freedom.
  25. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I think part of the issue throughout discussions like these is the term Hindi itself. Not only do we use it for a dialect of KhaRii Bolii as it developed into Hindvi / Hindustani / Urdu, but also as a generic term to include other languages like Awadhi (which I’m familiar with), Bhojpuri (or its Purbi dialect often heard in qawwalis), Braj (sadly completely over run by our language since the end of the 18th century -also heard in qawwalis), Haryanvi etc. Some even include Maithli in this mix! With Awadhi and Bhojpuri speakers now re-asserting their position in the linguistic kaleidoscope of South Asia many speakers of these languages I meet are resentful the way they have been lumped with us Urdu-Hindi speakers! I wonder at the wisdom of those linguists who started classifying diverse languages under a single umbrella term.

    I agree, but we’ve already discussed this endless number of times! Colloquial Hindi is virtually the same as Urdu, pronunciation of some words being a point sometimes we might disagree on but that too depends on whether we are talking about an educated person or not. This has been elaborated often enough in various threads and one only has to read teaching grammars to see that aprt from the idenetical syntax we share a large stock of vocabulary. A good starting point is Rupert Snell's work. So when people here ask what is a Hindi equivalent of a certain word, they are looking for an alternative to a word(s) already used commonly in Urdu. This may or may not turn out to be shuddh Hindi. Also, I do believe there is a genuiness to the question.

    I’d rather you hadn’t put it in such strong terms!

    As to your examples, allow me to give parallel examples from Urdu. We can go from dil to qalb to fu’aad (highly literary); from zamiin to dhartii to arDh to bhuumii (yes we do use it!); from raah / rah to raastah to saRak (and I think you mean this as per the transliteration rules many of us are using here) to xayaaban to shaari3; from zindagii, to Hayaat to jiivan ( we use this too); from xaahish to tamannaa to aarzuu to chaah to muraad; from xushii to xurramii to shaadmaani to inbisaaT to sukh (this too is used); from zabaan to lisaan to bhaashaa to bolii to lughat (thought he latter is also used for ‘dictionary’); from tuzuk to qaanuun to qaa’idah to dastuur. I hope you are now convinced that Urdu is a thoroughly mixed language using all this is required from Prakrit, Persian Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish, and not forgetting words borrowed from European languages esp. English! This too has been mentioned ad nauseam!
    I'd like to see this Venn diagram one day I hope! Agreed! It does depend on someone's background, but on the whole the biggest overlap might still be between Urdu and Colloquial Hindi... and there is a history behind that!
  26. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I'm sorry but I disagree! As I show above in my reply, and as has been mentioned endless number of times, Urdu as it developed from KhaRii Bolii borrowed left, right and centre. We have plenty of freedom in our vocabulary!
    As to your point about the pronunciation of "bagiichaa" being more frequent than "baaGhiichah" (one can ignore the extra 'a' and 'h' at the end - the latter is only an issue of orthography), this is due entirely to the prevalence of uneducated pronunciation. Both UP and Bihar, the area of interest here, have high levels of illiteracy.
    I checked! Even Shabdkosh, the online Hindi lexicon, has बाग़ baaGh, बग़ीचा baGhiichaa and बग़ल baGhal, using the ग़ Gh (Ghayn). As I mentioned, this was a late addition to the traditional Hindi syllabary and under Urdu influence. The same happened for ‘z’, ‘q’ and ‘f’ sounds. All later additions and all part of educated pronunciation of Colloquial Hindi, though I agree with the fact that the uneducated pronunciaiton using ग 'g' here would be more frequently heard for the reason already mentioned.
  27. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    QP SaaHib, we do have some words which are direct Sanskrit borrowings. We even have a few threads that mention this and as for bhuumii we do have it in Urdu. Well at least the expanded Urdu vocabulary.

    As regards your list above, Hindiphones would use these although the number used and the pronunciation would vary a lot depending on the level of education or kind of training they have. So a3laa commonly becomes aalaa; xuraafaat becomes khuraafaat (change from 'x' - a fricative - to 'kh' aspirated) etc. You also note certain vowel changes like fazaa becoming fizaa... and maulaa if not popular earlier certainly is now after some famous songs from various movies. Songs like 'maulaa mere maulaa' (with Abhishek Bachchaan) and 'maulaa maulaa' ( from aawaarapan, with Imran Hashmi - song in Punjabi). All on the net.
  28. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Precisely, marrish SaaHib! Just to add to what I said in post #5 almost three years ago, here are links to some more books of interest on the topic concerned. In a sense the most interesting being towards the end though others I find useful too when looking at how the language was being used then, including orthography. For example ‘baRii ye’ is not seen until much later.

    A grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani language by John Dowson(1908)

    An introduction to the Hindustani language : comprising a grammar, and a vocabulary, English and Hindustani : also short stories and dialogues, short stories in Persian and Nagari characters (1845) by John Shakespear

    Hindustani manual (1918) by Douglas Craven Phillott
    قابل ِ عفو ہے ہماری خطا
    كہ ہے بے عیب صرف ذات ِ خدا

    The syntax and idioms of Hindustani : or, progressive exercises in translation, with notes and directions and vocabularies (1890) by Simon Matthews Edwin Kempson, 1831-1894

    Hindustani grammar self-taught. In four parts. 3d ed., by Carl Albert Thimm, rev. by Shams'ul 'Ulama Sayyid 'Ali Bilgrami (1916)

    Simplified grammar of Hindūstānī, Persian and Arabic (1882) by Edward Henry Palmer, 1840-1882

    The Hindustani language (1917) by William Hooper

    Hindústáni as it ought to be spoken (1900) by John Tweedie.

    The modern Hindustani scholar; or, The Pucca Munshi (1919) by Munshi Thakardass Pahwa, Qualified Hindustani Instructor.

    The front page has this invocation:
    اس كوشش ِ ناچیز كو پروردگار
    اپنی زحمت سے بنا دے یادگار

    A grammar of the Hindustani language, in the Oriental and roman character, with numerous copper-plate illustrations of the Persian and Devanagari systems of alphabetic writing by Duncan Forbes

    There are of course two more classics:

    A Grammar of the Urdu Or Hindustani Language in Its Romanized Character by George Small

    … and,
    A grammar of the Hindūstānī or Urdū language by John Thompson Platts

    But true delights have been these:

    1) The earliest Hindustani grammar

    “Hindustani grammar was first recorded by Joan Josua Ketelaar and his notes have been preserved in three manuscripts. The most complete manuscript is kept at Utrecht University Library. It is partly thanks to his recording of Hindustani grammar that Ketelaar is famous among researchers today – not bad going for someone who was accused of attempted murder and theft.”

    “ …. Ketelaar’s grammar was written in Agra, and we know that Ketelaar was there in 1696 and 1697, in the company of Isaac van der Hoeven, who copied the Hague manuscript in Lucknow in 1698. Karel Bostoen (1992, 120 note 27) therefore concludes that it was evidently then that Ketelaar’s Urdu grammar was written. It focuses on 'Hindustan ki boli' as spoken in de (sic.) area of Agra, Delhi and Lahore by the elite (Gautam & Schokker 2008). The differences between the three manuscripts can be explained by the fact that Ketelaar reworked his grammar. As a result, minor additions and changes can be found in successive copies. However, Isaac van der Hoeven and Gideon Boudaan also left things out that they did not consider important, such as the poem, which is only found in Ms. 1478.”

    [I note that the name of Bahadur Shah I (bahaadur shah-e-awwal) has been misspelt!]

    2) Phonology of Delhi Urdu by Zia Rauf

    Shipra, 1 jan. 1997 - 175 pagina's
    The Book, Phonology Of Delhi Urdu, Presents An Explanatory Phonological Analysis Of Delhi Urdu (Also Called Kharkhandari Urdu) As Spoken In The Vicinity Of Jama Masjid, Delhi. The Analysis Is Carried Out In The Theoretical Framework Of Columbia School Of Linguistics. A Motivated Rational In Terms Of The Phonological Principles Of Columbia School, Is Provided For The Asymmetries Observed In The Makeup Of The Phonological Units (Phonemes) And Their Distribution In The Word, In Delhi Urdu.

    3) A manual of the Hindustani language, as spoken in southern India (1887)
  29. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    For the topic, Urdu in India is by and large language used by Muslims only or used in Muslims dominated localities. If you are planning to live in those localities then only you should learn Urdu. Or else Hindi would be just enough for you to communicate with all.
  30. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    And yet, I am sure, JH, that you yourself use Urdu all the time. I even would classify "Hind" in your nick as Urdu!
  31. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    No dear. I use English most of the time (in my posts). And some Hindi.

    If you want to know where from the word "Hindu" come from, we have other threads. It has come from the Sanskrit word "Sindhu". "Hindi" means "belonging to Hindus". What is your point? Do you say the word "Sindhu" is a Urdu one?

    Urdu is a hybrid language and has borrowed from a lot of other languages including Sanskrit. For example, the word "Pakistan" has come from Sanskrit because the word "Stan" is basically a variation of "Sthaan" meaning "place" in Sanskrit. What say?
  32. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I have no wish to argue with you, JH: as soon as you use the word "ki", "paanii" or "kursii", you are using Urdu! Don't tell me you manage to say frame a Hindi sentence without using "ki".
  33. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    Ok, so you have made many conclusions quite easily it seems. Of course all these are Hindi words.

    Hindi has borrowed many words from other languages and many words have origins in other languages. But today, all these words are Hindi words and you should not suggest that "these are not Hindi words". Right?

    Let us not discuss about either the two languages (there may be separate threads for that) or on individual words you cited (there may be separate threads too).

    You can comment on what I said: today Urdu is used by Indian Muslims or in regions dominated by Muslims alone. And hence, if one wants to communicate in North India in general, Hindi is the language to go with, not Urdu unless one extensively has to communicate with Muslims only.
  34. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I am not saying that these are not Hindi words - what I am saying is that I am tired of some Urdu and Hindi members' attempts here to make rigid distinctions between Urdu and Hindi, which are two different registers of the same language, not two different languages. I can easily understand a Pakistani speaker and the Pakistani speaker can easily understand me: so we are actually speaking the same language, except that the Pakistani speaker's choice of word might be "shauhar" where mine might be "patii". Yes, at a higher level, they may be mutually incomprehensible, but words ranging from zameen to khuraafaat are not higher level.
    And Hindi hasn't "borrowed", to correct you: Hindi has originated from various sources, chiefly Persian and Prakrit.
  35. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I would suggest that this is a gross form of disinformation because amongst Urdu speakers there are people of all sorts of religious persuasions..Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and other faith communities as well as atheists, agnostics and communists. It would be equally wrong to say that Hindi is spoken by Hindus.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  36. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    Good one. I appreciate your reply and by and large agree with what you say... Thanks for explaining for the benefit of others also.
  37. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    Hindi is spoken in India by all groups, there is no doubt on that.

    I agree that some people from even Hindus, Jains and Buddhists could be speaking Urdu or Persian or Arabic, but "in general" and "today", Urdu has become the language of Muslims in India and people "identify" Urdu with "Muslims". Such "generalization" is not "wrong" if you ask resident Indians. Please note my words in inverted commas. I stand by what I said.

    And why I said it? Because I wanted to be "on the topic". If one has to reside in North India and one has to choose one language, it should be Hindi (unless one has to spend substantial time amongst Muslims). You can ask anyone from India, even Urdu speakers, and they will agree with it. So let us not make it a point of saying Urdu is inferior to Hindi. No, that is not my intention. I want to be honest and I don't want to "mislead" anyone who is not pretty aware of India or Indians.

    It will be misleading in my opinion that if one has to learn one language to live in North India then he or she should learn Urdu. Correct and honest suggestion would be to - learn Hindi.
  38. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I believe you need to re-check your definition of "Hindi"! It means one of two things.

    1) Pertaing to Hind/India = Indian

    2) (Language) pertaining to Hind = Hindi (as opposed to Arabic/Persian/Turlish)

    Regarding the etymology of Pakistan.

    paak is Persian for pure. And istaan means "land", again from Persian. Granted sthaan and istaan have the same meaning but this should not surprise us because of the Indo-Iranian language link. As for "paak", does it exist in Sanskrit?

  39. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Apologies for chiming in, there is a word in Sanskrit which is cognate with PU paak, here Platts:

    P پاك pāk (=S. पावक paavaka*), adj. Pure, clear, clean, holy, spotless, blameless, innocent, free (from,-se), undefiled, unpolluted, immaculate, fair.
    * my transliteration
  40. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you marrish SaaHib. But we all know that the country is called Pakistan (Paakistaan) and not paavakasthaan!
  41. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
  42. bjoleniacz

    bjoleniacz Senior Member

    Durham, NC, USA
    English, USA
    It seems obvious to me from this discussion that Hindi/Urdu/Hindustani is a *language continuum* with two extremes. On one end is an extremely Persianized language which uses Persian grammar constructions and even uses Persian/Arabic vocabulary which would have to be looked up in a Persian, not Urdu, dictionary. On the other end is a Sanskritized language which uses Sanskrit grammar constructions and uses words which only a Sanskrit speaker would understand. Somewhere in between is the division between nastaliq and Devanagari writing. My theory is that people who write in Nasataliq say they speak Urdu and people who write in Devanagari say they speak Hindi. This usually lines up with religious orientation: Muslims write in Nastaliq and Hindus write in Devanagari. However, in the middle of the continuum, which I would locate geographically in India, the language is more Persian than Sanskrit, and would be called Urdu if the judgment was purely based on the Persian/Sanskrit ratio. However, Hindus write this language in Devanagari and call it Hindi. However, at the end of the day, it is a solidified trade language which has more than two dimensions and includes many dialects and other languages, and speakers who are 1. Neither Hindu nor Muslim
    2. Cannot read or write/can read and write both Nagari and Nastaliq.
  43. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    This business about extreme Persianisation of Urdu is a fallacy. The truth is that the language is no more Persianised now than it was 200 years ago. And most certainly, you can find all Persian and Arabic words in any good Urdu dictionary! See what Ralph Russell has to say about this "extreme Persianisation".

    Some Notes on Hindi and Urdu: Ralph Russell

    It might be worth your while to read (at least) pages 3-4 of the article listed below to give you an insight into the link between Urdu and Modern Hindi. It won't hurt others to do the same either.

    Urdu Literary Culture: The Syncretic Tradition Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

    If you wish to learn a bit more about this topic, then take a look at these two small books at your leisure.

    Early Urdu Literary Culture and History-Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

    The Problem of Hindustani – Tara Chand
  44. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I am very well aware of judgements which indicate progressing Persianization of Urdu with regard to Pakistan. I understand what are the reasons for this but I hold different views on this matter. Since living languages evolve naturally along with the rise or change in the surroundings in which we live in. The ideas and even material objects a language deals with evolve with the societies that use them to describe their world. For Urdu, it has been Persian AND Arabic which serves as the granary for roots words and expressions. It is equally substantial to add immidiately that the grammar and the extensive stock of Indic vocabulary, with the exception of Old Indic, has always been and continues to lend itself graciously to be formed into new shapes by the users of the language. I agree with QP that Urdu contains no more Persian substratum than 200 years ago because this vocabulary is the heritage of the language and its culture - spoken word, poetry and other writings. I can assure those who might wish to put a question about it, that there are thousands of words that Urdu does not share with Persian as there are also words in which the Persian-derived words would be unrecognizable to the majority of Persian speakers.

    If we speak of the geographical differences in the areas where Urdu is spoken, any difference between Pakistani or Indian Urdu if any, is neglectible whatsoever. If we take the measure of time, I had once the chance to have a look at different glossaries prepared by the Anjuman-e-taraqqii-e-Urdu Dehli just before the time of independence, that contained new words and ideas, and the degree of saturation with Persian words and constructions was comparably higher than at present. What I've been observing is the gradual pauperization of the Urdu language which is to be attributed to the level and model of education and the constant influence of English (200? 300? years).

    I'd rather say that the Urdu language as has been used by its speakers in the past decades is largely de-Persianized in favour of English imagery and lexical elements.

    I forgot to add that Devanagari is not counterpart to nasta3liiq - the latter is a name of typographic or style of writing. It can be compared with Chinese script and other script in, let's say, Arial or Times New Roman. The letters that constitute the script for Urdu are no more no less than the Urdu alphabet, like the script Hindi uses is called the Hindi alphabet or Devanagari.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  45. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Not all scholars agree with you.

    Hindi and Urdu Since 1800: A Common Reader

    quote: "The style of most Urdu writing in Pakistan all too accurately reflects the bombastically Persianized register of the official media" (p.18)

    Urdu and Hindi have been in flux since inception to well after 200 years before today.
    Saying that Urdu was no less Persianised 200 years ago means very little as there were styles of Urdu that used highly
    Persianised language in existence back then as well, which was normal since Persian was the court language, and those
    used to such language would have no doubt incorporated it into their writings. However, this does not mean that this language
    was widely used, understood, or represented the average Urdu speaker/reader.

    Urdu was still in a standardisation process 200 years ago. There was not just one style of Urdu. Some were more Persianised than others.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  46. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Of course, people such as Snell/Shackle have their views and so do others like Russell. Someone who flicks through the pages of Sauda or Ghalib (including Ghalib's prose) will very quickly realise how rich these people's language was. I assure you, most Urdu readers will not be able to fathom the vocabulary of these and other authors of this period. Further more, Urdu certainly had crystallised into a literary language long before 200 years from now. Even at Fort William College, it was Mir Amman, Sher Ali Afsos and others' works that formed the basis for the newly created Hindi there. I wish you and others could read Urdu for your selves and then you will not need someone like me to tell you about the type of language then and now. This oft-repeated formula of extreme Persianisation is a red herring and nothing else!
  47. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    If most Urdu readers will not be able to fathom the vocabulary of these authors, then we aren't certainly talking of one Urdu, and you have been till now claiming that Urdu has been always the same except for some modern loanwords from English! Nor are we talking of the "richness" of these people's language. In that case, then Acharya Chatursen Shastri is the best example of how rich a Sanskrit-based Hindi can be - so leave alone your subjective opinions please.
  48. bjoleniacz

    bjoleniacz Senior Member

    Durham, NC, USA
    English, USA
    I disagree strongly. Times New Roman is a typeface- that is, a form of the alphabet used in printing presses. Nastaliq is a script- a form of Arabic handwriting. One of Urdu's major problems in the computer age has been the fact that it is historically written and read in the Nastaliq script. (Why include the letter 3ayin in the transcription? 3ayin is not pronounced in Urdu.) It is very difficult to print or display diagonal text in newspapers, magazines, and on computers, so Urdu speakers have had to adapt their language and use the horizontal Arabic script instead of Nastaliq. This is because Nastaliq is a script which is extremely hard to convert to a successful typeface. However, as a learner of Arabic, I can tell you that Nastaliq is a different form of the Arabic script entirely, which is still extremely difficult for me to read. The letters are closely related in form and the rules governing their ligatures, but are still as different and unique as Hindi and Urdu are from each other.

    In the same way, Devanagari is a script. The Devanagari script is used for Hindi, Sanskrit, and several other languages, so the Hindi alphabet and the Sanskrit alphabet are different, but are both written using Devanagari characters. Devanagari is not a typeface, and it is also not an alphabet. And while Nastaliq belongs to the larger family of Arabic scripts, it is still a script/form of writing in its own right which one has to study and learn to read independently of the horizontal Arabic script.

    So, to answer the question, "Which script is Urdu written in?", one could answer "the Arabic script," which covers both the diagonal nastaliiq Urdu is traditionally written in, and the horizontal Arabic script used now since the dawn of computers. However, a more accurate answer, to me, would be that Urdu is written in the Nastaliq script, which has been adapted for printing and computers to the horizontal Arabic script.
  49. bjoleniacz

    bjoleniacz Senior Member

    Durham, NC, USA
    English, USA
    In fact, I would say that at the end of the day, the difference between Hindi and Urdu is that Hindi is just a Hindustani dialect written in Devanagari, while Urdu is a Hindustani dialect written in an Arabic script, most likely Nastaliq. Nastaliq is not easily written on the computer. So Urdu speakers, rather than using the more computer friendly Devanagari script for their language, which they associate with Hinduism, use the horizontal Arabic Naskh script, which is more closely related to Nastaliq. In this way, the clear "difference" between the "two" languages is maintained in the written form by the alphabet used to write it down. The Muslims write Hindustani in the alphabet of the Qur'an and call it Urdu, and use Persian and Arabic to fill in gaps in vocabulary, while Hindus write Hindustani in an Indic alphabet and call it Hindi, even though it they are using the Persianized/Arabicized "Urdu" language on the street instead of the Sanskritized forms of the "language Nazis."

    So, to answer my own question which I asked several years ago, it is probably more useful to learn Urdu from a book than to learn Hindi from a book. The best book to learn Hindi to communicate in India would be one that teaches a form of "Urdu" written in the Devanagari script, since it is much easier to learn new vocabulary in Devanagari, which represents the vowels. Short of finding this, it would be better to just learn Urdu than to learn "textbook Hindi." However, I have a feeling "Teach Yourself Hindi" , which I bought 8 years ago, teaches Urdu-ish Hindustani more than "schoolbook Hindi" or Modern Standard Hindi.

    Also important are greetings. Urdu speakers will say "Salam aleykum" while Hindi speakers will say "Namaste," and Urdu speakers use many of the typical Muslim interjections from Arabic in exclamations, blessings, curses, and wishes, which comprise a good portion of daily speech, while Hindi speakers use Hindu forms of exclaiming, blessing, cursing, and wishing.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  50. bjoleniacz

    bjoleniacz Senior Member

    Durham, NC, USA
    English, USA
    So, my final thesis on the difference between Urdu and Hindi:

    Both use the grammar and vocabulary of a trade language derived chiefly from Pakrit, Persian (as well as Arabic loans into Persian), and English. This trade language can be called "Hindustani." When a Muslim speaks it and writes it down in an Arabic script, it is called Urdu. He/she worships one god and follows Qur'anic principles and culturally Muslim forms of greeting, blessing, cursing, wishing, and defering to authority. When a Hindu speaks it and writes it down in Devanagari, it is called Hindi. He/she worships many gods and follows Vedic and various cultic and culturally Hindu mannerisms of greeting, blessing, cursing, wishing, and defering to authority. The religion of the speaker is the largest factor of whether the spoken language of the person is called Hindi or Urdu. If they walk up to you and say, "Salaam aleykum," and stand in a culturally Muslim way, perhaps with their hand over their heart, they are speaking Urdu. If you ask them to write something down for you, they will do it because the Qur'an tells them to help the needy, and they will write it down in the Nastaliq script. If they bless or curse you, they will bless or curse you by Allah.
    If they say "Namaste" with their hands folded in front of their chest, they are speaking Hindi. If you ask them to write something for you, they will do it because of their particular sutra or path, or personal life philosophy, and will write it in Devanagari. If they bless or curse you, they will do it by a particular Hindu god or demon.

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