“Urdu: An Indo-Aryan language of the Indian subcontinent, associated with the Moghul Empire, in which Persian was the court language. It is used especially Muslims and written in a variant of the Perso-Arabic script. Closely related to Hindi, Urdu has a similar pronunciation and grammar but a more heavily Persianized and Arabicized vocabulary. It is the national language of Pakistan and is its co-official language with English. In India, it is the state language of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and associate state language of the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is spoken as a first language by c.30m and as a second language by c.100m people in India and Pakistan, and some thousands of people of Indo-Pakistani origin in Fiji, Guyana, South Africa, the UK, and the US.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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