Urdu is a language spoken either as a first or second language by a section of British Asian people, particularly those of Pakistani heritage. It originated in the Sub Continent but is now also widely spoken in the UK by immigrants and their descendants.
It is the official language of Pakistan, and is also spoken widely in India as well. The actually term ‘Urdu’ is a Turkish word that means army.
Many of the British Asian community in the UK who can trace their ancestral roots to Pakistan speak it as a second language after English. The version spoken in Britain is heavily laced with Punjabi and Mirpuri words and terms. The reason for this is that the majority of UK residents who are of Pakistani descent originally came from the Mirpur district in northern Pakistan which is also next to the Punjab, hence the mixture.
There are a number of Urdu newspaper publications in England that are specially printed for the expatriate Pakistani community. The biggest selling one is The Daily Jang. There are also some dedicated radio channels targeted at this community, they include the Sunrise radio which is based in London, as well as the BBC Asian Network. In many local libraries in the major cities there are sections which have Urdu books, these are primarily there to be read by the Pakistani ethnic minority.
Urdu courses in the UK
There are many private colleges and also online training provider that quality short courses for those wanting to learn this language.
Urdu belongs to the Indo-European branch of languages. It’s vocabulary is a mixture of Persian, Turkish as well as Arabic and Hindi. Some of the verbs and word used in it are similar or the same as Hindi. For instance a Hindi speaker would be able to understand and have a very basic conversation with an Urdu speaker.
There are estimated to be over 400 million Urdu speakers in the world to whom it is their mother tongue or first language.