When counting both first and second language speakers Urdu adds up to well over 160 million people. The Urdu speaking population is located within the borders of Pakistan and India and the language itself uses a modified form of the Persian (Farsi) alphabet which is written from right to left. Urdu acts as the lingua franca in Pakistan but is spoken extensively in certain states of India. In fact, Urdu and Hindi are both Hindustani languages and are both considered standardized registers of the same language, with the primary difference between the writing system and the split of the languages along religious and vocabulary lines; Urdu being affiliated with Muslims and more Persian influence and Hindi with Hindus and Sanskrit influence. Additionally, Urdu has a long history of being a language for poetry, so anyone who appreciates this craft will have plenty of poems to read.

Online Resources

Learn Urdu with Muneeb is a video series on Youtube. As of this writing the gentleman has created 23 videos.

Education Pyramid UAE is a videos series on beginner Urdu with about 40 lessons as of this writing.

Columbia University has a website listing various online resources for the Urdu language.

Online News

Daily Jang


Weekly Ajdad

Top Products

Pimsleur Urdu Conversational Course
Pimsleur is an all audio program for language learning. The Urdu Conversational course has 16 lessons, each 30 minutes long, for a total of 8 hours. If you like the method you can graduate and buy the full version, which is significantly more expensive.

Beginning Urdu: A Complete Course
This books goal is to bring the learner to mid to high-intermediate level in Urdu in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Includes 34 themed chapters and a dual language glossary.

Read and Write Urdu Script
This Teach Yourself course focuses on teaching how to read and write the Urdu script. It is a great resource for those just starting out since the alphabet is quite different than English.

Complete Urdu Beginner to Intermediate Course
This workbook and audio program takes the learner up to CEFR level B2. It includes an audio CD and is much more comprehensive than the 'Read and Write Urdu Script' above.

Where Can I Study It?

McGill University offers a Minor in Urdu

University of California - Berkeley offers courses in Urdu

New York University has courses in Urdu

University of Chicago has courses in Urdu

Famous Speakers

Malala Yousafzai
This Pakistani girl won the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17 for her activism on female education.

Mohammad Abdus Salam
Won the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics

Urdu is famous for poetry and this is one of the Urdu languages most popular poets.

Cultural Products

Culture Smart - Pakistan
Learn about the culture, history, and values of the diverse peoples of Pakistan. This book also gives insight into traditions and how to behave respectively when visiting the country.

Pakistani & North Indian Cooking: A Complete Guide for Students & Beginners
This is a beginning cookbook for those who want to get familiar with the cooking of Pakistan and northern India. Includes desserts, soups, rice dishes, chutney, a spice guide, and many accompanying photographs.

Pakistan: A Hard Country
Author and journalist Anatol Lieven's book dives into the country that is Pakistan, its role a major player in the region, and its relationship with the West.