Urdu has two different vowels, long vowels and short vowels.

  1. Long Vowels: Four long vowels in Urdu are “Alif”, “Wao”, “Choti yea” and “Badi Yea”Vowels in Urdu
  2. Short Vowels: Short Vowels (Signs): Short vowels are signs that are added to Urdu letters while writing. Following short vowels (signs) are used along with alphabets to add a direction to the sound of that alphabet.
    1. Zabar (Zabar): The sign Zabar, when used on top of any alphabet is called as Zabar. When Zabar is used, the alphabet is read with the sound of /a/.
      For Example:
      Vowels in Urdu - Zabar
      Note: Zabar is not used with alphabets, which by default has /a/ sound.For example:Vowels in Urdu - Zabar 1
    2. Zer (Zer): The sign Zer, when used beneath any alphabet is called as Zer. When Zer is used, the alphabet is read with the sound of /e/.
      For Example:
      Vowels in Urdu - Zer
      Note: Zer is not used with alphabets, which by default has /e/ sound.For example:Vowels in Urdu - Zer 1
    3. Pesh (Pesh): Pesh is a small wao Pesh used on top of an alphabet which provides the sound of /u/ to it.
      For Example:
      Vowels in Urdu - Pesh
      Note: Pesh is not used with wao “ﯙ” in any word.
    4. Madd “~”: Madd is an hyphen “~” used on top of alif only. This provides a long /aaa/ sound to /a/ sound of alif. This is not used with zer or zabar.
      Example:Vowels in Urdu - Madd

My purpose is to simplify the learning experience and get acquainted with Urdu language as quickly as possible.
First lesson I am going to teach is Urdu Alphabets, the “abjad“. Urdu alphabets are adopted from Persian alphabets which were in turn adopted from “abjad” script of Arabic. “abjad” script is said to have evolved from the Syriac & hence Phoenician script, but I am not an authority on this subject.

Below is the table of Urdu Alphabets and their pronunciations. You are expected to memorize them and their sounds.

Urdu Alphabets

Note: At this stage, don’t bother about the difference between similar sounds like Zaal, Zuad and Zoe.