II Structure of Language


It is an established fact that the phonological system of Urdu is not an independent system meaning thereby that Urdu in the course of development borrowed numerous phonemes from Perso-Arabic and Indo-Aryan languages. By A.D. 1800, Urdu had fully developed its present phonological system. It had inherited from Old Indo-Aryan (OIA) through middle Indo-Aryan (MiA) all its vowels and diphthongs and a large number of consonants. “By this time Urdu has also borrowed many sounds from Persian and Arabic, such as /f,z,zh,x,Gh,q/. Besides, Urdu in the course of its development had also developed some of its own sounds like /RRh/. Certain other sounds which Urdu developed are: /mh, nh. lh, rh, vh and yh/. Urdu never adopted at any stage of its development, the retroflex sounds /N/ and /S/ of Sanskrit. Urdu also did not adopt many Arabic sounds as phonemes but retained their written shapes in its orthographic system. There are many instances where even these shapes have not been retained and have been either dropped or replaced by the corresponding letters.” (Beg, 1988 :13)

By going through the history of Urdu language we come to know that Urdu in India developed in close contact with Persian, which was the language of administration and education during the period of Muslim rule in India. Urdu in the course of its development retained certain linguistic features from Indian languages like Hindi. The feature of “retroflexion” is the gift of Indo-Aryan languages. Urdu sound system is a mixture of various languages. A full-fledged language like Urdu came into being through the evolutionary processes which took hundred and hundreds years and in due course it evolved a perfect sound system.

“Urdu in course of its development has adopted fourteen pure Indic sounds mostly aspirated and a few of them retroflex. To represent three unaspirated retroflex sounds, three new letters, viz, Te, Dāl and Re were added to the Perso-Arabic alphabets. Out of fourteen pure Indic sounds of Urdu, eleven are aspirates. They are represented in Urdu by the letters representing stop sound and do chashmi hee suffixed to them. They are called bhe, phe, the, The, etc.” (Beg, 1988 :6 )

Although scholars of Urdu differ with regard to the numbers of phonemes it is generally considered that Urdu has total forty eight (48) segmental phonemes out of which thirty six (36) are consonants, two (2) are semi-vowels; eight (8) are vowels and two (2) are diphthongs, (see the given text). Apart from this Urdu has also one juncture phoneme and one phoneme of nasalization.

Consonants of Urdu

Urdu consonants may be classified on the basis of:

	1.	Manner of articulation
	2.	Point of articulation
	3.	Presence or absence of voicing
	4.	Presence or absence of aspiration
1. 	Manner of articulation again can be classified into the following:

	(a) 	Stops
	(b) 	Nasals
	(c) 	Laterals
	(d) 	Trills
	(e) 	Flaps and 
	(f) 	Fricatives

2. 	Points of articulation again can be classified into the following:

	(a) 	Bilabial
	(b) 	Labio-dental
	(c) 	Dental
	(d) 	Alveolar
	(e) 	Retroflex
	(f) 	Palatal
	(g) 	Velar
	(h) 	Uvular
	(i) 	Glottal

3. 	Presence and absence of voicing can again be classified into the following:

	(a) 	Voiceless
	(b) 	Voiced

4. 	Presence or absence of aspiration can again be classified into the following:

	(a) 	Aspirated 
	(b) 	Unaspirated

The Chart of Urdu Consonants

Vless Vd
Vless Vd
Vless Vd
Vless Vd
Vless Vd
Vess Vd
Vless Vd
Vless Vd
Vless Vd
Vless Vd
Stops: Unasp
p b
ph bh
t d
th dh
Th Dh
c j
ch jh
k g
kh gh
Flaps: Unasp.
Fricativesfs zsh zhX Ghh

Consonantal Inventory:

The consonants of Urdu may be grouped into the following manner given below
Stops ……………………………………………………………….	21
Nasals……………………………………………………………….	 3
Lateral………………………………………………………………	 1
Trill…………………………………………………………………	 1
Flaps………………………………………………………………..	 2
Fricatives…………………………………………………………..	 8
Semi-vowels………………………………………………………..	 2

Descriptions of Urdu Consonants:

1. 	Stops: The following types of stops occur in Urdu language.
	(i) 	Bilabial		/p, b/			
	(ii) 	Dental		/t, d/
	(iii) 	Retroflex		/T, D/			
	(iv) 	Palatal		/c, j/
	(v) 	Velar		/k, g/			
	(vi) 	Uvular		/q/

The above stop consonants make a contrast in the language at the following scales:

	(a) 	Voiceless:		/p, t, c, k, q/
	(b) 	Voiced:		/b, d, j, g/
	(c) 	Unaspirated:	/p, b, t, d, T, D, c, j, k, g, q/ 
	(d)	Aspirated:		/ph, bh, th, dh, Th, DH, ch, jh, kh, gh/ 
2. 	Nasals: Urdu has three nasals as given below:
	(i) 	Bilabial:	/m/
	(ii) 	Dental:		/n/
	(iii) 	Velar:		/ɱ/
3. 	Lateral: Urdu has only one lateral consonant phoneme /l/.
4. 	Trill: Urdu has only one trill /r/.
5. 	Flapped: Urdu has two flapped consonant phonemes i.e., /R/ and /Rh/.
6. 	Fricatives: Urdu has eight (8) fricative sounds.
	(i) 	Labio-dental:		Voiceless		/f/
	(ii) 	Alveolar:			Voiceless 		/s/
            	     	“			Voiced		/z/
	(iii) 	Palato-alveolar: 		Voiceless		/sh/        
		“	 “	   	Voiced		/zh/
	(iv) 	Velar:		   	Voiceless		/X/
		“	   		Voiced     		/Gh/
	(v) 	Glottal:			Voiceless 		/h/
7. 	Semi-Vowels: There are two semi-vowels in Urdu.
	(i) 	Labio-dental:		/v/
	(ii) 	Palatal:			/y/

Phonetic Descriptions of Urdu Consonants:

The phonetic descriptions of Urdu consonantal phonemes are as follows:

Phonemes Phonetic Descriptions
/p/ Unaspirated, voiceless, bilabial stop
/ph/ Aspirated, voiceless, bilabial stop
/b/ Unaspirated, voiced, bilabial stop
/bh/ Aspirated, voiced, bilabial stop
/t/ Unaspirated, voiceless, dental stop
/th/ Aspirated, voiceless, dental stop
/d/ Unaspirated, voiced, dental stop
/dh/ Aspirated, voiced, dental stop
/T/ Unaspirated, voiceless, retroflex stop
/Th/ Aspirated, voiceless, retroflex stop
/ḍ/ Unaspirated, voiced, retroflex stop
/ḍh/ Aspirated, voiced, retroflex stop
/c/ Unaspirated, voiceless palatal stop
/ch/ Unaspirated, voiceless palatal stop
/j/ Unaspirated, voiced, palatal stop
/jh/ Aspirated, voiced palatal stop
/k/ Unaspirated, voiceless, velar stop
/kh/ Aspirated, voiceless, velar stop
/g/ Unaspirated, voiced, velar stop
/gh/ Aspirated, voiced, velar stop
/q/ unaspirated voiceless uvular
/m/ Unaspirated, voiced, bilabial nasal
/n/ Unaspirated, voiced, dental nasal
/ɱ/ Unaspirated, voiced, velar nasal
/l/ Unaspirated, voiced, alveolar lateral
/r/ Unaspirated, voiced, alveolar trill
/ṛ/ Unaspirated, voiced, retroflex trill
/ṛh/ Aspirated, voiced, retroflex trill
/f/ Unaspirated, voiceless, labio-dental fricative
/s/ Unaspirated, voiceless, alveolar fricative
/z/ Unaspirated, voiced, alveolar fricative
/sh/ Unaspirated, voiceless, palato-alveolar fricative
/zh/ Unaspirated, voiced, palato-alveolar fricative
/X/ Unaspirated, voiceless, velar fricative
/Gh/ Unaspirated, voiced, velar fricative
/h/ Aspirated, voiceless, glottal fricative
/v/ Unaspirated, voiced labio-dental, semi-vowel (frictionless continuants)
/y/ Unaspirated, voiced, palatal semi-vowel (frictionless continuants)
	(Beg, 1988)

Distribution of Urdu Consonants:

The following chart will show the occurrence of the consonant phonemes of Urdu in different positions i.e. initially, medially and finally.

Phonemes Initial Medial Final
P /pāk/ ‘holy, pious’ /paiGhām/ ‘message’ /laRakpan/ ‘childhood’ /āpa/ ‘an addressing term for elder sister’ /āp/ ‘you’ /nāp/ ‘measure’
ph /phal/ ‘fruit’, /phūl/ ‘flower’____ ____
b /beehtar/ ‘good’, /būRhā/ ‘old’ /eetibār/ ‘rely’, /Xabar/ ‘news’ /tartīb/ ‘systematic’, /kāmyāb/ ‘successful’
bh /bhāi/ ‘brother’, /bhūl/ ‘a small mistake’ /ubhār/ ‘risen, /dūbhar/ ‘difficult’ ___
t /tālibilm/ ‘student’, /tabassum/ ‘smile’ /matn/ ‘text’, /justaju/ ‘search’ /haqīqat/ ‘reality’, /darxāst/ ‘application’
th /thāli/ ‘plate’, /thakān/ ‘tiredness’ /hāthi/ ‘elephant’, /hātheeli/ ‘palm’ /hāth/ ‘hand’, /sāth/ ‘company’
d /dilchasp/ ‘interesting’, /dāvat/ ‘party’ /adab/ ‘literature’, /mudīr/ ‘editor’ /dard/ ‘pain’, /sard/ ‘cold’
dh /dhabbā/ ‘spot’, /dhakkā/ ‘push’ /ādhā/ ‘half’, /aNdhā/ ‘blind’ /dūdh/ ‘milk’, /sīdh/ ‘straight’
T /TamāTar/ ‘tomato’, /TūT/ ‘get broken’ /maTar/ ‘peas’, /saTTā/ ‘gamble’ /kāT/ ‘cut’, /haT/ ‘village market’
Th /Thān/ ‘rigid’, /Thīk/ ‘alright’ /uThnā/ ‘to get up’, /lāThī/ ‘stick’ /baiTh/ ‘sit’, /sāTh/ ‘sixty’
D /Dākū/ ‘robber’, /Dāli/ ‘branch’ /nīDar/ ‘fearless’ /lāD/‘affection’
Dh /DhūNDnā/ ‘search’, /Dhool/ ‘drum’ /niDhāl/ ‘feeble’___
c /chālāk/ ‘clever’ /chāqū/ ‘knife’ /bachpan/ ‘childhood’, /kūchā ‘street’ /xarch/ ‘expenditure’
ch /chat/ ‘roof’ /pichlā/ ‘back’ /kuch/ ‘some’
j /jalsā/ ‘gathering’, /jamāat/ ‘class’ /tajurba/ ‘experience’, /masjid/ ‘mosque’ /mīzāj/ ‘disposition’, /tāj/ ‘crown’
jh /jhāRū/ ‘broom’, /jhīl/ ‘lake’ /uljhan/ ‘trouble’, /mujhee/ ‘me’ /mujh/ ‘me’, /sūjh/ ‘understanding’
k /kõshish/ ‘try’, /kām/ ‘work’ /mumkin/ ‘possible’, /namkīn/ ‘salty /sharīk/ ‘participate’, /ashk/ ‘tear’
kh /kheel/ ‘play’, /khānā/ ‘food’ /nīkhār/ ‘glow’, /nikhar/ ‘to decorate’ /rākh/ ‘ash’, /āNkh/ ‘eye’
g /garam/ ‘hot’, /gāl/ ‘cheek’ /agar/ ‘if’, /āge/ ‘front’ /āg/ ‘fire’, /rāg/ ‘musical role’
gh /ghar/ ‘house’, /ghooRā/ ‘horse’ /pighal/ ‘get melted’ /bāgh/ ‘tiger’
q /qasm/ ‘swear’, /qatl/ ‘kill’ /haqīqat/ ‘reality’ /haq/ ‘right
m /meeār/ ‘standard’, /meehman/ ‘guest’ /sāmān/ ‘baggage’, /amūman/ ‘commonly, generally’ /tālīm/ ‘education’, /qadam/ ‘step’
n /nafrat/ ‘jealousy’, /nāshtā/ ‘breakfast’ /xazānā/ ‘treasure’, /tandūr/ ‘earthen fire’ /fauran/ ‘at once’, /bachpan/ ‘childhood’
ŋ ___ /aŋgūThī/ ‘ring’, /jaŋgal/ ‘forest’ /jaŋ/ ‘war’, /pataŋ/ ‘kite’
l /lāzmī/ ‘essential’, /lāsh/ ‘dead body’ /xālī/ ‘empty’, /dāxilā/ ‘admission’ /mushkil/ ‘difficult’ /manzil/ ‘destination’
r /ravāyat/ ‘tradition’, /rīsālā/ ‘magzine or journal’ /daraxt/ ‘tree’, /bārish/ ‘rain’ /faqīr/ ‘beggar’, /tāmīr/ ‘construction’
R ___ /ghaRi/ ‘watch, moment’ /paRõsī/ ‘neighbour’ /bhīR/ ‘crowd’, /laR/ ‘fight’
Rh ___ /būRhā/ ‘old’ /paRh/ ‘read’
f /farishtā/ ‘angel’, /farmān/ ‘order’ /toohfā/ ‘gift’, /safīr/ ‘ambassador’ /tashrīf/ ‘honourable self’, /aslāf/ ‘forefathers’
s /safar/ ‘journey’, /salīqā/ ‘manner’ /tasvīr/ ‘picture’, /insān/ ‘human’ /libās/ ‘clothes’, /ehsās/ ‘feeling’
z /zulm/ ‘atrocity’, /zūlēkha/ ‘the name of a Muslim woman’ /nauzūl/ ‘revelation’, /mazeedār/ ‘delicious’ /namāz/ ‘prayer’, /alfāz/ ‘words’
sh /shahīd/ ‘martyr’, /shādī/ ‘marriage’ /dasht/ ‘forest’, /bādshāh/ ‘king’ /farsh/ ‘floor’, /xāmoosh/ ‘silent’
zh / zhāzh/ ‘idle talk’ /mizhgāN/ ‘eyelid’ /zhāzh/ ‘idle talk’
x /xūbsūrat/ ‘beautiful’, /xāhish/ ‘wish’ /dāxīla/ ‘admission’, /daxal andāzi/ ‘interference /shāx/ ‘branch’
Gh /Ghussā/ ‘angry’, /Ghazal/ ‘Ghazal’ /bāGhīchā/ ‘garden’, /kāGhaz/ ‘paper’ /charāGh/ ‘candle, lamp’ /bāGh/ ‘garden’
h /hukūmat/ ‘government’ /hāfiza/ ‘memory’ /mahfūz/ ‘protected’, /imtihān/ ‘examination’ /allāh/ ‘God’ /kooh/ ‘mountain’
v /vāpas/ ‘return’, /vādā/ ‘promise’ /dāvat/ ‘invitation’ /mahv/ ‘engrossed’
y /yād/ ‘memory’ /pyār/ ‘love’, /farīyād/ ‘explanation’

Consonant Contrasts :

In Urdu, there are minimal and sub-minimal pairs showing contrast in different positions of the word i.e., initial, medial and final. All consonants, with exception of a few can occur in these positions. Although in the restricted data it is very difficult to provide the minimal pairs for all the consonants that contrast initially, medially and finally, atleast the following minimal and sub-minimal pairs have been provided. Where minimal pairs are not available, sub-minimal pairs have been provided.

Contrasting Voiceless and Voiced phonemes:

/p/ & /b/:

	/pal/ ‘moment’			/bal/ ‘twisting’
	/sipās/ ‘thanks’			/libās/ ‘dress’
	/bāp/ ‘father’			/bāb/ ‘chapter’

/t/ & /d/:

	/tār/ ‘wire’				/dār/ ‘gallow’
	/vatan/ ‘country’			/badan/ ‘body’
	/bāt/ ‘talk’				/bād/ ‘after’

/T/ & /D/:

	/Tāl/ ‘to put aside’			/Dāl/ ‘branch’

/ch/ & /j/:

	/chalāna/ ‘to drive’			/jalāna/ ‘to burn’
	/kāchm/ ‘women who sells vegetable’	/kājal/ ‘lamp-black’
	/bīch/ ‘middle’			/bīj/ ‘seed’

/k/ & /g/:

	/kāli/ ‘black’			/gāli/ ‘abuse’
	/nikāh/ ‘wedding (a marriage bond)’	/nigāh/ ‘look’
	/nāk/ ‘nose’			/nāg/ ‘snake (cobra)’

/s/ & /z/:
	/sāt/ ‘seven’			/zāt/ ‘caste’
	/sh/  & /zh/ 
	/shāl/ ‘shave’			/zhāla/ ‘han-estone’
	/mishki/ ‘black’			/mizhgā/ ‘eye lid’

(Note: It is noted here that the voiced palato-alveolar fricative / ž / does not occur in the word final position in Urdu).

/X/ & /Gh/:

	/Xār/ ‘thorn’			/Ghār/ ‘cave’

Contrasting Unaspirated and Aspirated phonemes:

/p/ &  /ph/:

	/pal/ ‘moment’			/phal/ ‘fruit’
	/pul/ ‘bridge’			/phul/ ‘swell’

/b/ & /bh/:

	/bālū/ ‘sand’			/bhālū/ ‘bear’

/t/ & th/:

	/tāl/ ‘tune in music’			/thāl/ ‘big dish’
	/sāt/ ‘seven’			/sāth/ ‘company, with’

/d/ & /dh/:

	/dār/ ‘gallow’			/dhār/ ‘edge’
	/dūr/ ‘far’				/dhūl/ ‘dust’

/T/ & /Th/:

	/TāT/ ‘sack cloth’			/ThāT/ ‘framework of bamboo’
	/pīT/ ‘beat’				/pīTh/ ‘back’

/D/ & /Dh/:

	/Dāl/ ‘branch’			/Dhāl/ ‘shield’

/ch/ & /chch/:

	/chāl/ ‘move’			/chchāl/ ‘deception’

/j/ &  /jh/:

	/jāg/ ‘get up’			/jhāg/ ‘bubble’

/k/ &  /kh/:

	/kāna/ ‘one eyed man’		/khāna/ ‘food’

/g/ &  /gh/:

	/gar/ ‘if’				/ghar/ ‘house’
	/māg/ ‘ask’			/māgh/ ‘a month as per Hindu era’

/R/ & /Rh/:

	/baRā/ ‘big’			/baRha/ ‘to increase’
	/bāR/ ‘hedge, fence’			/bāRh/ ‘flood’

Dental and Retroflex Contrast:

/t/ &   /T/:

	/tāl/ ‘tune in music’			/Tāl/ ‘to put aside’
	/kātnā/ ‘to spin’			/kāTnā/ ‘to cut’
	/bāt/ ‘talk’				/bāT/ ‘weight, measure’

/th/ &  /Th/:

	/thāna/ ‘police station’			/Thāna/ ‘became stubborn’
	/sāth/ ‘with’			/sāTh/ ‘sixty’

/d/ & /D/:

	/dāl/ ‘grain’				/Dāl/ ‘branch’
	/dar/ ‘in’				/Dar/ ‘fear’

/dh/ & /Dh/:

	/dhoo/ ‘wash’			/Dhoo/ ‘carry’

Lateral and Trill Contrast:

/l/ & /r/:
	/lāt/ ‘kick’				/rāt/ ‘night’
	/kal/ ‘yesterday’			/kar/ ‘do’

Bilabial and Alveolar Nasal Contrast:

/m/ & /n/:

	/mālī/ ‘gardener’			/nālī/ ‘a narrow drain’
	/nām/ ‘name’			/nān/ ‘bread’

Trill and Flap Contrast:

/r/ & /R/:

	/bhūrā/ ‘brown’			/kūRa/ ‘garbage’

Velar and Uvular Contrast:

/k/ & /q/:

	/kamar/ ‘waist’			/qamar/ ‘moon’

Semivowels Contrast:

/v/ & /y/:

	/dīvār/ ‘wall’			/dayār/ ‘house’
	/vār/ ‘attack’			/yār/ ‘friend’
	(Beg, 1988)

Urdu Consonant Clusters:

Urdu consonant cluster mainly consist of the sequence of two consonants which occur initially, intervocally and finally. The initial consonant clusters are quite less in number and most of the initial stop consonant cluster is the combination of consonant + semi vowel, e.g. /pyār/ ‘love’ /pyārī/ ‘lovely’, etc.

Initial Clusters in Urdu:

In Urdu, in the initial position the following types of consonant clusters are found:

	(a)	Stop consonant + semi vowel = /py/, /ky/, etc.
	(b)	Fricative + semi vowel = /xv/, /sy/
		/py-/:	/pyāsā/ ‘thirsty’, /pyāsi/ ‘thirsty’, 
		/pyār/ ‘love’, /pyārī/ ‘lovely’
		/pyāli/ ‘a cup’, /pyāz/ ‘onion’
		/ky-/:	/kyā/ ‘what’
		/by-/:	/byāh/ ‘marriage’
	b)	/xv-/:	/xvārī/ ‘Persian’, /xvāb/ ‘dream’
		/sy-/:	/syani/ ‘wise’


A diphthong is defined as an independent vowel-glide not containing within itself either a ‘peak’ or a ‘trough’ of prominence. By a vowel glide we mean that the speech-organs start in the position of one vowel and move in the direction of another vowel. By ‘independent’ we mean that the glide is expressly made, and is not merely an unavoidable concomitant of sounds preceding and following. During a diphthong the prominence may fall continuously or it may rise continuously. But by definition it may neither contain a fall of prominence followed by a rise nor a rise of Prominence followed by a fall. A diphthong must necessarily consist of one syllable in order that a vowel-glide should constitute two syllables; it would be necessary that it should contain a ‘trough of prominence’, i.e. a fall of prominence followed by a rise. Diphthongs may be long or short, depending upon how the glide moves slowly or quickly. They may also be ‘wide’ or ‘narrow’ if there is a large or a small movement from the initial position. One end of a diphthong is generally more prominent than the other. The greater prominence may be due greater to either inherent sonority or stronger stress or combination of the two. When the beginning of a diphthong is more prominent than the end, the diphthong is said to be falling. When the beginning is less prominent than the end, the diphthong is said to be rising. When a diphthong is ‘falling’ as result of a gradual diminution of inherent sonority, the correct effect will generally be given if the speech organs perform the greater part of the movement towards the second vowel; it is not necessary that the limit of the movement should be actually reached.

In Urdu there are two diphthongs, namely,

/āi/ and /āu/:

	/qaiNchī/		‘scissor’ 
	/gai/		‘gone’
	/baRhai/		‘carpenter’
	/chausaTh/	‘sixty four’
	/maulānā/		‘a Muslim priest’
	/xauf/		‘fear’

Diagram of Urdu Diphthong:


There are two types of segmental phonemes:

	A. Consonants (also called consonantal phonemes)
	B. Vowels (also called vocalic phonemes)

A Consonants of Urdu:

In Urdu there are 37 consonantal phonemes. These consonants can be classified as follows:

	i.	According to the manner of articulation.
	ii.	According to the point of articulation.
	iii.	According to the voicing/unvoicing. 

Classfication of Urdu consonants: According to the manner of articulation:

	(1) Urdu Stops: 	p, b, t, d, ṭ, ḍ  
          			ph, bh, th, dh, ṭh, ḍh
			c, j, k, g, q
			ch, jh, kh, gh

In Urdu there are 21 stop sounds (Consonants) out of these 11 are un-aspirated 10 are aspirated. The sound /q/ is only stop sound which is unaspirated. This sound occurs in words of Perso- Arabic origin. Some of these stop sounds are voiceless and some are voiced.

	The following stops are voiceless:
		  p, t, ţ,  c, k, q
		  ph,  th,  ṭh, ch, kh		 
	The following stop sounds are voiced:
		  b, d, ḍ,  j,  g
   		  bh,  dh, ḍh, jh, gh
	(2) Urdu Fricatives: 
		In Urdu there are 8 fricative sounds, which are mentioned as follows:
		f, s, z, š, ž, X, Gh, h, 

	(3)Urdu Nasals:
		There are two nasal phonemes in Urdu namely [m] & [n]

	(4)Urdu Lateral:	
		In Urdu there is only one lateral sound i.e. | l |. 

	(5)Urdu Trill:	
		In Urdu there is only one trill sound i.e. |r|. 

	(6)Urdu Flap: 
		There are only two flap sounds i.e. |ŗ | and |ŗh|.

	(7)Urdu Semi- Vowels:	
		In Urdu there are two semi- vowels. These are [v[ and [y]. 
		[v] is a labio-  dental  [y] is a palatal.

Classification of Urdu consonants according to the point of articulation and voicing:

	1. Bilabial 			(Voiceless) 		p, ph	
				(Voiced) 			bh, m
	2. Labio-Dental					v	
	3. Dental 			(Voiceless)		th, s
				(Voiced)			dh, n, z
	4. Alveolar  		(Voiced) 			I, r 
	5. Retroflex		(Voiceless) 		ţ, ḍ, ṭh,
				(Voiced)			ḍh , ŗ , ŗh     
	6. Palato- alveolar 		(Voiceless) 		š
				(Voiced)			ž
 	7. Palatal 			(Voiceless)		c, ch, y
				(Voiced)			jh     
 	8. Velar 			(Voiceless)		k, kh, X
				(Voiced)			gh , Gh    
	9. Uvlar	 		(Voiceless)		q   

B.Urdu vowels:

A vowel is a speech sound in the production of which the air coming from the lungs passes freely through the oral cavity without any obstruction. In Urdu there are ten vowels including two dipthongs. The Urdu vowels can be classified as follows:

	Vowels (pure)	 Front		Central 		Back
	High		ī				ū
	Mid		e		ə 		o
	Low 				a		


The contrasting phonological segments of Urdu are described here by using a set of features chosen from the universal set of distinctive features, largely based on the feature system proposed by Chomsky and Halle (1968) with some modifications made by Ohala (1983). The following is the list of features that are commonly used. Some of these are for the sake of defining the contrasts that exist at systematic phonemic level and others are used simply for the sake of representation of natural classes. From this list of features, the first twelve features are fairly straight forward as they perfectly fit the definitions provided by Chomsky and Halle. The remaining four features have been with some modification, which is in tune with Ohala (1983).

	1.	Sonorant 
	2.	Consonantal 
	3.	Syllabic 
	4.	High 
	5.	Low
	6.	Back
	7.	Continuant 
	8.	Anterior 
	9.	Coronal 
	10.	Nasal
	11.	Voice
	12.	Delayed release 
	13.	Long 
	14.	Retroflex 
	15.	Reduced glottal resistance after release 
	16.	Distinctive release

Following Ohala (1983), we propose to comment on the four features (13-16) as mentioned above. Long: As against Chomsky and Halle’s feature ‘tense’ for long consonants and vowels, Ohala has simply used [+ long] because “the physical correlates of ‘tense’ are still controversial.” (1983:7)


Retroflex segments have been defined by Chomsky and Halle on the basis of the feature ‘distributed’, which, accordingly to Ohala, is “an ill defined feature”. (1983:8) Ohala is of the view that the “difference between the retroflex [T] and non-retroflex [t] is not so much the place of articulation or the area of contact, but the ‘retroflexion’ of the tongue…” (1983:8) Reduced glottal resistance after release (RGRR): Since the feature ‘heightened subglottal pressure’ used by Chomsky and Halle to characterize aspirate and breathy voiced sounds fails to provide any evidence from Hindi/Urdu, Ohala has used the feature RGRR to show that there is “a drop in subglottal pressure immediately after the release of the clause in both the aspirates and breathy voiced stops.” (1983:10)

Distinctive release:

Since Chomsky and Halle feature system is based primarily on articulatory correlates, it fails to account for the fact that affricates, aspirated stops and breathy voiced stops are phonetically common. This commonness, according to Ohala, is “the acoustic feature of ‘distinctive release’; all three require the release of the closure for their identification.” (1983:10)


iN eeN EN aN N ooN uN i I ee E x ā a o oo U ū y w h r l R Rh m n p ph b bh t th
Sonorants + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - - - - - -
Consonantal - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + + + + + + + + + + + +
Syllabic + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
High+-----+++-------+ +++-
Low - - - + + - - - - - - + + - + - - - - - +
Back- --+++ +-----++ ++++-+-
Long++-+-+ +-++-++--+-+---
Continuant- + - - - - - - - - - -
Anterior-+- +++++++ ++
Coronal --+----++
Nasal++++++ +---------------++
Voice-- ++--
Reduced glottal resistance after relaease-+-+-+-+
Delayed release------
Distinctive release-+-+-+

The Phonemes of Urdu and their Distinctive features specifications.


b bh T th d dh T Th D Dh k kh G gh c ch j jh s z š ž f x Gh q ?
Sonorants---- ------ ------ --------- ++
Consonantal + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Syllabic------ --------- --------- --
High++ + + + + + + + +
Low - - - - - - - -
Back ++ + + - - - - + + +
Long - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Continuant---------- - - - - - - - - + + + + + - -
Anterior + + + + + + + - - - - - - - - - - - + + + + + - - -
Coronal - - + + + + + + + + - - - - + + + + + + + + -
Retroflex - - - - - - + + + + - - - - - - - -
Voice++--++-- + + - - ++ - - + + - + - + - - +
Reduced glottal resistance
after release
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
Delayed release - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + + + +
Distinctive release - + - + - + - + - + - + - + + + + +

The Phonemes of Urdu and their Distinctive features specifications.


Consonant Clusters:

The consonant clusters in Urdu mainly consist of the sequence of two consonants which occur initially, medially and finally. The initial clusters are quite rare in Urdu. These clusters may be classified as follows:

Initial clusters:

In the initial position the following types of consonant clusters are found in Urdu. In these clusters the second element is always a semi-vowel:

	(a)	Stop + Semivowel (py-, ky-, by-)
		/py-/ 	/pyārī/		‘lovely
		/ky-/ 	/kyā/		‘what’
		/by-/ 	/byāh/		‘marriage’
	(b)	Fricative + Semivowel  (xv-)
		/xv-/ 	/xvārī/		‘to eat’

Final clusters:

The major patterns of the word final clusters are listed below:

1-	Stop Series:

	(a)	Stop + Stop (-dq, -qt)

		/-dq/ 	/sidq/		‘true’
		/-qt/ 	/vaqt/		‘time’

	(b)	Stop + Nasal (-tm)

		/-tm/ 	/xatm/		‘end’

	(c)	Stop + Lateral (-tl, -ql, -kl)

		/-tl/ 	/qatl/		‘murder’
		/-ql/ 	/aql/		‘intelligence’
		/-kl/ 	/shakl/		‘shape’

	(d)	Stop + Trill (-kr, -jr, -br)

		/-kr/ 	/ fikr/		‘thought’
		/-jr/ 	/hijr/		‘separation’
		/-br/ 	/sabr/		‘patience’

	(e)	Stop + Fricative (-bh, -bz, -qsh, -tf)

		/-bh/	/subh/		‘morning’
		/-bz/	/sabz/		‘green’
		/-qsh/	/naqsh/		‘mark’
		/-tf/	/lutf/		‘enjoyment’

	2-	Nasal Series:

	(a)	nasal + Stop (-nd, -ng, -nj)

		/-nd/	/kamand/		‘scalling ladder’
		/-ng/	/firang/		‘Europe’
		/-nj/	/ganj/		‘wealth’

	(b)	Nasal + Nasal (-mn)

		/-mn/	/amn/		‘peace’

	(c)	Nasal + Trill (-mr)

		/-mr/	/umr/		‘life’

	(d)	Nasal + Fricative (-ns)

		/-ns/	/jins/		‘goods’

	3-	Trill Series:

	(a)	Trill + Stop (-rd, -rq, -rt)

		/-rd/	/mard/		‘man’
		/-rk/	/tark/		‘to leave’
		/-rq/	/Gharq/		‘drowned’ 
		/-rt/	/shart/		‘bet’

	(b)	Trill + Nasal (-rm)

		/-rm/	/sharm/		‘shyness’

	(c)	Trill + Fricative (-rsh, -rf, -rq, -rGh, -rz)

		/-rsh/	/arsh/		‘sky’
		/-rf/	/sharf/		‘enjoyment of privilege’
		/-rq/	/Gharq/		‘drowned’
		/-rGh/	/murGh/		‘hen’
		/-rz/	/arz/		‘request’

	(d)	Trill + Semi vowel (-rv)

		/-rv/	/sarv/		‘cypress’

	4-	Lateral Series:

	(a)	Lateral + Stop (-lk, -lq)

		/-lk/	/mulk/		‘country’
		/-lq/	/xalq/		‘people’

	(b)	Lateral + Nasal (-lm)

		/-lm/	/ilm/		‘knowledge’

	(c)	Lateral + Fricative (-lf)

		/-lf/	/zulf/		‘lock of hair’

	5-	Fricative Series:

	(a)	Fricative + Stop (-shk, -sht, -shq, -qt, -ht, -sd, -st)
		/-shk/	/rashk/		‘jealousy’
		/-sht/	/dasht/		‘forest’
		/-shq/	/ishq/		‘love’
		/-xt/	/saxt		‘hard’
		/-ht/	/qaht/		‘famine’
		/-sd/	/qasd/		intention’
		/-st/	/dast/		‘hand’

	(b)	Fricative + Nasal (-shm, -hm, -xm, -sm, -zm)

		/-shm/	/chashm/		‘eye’
		/-hm/	/rahm/		‘mercy’
		/-xm/	/zaxm/		‘wound’
		/-sm/	/rasm/		‘custom’
		/-zm/	/bazm/		‘society’

	(c)	Fricative + Trill (-hr, -shr, -xr)

		/-hr/	/zahr/		‘poison’
		/-shr/	/hashr/		‘doomsday’
		/-xr/	/faxr/		‘pride’

	(d)	Fricative + Lateral (-sl, -zl)

		/-sl/	/vasl/		‘union’
		/-zl/	/fazl/		‘grace’

	(e)	Fricative + Fricative (-sf)

		/-sf/	/vasf/		‘praise’

	(f)	Fricative + Semi Vowel (-hr, -zv )

		/-hv/	/mahv/		‘absorbed’
		/-zv/	/azv/		‘limb’

Medial clusters:

Most of the consonant clusters, which occur finally, also occur in the medial position. In this position any two consonants can occur together. The meal clusters generally result from the sequence of a syllable closing consonant and a syllable opening consonant.

	/-mr-/	/qumrī/		‘turtle dove’
	/-lf-/	/zulfāN/		‘locks of hair’
	/-hb-/	/mahbūb/		‘beloved’
	/-rb-/	/qurbān/		‘sacrifice’
	/-sv-/	/rusvā/		‘disgrace’
	/-xs-/	/ruxsār/		‘check’
	/-shk-/	/lashkar/		‘army’

Distribution of vowels:

The short vowel /u/ does not occur in word final position. Two other short vowels /i/ and /a/ also do not occur finally except in the two monosyllabic items i.e. /ki/ ‘that’ and /na/ ‘no, not’.

The long vowels occur freely in word initial, medial and final position.

		/ī/-	/īd/	‘Eid’
		-/ī/-	khīl/	‘parched grain’
		-/ī/	/kī/	‘of’

Short vowels /i/, /a/, /u/ occur initially in a very few monosyllabic items.

		/imlī/		‘tamarind’
 		/imārat/ 		‘building’
		/udās/		‘sad’
		/us/		‘that’
		/asl/		‘real’
		/aql/		‘intelligence’

They however occur freely before intervocative and final geminations.

Long vowels rarely occur in these positions. Short vowels are also very common before final clusters.

		/kuttā/		‘dog’
		/hadd/		‘limit’
		/sabr/		‘patience’


Length refers to the time, which is taken in the production of a vowel; if the time taken is short then it is called short vowel, if the time taken is long, it is called long vowel. In Urdu we find both long and short vowels. Length is phonemic in Urdu because the meaning changes if the vowel is long.

		/kəl/		‘tomorrow’
		/kāl/		‘ period’
		/pəl/		‘ moment’
		/pāl/		‘ to bring up’
	In Urdu length is found in following vowels:
		/ā/	/ām/	‘ mango’
		/ī/	/ īkh/	‘ sugarcane’
		/ū/	/ ū̃ţ /	‘ camel’

Long and short consonants also occur in Urdu. Here long consonant can be seen as a sequence of two short sounds of the same phonetic quality (we may also call it doubling of the same consonant) within a word or morpheme.

		/ bəcā/		‘ left out’
		/ bəccā/		 ‘child’ 
		/ pəkā/		‘ cooked’
		/ pəkkā/		‘  ripe’

Nūn and (Nun – e – Ghunna)

The letter nūn < ﻦ > represents the nasal consonant n.

Nasalization in Urdu is marked by nun-e-ghunna and is an important linguistic feature in Urdu language. The device for nasalization in this language is the use of the letter < ﻦ > (nūn). When the letter < ﻦ > nūn is used, it is called nun-e-ghunna < Insert Picture > and linguistically it is called “nasalization” or nasalized < Insert Picture >. This nun – e- ghunna literally means ‘talking through the nose’ or ‘a sound emitted through the nasal cavity’. The effect of it in the language is that where it occurs it makes the preceding vowel come through the nose. In Urdu, the letter < ﻥ > nūn becomes ghunna <Insert Picture> i. e. it assumes a nasal sound when it occurs at the end of a word and preceded by a long vowel (or mad – a diacritic mark). In this situation nuqta < Insert Picture > ‘dot’ is not placed and is omitted. In phonemic/ phonetic transcriptions it is generally indicated by the diacritic mark (~) which is linguistically called ‘tilda’. It can be seen in the following example:

	/nādāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘innocent’
	/bayābāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘forest’	
	/zabāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘language’
	/zamīN/		< Insert Picture >		‘land’
	/nahīN/		< Insert Picture >		‘not’
	/kahāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘where’
	/māN/		< Insert Picture >		‘mother’
	/jahāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘world’
	/vahāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘there’
	/kūvāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘well’
	/dhūvāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘smoke’
	/āsmāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘sky’
	/dāstāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘story’

But when nasalization precedes the letter < ﺐ > bee, assimilation takes place whereby sound /m/ of the letter < ﻢ > (mīm) is pronounced but letter nūn will be written.

	/tāmbā/		< Insert Picture   >		‘brass’
	/gumbad/		< Insert Picture   >		‘dome’
	/ambālā/		< Insert Picture   >  		‘Ambala (a name of a city)
	/ambār/		< Insert Picture   >		‘heap’
	/ambar/		< Insert Picture   >		‘a rich perfume’

It is to be pointed here that when nasalization is needed medially in a word then additional diacritic marker of the semi circle shape < Insert Picture > is used. This diacritic marker is placed over the letter nūn < ﻥ >. We can observe this phonetic feature in the above set of words. In Urdu, if nasalized sound (nun – e – ghunna <Insert Picture >) occurs in between the phonemes in a word, than we put the dot /. / inside the nun-e- ghunna like < ﻥ >. Let us consider the following examples:

	/gaNvār/		< Insert Picture >		‘rustic’
	/bhaNvar/		< Insert Picture >		‘wave of sea’
	/chāNd/		< Insert Picture >		‘moon’
	/savaNrna/		< Insert Picture >		‘to bedeck’
	/khīNch/		< Insert Picture >		‘pull’
	/nīNd/		< Insert Picture >		‘sleep’
	/sīNchna/		< Insert Picture >		‘to water’
	/kaNval/		< Insert Picture >		‘lotus’
	/jaNngal/		< Insert Picture >		‘forest’
	/sāNp/		< Insert Picture >		‘snake’
	/bāNsurī/		< Insert Picture >		‘flute’
	/lanka/		< Insert Picture >		‘Ceylon’
	/baNngāl/		< Insert Picture >		‘Bengal’
	/dhūvāN/		< Insert Picture >		‘smoke’
	/pāNch/		< Insert Picture >		‘five’
	/naNnga/		< Insert Picture >		‘naked’


The Arabic phonemes like ain < ﻉ >, qāf < ﻕ >, zāl < ﺬ >, zvād < ﺽ >, zooee < ﻅ >, tooee <ﻃ >, see <ﺚ > svād < ﺺ > and hee < ﺡ > - are used in Urdu as independent phonemes. These phonemes are very problematic to the Urdu speakers. It is true to say that they have no role in Urdu language as far as their pronunciation is concerned. Many Urdu linguists are of the opinion that since these phonemes do not represent any distinct sound in Urdu, they should be deleted from the inventory of Urdu script. The borrowed Arabic words in Urdu are not written with Urdu script but are written with Arabic scripts. This has become a major problem in Urdu writing and it is because of this reason that this is not only problematic to the non-native speakers of Urdu but also to the native speakers of Urdu in speaking as well as in writing the language. The learners commit numerous mistakes in dictation. In the past, this area of difficulty attracted the attention of Urdu linguists, but no effort has been made in this direction and no remedial measures have come into being.


Nasalization is an important phonetic feature of Urdu. All the corresponding Urdu vowels can be nasalized, but it may not occur in all positions. Nasalization can also be phonemic in Urdu because it is responsible for the change of meaning. It is distinctive and functional because the absence or presence of nasalization changes the meaning of the word.

In Urdu there are 8 pure vowels. All these can be nasalized.

1. 	Front short vowel /i/, e.g.:- /sīNghar/ 	‘beautification’
2. 	Front vowel /i:/, e.g. /sīNg/ 		‘horn’.
3. 	Front vowel /e/, e.g  /meeNd ak/ 		‘frog’
4. 	Central vowel /a/, e.g.:- /haNsna/  	‘to laugh’
5. 	Central vowel /a:/, e.g. /māN/ 		‘mother’
6. 	Back short vowel  /u/, e.g:- /mūNh/	‘mouth’
7. 	Back vowel  /u:/, e.g:- /ūNt/ 		‘camel’
8. 	Back vowel  /o/, e.g.: /ghooNsla/ 	‘nest’

We take the examples of the following minimal pairs

	/kahā/ and /kahāN/		      	
	‘said’	‘where’			
	/thi/ and /thīN/
	was	were
	/jāN/ and /jā/
	‘soul’	‘going’
	/xū/   and /xūN/			
	‘habbit’	‘blood’			
	/bāNT/   and     /bāT/ 
	‘to distribute’	‘way’

In the above examples we have seen that the meaning of the two words differ because of the contrasting feature of nasalization.

According to Ohala (1983), diachronically in a large number of cases, “the nasalized vowels in Urdu* arose due to a phonological change in the development of Old Urdu from Middle Indo-Aryan (MIA). MIA word-medial consonant clusters were simplified with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel. If the cluster consisted of a nasal followed by a consonant, the nasal was deleted, and the preceding vowel was lengthened and nasalized.” (Ohala, 1983: 76)

	It is represented formally as:
		       V	 + cons   c	+ long
			+ nasal		+ nasal
		          1    2 	   3             1                 2

The following example illustrates the above rule:-

	Sanskrit (Skt) 	Prakrit (Pkt)	Old Urdu 		Gloss 
	candra 		canda 		cāNd		‘moon’

All nasalized vowels in Urdu did not have nasals in their environment historically.

	Urdu 		Pkt		Skt 		Gloss
	pahuNc		pahuccai		prāghūrNan	‘attain’
	sāNp		sappa 		sarpa 		‘snake’
	haNsī		hāsya				‘laughter’
	āNsu		ashru				‘tear’ (noun)
	sāNs 		shvāsa				‘breath’

If we look at the nasalized vowels in Urdu at a synchronic level, one observes that they arose due to three processes: inflectional, phonological and phonetic. (Ohala, 1983)

(i) Nasalization of a vowel due to inflectional processes :-

The examples given below are minimal pairs differentiated only by nasalization due to inflectional processes.

	[hai]	‘is’ 		[haiN]	‘are’
	[calī]	‘she walked’	[calīN]	‘they (feminine) walked’	(plurality)
	[laRkā]	‘boy’		[laRkõN]	‘boy’
	[cale]	‘they walked’ 	[chalēN]	‘shall we go’		(subjunctive)

(ii) Nasalization of vowel due to phonological processes: -

Minimal pairs given below illustrate the distinctiveness of the oral/nasal contrast on vowels.

	[sas]	‘mother-in-law’	[sāNs]		‘breath’
	[bas]	‘bad smell’		[baNs]		‘bamboo’

Can the nasalization of thse vowels be predicted on the basis of general phonological rules? Writers differ in their treatment of this problem.There are writers who claim that Urdu has a set of nasalized vowels contrasting with oral ones (e.g. Khan, 1978, Qadri, 1930) or that all nasalized vowel can be derived from oral ones (Narang and Becker, 1971). There also exists points of differences, which are as follows:

(a) Some writers treat particular morphemes as if they were made up of VNC (distinctively nasalized vowel plus stop) and others as VNC (oral vowel—rather, non-distinctively nasalized vowel—plus homorganic nasal+ stop).

(b) There is also disagreement as to whether both long and short nasalized vowels occur or only long nasalized ones.

These points of differences also existed in the earliest grammars. For instance, J. Gilchrist (1820) in The Strangers Infallible East-India Guide provides a list of various vowels of Urdu (or Hindoostani as he calls it) giving their approximate English pronunciation as well as their nasalized counterparts. Most of examples of nasalized vowels given by him represent inflectional endings, and are, thus, at the end of a word. In listing the consonants he treats ‘n’ as a dental nasal, and also as a representative of various kinds of homorganic nasals.

In the following lexicon list provided by him, Gilchrist uses the symbol for nasalization only before h, s, w and ‘#’.

		mūNh 		‘mouth, face’
		āteeN 		‘bowels’ 
		haNsnā 		‘to laugh’ 
		pāNv 		‘foot’

Elsewhere he just has ‘n’ regardless of whether it is preceded by short or long vowels:

		dāNt		‘tooth’
		zanjīr		‘chain’
		raNgnā		‘to color’
		kāNpnā 		‘to tremble’

According to Kelkar (1968), the contrast between nasalized vowels and homorganic nasals is an unstable one because the homorganic nasals are “chiefly illustrated by Sanskrit, Persian and English loanwords”. (Kelkar, cited in Ohala, 1983: 84) He also notes that:

(a) Nasalized vowels are more frequent than vowels followed by homorganic nasals.

(b) Among nasalized vowels, long nasalized vowels are more common than short nasalized vowels.

(c) Among vowels followed by homorganic nasals, short vowels followed by homorganic nasals, are more frequent than long vowels followed by homorganic nasals. (Ohala, 1983: 84)

These generalizations he enemplifies, by providing two groups of words:

	Group I (vowels followed by homorganic nasals)

		gāndhī		(surname)
		māntā 		‘accepts’
		suntā 		‘listens’ 

	Group II  (nasalized vowels followed by consonant) 

		saNbhālnā 	‘to take care of ‘
		sāNp		‘snake’
		tāNbā		‘copper’ 

According to Manjari Ohala, “in the case of morphemes with long nasalized vowels followed by a stop (…) there is a strong tendency to have the nasalized vowel followed by a homorganic nasal if the following stop is voiced (…). If the stop is voiceless it follows the nasalized vowel directly with no intervening homorganic nasal.” (1983:87)

	V:	N			+ voiced
		α place			α place

However there are exceptions to the above rule as in:

	[baiNk]   		‘bank’ (borrowed from English).
	[khazāNchi]	‘treasurer’ (basically a Persian word) 

(iii) Nasalization of vowels due to phonetic processes:-

In Urdu vowels adjacent to nasal consonants are nasalized:

e.g.  	[nāNm]			‘name’
	[kāNn]			‘ear’
	[nāNk]			‘nose’  etc. 

On the basis of nasographic data, Ohala (1983) further suggests that there are few points which can be noted regarding nasalization:

a) If we look at words such as [kan] ‘ear’ (non-distinctively nasalized) and [saNs] ‘breath’ (distinctively nasalized), we find that velic opening is about the same for ‘distinctive’ nasalization and ‘non distinctive’ nasalization.

b) Nasalization also seems to be predominantly anticipatory, hence the vowels in [kāNn] ‘ear’ is more nasal (as far as extent of velic opening is concerned) than [nāNk] ‘nose’.

c) There is slightly more nasalization of long vowels before N than those before a voiceless stop. For example [sīNg] ‘horn’ has more nasalization than [sīNk] ‘twig’

d) Nasalization may pass through [R, w, h] as in case of [khaRāūN] ‘wooden sandals’. Here the velum starts lowering after the initial stop.

e) Word boundaries separating a vowel and a following nasal tend to delay the anticipatory velic opening on the vowel, for example.

In Urdu, nasals are homorganic before stops

	e.g. 	[kaNndhā]			‘shoulder’,		
		[geeNnd]			‘ball’,			
 		[jhaNnDā]			‘flag’			
		[tāmbā]			‘copper 
		[gaNjā]			‘bald’ 

While looking at the generalization that nasals in Urdu (and Hindi) are homorganic before stops, Ohala points out that “a difference has to be made in the treatment of morpheme-medial and morpheme-final homorganic nasals.” (1983: 109)

(a) Morpheme medial position:

	[barāmdā]			‘veranda’
	[umda]			‘good’, ‘best’
	[gomtī]			‘name of a river’
	[imtihān]			‘examination’
	[mumkin]			‘possible’
	[namdā]			‘a rug’
	[tamGhā]			‘medal’
	[munkir]			‘one who denies’

This generalization in morpheme-medially, however, does not hold at the phonetic level, as can be seen from the examples below:

	[chimTa]			‘tongs’, ‘cling’
	[samjhā]			‘understood’
	[dhamkānā]		‘to threaten’ 
	[chamkilā]			‘bright’
	[sankī]			‘whimsical’
	[jhumkā]			‘a kind of earring’

According to Ohala, the non-homorganic nasals in these words have been brought about by the application of schwa /a/ deletion rule. In fact, these words, in the above example are derived from forms in which the nasal and the stop are separated by a schwa /a/ as shown in the following examples:

	[chimTa]		<	/cimaT/		‘cling’
	[samjhā]		<	/samajh/		‘understanding power’
	[chamkīlā]		<	/chamak/		‘brightness/shine’
	[sankī]		<	/sanak/		‘whim’

However, according to Ohala (1983), there are also some native words where we find a non-homorganic nasal at the phonetic level, where no alternating forms exist with a/a/ which could be said to be deleted by the a-deletion rule.” (1983, 110)

	[tinkā]		‘bit of dry grass’
	[kunbā]		‘family’
	[chingāri]		‘spark’
	[inkār]		‘denial’
	[kankhī]		‘side way’s glance’

(b) Morpheme-final position:

According to Ohala (1983), this generalization at the morpheme-final position, “holds at both the systematic phonemic level and the systematic phonetic level” (Ohala, 1983: 109) with some exceptions. For instance, in the repertoire of high Urdu speakers some examples of non-homorganic nasals, [simt], can be seen as an exception.


iN eeN EN aN N ooN uN i I ee E x ā a o oo U ū y w h r l R Rh m n p ph b bh t th
Sonorants + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - - - - - -
Consonantal - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + + + + + + + + + + + +
Syllabic + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
High + - - - - - + + + - - - - - - - + + + + -
Low - - - + + - - - - - - + + - + - - - - - +
Back - - - + + + + - - - - - + + + + + + - + -
Long + + - + - + + - + + - + + - - + - + - - -
Continuant - + - - - - - - - - - -
Anterior - + - + + + + + + + + +
Coronal --+-- --++
Retroflex++-- ----
Nasal + + + + + + + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + +
Voice-- ++--
Reduced glottal
resistance after
-+-+ -+-+
Delayed release-- ----
Distinctive release-+-+-+

The Phonemes of Urdu and their Distinctive features specifications.


Nasality is an important linguistic feature in Urdu language. There are three independent nasal phonemes in the language, which occur in all the positions of the word i.e. initial, medial and final, except velar nasal /ŋ/. This phoneme does not occur initially.

/m/ /mālik/ ‘owner’ /namkīn/ ‘salty’ /shām/ ‘evening’
/māl/ ‘goods’ /nāma/ ‘letter’ /nām/ ‘name’
/n/ /nān/ ‘bread’ /manzar/ ‘scene’ /kiran/ ‘ray’
/nāz/ ‘proud’ /munkir/ ‘hostile’ /ān/ ‘pride’
/ŋ/ /jaNgal/ ‘forest’
/kaNgan/ ‘bangle’
/pataNg/ ‘kite’
/jaNg/ ‘war’

In case of nasalization, two important things are distinguished,

1.	Vowel nasalization, and 
2.	Homorganic nasalization 

It is to pointed out here that in Urdu vowel nasalization is phonemic whereas homorganic is not. Masood Hussain Khan, is of the view that all the vowels in Urdu can be nasalized and they are distinctive in the language. For example:

	/bās/ ‘smell’			/bāNs/ ‘bamboo’ 
	/sās/ ‘mother-in-law’  			/sāNs/ ‘breath’
	/bāt/ ‘weight’ 			/bāNT/ ‘distribute’
	/thi/   ‘was’				/theeN/	‘were’ 

In Urdu, where alveolar nasal /n/ immediately precedes one of the consonants, it takes on the articulation of that consonant in terms of point of articulation and is called homorganic nasal. This happens before:

	velar nasal:	/raNgā/ ‘painted’
	palatal:		/ranjīda/ ‘sad’ 
	retroflex : 		/manDap/ ‘tent’
	bilabial: 		/ambiā/ ‘prophets’ 
	dental: 		/band/  ‘close’

This feature of homorganic in Urdu language is very natural. All these nasalization features occurring in the speech can be phonetically or phonemically transcribed without any difficulty. In transcribing the data the nasality is marked with the symbol /~/ which is linguistically called telda.

The linguistic feature nasalization and nasal (homorganic or clear phonemes) occur when the air-steam passes through the nasal cavity. The only difference between these features is that in case of nasalization, there is no point of articulation for it. The only thing is that some air passes through the nasal cavity or passage. But in case of nasal phonemes (nasal sound or homorganic nasal sounds) there is a point of articulation for nasal phoneme.


Intonation in Urdu: -

The changing of pitch voice is an universal feature in all the human languages. Every language of the world possesses a system of basic speech melodies which is unique to that language. Urdu speech too contains this universal feature. In Urdu, we observe three pitch levels, high, mid and low. It is usually starts with a relatively high pitch, and then falls rapidly to a very low pitch. The relatively high pitch is represented by the numeral 3 and the relatively low levels are shown by the numerals 2 and 1. Let us consider the following Urdu sentences.

1.	meera nām neehāl hai
	2            	3  	1
	‘My name is Nehal’

In this sentence we notice that the head word (main word) carries the high pitch level:

In interrogative sentence we find the same pattern, for example:

2.	āp	kā 	kyā 	nām 	hai
           	2		3	1
	‘What is your name’?

3.   	voo	ādmī 	kaun 	thā 
	2	3	1	
	‘Who was that person’?

4.  	yee 	qalam 	kiska 	hai 
	2		3       1
	‘Whose pen is this’?

5.  	voo	kya 	kar 	rahā 	thā 
 	2 	3	1
	‘What was he doing’?
6.  	laRkā  kyoN  ro   rahā thā 	
	2       3      1
	‘Why was the boy crying’?

In the above interrogative sentences too we see that the main word i.e. question word, has high levels. These sentences have a little different intonation.

In Urdu speech we also observe that the native speakers sometimes do not use the question word like /kya/ ‘what’. Instead they simply use the intonation pattern 2-3-3, which is understood as a question. For example:

	7.  	āpka 	nām 	neehāl 	hai 
        		2		  3	 3
		‘Your name is Nehal’

Apart from the above higher pitch level i.e. 3, there is yet another higher pitch level 4, which is observed in Urdu speech but it is not frequently used. The Urdu speakers either use it in order to show great surprise, horror, or to give extra force in the utterances. For example:

	8. 	laRkī 	vahāN 	jānā cāhtī hai 
		2	4	
		‘The girl wants to go there’ 

In the above sentence if the speaker wants to emphasize the word /vahã/ he will give extra emphasis i.e. with the higher pitch level 4.

	9. 	kyā 	āpka 	nām 	neehal 	hai
			2	3
		‘Is your name Nehal?’

Here in this sentence, the speaker’s emphatic force or pitch level 4 may shift to the word /āpkā/ ‘your’. This usually depends upon the speaker’s intonation. So the sentence will be like this:

	10.  	kyā 	āpkā 	nām 	neehal 	hai 
		2	4
		‘Is your name Nehal?’


Aspiration is an universal feature of Indo-Aryan languages. Urdu is one of the Indo-Aryan languages which contains this feature. The Urdu sound system possesses the following aspirated phonemes. These phonemes in the language occur in the following positions i.e. initial, medial and final.

/ph/ /phal/ ‘fruit’ /phūphā/ ‘father’s sister’s husband’ -----
/bh/ /bhūk/ ‘hunger’ /abhī/’now’ /subh/ ‘morning’
/th/ /thāl/ ‘big dish’ /sāthi/’friend’ /sāth/’company’
/Th/ /Theekā/’contract’ /rūThā/ ‘angry’ /gāNTh/ ‘tie’
/dh/ /dhār/’edge’ /bāNdha/ ‘tied’ /gīdh/ ‘vulture’
/Dh/ /Dhāl/ ‘shield’ /nīDhāl/ ‘exhausted’ /gaDh/ ‘place’
/ch/ /chupnā/ ‘to hide’ /pūchnā/ ‘toask; /kuch/ ‘some’
/jh/ /jharna/ ‘fountain’ /maNjhla/ ‘middle’ /mujh/ ‘ me’
/kh/ /khāl/ ‘skin’ /dukhiyā/ ‘tormented’ /īkh/ ‘ sugarcane’
/gh/ /ghar/ ‘ house’ /pighalā/ ‘melt’ /megh/ ‘rain’
/Rh/ --- /buRhiyā/ ‘old woman’ /bāRh/ ‘flood’

Apart from the above aspirated phonemes, there are other aspirated phonemes in Urdu like /nh/, /mh/, /rh/, /lh/. But it should be pointed out here that these are not unit phonemes or independent aspirated phonemes. They are considered as consonant clusters by Urdu linguists. These phonemes can be shown by illustrative examples.

/mh/: /kumhār/ ‘potter’
/nh/: /kinhīN/ ‘any’
/rh/: /bārhavãN/ ‘twelfth’
/lh/: /dulha/ ‘bridegroom’


The term ‘Juncture’ refers to ‘pause’. In pronouncing certain words the speakers put pause after certain syllables and words. These pauses become meaningful. In other words there occurs a contrast between a pause and zero pause (that is no pause). This can be illustrated with examples from English

	(a)	/a neim/ 	(a name)
	(b)	/an eim/	(an aim)

In example (a) pause is after an indefinite article “a”. In the example (b) the pause takes place after another article “an”. In the example (a) and (b) there is the contrast in the pause. This contrast of pause changes the meaning. The meaning of the example (a) is different from the meaning of example (b).

Juncture is also found in Urdu. It is phonemic in Urdu because it causes change in the meaning.

	(a) 	(i)	/pīlī/	‘yellow’
     		(ii)	/pī + lī/	(I) ‘drank’
	(b) 	(i)	/kalāī/ ‘wrist’
     		(ii)	/kal+āī/ ‘(she) came yester’

Here in these examples there is contrast between the presence and absence of juncture. Some other examples are:

	(c) 	(i)	/pardee/	‘curtain’
    		(ii)	/par+ dee/	‘give wings’
	(d) 	(i)	/barchī/	‘spear’
    		(ii)	/bar+chi/	‘taken away husband’
	(e) 	(i)	/jalkaval/	‘water lotus’
     		(ii)	/jal+ kaval/	‘to be jealous’ and ‘lotus’
	(f) 	(i)	/ārizī/		‘temporary’
    		(ii)	/āriz + zī/	‘pertaining to cheek’
	Example illustrating the use of two forms of (c):

		xudāvandā  uThādee darmiyā see hijr kee pardee
		hamāree dām meeN saiyād koo lā yā hameeN par dee


Interjections are mostly used to express emotion or feeling. The following interjections are commonly found in Urdu:

	1.	Affirmation:
		/hā̃/		‘ yes’

	2.	Applause:
		/vāh vā/		‘ well’

	3.	Sorrow, grief:
		/hāe/   		‘ alas’	
		/hāe/   		‘ alas’
		/āh/		‘ sorrow’
		/afsos/		‘ pity’, alas’
		/vāvaila/		‘ woe’, ‘alas’		
		/haif/		‘ ah, ‘alas’
		/haihāt/ 		‘ alas’

	4. Vocative:
		/əre/,/re/		‘ oh’
		/ ərī/,/ri/		‘ o’
		/əji/		‘ o’

	5. Surprise:
		/āhā/		‘ ha’
		/õhõ/		‘ ho’
		/wah-wa/		‘ how fine’
		/kyā- Xūb/		‘ how  excellent’
		/subhānallāh/ 	‘ Good God’		


In Urdu the following syllabic structure can be found:

1. Vowel (V)

	/ā/ 	‘come’ ,  /ee/ 	‘vocative form’ 

2. Vowel plus consonant (VC):

	/āj/		‘today’		/āg/		‘fire’
	/us/		‘that’ 		/is/		‘this’
	/ab/		‘now’		/āb/		‘water’	
	/eek/		‘one’		/ās/		‘hope’	

3. Consonant plus vowels (CV):

	/sa/		‘like’ 		/doo/		‘two’
	/jā/		‘go’		/bū/		‘smell’
	/mee/		‘in’		/tu:/		‘thou’

4. Consonant plus a vowel plus consonant (CVC):

	/jag/		‘world’, 		/tum/		‘you’
	/nām/		‘name’,		/phir/		‘then’
	/rāt/		‘night’,		/sar/		‘head’

CVC structure contains the largest number of monosyllabic words in Urdu and it “is the back, bone of the language”. (Beg, 1988: 30) According to Beg, the CVC “never begins in /R/ /Rh/ and does not and in /ph, zh, Dh, D/. If /D/ occurs finally, it is preceded by the nasalized vowel as is /rāND/ ‘widow’, or nasal as in /DanD/ ‘gymnastic exercise’. (Beg, 1983 : 30)

5. A vowel plus two consonants (VCC):

This structure is possible only in the Perso-Arabic and pure tatsama words.

Old Urdu has generally maintained the VCC or CVCC structure of the Perso-Arabic words. However, in certain cases this structure is broken up by infixing a vowel between two consonants.

	/jr/ 		/hijr/		‘separation’
	/sl/		/vasl/		‘union’
	/shq/		/ishq/		‘love’
	/ld/		/jald/		‘quickly’
	/shk/		/ashk/		‘fear’
	/tl/		/qatl/		‘murder’

There are some of the Perso-Arabic VCC words whose consonant sequences are broken up in the Old and Early Middle Urdu texts:

	/hashr/	>	/hashar/ 		‘resurrection day’
	/nazm/	>	/nazam/		‘verse’
	/fikr/	>	/fikar/		‘thought’
	/tifl/	>	/tifal/		‘child’
	/sabz/	>	/sabaz/		‘green’
	/mard/	>	/marad/		‘man’
	/ajr/	>	/ajar/		‘reward’
	/qabr/	>	/qabar/		‘grave’	

In variably in Urdu, the VCC structure of Sanskrit words is broken up. However, in Old and Early Middle Urdu, there can be seen a few words in which this structure has been maintained

	/nt/	>	/ant/		‘end’
	/dr/	>	/samudr/		‘sea’


CCV or CCVC structure is possible only in the tatsama words of Sanskrit. No Perso-Arabic word in Urdu begins with the initial cluster. There is a limited number of words in the texts which show CCV structure

	/gy/	>	/gyān) 		‘knowledge’
	/kr/	>	/krānti/ 		‘lustre’ 
	/pr/	>	/prīt/		‘love’



Urdu nouns end in both vowel and consonants. Urdu has two grammatical genders: Masculine (m.) and feminine (f.). Nouns may have special gender suffixes (marked, or be unmarked for gender. Nouns are inflected to show number (singular/plural) and case (nominative, oblique or vocative). These endings usually mix-up and they can not be described separately for number and case. According to number, gender and case, Urdu Nouns has been described as follows:

1. Iəŗka/masculine

  			Singular 			Plural
Direct case 		ləṛək+a = ləṛka		ləṛək+e = ləṛke
Oblique case		ləṛək + e = ləṛke		ləṛək + õ = ləṛkõ
Vocative Case		ləṛək + e = ləṛke		ləṛək + o = ləṛko

2. hāthi / masculine

     			Singular 		Plural
Direct case 		hāth + i = hathī	hāthi+i + Φ = hathī
Oblique case		hāth + i = hathī	hāth +i + õ = hathī	õ
Vocative Case		hāth + i = hathī	hāth +i + o = hathīo

3. Iəŗki /feminine

     			Singular 		Plural
Direct case		ləṛək+i = ləṛkī	Iəṛək+i + ã = ləṛkiã
Oblique case		Iəṛək +i = ləṛkī	ləṛək +i+ õ = ləṛkiõ
Vocative Case		Iəṛək +i = ləṛkī	ləṛək + i+o = ləṛkio

4. chiŗyā / feminine

     			Singular 		Plural
Direct case 		chiṛ+yā = chiṛӲā	chiṛ+yā̃ = chiṛyā̃
Oblique case		chiṛ+yā = chiṛyā	chiṛ+yā+õ= chiṛyāõ/ chiṛyõ
Vocative Case		chiṛ+yā =chiṛyā	chiṛ+yā+o= chiṛyo

In the above examples different endings have been directly added to the base, but in Urdu instances are also found where number is expressed due to internal change according to Arabic rules.

 		ustād (singular )		 ‘teacher’
		asātezəh (plural ) 		 ‘teachers’
		məsjid (singular)		 ‘mosque’
		mesājid (plural)		 ‘mosques’

In Urdu there are also nouns which are unmarked for number. These are as follows:

	(a) Proper Noun:
		 Delhi, Ganga, Tajmahal, Himalaya
	(b) Nouns related to Nature
		 Moon, Sun, etc.
	(c) Substance Noun
		 Gold, Silver, etc.
	(d) Name of Disease
		 Fever, Cold, Cholera etc.
	(e) Nouns which occur in singular
		 Sugar, Youghurt, Honey etc. 

Changes are also made in the nouns through derivation. In Urdu there are two genders (masculine/feminine) and nouns are marked for it.

Usually smaller things like

		sūī 			‘needle’
		ţõpī			‘cap’ 	are  used as feminine.

Usually the nouns ending in — o are Abstract Nouns

		ləgao		‘ attachment’
		bəchao		‘ defence’ 

Nouns ending in (pən) are substantive nouns:

 		pāgəlpən 		‘madness’
		bəchpən		‘childhood’ 

In stem formation we can say that stems of nouns can easily be distinguished as compared to verbs.

Urdu stems are of the following types.

	(i)	Pronominal
	(ii)	Adjectival
	(iii)	Verbal

Urdu stems are also made due to affixation. With the help of suffixes Noun stems, which are made, are of the following types, in Urdu:

(a) Noun of Action- these nouns may be verbal, pronominal, adjectival, etc.

		ţhəndək		‘ cold ’
		ləŗaī		‘ fight ’
		āpəs		‘ among ’
		buŗhāpā		‘ old age ’  

(b) Noun of Agency and Occupation usually complete their formation by adding suffixes with stems of different types of nouns.

		khilārī			‘ player ’ 
		səverā			‘ morning ’
		sunhār			‘ goldsmith ’ 
		dukāndār			‘ shopkeeper ’
		mezpošh			‘ table cover ’ 

(c) Experience and Possessive Nouns: These nouns are made by adding suffixes to other classes of nouns.

	 	hindostāni			‘ Indian ’
		bāvərchi			‘ cook ’
		māldār			‘ wealthy ’ 

(d) Instrumental Noun: These nouns are made by adding suffixes to verbal and other classes of nouns.

	 	dhəknā			‘ plate of cover ’
		chimţā			‘ tong ’
		ḍəlyā			‘ container ’ 

Repetition of Nouns:

Simple Repetition

	  	həm ne use  g̣əlī gəlī ḍhū̃ḍā
		‘we searched for him in lane after lane’

Repetition with an Echo word:

Echo words beginning with v-have no menaing of their own. Their function is to generalize the meaning of the first word.

		chābi vābi		‘ something like a key ’

Nouns as units of measure:

Nouns describing measure, quantity and price may behave like adjectives and precede the nouns they qualify. In this use they are not followed by possessive /kā/:

	  	pəchās rupe metre	
		‘ fifty rupee (a) meter ’

		do chəmche  šəkər 
		‘ two spoons (of) sugar ’

If the nouns are used like an adjective, it inflects in the usual way.

	 	mujhe pāni ki do  bāltiyẵ chahyẽ. 
		‘I need two buckets of water ’

When nouns showing units of measure, time or money are preceeded by numbers, they do not take the oblique plural suffix:

	     	mε̃ do ghə̃ţe mẽ āũgī
		‘I will come in two hours ’  
		kuchh dinõ ke bād ānā
		‘Come after a few days’

A few Perso Arabic loan words are used as nouns.

		naujəvān		‘ young man ’
		Ghairmulki		‘ foreigner ’
		numaindəh 	‘ representative ’

II.D.I.d1 (Resource Person: Eram Zafar and Sadia Husna Hasan)


Postposition form a semi closed class, composed mostly of donominal and deverbal elements. They are characterized by their position.They must immediately follow the noun (or noun phrase) that they govern. Their complement nouns (noun phrases) are usually marked by the genitive case, but individual postpositions may govern dative or instrumental / ablative case noun phrases.

Post position follow nouns or pronouns and mark (a) grammatical functions, (b) locations movements or extent in space and time.

A particular postposition may have both grammatical and special temporal functions.

Urdu postpositions function like prepositions in European languages. Urdu has only a few prepositions, borrowed from Persian and Arabic.

A postposition may consist of a single word (simple postpositions) or a phrase. Postpositional phrases are of two types:

(i) Postpositonal Sequences (two postpositions expressing a complex relationship of location and movement), and

(ii) Compound Postposition: whenever a noun is followed by a postposition it occurs in the oblique case. Pronoun also occurs in the oblique case before post-positions, except for the first and second person pronouns when preceding the postposition / nē/

If/bhī/ ‘ also’ or /hī/ ‘emphatic particle’ also occur, they normally follow the postposition. The commonest postpositions are:

	< ﻛﻰ > < ﮐﮯ  >< ﻛﺍ >   Kā, ( kẽ~ kī ) ‘ of’  ‘s’
	<  ﮐﻭ  > kõ. ‘to’ 
	<  ﻧﮯ  > nē, (ergative)
	< ﺳﮯ > sē, ‘from, by’
 	< ﻣﻴﮟ > mēin, ‘in’
	<  ﭘﺮ    > par, ‘on, at’
	< <    ﺗﮎ  tak, ‘till, until’

Grammatical Postpositions:

Grammatical postpositions express for the most part grammatical functions, such as possession or marking of objects and subjects.

		kā  kē kī expressing possession:

The postpositions kā (-kē -kī) shows a possessive relationship between two nouns. It agrees with the noun it qualifies in gender, number and case, like an adjective.

 	/mã  kī  duā/  ‘mother’s blessing’
	/mɛ̃  ap kā  šukr guzar hũ/ ‘I am grateful to you’ 
	/us sənduq kõ Xali  ker do/ ‘empty that box’

Special Temporal Postpositions:

Special temporal postpositions refer to location, movement or extent in space and time. They may be divided into two groups:

	(a) those which may not be followed by a second postposition (sē, tək), and 
	(b) those which may b followed by /sē/to make postpositional sequences.
		/ye bəs kəhã  sē ati hai/
		‘ where does this bus come from’
		/ həm rēl sē səfər kərenge/
		‘ we  will travel by train’
		/ mɛ̃ ap sē kucch k əhna chahti hũ /
		‘ I would like  to tell you something’
		/ char bəje tək aīye/
		‘ come by 4 o’ clock’

/mɛ̃ /with locative function:

/mɛ̃ / express location in or at a point in space or time. Such location may be concrete or quite abstract.

	 	/k əmre mẽ/ 		‘ in the room’
		/šiše mẽ / 			‘ in the mirror’
		/ghər mẽ /			‘ at house’
		/ungli mɛ̃ ənguthi/ 		‘the ring on the finger’
		həm əbhi raste mɛ̃ hɛ̃ 	‘ we are on the way  now’
		purane šεhr jane mɛ̃ ādha ghənta ləgta hε
		‘ it take half an hour to go to the old city’

/pər/ with locative function:

/pər/ expresses location on something which has surface (‘on’), next to something in space, or upon or immediately after a point in time (‘at’, in’). It has a variant form/pe/ occurring in colloquial speech and poetry:

		 /raste pər/  		‘on the road’
		 /mez pər /		‘on the table’ 
		 /dərvaze pər/		‘at the door’
		 /vəqt pər/			‘in (on) time’
		 /mɛ̃  kām pər chəla/ 	‘I went to work’
		 /un ki  bāt  pər mujhe  həsi āg əyi’/
		‘ what he said made me laugh’

Compound Postposition:

Compound postpositions are postpositional phrases consisting of inflected kā + noun, adjective adverb or more complex construction. There are many such postpositions. Some of the most common cases are presented here. They have been listed according to the six main structural types to which they belong. The order of the elements in some postpositional phrases is in irreversible. kā + oblique noun + postposition.

	/ka/ is inflected to /kē/
	/kī/ agreeing with the noun in gender and case.
	/(ki) vəjəh sē/ 	 	‘ because of,  ‘on account of’   
	/kē  səbəb sē /	 	‘ because of’
	/kē muqable mє̃ /	 	‘ in comparion with’ 

	/ap ye kam kiski vəjah sē kər rəhe hє? əmmi ke hukm ki vərjəh sē/

	‘On whose account are you doing this work? On account of mother’s order ?’

The preposition:

A preposition is a word placed before a noun or a pronoun to show in what relation the person, or thing denoted by it, stands in regard to something else.

Urdu is mostly a postpositional language but there are some prepositions also. Some of the examples are given below.

	əzsərenau		‘ from the very beginning’
	filhal			‘ at present’
	bamuškil			‘ with great difficulty’
	filwəqt 			‘ for the time being’
	əzhədməjbūri		‘ in great difficulty’
	tāumr			‘ for the whole life’	


There is no distinction between the masculine and feminine gender in Urdu pronouns. The same pronoun is used for both ‘he’ and ‘she’. There is, on the other hand, a distinction between proximate and distant in the third person. Urdu distinguishes between ‘he/she/it’ which is at a distance. Urdu pronouns may refer to singular or plural people or things. Plural pronouns referring to people may refer to two or more people, or to a single person respectively.

1. Demonstrative Pronouns: (DP)

yee, ‘this’ and voo, ‘that’

The demonstrative pronoun yee, ‘this’ refers to something or someone close at hand. The DP voo, ‘that’ refers to something or someone further away. The demonstrative pronouns yee and voo are identical in form to the personal pronouns yee and voo (meaning ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’).

In the nominative case, the plural forms of yee and voo are identical to their singular form. Only the verb shows whether the pronoun refers to a singular or plural noun.

	/yee kyā hai/		‘what is this’?

In the oblique case however, yee, and voo have distinct singular and plural forms. Nominative and oblique demonstratives.

			Nominative			Oblique
	Singular		yee				is
			voo				us
	Plural		yee				in
			voo				un
	/is kā nām kyā hai?/			‘what is the name of this’?
	/us kā nām kyā hai?/			‘what is the name of that’?
	/un koo kyā kahtee haiN?/		‘what do you call those’?
	/ham in koo ghaRee kahtee haiN/	‘we call these water pots’

The demonstrative pronouns also function as adjectives.

	/ye ghaRā baRā hai/			‘that water pot is big’
	/vo kūāN bahut gahrā hai/		‘that well is very deep/

2. Personal Pronouns:

(i) Persons and cases of Personal Pronouns:

			Nominative	Oblique
	1st person		/maīN/ ‘I’		mujh
	2nd person	/tū/ ‘you’		tujh
	3rd person		/voo/ ‘he /she/it’	is


	1st person		/ham/ ‘we’		ham
	2nd person	/tum/ ‘you’		tum
			/āp/ ‘you’		āp
	3rd person		/voo/ ‘they’	un
			/yee/ ‘these’	in

(ii) Honorific level in second person pronouns:

There are three second person pronouns: tū, tum and āp, which have different usages- tū is very intimate, tum is non honorific and āp is honorific

	/tū kyā khā rahā hai? mūh khool/ 
	‘what are you eating open(your) mouth (to a very small child)’
	/(tum) baiThoo/ ‘(you) sit down’
	/āp baiThee/ ‘you please sit down (to an elder)’

(iii) ham is used as a first person singular pronoun:

The first person plural ham is used colloquially in place of the singular maīN, by referring to himself as a member of a group. ham is also used in poetry in place of maīN.

	ham koo un see vafā kī hai ummīd
	joo nahī jāntee vafā kyā hai

(iv) Ommission of personal pronouns:

Personal pronouns especially tū and tum are often omitted in sentences since the verb provides information about person, number, gender and level of respect.

	/kya karoo gee?/		‘what will you (tum) do’?
	kyā kareeN gee?/		‘what will you (āp) do’?

(v) loog as a plural specifier:

The noun loog ‘people may be added to plural personal pronouns to specify or emphasize plurality. The resulting phrase is masculine plural.

	/ham loog/ (haiN)		‘we (are)’

(vi) Nominative pronouns:

Nominative pronouns most commonly occur as the subjects of verbs (except for transitive verbs in perfect tenses, where the subject takes nee).

	/maiN yahāN rahtā hūN/	‘I live here’
	/vooh pās meeN rahtā hai/	‘he lives near by’

A nominative third person pronoun very occasionally occurs as the direct object of a sentence, referring to a thing.

	/maiN nee yeh paRhā hai voh nahīN paRhā/	‘I have read this not that’

(vii) Oblique (inflected) pronouns:

When a pronoun is followed by a postposition /koo/ ‘to’, /kā/ ‘of’, /meeN/ ‘in’, /see/ ‘from’. It occurs in the oblique case:

	/mālik sāhib āp koo chāy pilaēNeegee/	‘Mr. Malik will offer you tea’

Exception to (vii)

First and second person pronouns occur in the nominative case before the postposition nee.

(viii) The suffix -ee, -eeN replacing -koo:

	The postposition koo, ‘to’, ‘at’, shows.

		(a)	animate or specified direct objects.
		(b)	indirect objects.
	Oblique pronouns + alternative forms of koo
	Pronoun + koo			Pronoun + ē or eeN.


	1st person		mujh koo		mujhee
	2nd person	tujh koo		tujhee
	3rd person		us koo		usee
			is koo		isee

	1st person		ham koo		hameeN
	2nd person	tum koo		tumheeN
			āp koo				
	3rd person		un koo		unheeN
			in koo		inheeN

	/kyā tumheeN kuch chāhiyee?/	‘do you need anything’?
	/āp nee unheeN kyā batāyā?/	‘what did you tell them’?

(ix) Pronouns before the postposition nee:

When pronouns occur as the subjects of sentences, the sentence verbs agree with them in gender, number and person.

There is an exception to this rule. The subjects of transitive verbs in perfect tenses agree with the direct object and the subject is followed by the postposition nee. When followed by nee, 1st and 2nd person pronouns occur in the nominative case. 3rd person plural pronouns have special forms which occur only before nee.

			Nominative		Pronoun + nee

	1st person		maiN  ‘I’			maiN nee
	2nd person	tum ‘you’			tum nee
	3rd person		voo(he/she/it)		us nee
			yeeh (he/ she/it)		is nee

	1st person		ham ‘we’			ham nee
	2nd person	tum ‘you’			tum nee
	3rd person		voo ‘they’			unhooN nee

	as in,

	/maiN nee us koo chāyee pilāī/	‘I gave him tea’
	/āp nee saRaK par kyā deekhā/	‘what did you see on the road’

(x) Possessive forms of Personal Pronouns:

The possessive forms of pronouns are grammatically adjectives and agree with the nouns they qualify.

	/meerā bhāī/		‘my brother’
	/meerī bahin/		‘my sister/
	/us kā bhāī/		‘his/her brother’
	/us kī bahin/		‘his/ her sister’

3. Reflexive Pronouns:

The reflexive possessive adjective /apnā/ ‘ones own’ is substituted for the possessive forms of personal pronouns when the subject of the sentence possesses the object.

	/ahmad apnī ghaRī deekh rahā hai/ 	‘Ahmad is looking at his watch’
	/yee meerī apnī gāRī hai/		‘This is my own car’
	/xud/ and /āp/			‘Self’

Both /xud/ and /āp/ mean self (myself, yourself, himself, over selves, themselves, etc) /xud/ is the most common of the two.

	/maiN xud vahāN jāūN gā/		‘I will go there myself’
	/maiN āp vahāN gayā/		‘I went there myself’

(i) /apnee āp/, /xud/, /xud baxud/:

These forms are used to express something that someone does by himself, without the help from others, or something that happens spontaneously.

	/ham nee yee apnee āp likhā/		‘We wrote it ourselves’
	/ham nee yee xud likhā/		‘we wrote it ourselves’
	/bijlī xud baxud jal uThī/		‘The electric bulb suddenly lit up by itself’

4. Interrogative Pronouns:

	/kyā/		‘what’

It is used as an adjective qualifying a noun, especially before oblique case nouns, where it means ‘which’

	/yee kyā hai?/		‘What is this?’

(i) kyā marking questions and exclamations:

kyā may also be used as a question marker, turning a statement into a yes-or-no question. It is not translated.

	/kyā yee kitāb hai?/		‘Is this a book’
	/kyā mazeedār khānā hai!/	‘What a delicious food (it is)!’
	/kaun/			‘Who’?

It is occasionally also used as an adjective qualifying a noun. The singular and plural forms of /kaun/ are distinguished only in the oblique case. In the nominative case /lõg/ ‘people’ may be added to specify the plural or /kaun/ may be doubled.

	/yee kaun hai?/		‘Who is he/she’
	/yee lõg kaun haīN?/		‘Who are these peoples’?

(ii) Oblique forms of kya and kaun:

voo and yee, kyā and kaun have special oblique plural forms which occur only before nee, kyā and kaun may take the alternate suffixal forms of koo.

			Nominative	Oblique		+ nee
	Singular 		/kyā/ ‘what’?	kis		kis nee
			/kaun/ ‘what’	kis		kis nee
	Plural		/kyā/ ‘what’?	kin			
			/kaun/ ‘who’?	kin		kinhoon nee
		/yee sāmān kiskā hai/	‘whose baggage is this’

The oblique forms of kyā occur mainly as adjectives meaning ‘which’.

	/āp kis daftar meeN kām kartee haīN?/	‘which office do you work in’?

5. Infinitive pronouns:

	/kooī/ ‘some one’

It is used both as a pronoun and an adjective. As a pronoun it means ‘some one’. If the sentence is negative it means ‘none’.

	/bāhar kooī hai/			‘some one is outside’
	/ghar par kooī nahīN hai/		‘no one is at home’
	The oblique form of kooī is /kisī/. 	/kisī/ is also used before nee. 
	/paisā kisī nee churā liyā/		‘some one stole the money’

Repeated Pronouns:

	It means ‘what (various) things’ and takes a singular verb.
	Ap ne vahaN kyā kyā dēkha	‘what things did you see there’?

	It means ‘who all/ which (various) people? And takes a singular verb.
	dāvat meN kaun kaun āyā 	‘who all came for the party’?

	/koī-koī/, /koī na koī/ means ‘a few’:
	jalse meN sirf koi koi āyā	‘only a few came to the function’
	‘kuch-kuch/ , /kuch na kuch/ means ‘some what’:
	vo kuch kuch Thik hai	‘he is some what better’.


Urdu verbs have four parts, or basic forms: The root, imperfective particle, perfective particle and infinitive. These are elaborated with auxiliaries and suffixes into a complex system of verb, tense and aspect. The basic form of a verb determines its aspect, where as the auxiliary determines its tense.

The Root:

The verb root is the form to which suffixes are added. A useful rule of thumb states that the root is that part of the verb which remains when the infinitive suffix /-nā/ is removed. The formation of infinitives is regular.

	 	jānā		‘to go’		jā 		‘go’
		kərnā		‘to do’		kər		‘do’
		denā		to give’		dē		‘give’
		sunnā		‘to hear		sun		‘hear’

Double transitive and causative stems are formed by the addition of the increment, /ā/ (-lā) to the root. Double causative stems are formed by the addition of the increment /vā/ to the root. To inflect a verb, it is not necessary to know whether one is dealing with a verb root or a derived stem, as verbal constructions are formed from roots and stems in the same manner. The derived stem of a root is a different verb from the root and has a different meaning.

	 	sun 	‘hear’		sunā		‘tell’
		kər	‘do’		kərā		‘caused to be done’
		dē	‘give’		dila		‘caused to be give’

The subjunctive, request forms, future, conjunctive participle and continuous tense are formed from the verb root ( or stem). The verb root is also used with the modal verbs /səknā/ ‘ to be able’ to show ability and with /chuknā/ ‘ to be finished’ to show completion.


All the tenses in Urdu fall in three groups, i.e. past, present and future. These are formed from the root of the verb and participles and are simple as well as compounds.

A verb in Urdu has two genders, the masculine and feminine. It has also two numbers the singular and plural and three persons, the first, second and third in each number. The final /ā/ of the verb stands for masculine singular. A verb is inflected to /e/ for masculine plural, to /–i/ for feminine singular and to /ĩ/ or sometimes /iyā̃/ for feminine plural.

Verbs are either transitive or intransitive. Transitive verbs have two voices i.e. the active and passive.

Simple tenses are either formed from the verbal root or from participles whereas compound tenses are formed from participles, combined with auxillaries.

			Singular				Plural
1st person			hū̃ (I) ‘am’				haĩ (we ) are	 
2nd person		hai ‘you(sg) are’			ho ‘you(pl) are’ 
3rd person			hai ‘(he) is’				haĩ ‘( they) are’

			Singular 				Plural
1st person			tha (I) ‘was’			thi ‘were’	 
2nd person		tha ‘you(sg) were’			the ‘you (pl) were’ 
3rd person			thā ‘(he) was’			the ‘ (they) were’

			Singular 				Plural
1st person		meĩ  hungā 	‘I will be’ (masc.)	həm hõ̃nge  	‘we will be’ (masc.)	
		meĩ hū̃ngi   	‘I will be’ (fem.)	həm hõ̃n ge	‘we will be (fem.)
2nd person	tu: hogə (m) 	‘you will be’	tum hoge (m) 	‘ you will be’
		tu: hogi (f)   	‘you will be’	tum hogi(f) 	‘you will be’
3rd person		voh hoga      	‘he will be’ (m)	voh  hõ̃nge 	‘ they will be’ (m)
		voh hogi  		‘she will be’ (fem)	voh hõ̃n gi 	‘ they will be (fem) 

Active and Passive Voice:

In Urdu a verb may be in active and passive voice. Only transitive verbs are used as passives. The tenses, which are formed in active voice, may also be formed in passive voice by adding the tenses of the verb /jana/ ‘to go’ to the perfect participle of a transitive verb. Participle and terminations affixed to it are inflected in passive to agree with the number and gender of the grammatical subject. In the use of a passive verb the subject is put instrumental case and the object of the active verb becomes the subject,

 	māre gai husain –o- həsən.
	‘Husain and Hussan was killed’
	yeh nəgər sav mərtəba lūţa gəya.
	‘This city was plundered hundred times’

Sometimes the tense of the verb /jāna/ are added to the perfect participle of an intransitive verb.

 	/ āina/  ‘to come’ 	/ āya na gəya/

The tenses of verb /jāna/ added simply to the verbal root do not form the passive:

	 	/maĩ so gəi/	‘I fell asleep’
		/khā gəya/		‘ate up’

Causal verbs may be formed from almost every verb whether transitive or intransitive. The causal formed from the intransitive verbs become transitive. Causals are of two types:

	(i) The first casual 
	(ii) The second or the double causal

(i) The first casual:

To form the first causal /–ā /is added to the simple verbal root known as “primitive root”

	 Primitive Verb		First Causal		
	uṭhna	‘ to rise’		uṭhana  ‘to raise’
	sunna	‘ to hear’		sunana   ‘to tell’
	dauṛna  	‘ to run’		dauŗna    ‘to run’

(ii) The second or the Double Causal:

It is formed by adding /– vā/ to the primitive root.

	Primitive Verb		First Causal	Second Causal 
	kətnā			katnā		kəţvānā 			 
	“to be cut”			‘To cut’		‘to cause to cut’
	bujhnā			bujhānā		bujhvānā
	‘to be extinguished’		‘to extinguish’	‘To cause to extinguish’
	bā̃dhanā			bā̃dhanā		bā̃dhvānā
	‘to be fastened’		‘to fasten’		‘ to cause to fasten’ 
	dhulnā			dhonā		dhulvānā
	‘to be washed’		‘to wash’		‘ to cause to wash’

Compound verbs:

Compound verbs may be formed with roots, participles infinitives etc. They are formed with nouns and adjectives. Such compounds are known as nominal compounds.

(i) Compounds formed with Roots:

(a) Intensives:

 	uṭhā	lānā 	‘ to bring’
         	uṭhā	lāĩ  kūzā  	‘ she brought the pot’

(b) Potentials:

	uṭha səknā		‘ to be able to rise’
	behoš huĩ aur nā uth səki 	‘she became unconscious and could not rise’

(c) Completives:

		ro chuknā	  	‘ to have done weeping’
	     	ro chukā thā 	‘ had done weeping’

(ii) Compounds formed with Imperfect Participles:

(a) Continuatives:

	 	sətāte rəhnā		‘ to continue or go on hurting’
	əgər  yū̃  hĩ  yeh dil  sətātā rahegā 	‘if this heat goes on hurting like this’

(iii) Compounds formed with Perfect Participles:

(a) Habituatives:

 		 diyā kərnā		‘ to give frequently, to keep giving ’
	 nət hāth mẽ in  məstõ ke təlvār diyā kəro	‘don’t keep giving sword in the hands of these drunkards’.

(iv) Compounds formed with Infinitives:

(a) Inceptives:

		kəhne ləgnā			‘ to begin to call’
	us ko sweety kəhne ləge			‘we begin to call her sweety’

(b) Permissives:

		girne denā		‘ to allow to fall’
		zəmī pər na sāye ko girne diyā
		‘did not let (his) shadow fall on the ground’
 		khāne denā 	‘ to allow to eat’
 		use khāne dõ	‘ let (him/her) eat’

(v) Compounds formed with Aorist:

(a) Continuatives:

		khāe janā 			‘ to  keep or go on eating’
		jān ko koī khāe jātā hai	‘somebody goes on eating the soul’
		jhukāe  jānā 		‘ to go on bending’
		sər ko jhukāe   jātā hai	‘goes on bending the head’

(vi) Compounds formed with Nouns and Adjectives:

	dūr bhāgnā		‘to get away’
	us se dūr  bhāgo		‘get away from him’
	doš denā 	 		‘to blame’ 
	əpne kərəm ko  doš dījie  	‘ please blame your own deeds’
	nəzər  ānā  		 ‘ to be seen’
	nəzər  ātā  nəhī voh 		‘he is not to be seen’


The infinitives may be used as a verbal noun and as a request form. A variety of infinitival constructions is made with verbs, postpositions or the agent suffix /vālā/. Constructions may be divided into two groups:

    (a)  Impersonal constructions with nominative case infinitives.
    (b)  Personal constructions with oblique case infinitives plus a post-position or sentence verb.

The first group includes three common impersonal constructions showing advisability, necessity and obligation. The second includes six personal constructions showing the agent, impending action, beginning, permission, purpose and negative assertion.

Infinitives +hai (necessity):

The impersonal construction Infinitive + hai shows the necessity of an action.

 		mujhē dərXāst dēnī  (˜dēnā ) hai
		‘I have to submit the application’

Infinitive + cāhiē (advisability):

The impersonal construction Infinitive + cāhiē shows the advisability of an action.

		  usē ənḍē  Xerīdnē (- xərīdnā) cāhiē
		  ‘He should buy eggs’

Infinitive + pəŗnā:

Infinitive + pəṛnā shows lack of choice concerning an action.

		mujhē ye kəṛvī dəvā khāni (˜khānā) pəŗī hai.
		‘I had to take this bitter medicine’

Oblique infinitive + vālā :

It shows the agent of an action, an imminent action or event.

		(Xət)  bhējnē vālē ka pəta kya hai?
 		‘what is the address of the sender (of the letter)? 

Oblique infinitive + kõ:

It shows an impending action or event.

		 is ləŗkī kī šadī hõnē kõ hai.
		‘This girl’s wedding is going to take place soon’

Oblique infinitive + ləgnā:

It shows the beginning of an action or event.

		 kištī  bhə̃vər  mē̃ dūbnē ləgī 
		‘The boat began to sink in the whirlpool’

Oblique infinitive + dēnā (‘let’)

It shows permission to do an action and anticipation of an event.

		əbba nē  mujhē kitāb  Xerīdnē na  dī
		‘Daddy did’nt let me buy the book’.

Oblique infinitive + verb of motion (purpose):

It is used to express purpose

		əšrəf sāhib āp sē milnē āē haĩ
		‘Mr. Ashraf has come to meet you’

Oblique infinitive + kā (negative assertion):

The oblique infinitive is used with/nəhĩ/and/kā/ to make a strong negative assertion.

		 maĩ jhūt  nəhĩ bolnē kā
		 ‘I am not going to tell a lie’.


Adjectives qualify nouns, as modifiers or as predicate complements.

These are divided into two groups:

(i)	Marked Adjectives (those which have suffixes that change to show gender and number).
(ii)	Ummarked Adjectives (those which do not have suffixes that  change to show gender  and number).

(i) Marked Adjectives:

Adjectives which may take the masculine singular suffixes; -/ā/ ‘< ﺍ > ’, /-an/’ ‘<ﮟﺍ >’ are marked.

  	əccha		kām		‘a good job’
	dāyā̃		hāth		‘ the  right hand’
	əcchi		bāt		‘ a good thing’
       	dāin		ā̃kh		‘ the right eye’

(ii) Unmarked Adjectives:

These do not have special suffixes and do not change to show agreement.

		dilcəsp  kām		‘ interesting work’
		dilcəsp bāt		‘ interesting talk’

Some adjectives look like marked but are not

		tāzā  kelā			‘ a fresh banana’
	       	tāzā xubāni		‘ a fresh apricot’

Persian past participles ending in /-a/ are unmarked adjectives in Urdu.

		 tālim  yāfta  Xātūn 	‘ an educated lady’

Many adjectives are formed from nouns or from other adjectives by adding the adjectival suffix /–ī/, which may be of Persian origin or of Urdu origin, but in both cases the suffix does not change.

	 	dēsī  ghī			‘ indigenous  clarified butter’

Arabic adjectives, which happen to end in /ā/ are unmarked.

	 	ālā  mēyār	< ﺮﺎﯿﻌﻣ ٰﻰﻠﻋﺍ > ‘ a high  standard’
	        	ālā sətəh	< ﺢﻄﺴ  ٰﻰﻠﻋﺍ > ’ a high level’
		bāqi paisa	<ﮧﺴﯾﭘ ﻰﻗﺎﺑ >‘ the rest of the money’


Agreement in gender and number. Marked adjectives change to agree with nouns in gender and number.

				Singular 			Plural
	Masculine			bəŗā			bəŗe
				dāyā̃			dāē̃
	Feminine			bəŗi			bəŗi
				dā̃i			dā̃i

Agreement in Case:

An adjective qualifying an oblique noun also becomes oblique,

			Nominative	Oblique		Vocative
	Masculine		bəŗā		bəŗē		bəŗē
			dāyā̃		dāēñ		dāēñ
	Feminine		bəŗī		bəŗi		bəŗī
			dāiñ		dā̃iñ		daiñ

(a) The suffix/–ā/changes to/–ē/and the suffix/–āñ/ changes to/– ēñ /.

	 	bərē ghõŗē  kā 		‘ of a big maye’.
		dāēñ hāth pər 		‘ on the right hand’

(b) Feminine adjectives do not change.

 		bəŗī ghõŗē kā		‘ of a big horse’
		dā̃i ā̃kh mẽ 		‘ in the right eye’

(c) There are no special oblique plural suffixes for masculine or feminine adjectives.

		bəŗī ghõŗõ̃ kā		‘ of a big horses’
		bəŗī ghõiyŗõ̃ kā		‘ of big horses’

(d) An adjective modifying a vocative noun is in the oblique case.

		mērē  bēţe  		‘ my son’
		mērē  bēţõ̃ 		‘ my sons’
		mērī betī			‘ my daughter’
  		ərē daē̃  ləŗkē 		‘ Hey you (boy) on the right’

Agreement with noun sequences of different gender:

If two or more nouns of different genders or numbers are qualified by one adjective, the adjective agrees with the noun nearest to it

	mērī pətlūn,   jūte əur jurrāb.

Attributive and Predicative Adjectives:

Some adjectives can both precede the noun they qualify or follow it in a predicate phrase.

	 	 Xət ərnāk  rāstā.		‘ a dangerous road’

When adjectives are used predicatively, they introduce new information about the noun or pronoun they qualify.

 		vo rāstā   Xətərnāk thā  ‘That road was dangerous’

Pronouns used as Adjectives:

Interrogative Pronouns:

The interrogative pronouns /kyā/, ‘what’ and /kaun/, ‘ wh’ are also used as adjectives.

Indefinite Pronouns:

The indefinite pronouns /kõī/, ‘some’ , ‘any’ and /kcuh/ ‘ some’, are also used as adjectives.

 		Symmetrical     y–     v –       k –            j word sets.

The categories: Near –Far- Interrogative –Relative

Urdu distinguishes symmetrically between the above mentioned categories.

Symmetrical y-v-k-j word sets

	y–i-a <ﺍ > <ﻯ>  v-u <ﺍ ><و >     k< ﮎ>             j<ﺝ>
  	Near 	     Far	Interrogative	Relative

/ye/ ‘he/she/it’ /vo/ ‘he/she/it’ /kəun/ ‘who’ / kyā/ ‘what’ /jõ/ ‘ who’, ‘which’ /kuch/ ‘some (thing)’, any (thing):

It is used as both as a pronoun and an adjective. As a pronoun it means ‘something’. If there is a negative word in the sentence, it means ‘nothing’; /kuch/ does not have an oblique form.

 	kuch kəro bhai ! 		‘ do something’

As an adjective it means ‘some’, ‘any’ and qualifies both non-count nouns and plural count nouns.

	 	võ kuch nəhĩ k əre ga	‘he won’t do anything’
 		kuch pāni lao 		‘bring some water’

Relative Pronoun:

/jõ/, ’who’ , ‘which’:

It is a relative pronoun corresponding to /vo/ and /ye/.

Adjectives /itnā/ ‘this much’, /utnā/ ‘that much’, /kitnā/ ‘how much’, /jitna/ ‘as much’. /aisā/ ‘like this’, /vaisā/ ‘like that’, /kaisā/ ‘how’ /jaisā/ ‘such as’ /itnā – utnā – kitnā/: The above set is singular and its plural is somewhat like this /intē–utnē– kitnē/. They are all regularly behaving as marked adjectives, and same is the case of /aisā- vaisā- kaisā/

Adjective Phrases formed with /sā/ and /vālā/:

The Adjectival particle /sā/ (~ sē ~ sī)

This is added to an adjective, noun or pronoun to form an adjectival phrase. /sā/ agrees with the noun which the phrase qualifies.

/sā/ added to adjectives:

When /sā/follows an adjective it expresses approximation or diminution.

 		āj  bəhut  sē lõg  āē  haĩ	
 		‘Rather a lot of people have come today’

If /sā/ is added to an adjective of size such as /bəŗā/ ‘big’ or /choţa/ ‘small’ , the adjective is intensified /sā/ also intensifies zərā.

		 z ərā sī der ke liye	 
		‘for a very little while’

The suffix /vālā/:

	Oblique infinitive  + /vālā/
		  gānā  gānē vali  ləŗkī  kaun hai?
		‘ who is the girl singing the song’
	Oblique noun + /vālā/
	 	nīle kurte vāla  ādmi kaun hai?
		‘who is the man in blue kurta’

Repeated Adjectives:

Simple repetition:

The doubling of adjectives usually intensifies them, but may also express distributiveness.

	 ţhənḍā  ţənḍā pānī. 	 	‘ice –cold  water’

Repetition with an echo word:

	ţhīk  ţhāk  			‘all right , ok’
	ḍhīlā ḍhālā			‘loose’

Adjective with other grammatical functions:

Adjectives used as adverbs:

A few adjectives can be used adverbially to modify other adjectives.

Adjectives used as nouns:

Many adjectives can also be used as nouns.

  	bəŗő ki qīmət  kya hai? 
	‘ what is the price of big ones’

Some Perso-Arabic loan words including/naujəvān/,‘young’ /Ghairmulkī/ ‘foreigner’ ,etc are classified as both nouns and adjectives.

Elements expressing comparison:


The number can be of the following types:

	1.	The Cardinal Numbers
	2.	The Ordinal Numbers
	3.	The Collective Numbers, and 
	4.	The Multiple Numbers

1. Cardinal Numbers:

Now we will right down the cardinal numbers along with phonemic transcription for their correct pronunciation.

Number Pronunciation Number Pronunciation
1. eek 2 doo
3. tīn 4. chār
5. pāNch 6. chee
7. sāt 8. āTh
9. nau 10. das
11. gyārah 12. bārah
13. teerāh 14. chaudah
15. pandrah 16. soola
17. sattarah 18. aThārah
19. unnīs 20. bīs
21. ikkīs 22. bāīs
23. teeis 24. chaubīs
25. pachīs 26. chabbīs
27. sattāīs 28. aThāīs
29. untīs 30. tīs
31. iktīs 32. battīs
33. taiNtīs 34. chauNtīs
35. paiNtīs 36. chattīs
37. saiNtīs 38. aRtīs
39. untālis/unchālīs 40. chalīs
41. iktālīs 42. byālīs
43. taiNtālīs 44. chavālīs
45. paiNtālīs 46. cheeyālīs
47. saiNtālīs 48. aRtālīs
49. unchās 50. pachās
51. ikyāvan 52.bāvan
53. tireepan 54. chavvan
55. pachpan 56. chappan
57. saNtāvan 58. aNThāvan
59. unsaTh 60. sāTh
61. iksaTh 62. bāsaTh
63. tireesaTh 64. chaūsaTh
65. paiNsaTh 66. chāchaTh/chāsaTh
67. saRsaTh 68. aRsaTh
69. unhattar 70. sattar
71. ikhattar 72. bahattar
73. teehattar 74. chauhattar
75. pachhattar 76. chehattar
77. satattar 78. aThattar
79. unāsī 80. assī
81. ikāsī 82. bayāsī
83. tirāsī 84. chaurāsī
85. pachāsī 86. cheeyāsī
87. sattāsi 88. aThāsi
89. navāsi 90. navvee
91. ikyānavee 92. bānavee
93. tirānavee 94. chaurānavee
95. paNchānvee 96. cheyānavee
97. saNtānavee 98. aNThānavee
99. nīnānavee 100. sau

Numerals from 1 to 100

Note: In Urdu, composite numbers are written from left to right, as they are in English. But a sequence of numerals, as in counting, is written from left to right. Therefore the order of the numerals in the chart is the reverse of the proper order. This reverse order has been used so that the numerals will correspond to the numbers in the chart given on the previous page.

			Insert Picture

Note: It is to be noted here once again that in Urdu the sequence of numbers are written from right to left whereas in European languages like English a sequence of numerals is written from left to right. The use of Urdu numerals in writing is day by day becoming out of use. It has been found that Urdu numerals are used mainly for pagination and for writing numbers in Urdu text. They are little used for calculation at present, and the children are generally taught to do arithmetic using ‘English’ numbers even in the schools run through the Urdu medium. It has been found that the children in Madrasas (Islamic Institutions), in their mathematics books and copies, use Urdu numerals but it is correct to say that the use of Urdu numerals are becoming lesser and lesser. English numerals are commonly used everywhere.

The following Urdu numerals have not been shown in the chart.

	hazār		1000 ‘one thousand’
	lākh		1,00,000 ‘one hundred thousand’ or ‘one lākh’
	karooR		1,00,00,000 ‘ten million (a hundred lākh (lack) or ‘one crore’
	arb		1,00,00,00,000 ‘a thousand million (a hundred karooR)

The Urdu numerals can either be used as nouns or as adjectives.

For example:


	/kuch loog teera(h) kī gintī achchī nahī mantee/
	‘Some people consider number thirteen as unlucky’


	/uskā pāNch sau kā nõT gum hoo gayā/
	‘He has lost his five hundred (500 Rs.) note’

In Urdu, numbers are grammatically unmarked, and precede the noun they qualify. They are treated as masculine, but do not inflect generally in the language. Cardinal numbers in the ‘teens’ which end in - /a/ do not change when qualifying plural or oblique nouns. As is the case with other adjectives ending in chooTi hee (ه), the sound /h/ is not pronounced. Let us consider some illustrative examples:

	/teerah qamīz, soolah rūmāl aur aThārah jooRee jurrāb/
	‘thirteen shirts, sixteen handkerchiefs and eighteen pairs of socks’

	/dukān nambar eek sau gyārah/ 
	‘shop number 111’

	/treein me lagbhag doo hazār musāfir haiN/
	‘There are near about 2000 passengers in the train’

	/sau loog lāin meeN khaRee haiN/
	‘There are hundred people standing in the queue’

Usage of Cardinal Numbers:

	/doonooN bhāi is sāl haj koo gaee haiN/ 
	‘both the brothers have gone for Haj (pilgrimage) this year’

	/tīnooN laRkee baRee sharārtī haiN/
	‘all the three boys are naughty’

	/chārooN bahnee baRī neek haiN/ 	
	‘all the three sisters are kind’

	/pāNchooN makān meeree dādā kee haiN/ 
	‘all five houses belong to my grand father’

	/āThooN bhāi bahut badmāsh haiN/  
	‘all the eight brothers are naughty’

	/is sāiD kī sabhī dasooN dukāneeN meeree chāchā kī haiN/ 
	‘all the ten shops of this side belong to my uncle’

	/is madarsee kee sātooN kamrooN kī hālat bahut Xarāb hai/ 
	‘the condition of all seven rooms of this madarsa is in a very bad condition’

2. Ordinal Numbers:

In Urdu, the ordinals are formed by adding the suffix /-lā/ < Insert Picture > (for masc.) & /-lī/ < Insert Picture > (for fem); /-rā/ <ﺍ ﺮ > (m) & /-rī/ < ﻯﺮ > (f); /-thā/ < Insert Picture > (m) & /-thī/ < Insert Picture > (f); /-vāN <Insert Picture > (m) & /-vīN/ < Insert Picture / (f) to the cardinal number, which makes it a regularly behaving marked adjective.

For example:

	/pāNchvāN makān/ ‘the fifth house’,	/pāNchvīN manzil/ ‘the fifth floor’
	/sātvāN laRkā/ ‘the seventh boy’		/pahlī kitāb/ ‘the first book’
	/āThvāN khilāRī/ ‘the eighth player’	/pahlā laRkā/ ‘the first boy’
	/navvāN safar/ ‘the ninth journey’		/chauthā ghar/ ‘the fourth house’
	/dasvāN bāb/ ‘the tenth chapter’ 		/dūsrā kamrā/ ‘the second room’
	/dūsrī bār/ ‘the second time’		/chauthī chīz/ ‘the fourth thing’

The ordinal numbers can be shown by the following table:

Masculine Singular
Masculine Plural
and Oblique
First /pihlā/ < Insert Picture > /paihlee/ < Insert Picture > /paihlī/ < Insert Picture>
Second /dūsrā/ < Insert Picture > /dūsree/ < Insert Picture > /dūsrī/ < Insert Picture >
Third /tīsrā/ < Insert Picture > /tīsree/ < Insert Picture > /tīsrī/ <Insert Picture >
Fourth /chauthā/ <Insert Picture > /chauthee/ < Insert Picture > /chauthī/ < Insert Picture >
Fifth /pāNchvāN/ < Insert Picture > /pāNchveeN/<Insert Picture > /pāNchvīN/<Insert Picture >
Sixth /chaTā/ < Insert Picture > /chaTee/ < Insert Picture > /chaTī/ < Insert Picture>
Seventh /sātvāN/ < Insert Picture > /sāthveeN/ < Insert Picture > /sātvīN/ < Insert Picture >
Eight /āThvāN/ < Insert Picture > /āThveeN/ < Insert Picture> /āThvīN/ <Insert Picture >
Ninth /navvāN/ < Insert Picture > /navveeN/ <Insert Picture > /navvīN/ < Insert Picture>
Tenth /dasvāN/ <Insert Picture > /dasveeN/ < Insert Picture > /dasvīN/ < Insert Picture >
Eleventh /gyārahvāN/ <Insert Picture > /gyārahveeN/ < Insert Picture> /gyārahvīN/ < Insert Picture>
Twelfth /bārahvāN/ < Insert Picture > /bārahveeN/ <Insert Picture > /bārahvīN/ <Insert Picture >

Table: Ordinal Numbers

In Urdu, the final unpronounced chooTī hee (ه) in the cardinal numbers 11 through 17 changes aspiration in the ordinals. The vowel –a- remains, but is pronounced very short, and may not occur in the fast speech of the Urdu speakers. Let us consider the following:

/gyārahvāN/	‘eleventh’ < Insert Picture>		/bārahvāN/		‘twelfth’ < Insert Picture >
/tērahvāN/		‘thirteenth’ < Insert Picture>		/chaudahvāN/	‘fourteenth’ <Insert Picture >
/pandarahvāN/	‘fifteenth’ < Insert Picture >		/solahvāN/		‘sixteenth’  <Insert Picture >
/sattarahvāN/	‘seventeenth’ <Insert Picture >

3. Collective Numbers:

The Urdu speakers use collective numbers to count groups of things. The method of counting in Urdu differs from other Indo-European languages. In Urdu, /doonooN/ <Insert Picture > ‘both’ and the other collective numbers are formed by adding the suffix /-ooN/ <Insert Picture > to the relevant cardinal numbers. The method of counting the group of things in both Urdu and Hindi language are quite similar. In Urdu, the collective numbers do not change for number, gender or case. The collective number suffix has no connection with the oblique plural noun suffix. The Urdu collective numbers are given below:

	/doonooN/		<Insert Picture  >	‘both’
	/tīnooN/ 		< Insert Picture >	‘all three’
	/chārooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all four’
	/pāNchooN/	< Insert Picture >	‘all five’
	/chaooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all six’
	/sātooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all seven’
	/āThooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all eight’
	/navvooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all nine’
	/dasooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all ten’
	/gyrahooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all eleven’
	/bārahooN/		< Insert Picture >	‘all twelve’
	/teerahooN/	< Insert Picture >	‘all thirteen’
	/chaudahooN/	< Insert Picture >	‘all fourteen’
	/pandarahooN/	< Insert Picture >	‘all fifteen’

4. Multiple Numbers:

In Urdu, multiple numbers are used in order to know that how many times something occurs. These numbers fall under the category of adjective. The multiple number in this language begins with /dūg(u)na/ ‘double’. For the English word ‘single’ there is no equivalent word in Urdu. Here the multiplicatives are formed by adding the suffix /-gunā/, which is attached with the number /doo/, /tīn/, /chār/, /pāNch/, etc to make compounds. The suffix /-gunā/ inflects to agree with the noun it qualifies.

The Urdu multiple numbers are given below:

	/dūg(u)nā/ 		‘double, two times, two fold’
	/tīg(u)nā/		‘triple, three times, three fold’
	/chāugunā/	‘quadruple, four times’
	/pāNchgunā/	‘quintuple, five times’
	/cheegunā/	‘sextuple, six times’
	/sātgunā/		‘septa/seven fold, seven times’
	/āThgunā/		‘hecta/eight fold, eight times’
	/naugunā/		‘nano/nine times’
	/dasgunā/		‘deca/ ten times’

Usage of multiple numbers:

	/hāmid, rāshid see dūguna  zyada(h) meehnat kartā hai/
	‘Hamid works two times more than Rashid’

	/sājid kee kheet mee is sāl tīguna zyāda(h) chāval paida huā/
	‘The rice grown three times more this year in the field of Sajid’

	/yee dukān meerī dukān see chaugunā baRī hai/ 
	‘This shop is four times bigger than my shop’

	/hājipūr kā pul hamāree pul see sātguna lambā hai/
	‘Hajipur bridge is seven times longer than our bridge’.

Fractions in Urdu:

The fractions in Urdu are used to point out the quantities, time and money. In this language, all the fractions lesser than /doo/ ‘two’ are grammatically singular. These fractions fall under the grammatical categories of adjective and noun. Let us discuss the fractions used in Urdu.

Singular fraction words: Adjectives

	/paun/, /paunā/ < Insert Picture > , < Insert Picture> ‘less one quarter’ 	
	/savā/ <Insert Picture >	‘plus one quarter’
	/ādhā/, /ādh/<Insert Picture >, < Insert Picture	‘one half’
	/sāRhee/ <Insert Picture >	‘plus one half’
	/DeeRh/ <Insert Picture > ‘one and a half’

Singular fraction words : Nouns

	/chauthāī/  < Insert Picture >	‘a quarter’
	/tīhāī/	< Insert Picture > ‘a third’

Plural fraction word: Adjective

	/Dhāī/	< Insert Picture > ‘two and a half’

It is to be noted here that the fraction words /paun/ and /ādh/ are used by the native speakers of Urdu generally before units of measure. These are also used by them in telling time. The words /paunā/ and /ādhā/ occur in the speech with other nouns. In Urdu, /paunā/ and /ādhā/ are marked adjectives and agree with the noun they qualify. Let us consider the following


	/ādh ghanTee kee bād voo āeega/
	‘He will come after half an hour’

	/ādhā ghanTā hoo gaya leekin voo nahi āya/ 
	‘Half an hour passed, but he did not come’

	/meeree abbū paun bajee dukān khooltee haiN/  
	‘My father opens shop at 12.45’

	/maiN alīgaRh mee har haftee paunee chār kilo chāval xaridta tha/ 
	‘I used to buy 3.45 kilos of rice in Aligarh every week’

	/maiN sava (eek) bajee din mee khānā khāta hūN/	
	‘I eat my lunch at 1:15 pm’

	/sāRhee sāt bajee voo meerā inteezār kar raha tha/	
	‘He was waiting for me at 7.30 pm’

Note: It is to be noted here that in Urdu the fraction word /sāRhee/ ‘plus one half’ never occurs with the singular numeral /eek/ ‘one’. The word /DeeRh/ is used for ‘one and a half’. The fraction word /sāRhee/ ‘plus one half’ is used with numbers (including time expressions) whereas the word /ādha/ ‘half’ is used with nouns. For example,

	/maiN sāRhee tīn bajee ghar pee nahīN tha/	
	‘I was not at home at 3.30pm at home’

	/sirf sāRhee chār mīTar sūtī kapRā chāhiyee/ 
	‘Only four and half meter cotton cloth required’

	/naukar  DeeRh bajee bāzār see āya/	 
	‘The servant came at 1.30 pm from the market’

	/meeree baRee bhai taqrīban Dhaī bajee masjid kī taraf gayee/
	‘My elder brother went towards the mosque near about 2:30 pm’

	/eek man peeyāz assi rupyee kī hoogi/
	‘Forty kilos of onion’s price will be eighty rupees’

In Urdu, the use of following fraction refers to something for large numbers:

	/savā sau/ 	<Insert Picture >	‘one hundred twenty five’ 
	/Dhāi sau/		<Insert Picture >	‘two hundred fifty’
	/Dhāi hazār/	<Insert Picture >	‘two thousand five hundred’
	/savā lākh/	< Insert Picture>	‘One lakh twenty five thousand’
	/DeeRh lākh/	< Insert Picture>	‘One lakh fifty thousand’
	/Dhāi lākh/		< Insert Picture>	‘Two lakh fifty thousand’
	/savā doo lākh/	< Insert Picture>	‘two lakh twenty five thousand’

Apart from the above expressions for fractions, there are other expressions for fractions in Urdu, like:

	/chauthāī/		< Insert Picture >	‘a quarter’
	/tīhāī/		< Insert Picture >	‘a third’

In Urdu when these two fractions are used alone, they are nouns, but if they are used before another noun in the language, they function as adjectives. Let us see these fraction words in the following utterances:

	/fasal kā doo chauthāī hissā mullā jī kā hootā hai/ 
	‘Two quarter (a three fourths part) of the crop goes to mullaji’

	/samājvādi pārTī doo tīhāī aksariyat see jītee gī/ 
	‘the samajwadi party will win by two third of votes’


Barz, Richard and Yogendra Yadav (2000) An Introduction to Hindi and Urdu. New Delhi: Munshiram Manohar Lal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

Schmidt, Ruth Laila (1999) Urdu: An Essential Grammar. London and New York: Routledge.


The category of adverbs includes two different groups of words:

	(i)  Words which are original adverbs.
	(ii) Words which are originally other parts of speech but are used adverbially.

Urdu adverbs include:

	(i)  Adverbs of time: Describe the time when an event or action occurs.
	(ii) Adverbs of place: Describe the location where an event  or action occurs.
	(iii)Adverbs of manner: Describe how an event or action occurs.
	(iv) Adverbs of degree: Intensify the meaning of the verb in some ways.
	(v)  Modal Adverbs: Modify a verb or adjective.

Urdu distinguishes systematically between the categories ‘near’, ‘far’, ‘interrogative’ and ‘relative’

(i) Adverbs of Time

		həmeša	 	‘always’
		kəl		‘ tomorrow’,  ‘yesterday’
		əksər		‘ often’

Symmetrical y- v- k- j adverb sets.

	y- i- a  <ا ى >	v- u < ﺍﻮ >        	k < ﮎ  >            	j< ج >
	Near		Far		Interrogative 	Relative		
	əb  ‘now’ 		əb ‘then’		kəb ‘ when’	jəb ‘when’
	is vəqt	 	usvəqt		kis vəqt		jis vəqt  
	‘at this time’	‘at that time’	‘at what time’       	‘at that time’ 

The above set of adverbs refers to points in close time, distant time, questioned time, and relative time.

/əb/ ‘now’:

/It/ refers to the present moment (close time).

	  	əb ye ţhīk hai 		‘Now it is alright’.
		əbhi  			‘right now’
		əbhi ghə̃ţi bej rəhī hai 		‘The bell is ringing right now’

/təb/ ‘then’:

It is not a member of a far category but a surviving member of a nearly vanished category.

 	 	təb vo naujəvān tha	 ‘ Then he was a young man’ 

/təbhi/ ‘just then’:

		təbhi ghənţī bəjne ləgī 	‘ just then the bell began to ring’

/kəbhī/ ‘ ever’:

		kya āp  nē kəbhi dehlī kā səfər kiya həi?
		‘Have you ever travelled to Delhi?’

/jəb/ ‘ when’ , ‘at that time’ :

	It is used in the relative clause of relative co-relative sentences.
		jəb bāriš  xətm huī təb səb lõg cəle gəē.
		‘When the rain finished every body left’

/is vəqt- us vəqt- kis vəqt/:

The noun /vəqt/ ‘time’ occurs in adverbial phrases preceded by an oblique singular demonstrative or the oblique of /kyā/ or /jõ/. These phrases describe a specific point in time. /is vəqt/ refers to close time.

 		is vāqt mulk mē̃ htīsab ki zərūrət hai
		‘At present there is need of accountability in the nation’

		/us vəqt/ refers to distant time’
		us vəqt vo  naujəvān thā 
		‘At that time he was a young man’ 
		/kist vəqt/  ‘at what time’

		dākiya  kis  vəqt ātā hai 	
		‘At what time does the postman usually come’

(ii) Adverbs of Place:

		yəhā̃ 		‘ here’
		vəhā̃		‘ there’
		kəhā̃  		‘ where’ 
		jəhā̃		‘ where’
		is jəgəh		‘ in this place’, 	‘here’
		us jəgəh		‘ that place’, 	‘there’
		kis jəgəh 		‘ in which place’, 	‘where’
		jis jəgəh		‘ in the place’, 	‘that’ etc.

(iii) Adverbs of Manner:

		yū̃		‘ thus’
		tyū̃		‘ so, thus’
		kiyū̃		‘ why’
		jū̃		‘ as’
		is tərəh		‘ this way’
		us tərəh		‘that way’
		kis tərəh		‘ which way’
		jis tərəh		‘ in the way that’

(iv) Adverbs of Degree:

Adverbs of Degree intensify the meaning of adjectives they qualify.

	/bəhut/		‘very,
 	/vo bəhut zəhin ādmī hai
	‘He is very intelligent man’
 	bəŗā 		‘ big’

The adjective bəŗā can be used adverbially as an intensifier.

 		vo bərā zəhīn ādmī hai.
 		‘He is a very intelligent man’
  		võ  bərā  admī hai
		‘ He is a big man’


It is both an adjective and an adverb. When adverbially, it qualifies adjectives to show comparison.

 	ye rāstā  zyādā gəndā hai
	‘This road is dirtier’.

(v) Modal Adverbs:

This category includes some very common words.

	/nehī̃/,  /na/, mət/, ‘not’ , ‘do not’

		šāyəd		‘ may be’
		zərur		‘ certainly’
		bhī		‘ also, too’
		phir		‘again’
		sirf		‘ only’

Repeated Adverbs:

(a) Simple Repetition.

The doubling of adjectives usually intensifies them, but may also expresses distributiveness.

 		āhista	āhista   bõliyē  	‘Please speak very slowly’

(b) Idiomatic Repetition:

Some doubled adverbs have idiomatic meanings. These include sequences where the adverb is nearly repeated, as well as sequences where two adverbs which are members of the same symmetrical set, occur in compounds:

	kəbhi kəbhi 		‘ now and then’
	kehī̃    kəhī̃		‘here and there’
	idhər udhər		‘ here and there’
	jūnə  tūn			‘ somehow or the other’


The particles are used optionally immediately after nouns, noun phrases or noun clauses to mark the topic. The topicalized constituent occurs sentence initially and is used most frequently in equational sentences. Contrastive emphatic particle /tõ/:

In main clauses /tõ/ emphasizes the preceding noun or verb and contrasts it with something else.

		vo urdū paŗhe gā		‘ He will study Urdu’
		vo tõ urdū pəŗhe gā		‘ He will study Urdu’ [emph]

Sometimes the use of /tõ/ in main clause is a prompt for confirmation.

		āp əččhe tõ haī̃ ?		 ‘you are well, I  presume’ ?

/tõ/introduces the result clause of conditional sentences, which are shown not by /əgər/, but by /tõ/ in the result clause.

	 	əgər fursət milī to kəl āū gā
		‘if I get  free time (I) will come tomorrow’
		fursət miltī to jātā
		‘if I had free time (I) would go’

nəhī tõ:

The phrase /nehī tõ/ ‘ otherwise’ links a condition clause consisting of an injunction, and a result clause describing the consequences of failure to obey it.

		pəŗho, nəhī tõ nā kām hõ jāõ gē
		‘Study, otherwise you will fail’

	In certain cases /tõ/ is sometimes omitted:

		cup rəhõ nəhī mār khāõ gē
      		‘Keep quite, or you will get a beating’

	Exclusive emphatic particle /hī/:

/hī/ emphasizes the preceding word and excludes something else (which may not be expressed).

      		əhməd qila  dēkhnā cāhtā thā
      		‘Ahmad wanted to see the fort’ (simple statement)
      		əhməd qila hi dekhnā cāhtā  thā bādšāhi məsjid  nəhi
     		‘Ahmad wanted to see the fort not the royal mosque’ 

Sequences of nouns or pronouns + postpositions + hī:

If /hī/ is added to a noun or pronoun, which is followed by a postposition. /hī/ usually follows the postposition, but may separate the noun/ pronoun and the postposition. This is to some extent a matter of personal style.

	      	əhməd nē hī həmko rõkē rakhā.
		‘It is Ahmad who delayed us’
 		əhmad hī nē həmko rõkē rakhā
 		‘It is Ahmad who delayed us’ 

The pronoun /maī /and/ tū/ may not be separated from /nē/ by /hī/:

		 maī̃ nē hī ye kām kiyā
		‘I am the one who did this job’
		tū nē hī mērī mədəd ki
		‘you are the one who helped me’

The pronoun /āp/, /tum/ and /həm/ may be separated from /nē/ by /hī/. When /tum/ and /həm/ are oblique, it is preferable, however, to use the suffixal form of/hī/.

		həmīne dərvāza   b∂nd kiya
		‘we closed the door’	
		həm hī nē dərvāza bənd kiya
		‘We closed the door’

/hī/ occurring as a suffix:

/hī, or its variant forms /ī/ – /(h) ī/ may occur as a suffix with

	(a) oblique forms of all pronouns except /āp/.
	(b) The nominative form of /vo/ and /ye/.
	(c) The adverbs of time /ab/, /təb/, /kəb/ and /jəb/.
	(d) The adverbs of place /yəhā /vəhā/, /kəhā/  and / jəhā /.
	Personal Pronouns + bound  form of /hī/.

			Nominative + hī			Oblique + hī

	1st person		maī hī   		‘I’		mujhī
	2nd person	tū hī       		‘you’  	      	tujhī
	3rd person		yəhī	    	‘he/she/it’   	isī

	1st person		həm hī   		‘we’	      	həmī
	2nd person	tum hī    		‘ you’  		tumhī
	3rd person		āphī	     	‘ you’	      	āphī 
			vəhī	     	‘ they’ 		unhī
			yehī	     	‘ these’   		inhī 
  		maī hī  faisəla  kərū gā
		‘I am the one who will make the decision’

		mujhī ko faisəla kernā haī
		‘I am the one who has to make the decision’.
		unhī  ko mānnā  pəŗe gā.
		‘They have to comply’

		āphī  ke nəfe kī bāt hai
		‘It is a matter of your profit’

However if the alternate forms of /kõ/ are used, /hī/ occurs as a separate word not as a suffix.

		unhē hi  mānnā pəre gā
		‘ They have to comply’ 

Adverbs+bound forms of hī:

 		/əb/ ‘ now’  /təb/ ‘ then’ 
		(/kəb/ ‘ when’ / jəb / ‘ when’)

		/ əbhī/‘ right now’ /təbhi/‘ just then’ 
		(/kəbhī /‘ ever’ /jəbhi/ ‘as soon as’)

		/yəhā / ‘ here’  / vəhā / ‘ there’  
 		(/kəhā/ ‘ where’ /jəha/ ‘ where’ )

		/yəhĩ   ‘ right here’ / vəhĩ / ‘ right there’  
 		(/kəhĩ / ‘ some where’ /jehĩ / ‘ in the very place where’ )

		kyā āp ne kəbhi ūţ pər  səvārī kī
		‘Have you ever ridden on a camel’ 

/bhī/ as an inclusive emphatic particle in the sense of ‘even’ :

Besides the use of /bhī/as a model adverb meaning ‘also’ ‘too’, it also occurs as an emphatic particle following a noun. It emphasizes the comprehensiveness of the ideas expressed in the sentence and is usually translated as ‘even:

		bəccā  bhī ye  jāntā hai
		‘Even a child knows this’ 

Following a verb it emphasizes or expresses the speaker’s impatience or exasperation:

  		 əb cup kəro bhī  
 		‘Now just keep quite’ 

Emphatic and concessive phrases ending in /bhī/:

/bhī/ may follow /phir/, ‘then’, /aur/ ‘and’, /tõ/ and /pər/ ‘on’ /phir bhi/ ‘ even so’

		Gherībī səXt thī phir bhī vo mayus  nəhī huā

/aur bhī/ ‘ even more’ when it qualifies a noun:

		isse  aur bhī nuqsān hõga. 
		‘This will cause even more damage’
		When qualifies an adjective:
  		isse aur bhī səxt  nuqs ān hõgā
		‘This will cause even more severe damage’.

/tõ bhī /shows contrast and means ‘ still’, ‘nevertheless’; it is used like a coordinating conjunction, similar to /phir bhī/:

		dərd bəhut tha to bhī vo nəhī̃ royā.
		‘The pain was severe, still he did’nt cry’.

/hī nəhī/…./bhī/ in parallel clauses:

Parallel clauses with /hinəhī/ in the first clause and /bhī/ in the second clause express an augmentation of the idea in the first clause: ‘not only…… but’.

 	 	us ne Xət  hī  nəhī bheja, fõn bhī kiyā.
		‘He not only sent a letter, but called as well’.

Oblique infinitive + pərbhī ‘ despite’:

When /bhī/ follows a phrase consisting of oblique infinitive + pər, it shows strong contrast and means ‘ even after’ , ‘ despite’:

		 paisē dēnē  per bhi yəhā bijlī nəhī milti
		‘Despite paying money, (we) don’t get electricity’.

Indefinite pronouns + bhī ‘ at all:

		koī  bhī  			‘ any one at all’
		yəhā koī  bhī nəhī ātā  	‘ no one at all comes here’
		kučh bhī  			‘ anything at all’ 
		kučh bhī ho  		‘ come what may’

Relative words followed by bhī:

The relative words/jəhā/, /jõ/, /jəb/ and /jaisā/ followed by /bhī/, acquire the meanings, ‘whoever’; ‘wherever’ ‘no matter where’; ‘whenever’ ‘nomatter when’; ‘ however’.

The adjectival particle /sā/ (~/sē/ ~/sī/):

Adjectival phrases are also formed by adding the particle /sā/to adjectives, nouns and pronouns.


By far the most productive word formation device in the language is suffixation. As is expected in an agglutinating language, the integrity of the stem and the subsequent morphemes is mostly unaffected by the derivational process. The derivational history of the word, reflected in the sequence of morphemes is a fairly straightforward type. Very few morphophonemic processes interfere with this transparency of derivational history.

(1) Derivation of Nouns:

(a) Nouns from Nouns

		Noun			Noun
		wāris			lāwāris
		ilāj			lāilāj
		bū			Xušbū 
		rõza			rõzedār
		lāl			lali
		moţa			moţaī, moţapā
		chikna			chiknai

(b) Nouns from Verbs

		Verbs			Nouns
		pəŗhna			pəŗhai
		bulana			bulava
		rulana			rulai	
		sīnā			silāī
		dekhana			dikhava
		likhnā			likhāī
		jhukna			jhukao
		bəŗhna			bəŗhava	

(c) Nouns from Adjectives

		Adjectives 		Nouns
		jəngli			jəngəl
		xūbsūrət			xūbsūrəti
		tāxət			tāxətwər
		jālsāz			jālsazi
		dhokhebāz			dhokhebāzi
		imāndār			imāndāri

(d) Nouns from Adverbs

		Adverbs			Nouns
		tēz			tēzī
		jəld			jəldī

(2) Derivation of Verbs:

(a) Verbs from Nouns

		Nouns			Verbs
		nāc			nācnā
		khel			khelnā
		kūd			kūdnā

(b) Verbs from Adverbs

		Adverbs			Verbs
		ūpər 			ūprana				
		dəba 			dəbānā				
		ubhər 			ubhərna	

(3) Derivation of Adjectives:

(a) Adjectives from Nouns

		Nouns			Adjectives
		wəfa			bewəfa		
		bəŗa			bəŗāī
		rəs			rəsīla
		ilāj			lāilāj

(b) Adjectives from Verbs

		Verbs			Adjectives
		filmānā			filmi
		ləŗna			ləŗaku
		dərna			dəravna
		pəŗhna			pəŗhāku
		rona			ruasa

(c) Adjectives from Adverbs

		Adverbs			Adjectives
		jəldi			jəldbāz

(4) Derivation of Adverbs:

(a) Adverbs from Nouns

		Nouns			Adverbs
		fauj			fauji
		təlāš			təlāši	

(b) Adverbs from Verbs

		Verbs			Adverbs
		ūprana 			ūpər				
		dəbānā 			dəba 			
		ubhərna			ubhər 		
		hoshiar			hoshiyari
		chalak			chalaki
		dhokebaz			dhokebazi


Compounding is an extremely productive word formation process in Urdu. Compound words are tətsəma and tədbhəva. Tətsəma are Sanskrit compounds and are quite rare in Urdu. Urdu is very rich in tədbhəva compounds which may be termed as pure Urdu compounds.

In such compounds both the compounds are tədbhəva. Besides, a large number of compounds come from Perso- Arabic sources, mainly from Persian. A few compounds may be treated as ‘hybrid compounds’ in which one component is tədbhəva and the other is a Perso- Arabic word.

Pure Urdu Compounds:

Pure Urdu compounds may be classified into the following types:

		i.	Copulative Compounds
		ii.	Determinative Compounds 
		iii.	Attributive Compounds

Copulative Compounds:

In copulative compounds both the components are syntactically co-ordinate where the copula or coordinator which combines them, is absent. Copulative compounds are formed in the following situations: Class1: When two words (nouns, adjectives or verbs) different in meaning are compounded:

	(a) Noun + Noun: 

		/ rāt-din /			‘night and day’
		/ din-rāt /			‘day and night’
		/ cā̃nd – sūraj/		‘moon and sun’
		/ bāp – mā̃̃/ 		‘father and mother’
		/ bhāi- bhətijā/		‘brother and nephew’

	(b) Verb + Verb:

		/ hoəsnā̃ - khelnā/ 		‘to laugh and play’
		/ uţhnā- baiţhnā/		‘to stand and sit’

	(c) Adjective +Adjective:

		/ ū̃c-nīc /			‘high and low’
		/ əččha- burā/		‘good and bad’
		/ bhūki- pyāsi/		‘hungry and thirsty’ 

Class II:

When two words having the same or equivalent meanings are compounded.

	 	/tən- bədən/		‘body’
		/ kənkər- pəthər/	 	‘pebbles’
		/ səmjhā- bujhā/		 ‘advisedly’ 

This class may also include hybrid words.

		/ bəurī - dīvānī /		‘lunatic’
		/dərd- dukh/		‘suffering’
		/ Xāk- dhūl/		‘dust’
		/tən –mən/		‘body and soul’

Class III:

Here one of the two words is a meaningless one and used merely to jingle or rhyme with the other.

	 	/ bən-ţhən/		‘decking’
		/ lūţ-lāţ/			‘plundering’
		/ mār- dhāŗ/		‘killing’

Class IV:

Here the place of copulative conjuction is supplied by a vowel, mainly by the Persian conjunctive particle –ā-,-o-.

		/chəp-ā-/chəp/          ‘sounds produced by tapping hands on water’
		/ rāt-o-rāt/ 		‘all night long’ 

Determinative Compounds:

These are the ones in which the first member is syntactically dependent on the second one. The following three types of Determinative compounds are recognized and are found in old Urdu and Middle Urdu:

	(a) Dependent determinative compounds (or Tətpurusa)
	(b) Appositional determinative compounds (or Karmdhāraya) 
	(c) Numeral determinative compounds (or Dvigu) 

(a) Dependent Determinative Compounds:

These are the compounds in which the relationship between the two members is expressed by different cases such as accusative, dative, genitive, locative etc. but the forms indicating these cases are dropped.

		/ pən-cəkki/		‘water mill’
		/ uŗən-khəţolā/		‘flying cot’
		/phul-jhəŗi/			‘kind of firework’

(b) Appositional Determinative Compounds:

In this form of compound at least one of the members is used attributively.

 		/ məhā-rāj/			‘majesty, excellency’
		/ lāl-bādəl/			‘red cloud’ 

(c) Numeral Determinative Compounds:

In this type of compounds the first member is a numeral.

		/ Pəc-lərā/  		‘a neck ornament consisting of pearls’.
		/ cau- guna/		‘ four fold’
		/ dupəhrī /			‘ midday’

(iii) Attributive Compounds:

Attributive compounds are also called possessive compounds. It is a compound which as a which as a whole is generally adjective. It denotes a quality or attribute belonging to some person or thing.

		/ ədh- jelā/			‘ half –burnt’
		/ kəncen- bərən/ 		‘ having gold color’

Perso Arabic Compounds:

Perso- Arabic compounds are also classified into the following types:

	(i)	Copulative compounds
	(ii)	Determinative compounds
	(iii)	Attributive compounds

(i) Copulative Compounds.

It has three forms in Urdu:

(a) When two words, different or same in meaning, are compounded and conjunction is omitted.

	Different in meaning:

		/zəmīn-āsmān/		‘ earth  and sky’
		/ āftāb- mehtāb/		‘ sun and moon’
		/ təxt- tāj/			‘ sceptre and crown’ 

	Same in meaning:

		/fəhəm- əql/		‘ sense, wisdom’
		/mehnət- mušəqqat/		‘ toll’ , ‘ hard labor’

(b) When two members different or same in meaning are compounded by means of vowel -a-:

	 	/ gird –ā- gird/		‘ all sides’
		/ rəng-ā- rəng/ 		‘ many colored’

(c) When two members are compounded by the preposition–ba- ‘to’ etc.

		/ mənzil-ba- mənzil/		‘ destination to destination’
		/dər-ba- dər/		‘ door  to door’ 

(ii) Determinative compounds:

Determinative compounds of Perso- Arabic origin are subdivided into the following types:

	(a)	Dependent Determinative Compounds.
	(b)	Appositional Determinative Compounds
	(c)	Numeral Determinative Compounds
	(d)	Objective Determinative Compounds

(a) Dependent Determinative Compounds:

		/jəng/ ‘battle’ +/nāmā/ ‘ book’
		/jəng- nāmā/ ‘ book of battle’
		/top/ ‘cannon’ + /xānā/ ‘ house’
		/ top- xānā/ ‘ artillery house’.

(b) Appositional Determinative Compounds:

		/Xuš/ ‘good’ + /bu/ ‘ smell’
		/ Xuš-bū/	‘ fragrance’

(c) Numeral Determinative Compounds:

		 /həzār- dāstān/ 	‘ thousand stories’
		/do-āləm/		‘ the two worlds’

(d) Objective Determinative Compounds:

Such compounds are adjectives or nouns. In such a compound the first member is a noun governed by the second, which is usually a verb and sometimes a past participle.

 		/vəfā/ ‘ faith’ + /dār/ (daštān) ‘to have’
		/ vəfā- dār/ ‘ faithful’
		/ dil/  ‘ heart’ + cəsp/ (cəspidān) ‘to stick’
  		/dilcəsp/	‘ interesting’

(iii) Atrributive Compounds:

Urdu is very rich in Perso- Arabic attributive compounds. These compounds serve as adjectives.

		/koh/ ‘ mountain’ + /əndām/ ‘ body’
		/ koh-əndām/ ‘ having a huge body’
		/Xūb/ ‘ good’ + /sūrət/ ‘face’
		/ Xūbsūrət/ ‘ beautiful’
		/gum/ ‘ lost’ + /rāh/ ‘ way’
		/gum-rāh/ ‘ one who had gone  astray’
		/āli/ ‘ high’ + /šān/ ‘ grandeur’
		/āli- šān/ ‘ of ahigh rank’

Loose Compounds:

Loose Perso-Arabic compounds have been discussed by John-A. Boyle. He has used the term ‘loose compounds’ for certain types of nominal and adjectival phrases which function as compounds. In Urdu these are formed when:

	(a) The nouns are joined by the conjuction- o- ‘and’ to express a single idea. 
			/āb/ ‘ water’ + /həvā/	‘ air’
			/āb-o-həvā/  ‘ climate’
	(b) Two nouns or a noun and adjective are joined by –e- ‘genitive’ (izāfət)
	 		/mausəm/ ‘ season’ + /gul/ ‘ flower’ 
			/ mausəm-e-gul/ ‘ spring’



There are three main types of sentences:

		1. Simple sentences
		2. Complex sentences
		3. Compound sentences.

1. Simple sentences:

Simple sentences are those in which there is only one verb and one information.

	(a) / vooh jātā hai / ‘he goes’
	(b) / meeN kal dahli jāūNgā / ‘I will go to Delhi tomorrow’

2. Complex sentences:

Complex sentences are those in which there is one independent sentence and one dependent sentences.

	(a) /in hālāt meeN meera jānā bekār hai/	
	‘My going there is purposeless in these circumstances’
	We can see in the above sentence that  /in hālāt meeN/ is a dependent sentence.

	(b) /jab tak maiN na jāūN āp yahīN Theeriyee/
	‘you stay here unless I go’
	In the above sentence 
	/jab tak maiN na jāūN/ is a dependent one.

3. Compound sentences:

In compound sentences two or more simple or complex sentences are involved, and these sentences are involved through any conjunction.

	(a) /maiN gayā aur voo āyā/ ‘I went and he came’
	(b) /meehnat karoo varnā tum pachtāoo gee/
	    ‘Work hard otherwise you will repent’
	(c) /voo maujūd thā leekin kuch nā boolā/
	    ‘He was present but did not  speak anything’

There are some sentences in which there are no conjunctions but they are still compound

	/marīz kī hālat nāzuk hai jald āiye/	‘The patient is serious, come soon’

In Urdu simple, compound and complex sentences are common, but there are also found certain sentenses in which the complex and compound sentences occur with in one sentence.

	(a) /āj iskūl kī chuTTī thī aur ham ghar ā gaee leekin ghar par kām karnā paRā/	
	    ‘Today it was a holiday in school and we came home but had to work at home’

The above example is a compound sentence but its second part is complex.

	(b) /agar tum nā āyee too kām xarāb hoo jāyee gā aur hameeN sharmindigī hoogī/
	    ‘If you don’t come the work will be spoiled and it will be embarrassing for me’

The above is a compound sentence but here the first part is complex.

Apart from the above types there are also some other types of sentences. However their occurrence less in Urdu.

	(i)	Imperative sentence:
		/yahāN āoo/ ‘come here’
		/jāoo/ ‘go’
	(ii)	Declarative or Assertive sentences:
		/eek rupiyā pāyā/ ‘got one rupee’
		/deer hoo gai/ ‘it is late’
	(iii)	Vocative sentences:
		/ee bhāī/ ‘O’ brother’
	(iv)	Idiomatic sentences:
		/nāNch nā āyeE āNgan TEeRhā/

It is used at a place where a person does not know his task and complain about the facilities.

(v) Interrogative sentences:

	(1)	voh haun hai?			‘who is he’?
	(2)	tumhara nām kyāhai?			‘what is your name’?
	(3)	tumhara qalam kahāN hai?		‘where is your pen’?
	(4)	voh kahāN hai?			‘where is she’?
	(5)	voh kya hai?			‘what is that’?
	(6)	āpka ghar kahāN hai?			‘where is your house’?
	(7)	kyā tumhare pās ek kitāb hai?		‘have you a book’?
	(8)	kyā us ke pās do qalam heN?		‘has he two pens’?
	(9)	āpke pās kitni kitabeN heN?		‘how many books have you’?
	(10)	is kilas meN kitne laRke heN? 		‘how many boys are there in this class’?	
	(11)	kya voh iskūl jata hai?		‘does he go to school’?
	(12)	kyat um pa:rk meN Tehelte ho?		‘do you walk in the park’?

Direct, Indirect sentences:

		Direct Sentence			Indirect Sentence
	1.usnē kaha ‘ham āēnge”		1.usnē kaha ke voh āēnga.
  	  He said “I will come”			  ‘He said that he will come’
	2.mohan nē kaha “meN		2.mohan ne kaha ki
 	  āTh baje iskūl jāta huN”		  voh āTh baje iskūl jāta hai.
  	  Mohan said “I go to school 		  ‘Mohan said that he goes to school
  	  at 8 O’ clock”			  at 8 O; clock’
	3.asma nē kaha ‘mujhe lal rang		3.asma nē kaha ki usē lal rang
  	  pasand hai?			  Pasand he/
  	  Asma said “I like red colour”		  ‘Asma said that she likes red colours’


	1.	sehba  kəmre  mẽ   hε
		Adverbial Phrase
		‘Sehba is in the room’
	2.	əhməd  kəl əligaŗh g əya
		Adverbial Phrase
		‘Ahmad went to Aligarh yesterday’
	3.	ətiya ghər gəi
		Adverbial Phrase
		‘Atiya went home’
	4.	əsma  šehər gəi hε
		Adverbial Phrase
		‘Asma has gone to the city’
	5.	sānia  kilās  mẽ  hε
		Adverbial Phrase
		‘Sania is in the class room’


	(1) bəŗā   dərəxt 			‘ big tree’
	(1) nihayət  ləzīz  khānā 		‘ extremely delicious food’
	(2) bəhut  zyadā  həsīn  mənzər 	‘ extremely beautiful scene’
	(3) dəs  bəŗe lõg			‘ ten senior people’
	(4) mutaddəd həsīn cehre   		‘ different beautiful faces’ 
	(5) cənd  acchī  təsvirə  		‘ some nice pictures’
	(6) sərd həvaē̃			‘ cool breeze’
	(7) khule  khule  bāl			‘ open hairs ’
	(8) fərāz ki  gεnd			‘ Faraz’ s ball’
	(9) ḍibḍibai hui  ā̃khē̃ 			‘ near about to weep’


Constructions in which two or more parts of the sentence are conjoined by words like /əur/, /ya/, etc. are generally referred to by the term ‘co-ordination’. Co-ordinations, which are used most frequently in Urdu text, are classified as follows:

(1) Connectives:

		(a) /aur/ ‘and’
		mẽ tumhare  ghər gəya aur cai pi:
		‘I went to your home and had tea’

		(b)  /bhi / ‘also’
		kəl mẽ  ne uske ghər  na:šta kiya aur  khana bhi khaya.
		‘Yesterday  I had breakfast and also lunch at his home’

		(c) /ki/ ‘that’ 
		usne kəha ki šām ko pā̃c bəje āna.
		‘He said that come at 5 ‘o clock in the evening’

		(d) /ya/ ‘or’
		usne kəha  ki tājmєhal dekho ya  fətherpur sī kri dekho
		‘He said that visit Tajmahal or Fatehpur Sikri’

		(e) /nə/……/na/ ‘neither nor’
		əsma nə aií na fon kiya
		‘Asma neither came nor called’

(2) Adversatives:

		(a) /pər/ ‘but’
		həm leţe pər soe nəhī
		‘we lied down but didn’t sleep’

		(b) /məgər/ 	‘but’
		həm bāzār gəe məgər kuch liya nəhi
		‘we went to the market but didn’t buy anything’

		(c) /lekin/ ‘but’
		usne kitab Xəridi lekin pəŗh nəhi paya
		‘she bought the book but couldn’t get time to read’

(3) Conditionals:

		(a) /əgər/  ‘if’
		voh ghəŗi lātā əgər dilli jātā
		‘He would have brought the watch if he had gone to Delhi’

		(b) /və- gər- na/  ‘ and if not’

		(c) jo 	 ‘if ’

(4) Concessives:

		/to/	‘then’
		/əgərchi/ ‘although’	
		/pəs/  ‘then’ 
		 mẽ ne us se əpni kitab mā̃ngi narāz  ho gəi
		‘ I asked her about my book she became angry’

(5) Conclusives:

		/phir/ ‘ then’
		əgər  voh kəl nəhi lāi to phir kya kərenge
		‘If she will not bring tomorrow then what will we do.’

(6) Causals:

		kyōki 	‘ because’
		usne  khana nəhi khaya kyõki voh bīmar thi
		‘She didn’t have supper because she was ill’


One of the most striking features of negation in natural language is its syntactic ubiquity. Virtually all linguistic categories from clause to individual word can, in principle, be negated, although, in practice, individual languages display arbitrary restrictions. Each language possesses a form of standard, or canonical, negation whose primary function is to negate the positive declarative main clauses of he language.

In Urdu there are morphemes which represent negation and these morphemes may be bound or free. Urdu free morphemes representing negation are /nā/, /nāhĩ/, /mət/ and these free morphemes are used sententially as:

 		həm ko nā sətao
		‘Don’t teas me’
 		həm āj bāhər  nəhī jaẽge.
		‘We won’t go out today’.
 		ţhənd mẽ bāhər  mət jao.
		‘Don’t go out in the cold’

Urdu bound morphemes representing negation are / la, na, be, bed, ən/.

		(a) /la/ ‘not’ (Arabic)
 		lawris		‘ unclaimed’
 		lailaj		‘ un curable ‘
 		lasani		‘ match less’
		(b) / na/ ‘ not’, ‘useless’(Persian)
		naraz		‘ unhappy’	
		napak		‘ not pious’
		nalaiq		‘ unworthy’	
		(c) /be/  ‘ not’, ‘useless’ (Persian )
 		bekar		‘ useless’
 		beədəb 		‘’ disrespectful’			
 		beī ma:n 		‘ dishonest’	
		(d) /bəd/  ‘bad’, ‘ill’  (Persian)
  		 bədtəmiz 		‘ ill mannered’
		 bədkirdār		‘ bad character’
 		bədqismət		‘ ill fated’
		(e)  /ən  ‘ not’, ‘without less’ (Indian )
 		ənjan		‘ unknown’
 		ənthək		‘ untiring’


A reflexive construction is one in which the subject and object refer to the same person or thing. Reflexivity is expressed by the reflexive pronoun that takes different case forms. The possessive adjective /əpnā/ ‘ones’, own’ is substituted for the possessive forms of personal pronouns when the subject of the sentence possesses the object /əpnā/ agrees with the noun it qualifies.

	 	əhməd  əpni ghəŗi dekh  rəha hε
		‘Ahmad is looking at his (own) watch’
		həm əpne ghər mē rəhte hε̃
		‘we llive in our (own) house’
		/əpna/ can also be used after possessives or emphasis.
		yeh meri əpni gāŗi hε
		‘this is my own car’

/Xud/ and /āp/ ‘self’:

/Xud/ and /āp/ means x– self (myself, yourself, himself, ourselves, themselves, etc.)./Xud/ is the commoner of the two.

		mẽ /Xud ḍakţər se bāt kərəna  cahta hū̃ 
		‘I want to speak to the doctor myself’
		mẽ āp (Xud) vəhã gəya
		‘I went there myself’

/əpne āp, Xud, xud ba Xud/:

In order to express something that someone does by himself, without help from others, or something that happens spontaneously, əpne āp or Xud may be used.

		həm ne əpne āp yeh pul mərəmmət kiya
		‘ we repaired this bridge by ourselves’
		həm ne Xud ye pul mərəmmət kiya
		‘We repaired this bridge by ourselves’
		bijli əpne āp jəl uţhi
		‘ The electric bulb suddenly lit up by itself’
		Bijli  xud  ba  xud  jel  uthi
		‘ The electric bulb suddenly lit up by itself’

/āpəs mẽ ‘among’:

	Something people do among themselves is expressed by /āpəs mẽ /.

		log āpəs mə̃  bāt kər  rəhe the 
		‘The people were talking among themselves’


The comparative degree is expressed in different ways in Urdu. One of which is that it is expressed by a phrase consisting of the postposition /Sē/. The superlative is expressed by /səb se/

		voh zāfrān is (zāfrān ) se  mehnga hai. (Comparative)
		‘that saffron is more expensive than his (saffron)
		Kəšmiri zāfrān  səb  se mehnga hai (Superlative)
         		‘Kashmiri Saffron is most expensive’

The comparative and superlative of some Perso- Arabic words can also be found with the Persian suffixes /-tər/ (comparative), /-tərīn/ (superlative).

		yeh təsvir  Xūbsūrət hai (Absolute)
		‘This picture is beautiful’
		məgər voh təsvir Xūbsūrat tər hai (Comparative)
		‘But that picture is prettier’
 		Xūbsūrat tərin ləŗki se šadi kərne ki uski Xuāhiš pūrī nā hui (Superlative)
		‘His wish to marry the prettiest girl was not fulfilled’ 

/zyāda/ and /kāfi/ are both adjective and adverb. Used adverbially /zyāda/ qualifies adjectives to show a sort of comparative degree, /kāfi/ means ‘enough’, but when used adverbially to qualify adjectives it can mean ‘quite’ , ‘too’.

 		zyāda kām 
		‘more work’ 
		yeh rāsta  zyāda gənda hai 
		‘This road is dirtier’
		kāfi paisa ‘enough money’
		kāfi der ho rəhi hai
		‘It is getting quite late’  


Possession is expressed by /ka/, /ki/, etc. and also by genitive case markers. With the help of genitive case markers genitive compounds are formed. Genitive compounds in Urdu are those which convey the meaning of possession. In Urdu, possession is expressed by the following two types of rules:

		(i)	Persian rule
		(ii)	Arabic rule

Some of the examples of possession using /ka/, /ki/:

		ləŗke ki kitab		‘ boy’s book’
		lərki ka qələm 		‘ girl’s pen’

The Genitive compounds which are formed according to the Persian rules use the following two orthographic elements.

 		(a) Izafat zer <  ̷   >
 		(b) Hamza    <  ﺀ  > 

(a) Use of Izafat-e- zer in forming genitive compounds:

While making genitive compounds Izafat-e- zer is used below the final letter of the first word.

	Xak–e- wətan         <  ﻭﻃﻦ  ﮎ ﺧﺎ  > 	 ‘ soil of ones country’
	Gəm-e-dil	    	< ﺪ ﻝ   ﻏﻡ  >	‘ sorrow of heart’
	bab-e- səyyad        <  ﺳﻳﺪ  ﺏ ﺑﺎ   >	‘ Sayyed’s door’
	chərāGh -e- məhfil < ﻤﺣﻓﻞ  ﭽﺭﺍﻍ   >	‘ the candle of the   assembly’

In the above examples Izafat-e- zer has:

		-	The structural value  /- e-/
		-	The semantic value   ‘ of ’

(b) Use of Hamza ( ﺀ ) in forming genitive compounds:

Hamza is often used when the last letter of the first word ends with the letter < ﻩ > (h) pronounced as /a/.

	nārā- e-āzādi       < آذادی   ﻨﻌﺭﮤ   >   	‘ slogan of  freedom’.
	jəzba-e- dil	        <   ﺩﻝ ﺠﺰﺏ   >		‘ emotion of heart’.
	qətra-e- āb	        <   ﺁﺏ ﻗﻄﺮﮤ   >		‘ drop of water’
	baba-e- wətan     <  ﻭﻄﻦ ﺒﺎﺑﺎ ﮱ  > 	‘ father of the nation’
	jāma-e- urdu       < ﺍﺭﺩ ﻮ ﺟﺎﻣﻌﮧ >	‘ school of Urdu’.

Here Hamza < ﺀ > also has:

		-	The structural value /-e-/
		-	The semantic value ‘ of ‘

Genitive compouns which are formed according to the Arabic rules use ‘pesh’ and ‘lam’ < ﻞ > as the genitive case marker. This case marker is used between the first and the second word of the compound. Its structural value is /-ul-/ and semantic value is ‘of’

 	dār- ul- hukūmət 	<  ﺩﺍﺭﻟﺤﻜﻮﻣﺕ  > 	‘ hose of  rule’, ‘capital’
	hubb-ul- wetan	<  ﺣﺐﻟﻮﻃﻦ    >	‘ love of ones country’
	mələk-ul- məut.	<   ﻣﻠﮏﻟﻤﻮﺕ   >  	‘ angle of death’	




(LINK: X.A.2)

The Urdu kinship terminology is very extensive and specific. This is a function of the joint or extended family structure current until recently (and even now) in many parts of India. The system makes crucial reference to three parameters: age, consanguinity (relation by blood or marriage) and laterality (relation on the mother’s side or father’s side). As a result, instead of general terms as ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’; highly specific terms are used.

Once a child is adopted there is no difference in reference between a natural and an adopted child.

I- Kin related by blood:

i) Own generation:

	‘brother’ /bhāi/ 			‘sister’ /bahin/

ii) First ascending generation :

	Father’s side /dādī hāl/		 Mother’s side /nāni hāl/
	‘father’ /bāp/			‘mother’ /māN/
	‘father’s brother’- elder’ /tāyā/	 	‘mother’s brother’ /māmū/
	‘father’s brother- younger’  /chacha/    	‘mother’s sister’ /Xālā/  
	‘father’s sister’ /phupi/

iii) Second ascending generation:

	‘father’s father’ /dādā/                          	‘mother’s father’ /nānā/		
	‘father’s mother’ /dādi/                         	‘mother’s mother’ /nāni/

iv) First descending generation :

	‘son’ /beeTā/ 			‘daughter’  /beeTi/ 

v) Second descending generation:

	‘son’s son’  /poota/ 			‘son’s daughter’ /pooti/ 
	‘daughter’s son’ /navāsā/		‘daughter’s daughter’ /navāsī/ 	

vi) Other relatives :

	‘brother’s son’ /bhatijā/			‘sister’s son’ /bhānjā/
	‘brother’s daughter’ /bhatiji/			‘sister’s daughter’ /bhānji/
	‘father’s brother’s son’ /chachā zād bhāi/		‘mother’s brother’s son /māmūzād bhāi/
						or   /mamerā bhāi/
	‘father’s sister’s son /phupi zād bhāi/		‘mother’s sister’s  son’ /Xālāzād bhāi/
						or   /Xalerā bhāi/
	‘father’s brother’s daughter /chachāzād bahin/	‘mother’s brother’s daughter 
                                                                    		/māmūzād bahin/  or /mamerī bahin/
	‘father’s sister’s daughter /phupi zād bahin/		‘mother’s sister’s daughter       
                                                                      		/Xālāzād bahin/  or  /Xalerī bahin/

vii) Kin by partial blood :

	‘half-brother’ /sauteelā bhāi/		‘half-sister’ /sauteeli bahin/

viii) Kin by marriage :

‘wife’ /bīvi/				‘husband’ /miyāN/ 
‘father’s elder brother’s wife’ /tāi/ 	‘father’s younger brother’s wife’ /chachi/ 
‘father’s sister’s husband’ /phupā/	‘mother’s brother’s wife’ /mumāni/ 
‘mother’s sister’s husband’ /Xālu/	‘elder brother’s wife’ /bhābi/
‘elder sister’s husband’ /behnooi/		‘husband and wife’s father’ /susar/ 
‘husband and wifes’s mother’ /sās/	‘wife’s sister’ /sāli/ 	or   /Xush dāman/
‘husband’s elder brother’ /jeTh/		‘husband’s younger brother’ /devar/ 
‘husband’s sister’ /nand/		‘wife’s brother’s wife’  /salaj/ or  /sarhaj/
‘wife’s sister’s husband’ /sāRhu/ 		‘husband’s elder brother’s wife’ /jiThāni/ or /ham zulf/
‘husband’s younger brother’s wife’ /devrāni/		
‘son’s wife’ /bahu/ 	
‘daughter’s husband’ /dāmād/		
‘son’s wife’s  and daughter’s husband’s father’ /samdhi/ 
‘son’s wife’s and daughter’s husband’s mother’  /samdhan/ 


		/siyāhī mael surX/


(LINK: X.A. 3)

	Body parts 	/jism/ 		Body parts 	/jism/
	Head 		/sar/		Face 		/chahrā/ 
	Hair 		/bāl/		Forehead 		/māthā/ 
	Eye 		/āNkh/ 		Eyebrows 		/bhāvēN/
	Eyelash 		/mizhgāN/ 		Ear 		/kān/ 
	Nose 		/nāk/ 		Mouth 		/mūNh/ 
	Lip 		/hooNT/ 		Tooth 		/dāNt/ 
	Jaw		/jabRā/ 		Tongue 		/zabān/ 
	Cheek 		/gāl/ 		Chin 		/ThuDDi/
	Moustache 	/mūNch/ 		Beard 		/DaRhī/ 
	Neck 		/gardan/ 		Throat 		/halaq/ 
	Chest 		/sīnā/		Heart 		/dil/ 
	Shoulder 		/kandhā/ 		Arm 		/shānā/ 
	Armpit 		/baGal/		Elbow 		/koohni/
	Hand 		/hāNth/ 		Wrist 		/kalāi/ 
	Palm 		/hatheelī/ 		Finger 		/uNglī/ 
	Thumb 		/angūTha/ 		Nail 		/nāxūn/ 
	Stomach 		/peeT/ 		Intestines 		/āNteN/
	Navel 		/nāf/		Knee 		/ghuTnā/ 
	Leg 		/tāNg/		Foot 		/pair/
	Heal 		/eeRī/ 		Back 		/pīTh/ 
	Bone 		/haDDī/ 		Skin 		/khāl/
	Brain	 	/dimāG/ 


	/cimTa/ 	‘tong’	      
	/kaRhāī/ 	‘a deep bottomed pan used for frying’


	Urdu 			English 			Colloquial form
	/yakshambā/ 		Sunday 			/itvar/
	/dooshambā/ 		Monday			/pīr/, /sombār/
	/seehshambā/ 		Tuesday 			/mangal/
	/chahar shambā/ 		Wednesday 		/budh/
	/pānch shambā/ 		Thursday 			/jumeerāt/
	/jumā/ 			Friday 			/jumā/
	/haftā/ 			Saturday 			/sanīchar/


	1.	Hamal 		‘Aries’
	2.	Sūr 		‘Taurus’
	3.	Jūza 		‘Gemini’
	4.	Satan		‘Cancer’
	5.	Asad		‘Leo’
	6.	Sunbula 		‘Virgo’
	7.	Mīzan		‘Libra’
	8.	Aqrab		‘Scorpia’
	9.	Qawas		‘Sagittarius’
	10.	Jaddi		‘Capricon’
	11.	Walā 		‘Acquarius’
	12.	Hūt 		‘Pisces’


	Boil 		/ubālnā/ 		Burn 		/jalanā/
	Heat 		/garmī karnā/	Cool 		/ThaNDā karnā/
	Fry 		/tālnā/		Stir 		/chalānā/
	Mix 		/milānā/		Pat		/thapaknā/
	Cut 		/kaTnā/		Prepare 		/tayyār karnā/
	Cover 		/Dhaknā/		Dip		/Duboonā/
	Spread		/phailānā/		Fold		/moRnā/
	Drain		/pasānā/


1.  all		/sab/			2.  and 		/aur/
3. animal 		/janvar/			4. ashes 		/rākh/ 
5. at 		/par/			6.  back 		/pīchee, pīTh/
7. bad 		/burā/ 			8. bark		/chāl/
9. because 	/kyõNkee/			10. belly 		/peeT/
11. big 		/baRā/			12. bird 		/chiRyā/ 
13. bite 		/kaTnā/			14. black 		/kālā/
15. blood		/xūn/			16. blow 		/hawā kā chalnā/
17. bone 		/haDDī/			18. breast 		/sīnā/ 
19. breathe 	/sāNs/			20. burn 		/jalanā/
21. child 		/bachchā/			22.  claw 		/nāqun, panjā/
23. cloud 		/bādal/			24. cold 		/ThanDā/ 
25. come 		/ānā/			26. count 		/ginnā/
27.  cut 		/kāTnā/ 			28. day 		/din/ 
29. die 		/marjānā/ 			30. dig 		/khoodnā/ 
31. dirty 		/gandā/ 			32. dry 		/sūkhā/ 
33. dog 		/kuttā/			34. drink		/pīnā/
35. dull		/sust/			36. dust 		/dhūl/ 
37. ear 		/kān/			38. earth 		/zamīn/
39. eat		/khānā/			40. egg 		/anDā/
41. eye 		/āNkh/ 			42. fall 		/girnā/ 
43. far 		/dūr/ 			44. fat 		/mooTā/
45. father 		/bāp/			46. fear 		/Darnā/
47. feather 	/par/			48. few 		/kam, thooRā/ 
49. fight 		/laRāī/ 			50. fire 		/āg/
51. fish		/machlī/			52. five 		/pāNch/
53. float 		/tairnā/			54. flow 		/bahnā/ 
55. flower 		/phūl/ 			56. fly 		/uRnā/
57. fog 		/koohrā, saxt dhund/ 		58. foot 		/pair/ 
59. four 		/chār/			60. freeze 		/ThanDa hoonā/ 
61. fruit 		/phal/ 			62. full		/bharāhuā/ 
63. give 		/deenā/ 			64. good 		/achchā/ 
65. grass		/ghāNs/			66. green		/harā/ 
67. guts 		/āNteeN/			68. hair 		/bāl/
69. hand 		/hāth/			70. he 		/voh laRkā/ 
71. head 		/sar/			72. hear 		/sunnā/
73. heart 		/dil/ 			74. heavy 		/bhārī/ 
75. here 		/yahāN/			76. hit 		/mārna/
77. hold/take	/pakRe rahnā/, /leenā/ 	78. horn 		/sīngh/
79. how 		/kaisee/			80. hunt		/shikār karnā/ 
81. husband 	/shauhar/ 			82. I 		/mA/ 
83. ice 		/baraf/			84. if 		/agar/
85. in 		/meeN/			86. kill		/mārnā/ 
87. knee		/ghuTnā/ 			88. know 		/jānnā/ 
89. lake 		/jhīl/			90. laugh 		/hasnā/ 
91. leaf 		/pattī/			92. leftside	/ulti taraf/, /bāīN taraf/
93. leg 		/pair/			94. lie 		/jhūT/
95. live 		/rahnā/ 			96. liver 		/jigar/, /kaleejā/ 
97. long 		/lambā/			98. louse 		/jūN/
99. man/male	/ādmī/ 			100. many 	/bohat sāre/ 
101. meat 		/goosht/			102. moon 	/chānd/
103. mother 	/mā/			104. mountain 	/pahāR/
105. mouth 	/mūNh/ 			106. name 	/nām/
107. narrow 	/chooTā/, /taNg/		108. near 		/pās/
109. neck 		/gardan/			110. new 		/nayā/ 
111. night 		/rāt/			112. nose 		/nāk/
113. not 		/nahīN/			114. old 		/purānā/
115. one 		/eek/ 			116. other 		/dūsrā/ 
117. person 	/ādmi/			118. play 		/kheel/ 
119. pull 		/khīchnā/ 			120. push 		/dhakkā deenā/
121. rain 		/bārish/			122. red 		/lāl/, /surq/
123. right 		/sahī/ 			124. right side   	/sīdhi taraf/, /dayīN taraf/
125. river 		/nadi/ , /daryā/		126. road 		/saRak/
127. root 		/jaR/			128. rope 		/rassī/
129. rotten 	/galā saRā/		130. round 	/gool/ 
131. rub 		/ragaRnā/ 			132. salt 		/namak/
133. sand 		/ret/, /bārū/, /bālū/		134. say 		/kahnā/, /bolnā/ 
135. scratch 	/kureednā/, /chilnā/ 		136. sea 		/samandar/
137. see 		/deekhnā/ 			138. seed 		/bīj/, /dānā/ 
139. sew 		/sīnā/			140. sharp 	/teez/
141. short 		/chooTā/ 			142. sing 		/gānā/
143. sit 		/beeThnā/ 			144. skin 		/khāl/ 
145. sky 		/āsmān/ 			146. sleep 	/soonā/ 
147. small 	/chooTā/ 			148. smell 	/bū/
149. smoke	/dhūāN/ 			150. smooth 	/sāf/, /chiknā/
151. snake 	/sāNp/ 			152. snow 		/barf/
153. some 	/kuch/ 			154. spit 		/thūknā/
155. split 		/phaTnā/, /phaRnā/		156. squeeze	/chooTā karnā/, /bhichna/ 
157. stab/pierce 	/chūre see zaqmī karnā/ 	158. stand 	/khaRa honā/
159. star 		/tāre, sitāre/ 		160. stick 		/chaRi/ 
161. stone 	/patthar/ 			162. straight 	/sīdhā/ 
163. suck 		/chūsnā/			164. sun 		/sūraj/ 
165. swell		/phailnā/			166. swim 		/tairnā/ 
167. tail 		/dum/ 			168. that 		/vooh/
169. there 		/vahāN/			170. they 		/voo/
171. thick 		/bārīk/ 			172. thin 		/patlā/
173. think 		/soochnā/ 			174. this 		/yeeh/ 
175. thou 		/tū/ 			176. three		/tīn/
177. tie 		/bāndhnā/			178. tongue 	/zabān/
179. tooth 		/dāNt/			180. tree		/peeR/
181. turn 		/muRnā/			182. two		/doo/ 
183. vomit 	/ultī/			184. walk		/chalnā/
185. warm 	/garam/			186. wash 		/dhoonā/
187. water 	/pānī/ 			188. we 		/ham/
189. wet		/gīlā/			190. what		/kyā/
191. when		/jab/			192. where 	/kahāN/
193. white 		/safeed/			194. who		/kaun/
195. wide		/cauRā/			196. wife 		/bīvī/
197. wind		/hawā chalna/		198. wing		/par/
199. wipe 		/poonchnā/		200. with 		/sāth/
201. woman 	/aurat/			202. woods 	/lakRiyāN/ 
203. worm		/kīRā/			204. year 		/sāl/		
205. yellow 	/pīlā/			206. brother 	/bhāī/		
207. clothing 	/libās/			208. cook 		/khānā pakānā/
209. dance 	/nāch/			210. eight 		/āTh/
211. hundred 	/sau/			212. seven 	/sāt/	
213. shoot 	/nishanā bāzi/		214. sister 	/bahin/
215. spear		/barchī/			216. twenty 	/bīs/	
217. work		/kām/


1. Typical Dishes:

/biryāni/ 		‘cooked rice with meat’ 
/qoormā/ 		‘meat cooked with heavy spices’ 
/zardā/ 		‘a sweet dish’ 
/maTar pulāoo/ 	‘peas cooked with rice’ 
/tyhrī/ /tahRi/	/rice cooked with potatoes and spices’
/khīr/ 		‘rice cooked with milk and sugar’ 
/rooTi/ 		‘flat, round unleavened bread’ 
/pūri/ 		‘thin puffed fried bread’
/sTiyu/ 		‘meat cooked with onion, garlic & ginger and other spices’ 
/kaRhī/ 		‘a dish specifically made of curd’ 
/jaleebi/		‘round tubular pretjet like based sweet, fried in ghee and soaked in sugar syrup’
/doosā/             	‘crisp crepes made of lentil and rice flour or cream of  
                         	wheat eaten with chaTnī, or sāmbhar’ (the most popular snack in south India)

Names of Months:



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