Urdu: the Karachite dialect

ihsaan

Senior Member
Norwegian
Hi,
I was wondering if anyone could tell me some of the typical aspects of the Karachite dialect (i.e. aspects that make it stand apart from some of the other dialects of large cities in Pakistan) I´ve tried to google it (as well as searching this forum), but to no avail. Is it true that this Urdu dialect is less influenced by Punjabi than say the Lahorite dialect? Is the Urdu of Karachi more "pure" than for example the Urdu in the Punjaab region, or is this just a misconception. What about the accent/sound of the dialect? (I hope no one takes offence by my questions - I´m merely trying to get a deeper understanding of the dialectal differences).
 
  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I am sure BP and UrduMedium SaaHibaan will be able to give you more of a difinitive answer to your query. However, I am of the opinion that the inhabitants of this great sprawling metropolis, end up being a "soup" composed of a multitude of distinct speech ingrdients with their unique flavours. This soup does not impart a uniform texture or flavour that can be termed "Karachite".
     

    ihsaan

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thank you for your reply. Surely though, despite there being people there from all over coming to Karachi, I'm sure there must be some things that make people say (based on someone's way speaking): "Oh, she must be a Karachite."

    From my limited knowledge of Urdu, it seems to me that Karachites often speak very fast and use the word "bhey" (sp?) a lot. I'd be interested to hear what other typical expressions or grammatical oddenties/differences one might find in Karachi that is not found elsewhere.
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone could tell me some of the typical aspects of the Karachite dialect (i.e. aspects that make it stand apart from some of the other dialects of large cities in Pakistan) I´ve tried to google it (as well as searching this forum), but to no avail. Is it true that this Urdu dialect is less influenced by Punjabi than say the Lahorite dialect? Is the Urdu of Karachi more "pure" than for example the Urdu in the Punjaab region, or is this just a misconception. What about the accent/sound of the dialect? (I hope no one takes offence by my questions - I´m merely trying to get a deeper understanding of the dialectal differences).
    After independence and partition many Urduphones from India did settle in Karachi and it became a predominantly Urdu speaking city. To some extent that is still true but many other ethnic / linguistic groups from Pakistan have settled there so although it can still be considered a centre of Urdu the language has changed ...but then the same has happened in Old Delhi and Lucknow over the last 60 odd years!
     

    ihsaan

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Interesting! Is it therefore correct to say that while Punjab´s Urdu is more influenced by all the Punjabi spoken in that region, the Karachi dialect is more influenced by the Indian way of speaking Urdu? (For example in terms of accent)
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    ^ It is quite true, you are not going to find as many Punjabicisms in generally taken Karachi speech as in the Punjab, it's kind of natural. Given that it's been three generations since the settlement of people who came from Urdu speaking families of Delhi, Lakhnau, Rajasthan or UP, the so called bazaar language has evolved in its own direction. As for the accent, the way of speaking Urdu is (or used to be) generally the same in India as in Pakistan but there are regional accents. A person from Karachi who is a descendant of a Delhi or a Lakhnau family will not speak the same as another of his age from Delhi or Lakhnau because of the changed realities, time lapse and influences from other languages, more so *in* Delhi or Lakhnau than in Karachi. You are not likely to come across many Sindhi words in Karachi Urdu, unless you are Sindhi and are being talked to :).

    Karachi speech is very diverse, eg. the accent of Nazimabad is different than that of Orangi; family background, educational level and everything else has an influence - but it is very fast - quite faster than Urdu spoken by some friends of mine that are from India.
     

    ihsaan

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thank you so much, Marrish SaaHib, for that very interesting post! I find the topic of dialects fascinating.

    By the way, I found an interesting comment by BP SaaHib in another thread:
    Even Urdu in Pakistan is evolving (even in Karachi) to a standard Pakistani version which is pretty Panjabi-centric.
     
    Last edited:

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    You're very welcome, but you surely can figure out that it's difficult to describe accent in words and live experience is necessary to get it. The quote you have added is surely interesting and it confirms that Urdu in Karachi is evolving - which is a truism - but the rest of the comment, IMHO is not relevant to this discussion. I will try to look for some audio samples and forward them to you by PM if I find them.
     

    ihsaan

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    You're very welcome, but you surely can figure out that it's difficult to describe accent in words and live experience is necessary to get it. The quote you have added is surely interesting and it confirms that Urdu in Karachi is evolving - which is a truism - but the rest of the comment, IMHO is not relevant to this discussion. I will try to look for some audio samples and forward them to you by PM if I find them.
    Hmmm, maybe I've misunderstood the quote. The way I read it was that even the Urdu in Karachi is somewhat influenced by Punjabi, and that is why I thought the quote was relevant and surprising.

    I appreciate that describing a dialect can be difficult, but maybe there is an element to this that I don't understand due to being a non-native? In my own reference point (which would be Norwegian, and partly English), it would not be too difficult describing different dialects in my own country. Of course one cannot really "describe" an accent very well, but how things are pronounced, some sentence structures and some words mostly used in certain areas are thing that I would be able to describe (for example the word "not": ikke, ikkje, issje, itj etc.) . Maybe (based on what you and others have mentioned here) this is not as easy to do with Urdu dialects as there seems to be more diversity in the way people speak within one single region or area?

    I would very much be interested in any audio samples you might find, and appreciate the effort. It made me wonder though (in terms of audio) if listening to serials/dramas made in Karachi might give me an idea about this dialect.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Please bear with me about the samples. It would be good if BP SaaHib came forward to comment on his own comment in this respect. I also look forward to UM SaaHib's contribution, they can help you and me out much better than I can!

    Re. BP.'s comment about Urdu in Karachi influenced by Punjabi: I can only repeat that there are not as many Punjabicisms in Karachi's Urdu like it may be the case in the Punjab. It means that I acknowledge some influence but it is insignificant and not present on every level. To be frank I don't agree with BP. SaaHib on this point, but it is a different topic. Let BP. SaaHib speak for himself.

    Yes, there is mountains more diversity in a region (Karachi - as stated by previous contributors) and I'm afraid describing a dialect doesn't work the same way for Urdu as for Norwegian or Dutch. Perhaps there is no Karachi dialect at all. It is more about the vocabulary and intonation than about variations in pronunciation of particular words.
     
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