Urdu/Persian: Grammar Books

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    We all know that every Urdu poet worth his salt, especially up to the middle of the twentieth century would most likely have been well versed in Persian (and Arabic). A lot of these poets wrote in Urdu as well as Persian. Miir, Sauda, Ghalib and Iqbal are just a few examples.

    How would they have learnt the Classical Persian language? Mainly perhaps through the good offices of learned asaatizah. We know that both Ghalib (and there is some controversy about this) and Iqbal had ustaads to teach them Persian. But, even in Ghalib's time and especially in Iqbal's time, there must have been books written by Indian scholars who would have been proficient in both Urdu and Persian. Would you agree? Well I am aware of a number of scholarly Persian grammar text books in English (one by Colonel D.C.Phillott, for example) but I have never come across anything in Urdu which comes anywhere close to Phillott's masterpiece or even Duncan Forbes' grammar book. All there is, it seems, is just "pamphlets" and nothing more!

    Is anyone on this forum aware of such grammar books' existence? I would certainly like to know and get my hands on one or two of them!
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Faylasoof Sahib. Are you aware of any (scholarly) books in Urdu on Persian grammar? You mentioned in another thread about looking up in your Persian grammar books for some grammatical point.
  3. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    OK, if no one is aware of an Urdu (scholarly) book on Persian grammar, then here is one in English.


    Seeking knowledge is important. But spreading knowledge is even more important I would say!:)
  4. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Sorry, I forgot about this thread! Phillott's book is very good though quite prolix! It would be better to start with Persian Grammar by Ann Lambton.

    As for Persian grammar books in Urdu (!), I know of no scholarly ones! The ones I used were till just the intermediate level!

    ..and you are correct all these Urdu-Persian past masters you mention learned Farsi through teachers. Not sure what books they would have used. They are certainly not in circulation.
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    Thank you Faylasoof Sahib. I have Lambton's book in my possession (as well as every other Persian grammar book of note in the English language!). But none of these books, including Phillot's, had all the answers to my questions. A French specialist in this field namely Professor Gilbert Lazard wrote a book called, "La langue des plus anciens monuments de la prose persane" but as the title suggests it is in French, a language about which I am totally ignorant. As he has transcribed the Persian sentences, this book has been a good source for material on the much older language. Fortunately, through my own endeavours I have been able to solve most, if not all, of my difficulties. I am just curious to see what materials the likes of Shibli Nu'mani and other men of letters would have used and how Urdu writers would have interpreted certain grammatical features of the Classical language.
  6. passerby2014 New Member

    Hello Qureshpor,

    Here are some Urdu books that I have found in Urdu that has helped me learn Farsi tenses and their meaning in Urdu. I am a new learner myself and your replies here in these forums have helped me quite a bit.

    1. As-halul-Qawaid-Farsi-Maulvi-Shahiduddin-Ahmad - 1910 Print (It shows English tenses with Urdu meaning of conjugation)
    2. Farsi Grammar Jadeed - Qazi Meer Ahmad Shah Rizwani - 1917 Print
    3. RisalaQawaidEFarsi - Mirza Nisar Ali Baig - 1879 Print (This one is the oldest with side notes of translation for tenses in Urdu as well)

    I cross reference all of the above Urdu ones to understand Urdu meaning of tenses, as well as, reference other English books by Mirza Ibrahim, Higher Persian Grammar, and Duncan Forbes. Of course, these Urdu books don't go as far back as Ghalib's time, but I thought to list them here, in case if it helps you or someone looking to learn. I mostly try to learn for Farsi Kalaam and not in terms of being able to speak.

    My most struggle was on making sense of Aorist and what it meant including the Continuous and Imperfect tenses. Only with Urdu translation I could understand what these tenses actually mean. I still have a long way to go but I think all the reading and cross referencing is beginning to sink in.

    Furthermore, I also came across only the names of these books Farhang Jahangiri and Borhan Qata. I also read that Borhan Qata is from Ghalib's time, and Ghalib made some negative comments that caused stir among the other poets for disrespect for a major work. I did find Borhan Qata that from indian libraries that may be available to download tif images page by page but in Farsi, so didn't bother because it wouldn't serve much help as I am learning myself.

    I hope it helps. Thanks!
  7. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    In pre-modern times ALL Persian grammars were written either in Moghul India or in Ottoman Turkey; there is no indigenous tradition of writing Persian grammars in Persia itself. The earliest European grammars of Persian are more-or-less translations of books from India or Turkey.
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    passerby2014, welcome to the Forum and thank you for the titles you have furnished. I shall look them up and test them out.

    I believe the book (a Persian dictionary) that Ghalib had an issue with was called "burhaan-i-qaati3". He wrote "qaati3-i-burhaan" in his attack of the former.

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