How to Learn Urdu
With 300 million native speakers, Urdu is one of the most spoken language in the world. Urdu is spoken primarily in Pakistan, but it is remarkably close to Hindi, which is spoken in India. The main difference between these two languages is that Urdu is written using Arabic script and Hindi makes use of the Devanagri script. Understanding one of these languages will essentially provide the ability to communicate with someone speaking the other.
This ancient language is a descendant of the great literary and religious language of Sanskrit. It is also distantly related to Greek, Latin, and most other European countries. Thus, Urdu has many words that can be easily recognized by speakers of English and many European languages.
This widely spoken language is quickly growing in popularity and is a wonderful language to learn for business purposes. Pakistan is a wonderful outsource destination for business services, especially telemarketing and computer/internet related services. This language will also give you the opportunity to communicate with 300 million Indian citizens in Hindi. These two countries are going to be leaders in the cause of advancing the world in the coming years.
One of the most problematic aspects of learning this mysterious language is learning the alphabet. This ancient scripture is very different from English, and can cause many learners trouble. The best tool I have encountered to assist in learning this alphabet is Read and Write Urdu Script: A Teach Yourself Guide. This book introduces the alphabet in stages and provides great detail with each character until the next one is introduced. This book is the perfect tool for perfecting your ability to read and write Urdu.
Another imperative language learning tool for Urdu is a proper bilingual dictionary. The Oxford English-Urdu Dictionary is the bilingual equivalent to The Concise Oxford Dictionary, which is the undisputed global standard. This guide offers Urdu translations of approximately 125,000 English words and expressions. It also provides illustrative sentences (in English and Urdu) to convey the exact meaning of a word. This dictionary also includes a guide for pronunciation to coach you in the proper dialect using the International Phonetic Alphabet. The combination of these two tools represent everything you will need to learn Urdu.
This area of the world is going to be at the center of a lot of media attention over the next few years. Understanding the language will allow for you to understand the situations in the Middle East from a Pakistani perspective. Learning a local perspective on a situation combined with your country’s media perspective will allow for you to develop an unbiased opinion of the situation.