Introductory Urdu (Volume I)
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Introductory Urdu (Volume I)

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Item Code: IDJ105
Author: C. M. Naim
Publisher: National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789389612028
Pages: 354
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 10.9" X 8.3"
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About Book

National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is launching extensive Course in Urdu through Hindi and English medium. A section of our society comprises of those who commonly use English as their first language. They study through English medium and are interested in learning Urdu Language. It is hoped that this section of learners will find the present book purposive and handy for their requirements.

Professor of Urdu at the University of Chicago, C. M. Naim has first hand experience of teaching Urdu to at least three generations of immigrant Asians as well as the people of the western countries interested in learning Urdu language. His long term association and interaction with them has helped him understand their attitudes towards language learning and the difficulties posed by them attitudes towards language learning and the difficulties posed by them enriched his experience in language teaching. CM Naim, after dedicated work of years has authored this important text. C. M. Naim has kept in view the different shades of the language and changing attitudes of people towards language learning. I hope that publication of this book will benefit those who want to enjoy the riches of Urdu literature but script is their handicap.

NCPUL expresses its gratitude to the author and the University of Chicago for permitting its publication for Indian students.


There must be now at least sixty million people in South Asia Who regard Urdu as their mother tongue. There must be twice as any, perhaps more, who understand Urdu and would even use it on occasion, in conversation if not in writing. While the literary history of Urdu goes back to the fifteenth century, specimens of it begin to be found as early as the thirteenth. Presently, Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and one of the sixteen major languages constitutionally recognized in India. It is the stage language in Indian Kashmir. And Urdu literary activities continue in Bangladesh. Urdu speakers and publications can also be found in substantial numbers in the Middle East, England. And North literature, and they still continue to do so. The major centers of Urdu literary activity are Lahore, Karachi, Sargodha and Islamahad-Rawalpindi in Pakistan, while Delhi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Patna. Hyderabad and Bombay continue to play that role in India.

How does Urdu differ from Hindi? It is not an easy question to answer, for while at one level of linguistic discourse the two speech-forms show hardly any difference, at another level they become mutually quite unintelligible. The fact is that in the entire Hindi-Urdu region, or for all speakers of Hindi and Urdu, there are any number of speech varieties, and very speaker knows more than one. That makes it possible for an Urdu speaker to communicate, in what he calls Urdu, with a person who claims to be using Hindi. This state of affairs, however, exists only at the level of simple oral communications. Hindi and Urdu begin to differ considerably when put into writing, or if the subject matter becomes too abstract or scholarly. Even at the phonological level, there will be found several major differences in the more formal speech forms of the two.

(1) Urdu consonants /x, G, q/ are generally replaced in Hindi by /kh, g, k/, respectively. Urdu ain/is also lost in Hindi. On the other hand, Hindi's retroflex nasal consonant is replace in Urdu by the dental n/.

(2) Urdu has fewer initial consonant clusters, both in type and number, and most of them are of the type: consonant plus /1,r, or ,y,. Hindi has many more initial consonant clusters. For final clusters, Urdu has, m, plus a non-harmonic stop or spirant, /h/ plus another consonant, and a large variety of consonants followed by s/ or /1/-none of these is found in Hindi. Hindi, on the other hand, has more clusters with final aspirated consonants, as well as such combinations as a consonant plus w/or/y/, which do not occur in Urdu.

(3) However, Urdu and Hindi do not differ radically with reference to vowels. The most important difference is that in written Hindi there are three final short vowels, /a, i, u/, whereas Urdu has only one, /i. (For further information, see "Formal and Informal Standards in the Hindi Regional Language Area" by John J. Gumperz and C. M. Naim, in the International) Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 26, No. 3, 1960, pp. 92-118.)

At the morphological level, the differences between Hindi and Urdu are mostly in the area of vocabulary, but a few other features may also be pointed out.

(1) In the indirect constructions employing/caahiyee/, we find that Urdu also uses a plural form, /caahiyeeN/.

Hindi: /mujhee kitaab caahiyee/, "I need the book"
/mujhee kiaabeenN caahiyee/, "I need the books."
Urdu: /mujhee kitaab caahiyee/, "I need the books."
/mujhee kitaabeeN caahiyeeN/, "I need the books."

(2) In another indirect construction, Hindi usually has the infinitive, functioning as a complement, agreeing with the grammatical subject of the verb; Urdu, however, commonly has two more possibilities.

Hindi: /mujhee kuch kitaabeeN khariidnii haiN/, "I need to buy some books."
Urdu: /mujhee kuch kitaabeeN xariidnii haiN/, - ditto-
/mujhee kuch kitaabeeN xariidnaa haiN/, - Ditto-
/mujhee kuch kitaabeeN xariidnaa hai, -ditto-

(3) In sentences in which a conjunctive participle is used to refer to the first act it a series of two, if the first act is in some sense a 'cause' for the second act, Hindi prefers that the conjunctive suffix, -kar/, be dropped and only the root of the first verb used. In Urdu, on the other hand, the use of the conjunctive suffix is always required.
Hindi: /un-koo deekh ham roo-paRee, "On seeing him we burst into tears." Urdu: /un-koo deekh-kar ham roo-paRee/, -ditto-
The following sentence, however, will be the same in both Hindi and Urdu: /un-see jaa-kar miliyee/, "Please go and meet him."

In terms of vocabulary, what immediately draws one's attention is the use of /yah/and /wah/ in Hindi for the singular demonstrative pronominal references and of /yee/and /wee/for the plural. Urdu uses only /yee/and/woo/, though the two written forms end in a /choo Tii hee/. Many nouns which are masculine in Urdu are feminine in Hindi, the opposite being also true. Other differences arise mostly from the fact that Hindi borrows its learned vocabulary from Sanskrit, while Urdu borrows from Persian and Arabic.

Consequently, there are any number of derivational suffixes and prefixes in Urdu, as well as numerous adverbial words and phrases, which are not commonly found in Hindi. Urdu extensively uses 'Izafat', a morphological device borrowed from Persian, to make nominal compounds. Similarly, besides /aur/, Urdu also uses/-wa-/, both as a conjunction and to make compounds. Neither the Izafat nor /-wa-/ is used in Hindi.

The most obvious difference, of course, is that Hindi uses the Devanagiri script, written from left to right, while Urdu uses a modified form of the Perso-Arabic script, written from right to left, at the same time, political developments in the sub-continent have created conditions under which it is likely that the two languages will continue to grow apart further, though there is also a chance that there may develop two distinct varieties of Urdu, one in Pakistan and the other in India, the latter being closer to Hindi than the other. (See my article, "The Consequences of Indo-Pakistani War for Urdu Language and Literature,' in Journal of Asian Studies, 38:2 [Feb. 1969], pp. 269-283)

The common practice in the United States has been to teach Hindi and Urdu jointly at the introductory level, emphasizing what is often called the 'bazaar language' As students advance they discover that they must learn a more differentiated vocabulary and a great many special constructions-much that could have been taken into account earlier if there had been more emphasis on the written language. What might be good for those who seek a quick grasp of a small portion of; the spoken language could in fact be detrimental to those who intend to study Urdu in the United States for at least two years before going to South Asia, and whose ultimate aim also includes a good command of the written language. The latter might as well learn the conventions exclusive to Urdu from the very beginning. This book was prepared with exactly that purpose in mind.

The present book contains descriptive sections on Urdu phonology, script and grammar, a set of grammatical exercises, and short units of prose readings, each supplemented with notes and exercises. There are separate serial glossaries for the units as well as a comprehensive main glossary. There is also an index to help locate relevant sections in the reference grammar; it uses grammatical categories as well as Urdu words and phrases.

This book is not for self-instruction; it has to be studied with a regular instructor. Not just any 'native-speaker' would do. Nor does this book allow for a lazy separation of tasks between a linguist and an informant-assistant-the same teacher must be present in the class all the time. This book does not replace the teacher; it merely provides him/her with most of the necessary tools.

The first four reading units are explained in detail to serve as model units for teachers. Of the remaining twenty-six pieces of prose, most were selected from textbooks for children, newspapers, and other standard writings. Only a few were specially written. The reading units have accompanying serial glossaries (in Volume I), cultural and grammatical notes, and exercises.

The first exercise, is titled "Situational Variants." In it we have tried to show how what is expressed one way in the text may also be expressed differently. Its purpose is to discourage the student from setting up misleading 'one-to-one' correspondences between English and Urdu. The second exercise contains sentences in which the more significant vocabulary and grammatical constructions of the text are repeated in changed contexts. In other words, while the 'situations' remain constant in the first set of sentences, but the vocabulary changes, it is the vocabulary, which remains constant in the second exercise while the 'situations' change. The third exercise consists of selected sentences from the text, with blanks to be filled in by the student. Finally there are sentences to be translated from English into Urdu, and questions on the text which should be answered in Urdu. After every two or three units, there is a review unit consisting of fifty sentences in which the more important vocabulary and grammatical features of the immediately preceding units are repeated for emphasis.

The following teaching teaching plan underlies the contents of this book. First the students are given a brief explanation of Urdu phonology, including intonation patterns. (Teachers may wish to supplement this with their own tapes of simple phonetic drills, as needed). Then follows instruction in the script, simultaneous with a quick survey of the main features of the Urdu grammar to let the students know what they should expect later. (In my experience most adults prefer to have some kind of a broad framework at hand, within which they fit in the details as they makes progress.) Immediately after finishing the script lessons, the students do the grammar exercises entirely in the class. The teacher should explain the relevant grammar and guide the students to read the related sections in the reference grammar as indicated-the Index to the Grammar should also be used for the same purpose.

After finishing the grammar exercises, the teacher may wish to start in Volume II by going over the first four lessons with the students-these are 'model' lessons to suggest the kind of explanations teachers should offer the students-otherwise, they can start at Unit v the intended teaching plan for each reading unit is as follows. The student studies and translates the main text of the unit at home, using the serial glossary in Volume I as well as the unit's notes and the references they contain. The lesson is then read and further discussed in the class, the teacher explaining the grammatical issues in more detail, always referring the students to relevant sections in the grammar. The teacher should also write out on the board any new words in the notes. After the text come the exercises. Students should be asked to study the sentences in Exercise A, comparing each with its corresponding sentence in the main text. They should also copy out the text in Exercise A, and have it corrected. The teacher may also go over some of these sentences in the class too, explaining in detail how similar ideas are expressed differently. The sentences in Exercise B should not be prepared by the student at home; they must be read and translated 'cold' in the class.

The same goes for the filling of blanks in Exercise C. Here the sentences are from the text, but the blanks need not always be filled with the exact same words as in the text. The teacher should make a point to show the students how other grammatically acceptable words may also be put in the blanks to make new sentences-i.e. The students should be taught to recognize grammatical clues in the words before and after each blank space, making them less reliant on the 'meanings' of the words.

Exercises D and E may be assigned as homework, to be corrected and gone over again in the class. The teacher should also try to add other exercises as may seem needed. Below we give some guidelines for expanding the existing exercises (A-E).

1. Use the text in A as a dictation exercise. 2. Use E to ask more questions in the class about both the matter in the unit and other related topics. The main aim should be to practice using the new words together with old ones.

3. Tape selected sentences from the texts for memorization. Choose sentences that can serve as models for more sentences. Tapes can also be made with simple substitution drills.

4. Ask the students to write short essays or stories of their own, particularly after three quarters of class work.

6. Use some of the new words in the notes to make new sentences for practice. Use the examples in the notes to make more sentences. Ask students to make similar sentences of their own. (Teachers must make sure to write every new word on the board, pointing out spelling peculiarities, if any).

Besides giving their own explanations, teachers should use the Index to the Grammar, as well as the references in the glossaries and the notes, to identify relevant grammar sections for the students to read on their own.

We have indicated these references in the following manner:
1. Grammar sections are referred to with a single number. Example: See 142.=See section 142 in the Grammar.

2. Notes to the units are referred to with two numbers, the first indicating the number of the note, the second the number of the unit. Example: See 8: 6. =See note 8 in Unit 6.

The original research reported herein was performed from 1953 to 1965 pursuant to a contract with the United States Office of Education, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, which is in no way responsible for any part of the material presented here or the manner of its presentation. The book was first published in 1965, in a mimeographed form, by the South Asia Language & Area Center of the University of Chicago. It was revised, expanded and properly published, by the same institution, in 1971, then reprinted in 1975. a second reprint, with some changes, was brought out in 1980.

The present third edition, however, is being brought out after a thorough revision of the entire text. The grammar and notes have been writt4en anew, the script lessons have been recast, the grammar exercises have been revised and expanded, and corss-referencing has been enhanced throughout. This was made possible y the generous support of the University of Chicago, Division of the Humanities, which gave me a quarter's leave of absence, and the American Institute of Indian Studies, which gave me a short term grant to travel to India and work on the book there. I am grateful to both. Their grants also supported preparation of the Urdu portions of the text. I should also thank the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTEL) for a grant to cover the cost of getting the grammar section keyed in for revision.

I am indebted to the South Asia Language & Area Center and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies of the university of Chicago for thrice making possible the publication of this book, and to my friends Qazi Shakil Ahmad, Syed Salman Nadvi and the late M. Anwarul Haq who gave me valuable assistance during the original project.


Script: 117
Script: 220
Script: 324
Script: 429
Script: 532
Script: 636
Script: 741
Script: 844
Index to the Grammar191
Grammar Exercises195
Glossary for Grammar Exercises230
Serial Glossaries
Unit I245
Unit II248
Unit III250
Unit IV252
Unit V253
Unit VI256
Unit VII258
Unit VIII261
Unit IX264
Unit X267
Unit XI269
Unit XII274
Unit XIII278
Unit XIV282
Unit XV286
Unit XVI291
Unit XV295
Unit XVI300
Unit XVII305
Unit XVIII307
Unit XIX311
Unit XX314
Unit XXI318
Unit XXII321
Unit XXIII325
Unit XXIV330
Unit XXV333
Unit XXVI335
Unit XXVII339
Unit XXVIII343

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