Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

The term Urdu derives from a Turkish word ordu that means camp or army. The Urdu language developed between the Muslim soldiers of the Mughals armies who belonged to numerous ethnicities like Turks, Arabs, Persians, Pathans, Balochis, Rajputs, Jats and Afghans. These soldiers lived in shut contact with one another and communicated in several dialects, which slowly and gradually evolved into present day Urdu. It is for this reason that Urdu is also referred to as Lashkari Zaban or language of the army.

Throughout its development Urdu language also assumed numerous names like the term Urdu-e-Maullah that means the exalted military which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the term Rekhta which means scattered (with Persian words) which was coined by the scholars for Urdu poetry.

History and Evolution of Urdu Language

Evolution and development of any language depends on the evolution and development of a society the place that language is spoken. Varied invasions and conquests on a place affect the development of its language. Urdu is not any exception as it also underwent numerous phases of development.

Urdu belongs to the Indo-Aryan household of languages. Urdu by origin is considered to be a descendent of Saur Senic Prakrit. The time period Prakrriti means root or basis. It's a later model of Sanskrit. As Prakrit language started to develop, it was influenced by Western Hindi dialects of Khari Boli, Brij Bhasa and Haryanvi.

With the coming of Insha's Darya-e-Latafat*, a need was felt to distinguish Urdu with different languages especially Hindi. It became a Hindi-Urdu controversy and as a result Khari Boli and Devanagari turned the identity of Indians while Urdu and Persian of Muslims. In this context, Persian and Arabic words changed with Sanskrit served the purpose of differentiating Hindi from Urdu.

Urdu emerged as a distinct language after 1193 AD - the time of the Muslims conquest. When the Muslims conquered this part of the continent, they made Persian the official and cultural language of India. Because of the amalgamation of native dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language advanced which later grew to become Urdu. Through the Mughals reign, Urdu was spoken in palaces and court and till the top of the Mughal rule; Urdu was the official language of most of Mughal states. This was the time when Urdu had turn into Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the approaching of the British, new English words additionally became part of the Urdu language. Many English words had been accepted of their real form while others were accepted after some modifications.

At the moment, Urdu vocabulary contains approximately 70% of Persian words and the remainder are a combination of Arabic and Turkish words. Nevertheless, there are additionally traces of the French, Portuguese and Dutch language in Urdu. But these influences are little.

Urdu was taken to other parts of the country by soldiers, saints and sufis and by the common people. On account of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the individuals of various speech and dialects, a mixed form of language formed called 'Rekhta' (Urdu and Persian in combined form). Soon individuals started to use the new language in their speech and in literature which resulted in the enrichment of Urdu language and literature.

Urdu Literature

The origin of Urdu literature dates back to the 13th century in India in the course of the Mughal rule. Probably the most eminent earliest poets who made usage of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who can be called the father of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was normally used along side Persian. Mughal kings have been the nice patrons of artwork and literature and it was under their rule that Urdu language reached its zenith. There was once a tradition of 'Sheri Mehfils' (poetic gatherings) within the kings' courts. Abul Fazal Faizi and Abdul Rahim Khankhana had been the famous Urdu poets of Mughal court. Likewise, Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Hakim Momin, Ibrahim Zauq, Mir Taqi Mir, Sauda, Ibn-e-Insha and Faiz Ahmed Faiz have contributed to the evolution of Urdu language via their literary works.

It's certainly true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the identical language i.e. Prakrit, but the place the Hindi took influence from Sanskrit and adopted Devanagri script of writing, Urdu absorbed words from Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages and adopted Persian-Arabic script and Nastaliq calligraphic type of writing and emerged as a separate language. However beside frequent ancestry, the two languages are as totally different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical differences in each languages.

Urdu was additionally used as a device by the Muslims for freedom struggle and for making awareness among Muslim communities in South Asia to unite under the banner of Independence from British Raj. For this, providers of Maulana Hali, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Allama Iqbal will not beable, who by means of their poetry and prose provoked the necessary spark in the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to grow to be the national language of Pakistan on the time of Independence from British. Urdu is now the nationwide language of Pakistan, spoken and understood completely by majority of the population.

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