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.

Dear Visitor, Assalamu’alikum (Peace be on you).
Welcome to MY URDU website, Urdu is the sweetest and widely spoken/understood language of the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and neighbouring territories). It is also widely spoken by the Urdu Diaspora in various parts of the world, particularly Middle East, Europe and Americas. Urdu comes under Indo-Aryan group of languages and Urdu along with Hindi (mutually intelligible and follows same grammar with mostly intersecting vocabulary) is the third largest spoken language in the world as a native language.

Intended Audience & Goal of this website:
Urdu, with its rich heritage in poetry and use in Bollywood dialogues and Songs has always sparked interest amongst the masses. But there are no easy ways to learn this language on internet. Hence, primary Goal of this website is to teach the audience to Read and Write the (abjad) Script of Urdu. Any person who can speak (& Understand) Urdu and any affiliated Indian language like Hindi or Punjabi can use this website to learn Urdu. Even for the speakers of other languages, effort is made to explain the grammar in simplest form with maximum possible vocabulary and meanings.

De-Facto Language of Islam in Indian Subcontinent:
With the continuous efforts of Sufi Saints & Islamic Scholars, Islam has reached every nook and corner of Indian subcontinent. And these Sufi saints played a major role in evolution & development of Urdu, by adopting it as their language to reach the masses and to teach them the religion of Islam. As a result of which, for centuries, Urdu is being used for documenting & translating all religious works of Islam. And for many Muslims who cannot read Urdu, they are missing this opportunity to make use of this vast amount of religious work in Urdu. This website is my humble service for my fellow Muslim brothers and Sisters so that this ocean of religious work in Urdu is made accessible to them by learning Urdu.

Regards
Jawad Ali

Brief History of Urdu

Inception:
Urdu is one of the recent language of which inception began with the migration of Persian, Turkish and Arabic speaking Muslims into Indian subcontinent beginning 12th Century. Until then the native language of northern and north western India was Prakrit and its variants, classic Sanskrit was the literary language of elite Brahmins which was used mainly for the religious purposes and official records. While Persian was used as the court & administrative language by the recently migrated Muslims wherever they formed a government, Turkish (& Persian) was the mother tongue of various tribes which were parts of ruling elite, military, businessmen, artisans, religious scholars and Sufi saints. Arabic being the language of Quran, it was widely understood and used for religious purposes by the migrating Muslims.

With the merger of people of these various language groups, a new language was formed over several centuries which was referred with different names by different people in different times. This new language was referred as Hindustani, Hindivi, Dehlivi, Hindi, Reqta, Khari Bolo, Deccani or Urdu. Word “Urdu” itself is derived from Turkish word “Ordo” which means “army” denoting the language of the army camps. For couple of centuries since the beginning of migration, A Persian use to identify his native language as Persian and Turkish as Turkish and Arabian as Arabic but all these people along with the local communities were speaking a different language when they were interacting with each other, that was the language Urdu.

Evolution
Over following centuries this new language with Prakrit as its base and heavily influenced vocabulary from Sanskrit, Persian, Turkish and Arabic evolved, until the poets of behmani sultanate(Gulbarga) and later Golconda (Hyderabad) Sultanate of Qutub Shahi Dynasti & Sufi Saints across the Indian subcontinent adopted this new language for literary purpose. Poets like Quli Qutub Shah, Mulla Wajhi, Ghawasi & Wali aurangabadi etc. Still Urdu was not recognized as a literary language across the subcontinent. The entire Subcontinent was speaking various variants of this Urdu/hindi/deccani/khariboli as their native language but were still sticked to Persian for Administrative & literary purposes and Sanskrit/Arabic for religious purposes. And by the 17th century, with the capture of Deccan by Aurangzeb (Mughal Kingdom of Delhi), the literary work of Deccan in Urdu reached Delhi Courts, which sparked an interest in Mughal Kingdom (Northern India) to use Urdu for literary purposes which created many such poets like Sauda, Mir, Dard etc.

Urdu can be said to have reached its maturity during the Aurangzeb era of Mughal kingdom when a large number of poets and laureates started adopting Urdu as a language for their works.

Urdu-Hindi Schism
By the arrival of Britishers into Indian subcontinent, Urdu was so popular amongst the masses that Britishers adopted Urdu for administrative purposes and started learning this native language. It was this time that, need to document grammar was felt to learn the local language. Britishers created the “Fort William College” for this purpose and various scholars were hired to document the grammar of native languages & also to impart the local culture and language training to arriving British officials. This was the time when Britishers distinguished (or rather divided) Urdu and Hindi as two different languages (Of course there were voices by a section of Hindu society to give a Hindu/Muslim identity to language). Until then Urdu/Hindi was recognized as a single language spoken (still being spoken) by the entire Indian community irrespective of their religion.