|Native to||North India, Pakistan, Deccan|
|c. 250 million (2011 & 2017 censuses)|
L2 speakers: ~500 million (1999-2016)
|Indian Signing System (ISS)|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Central Hindi Directorate (Hindi, India);|
National Language Promotion Department (Urdu, Pakistan);
National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (Urdu, India)
Areas (red) where Hindustani (Delhlavi/Kauravi) is the native language
Hindustani (; Devanagari: , Hindust?n? / Nastaliq:[a], Hind?st?n?, lit. 'of Hindustan') is the lingua franca of Northern India and Pakistan; known in its literary forms as Hindi-Urdu (Devanagari: - , Nastaliq: ?-?) and historically as Hindui, Hindavi, and later as Rekhta, Dehlavi, Hindi, and Urdu. It is an Indo-Aryan language, deriving its base primarily from the Western Hindi dialect of Delhi, also known as Khariboli. Hindustani is a pluricentric language, with two standardised registers, Modern Standard Hindi and Modern Standard Urdu.
The concept of a Hindustani language as a "unifying language" or "fusion language" was endorsed by Mahatma Gandhi.
The language's first written poetry, in the form of Old Hindi, can be traced to as early as 769 AD. During the period of Delhi Sultanate in India which resulted in the contact of Hindu and Muslim cultures, the Prakrit base of Old Hindi became enriched with loanwords from Persian, evolving into the present form of Hindustani. The Hindustani vernacular became an expression of Indian national unity during the Indian Independence movement, and continues to be spoken as the common language of the people of the northern Indian subcontinent, which is reflected in the Hindustani vocabulary of Bollywood films and songs.
The language's core vocabulary is derived from Prakrit (a descendant of Sanskrit), with substantial loanwords from Persian and Arabic (via Persian). The number of speakers can only be estimated. Ethnologue reports that, as of 2019, Hindi and Urdu together constitute the 3rd-most-spoken language in the world after English and Mandarin, with 785 million native and second-language speakers, though this includes millions who self-reported their language as 'Hindi' on the Indian census but speak a number of other Hindi languages than Hindustani. The total number of Hindi-Urdu speakers was reported to be over 300 million in 1995, making Hindustani the third- or fourth-most spoken language in the world.
Early forms of present-day Hindustani developed from the Middle Indo-Aryan apabhraa vernaculars of present-day North India in the 7th-13th centuries, chiefly the Dehlavi dialect of the Western Hindi category of Indo-Aryan languages that is known as Old Hindi.Amir Khusrow, who lived in the thirteenth century during the Delhi Sultanate period in North India, used these forms (which was the lingua franca of the period) in his writings and referred to it as Hindavi (Persian: , lit. 'of Hindus or Indians'). The Delhi Sultanate, which comprised several Turkic and Afghan dynasties that ruled much of the subcontinent from Delhi, was succeeded by the Mughal Empire in 1526.
Although the Mughals were of Timurid (Gurk?n?) Turco-Mongol descent, they were Persianised, and Persian had gradually become the state language of the Mughal empire after Babur, a continuation since the introduction of Persian by Central Asian Turkic rulers in the Indian Subcontinent, and the patronisation of it by the earlier Turko-Afghan Delhi Sultanate. The basis in general for the introduction of Persian into the subcontinent was set, from its earliest days, by various Persianised Central Asian Turkic and Afghan dynasties.
Hindustani began to take shape as a Persianised vernacular during the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526 AD) and Mughal Empire (1526-1858 AD) in South Asia. Hindustani retained the grammar and core vocabulary of the local Delhi dialect. However, as an emerging common dialect, Hindustani absorbed large numbers of Persian, Arabic, and Turkic loanwords, and as Mughal conquests grew it spread as a lingua franca across much of northern India; this was a result of the contact of Hindu and Muslim cultures in Hindustan that created a composite Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. The language was also known as Rekhta, or 'mixed', which implies that it was mixed with Persian. Written in the Perso-Arabic, Devanagari, and occasionally Kaithi or Gurmukhi scripts, it remained the primary lingua franca of northern India for the next four centuries, although it varied significantly in vocabulary depending on the local language. Alongside Persian, it achieved the status of a literary language in Muslim courts and was also used for literary purposes in various other settings such as Sufi, Nirgun sant, Krishna Bhakta circles, and Rajput Hindu courts. Its majors centers of development included the Mughal courts of Delhi, Lucknow, and Agra, and the Rajput courts of Amber and Jaipur.
In the 18th century, towards the end of the Mughal period, with the fragmentation of the empire and the elite system, a variant of Hindustani, one of the successors of apabhraa vernaculars at Delhi, and nearby cities, came to gradually replace Persian as the lingua franca among the educated elite upper class particularly in northern India, though Persian still retained much of its pre-eminence for a short period. The term Hindustani was given to that language. The Perso-Arabic script form of this language underwent a standardization process and further Persianization during this period (18th century) and came to be known as Urdu, a name derived from Persian: Zab?n-e Urd?-e Mualla ('language of the court') or Zab?n-e Urd? (? ?, 'language of the camp'). The etymology of the word Urdu is of Chagatai origin, Ord? ('camp'), cognate with English horde, and known in local translation as Lashkari Zab?n ( ?), which is shorted to Lashkari. This is all due to its origin as the common speech of the Mughal army. As a literary language, Urdu took shape in courtly, elite settings. Along with English, it became the first official language of British India in 1850.
Hindi as a standardized literary register of the Delhi dialect arose in the 19th century; the Braj dialect was the dominant literary language in the Devanagari script up until and through the 19th century. Efforts to promote a Devanagari version of the Delhi dialect under the name of Hindi gained pace around 1880 as an effort to displace Urdu's official position.
John Fletcher Hurst in his book published in 1891 mentioned that the Hindustani or camp language of the Mughal Empire's courts at Delhi was not regarded by philologists as a distinct language but only as a dialect of Hindi with admixture of Persian. He continued: "But it has all the magnitude and importance of separate language. It is linguistic result of Muslim rule of eleventh & twelfth centuries and is spoken (except in rural Bengal) by many Hindus in North India and by Musalman population in all parts of India." Next to English it was the official language of British Raj, was commonly written in Arabic or Persian characters, and was spoken by approximately 100,000,000 people.
When the British colonised the Indian subcontinent from the late 18th through to the late 19th century, they used the words 'Hindustani', 'Hindi', and 'Urdu' interchangeably. They developed it as the language of administration of British India, further preparing it to be the official language of modern India and Pakistan. However, with independence, use of the word 'Hindustani' declined, being largely replaced by 'Hindi' and 'Urdu', or 'Hindi-Urdu' when either of those was too specific. More recently, the word 'Hindustani' has been used for the colloquial language of Bollywood films, which are popular in both India and Pakistan and which cannot be unambiguously identified as either Hindi or Urdu.
Although, at the spoken level, Hindi and Urdu are considered registers of a single language, Hindustani or Hindi-Urdu, as they share a common grammar and core vocabulary, they differ in literary and formal vocabulary; where literary Hindi draws heavily on Sanskrit and to a lesser extent Prakrit, literary Urdu draws heavily on Persian and Arabic loanwords. The grammar and base vocabulary (most pronouns, verbs, adpositions, etc.) of both Hindi and Urdu, however, are the same and derive from a Prakritic base, and both have Persian/Arabic influence.
The standardised registers Hindi and Urdu are collectively known as Hindi-Urdu. Hindustani is perhaps the lingua franca of the north and west of the Indian subcontinent, though it is understood fairly well in other regions also, especially in the urban areas. A common vernacular sharing characteristics with Sanskritised Hindi, regional Hindi and Urdu, Hindustani is more commonly used as a vernacular than highly Sanskritised Hindi or highly Persianised Urdu.
This can be seen in the popular culture of Bollywood or, more generally, the vernacular of North Indians and Pakistanis, which generally employs a lexicon common to both Hindi and Urdu speakers. Minor subtleties in region will also affect the 'brand' of Hindustani, sometimes pushing the Hindustani closer to Urdu or to Hindi. One might reasonably assume that the Hindustani spoken in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (known for its usage of Urdu) and Varanasi (a holy city for Hindus and thus using highly Sanskritised Hindi) is somewhat different.
Standard Hindi, one of the 22 officially recognised languages of India and the official language of the Union, is usually written in the indigenous Devanagari script of India and exhibits less Persian and Arabic influence than Urdu. It has a literature of 500 years, with prose, poetry, religion and philosophy. One could conceive of a wide spectrum of dialects and registers, with the highly Persianised Urdu at one end of the spectrum and a heavily Sanskritized variety spoken in the region around Varanasi, at the other end. In common usage in India, the term Hindi includes all these dialects except those at the Urdu spectrum. Thus, the different meanings of the word Hindi include, among others:
Urdu is the national language and state language of Pakistan and one of the 22 officially recognised languages of India. It is written, except in some parts of India, in the Persian Nastaliq script using the Urdu alphabet, an extended Perso-Arabic script incorporating Indic phonemes. It is heavily influenced by Persian vocabulary and was historically also known as Rekhta.
As Dakhini (or Deccani) where it also draws words from local languages, it survives and enjoys a rich history in the Deccan and other parts of South India, with the prestige dialect being Hyderabadi Urdu spoken in and around the capital of the Nizams and the Deccan Sultanates.
Earliest forms of the language's literature may be traced back to the 13th-14th century works of Am?r Khusrau Dehlav?, often called the "father of Urdu literature" while Wal? Deccani is seen as the progenitor of Urdu poetry.
In a specific sense, Hindustani may refer to the dialects and varieties used in common speech or slang, in contrast with the standardised Hindi and Urdu. This meaning is reflected in the use of the term bazaar Hindustani, in other words, the 'street talk' or literally 'marketplace Hindustani', as opposed to the perceived refinement of formal Hindi/Urdu, or even Sanskrit.
Amir Khusro ca. 1300 referred to this language of his writings as Dehlavi ( / , 'of Delhi') or Hindavi (? / ). During this period, Hindustani was used by Sufis in promulgating their message across the Indian subcontinent. After the advent of the Mughals in the subcontinent, Hindustani acquired more Persian loanwords. Rekhta ('mixture') and Hindi ('India') became popular names for the same language until the 18th century.
The name Urdu (from Zaban-i-Ordu, or Orda) appeared around 1780. It is believed to have been coined by the poet Mashafi. Prior to this, the language had a larger variety of names such as Hindustani, Hindvi, Lahori, Dakni and Rekhta (amongst others) and also commonly known as the Zaban-i-Ordu, from which he derived the name Urdu. In local literature and speech, it was also known as the Lashkari Zaban or Lashkari. Mashafi was the first person to simply modify the name Zaban-i-Ordu to Urdu.
During the British Raj, the term Hindustani was used by British officials. In 1796, John Borthwick Gilchrist published a "A Grammar of the Hindoostanee Language". Upon partition, India and Pakistan established national standards that they called Hindi and Urdu, respectively, and attempted to make distinct, with the result that Hindustani commonly, but mistakenly, came to be seen as a "mixture" of Hindi and Urdu.
Grierson, in his highly influential Linguistic Survey of India, proposed that the names Hindustani, Urdu, and Hindi be separated in use for different varieties of the Hindustani language, rather than as the overlapping synonyms they frequently were:
We may now define the three main varieties of Hind?st?n? as follows:--Hind?st?n? is primarily the language of the Upper Gangetic Doab, and is also the lingua franca of India, capable of being written in both Persian and D?va-n?gar? characters, and without purism, avoiding alike the excessive use of either Persian or Sanskrit words when employed for literature. The name 'Urd?' can then be confined to that special variety of Hind?st?n? in which Persian words are of frequent occurrence, and which hence can only be written in the Persian character, and, similarly, 'Hind?' can be confined to the form of Hind?st?n? in which Sanskrit words abound, and which hence can only be written in the D?va-n?gar? character.
Hindi and Urdu, are major standardised register of Hindustani, Hindi is declared by Article 343(1), Part 17 of the Indian Constitution as the "official language (?, r?jabh) of the Union." (In this context, "Union" means the Federal Government and not the entire country--India has 23 official languages.) At the same time, however, the definitive text of federal laws is officially the English text and proceedings in the higher appellate courts must be conducted in English.
At the state level, Hindi is one of the official languages in 10 of the 29 Indian states and three Union Territories, respectively: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal; Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Delhi.
In the remaining states, Hindi is not an official language. In states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, studying Hindi is not compulsory in the state curriculum. However, an option to take the same as second or third language does exist. In many other states, studying Hindi is usually compulsory in the school curriculum as a third language (the first two languages being the state's official language and English), though the intensiveness of Hindi in the curriculum varies. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, where it shares official language status with English. Although English is spoken by many, and Punjabi is the native language of the majority of the population, Urdu is the lingua franca. Urdu is also one of the languages recognised in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and is an official language of the Indian states of Bihar, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir,[needs update]Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Although the government school system in most other states emphasises Modern Standard Hindi, at universities in cities such as Lucknow, Aligarh and Hyderabad, Urdu is spoken and learnt, and Saaf or Khaalis Urdu is treated with just as much respect as Shuddha Hindi.
Hindustani was the official language of the British Raj and was synonymous with both Hindi and Urdu. After India's independence in 1947, the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights recommended that the official language of India be Hindustani: "Hindustani, written either in Devanagari or the Perso-Arabic script at the option of the citizen, shall, as the national language, be the first official language of the Union." However, this recommendation was not adopted by the Constituent Assembly.
Besides being the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan in South Asia, Hindustani is also spoken by many in the South Asian diaspora and their descendants around the world, including North America (e.g., in Canada, Hindustani is one of the fastest growing languages),Europe, and the Middle East.
Hindi-Urdu's core vocabulary has an Indic base, being derived from Prakrit, which in turn derives from Sanskrit, as well as a substantial amount of loanwords from Persian and Arabic (via Persian). Hindustani contains around 5,500 words of Persian and Arabic origin.
Historically, Hindustani was written in the Kaithi, Devanagari, and Urdu alphabets. Kaithi and Devanagari are two of the Brahmic scripts native to India, whereas Urdu is a derivation of the Persian Nasta?l?q script, which is the preferred calligraphic style for Urdu.
Today, Hindustani continues to be written in the nastaliq alphabet in Pakistan. In India, the Hindi register is officially written in Devanagari, and Urdu in the nastaliq alphabet, to the extent that these standards are partly defined by their script.
However, in popular publications in India, Urdu is also written in Devanagari, with slight variations to establish a Devanagari Urdu alphabet alongside the Devanagari Hindi alphabet.
|Letter||Name of letter||Transcription||IPA|
|?||ba he||h||/h ~ ?/|
|?||re||r||/r ~ ?/|
|?||v?'o||v, o, or ?||, , or|
|?, ?, ?||cho he||h||/h ~ ?/|
|?||do chashm? he||h||or|
|?||ba ye||ai or e||, or|
Because of anglicisation in South Asia and the international use of the Latin script, Hindustani is occasionally written in the Latin script. This adaptation is called Roman Urdu or Romanised Hindi, depending upon the register used. Because the Bollywood film industry is a major proponent of the Latin script, the use of Latin script to write in Hindi and Urdu is growing amongst younger Internet users. Since Urdu and Hindi are mutually intelligible when spoken, Romanised Hindi and Roman Urdu (unlike Devanagari Hindi and Urdu in the Urdu alphabet) are mostly mutually intelligible as well.
An example of colloquial Hindustani::
The following is a sample text, Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the two official registers of Hindustani, Hindi and Urdu. Because this is a formal legal text, differences in formal vocabulary are maximised.
? -- ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
|? ? ? ? ? ? ?|
|Anucched 1: Sabh? manushyo? ko gaurav aur adhik?ro? ke vishay me? janm'j?t svatantrat? pr?pt hai?. Unhe? buddhi aur antar?tm? k? den pr?pt hai aur paraspar unhe? bhch?re ke bh?v se bart?v karn? ch?hiye.|
|?n?t:ed ek s?b?i m?njõ ko ?r ?dka?õ ke vi?aj m? dnmd?at st?ntta p?apt h ?n b?d?:? ?ntatma ki: den p?apt h? psp ?n b?ait?a?e ke: b?a? se bta? kna t?ah?e|
|Article 1--All human-beings to dignity and rights' matter in from-birth freedom acquired is. Them to reason and conscience's endowment acquired is and always them to brotherhood's spirit with behaviour to do should.|
|Article 1--All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.|
:? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
|? ? -- ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?|
|Daf?ah 1: Tam?m ins?n ?z?d aur ?uq?q o ?izzat ke i?tib?r se bar?bar paid? hu'e hai?. Unhe? zam?r aur ?aql wadat hu'? he. Isli'e unhe? ek d?sre ke s?th bh?'? ch?re k? sul?k karn? ch?hi'e.|
|d?fa ek t?mam ?nsan azad h?quq o iz:?t ke ?t?ba? se bab p?da h?e h ?n z?mi? ?ql di?t h?i h ?sl?e ?n ek dus?e ke sat? b?ai t?a?e ka s?luk kna t?ah?e|
|Article 1: All humans free[,] and rights and dignity's consideration from equal born are. To them conscience and intellect endowed is. Therefore, they one another's with brotherhood's treatment do must.|
|Article 1--All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience. Therefore, they should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.|
The predominant Indian film industry Bollywood, located in Mumbai, Maharashtra uses Modern Standard Hindi, colloquial Hindustani, Bombay Hindi, Urdu,Awadhi, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, and Braj Bhasha, along with the language of Punjabi and with the liberal use of English or Hinglish for the dialogue and soundtrack lyrics.
Movie titles are often screened in three scripts: Latin, Devanagari and occasionally Perso-Arabic. The use of Urdu or Hindi in films depends on the film's context: historical films set in the Delhi Sultanate or Mughal Empire are almost entirely in Urdu, whereas films based on Hindu mythology or ancient India make heavy use of Hindi with Sanskrit vocabulary.
^a. Nastaliq fonts: This will only display in a Nastaliq font if you will have one installed, otherwise it will display in a modern Arabic font in a style more common for writing Arabic and most other non-Urdu languages. If this ? and this ? looks like this ? then you are not seeing it in Nastaliq.
There was the Hindustani Dictionary of Fallon published in 1879; and two years later (1881), John J. Platts produced his Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and English, which implied that Hindi and Urdu were literary forms of a single language. More recently, Christopher R. King in his One Language, Two Scripts (1994) has presented the late history of the single spoken language in two forms, with the clarity and detail that the subject deserves.
... Hindustani is the lingua franca of both India and Pakistan ...
... By the time of British colonialism, Hindustani was the lingua franca of all of northern India and what is today Pakistan ...
Hindustani is a Central Indo-Aryan language based on Khari Boli (Kha?i Boli). Its origin, development, and function reflect the dynamics of the sociolinguistic contact situation from which it emerged as a colloquial speech. It is inextricably linked with the emergence and standardization of Urdu and Hindi.
Urdu, like Hindi, was a standardized register of the Hindustani language deriving from the Dehlavi dialect and emerged in the eighteenth century under the rule of the late Mughals.
Two forms of the same language, Nagarai Hindi and Persianized Hindi (Urdu) had identical grammar, shared common words and roots, and employed different scripts.
... Hindustani is the basis for both languages ...
Hindi and Urdu are generally considered to be one spoken language with two different literary traditions. That means that Hindi and Urdu speakers who shop in the same markets (and watch the same Bollywood films) have no problems understanding each other.
The "Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb" is one such instance of the composite culture that marks various regions of the country. Prevalent in the North, particularly in the central plains, it is born of the union between the Hindu and Muslim cultures. Most of the temples were lined along the Ganges and the Khanqah (Sufi school of thought) were situated along the Yamuna river (also called Jamuna). Thus, it came to be known as the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, with the word "tehzeeb" meaning culture. More than communal harmony, its most beautiful by-product was "Hindustani" which later gave us the Hindi and Urdu languages.
But with the establishment of Muslim rule in Delhi, it was the Old Hindi of this area which came to form the major partner with Persian. This variety of Hindi is called Khari Boli, 'the upright speech'.
Persian became the court language, and many Persian words crept into popular usage. The composite culture of northern India, known as the Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb was a product of the interaction between Hindu society and Islam.
... more words of Sanskrit origin but 75% of the vocabulary is common. It is also admitted that while this language is known as Hindustani, ... Muslims call it Urdu and the Hindus call it Hindi. ... Urdu is a national language evolved through years of Hindu and Muslim cultural contact and, as stated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, is essentially an Indian language and has no place outside.
...Hindustani, Rekhta, and Urdu as later names of the old Hindi (a.k.a. Hindavi).
It might be useful to recall here that Old Hindi or Hindavi, which was a naturally Persian- mixed language in the largest measure, has played this role before, as we have seen, for five or six centuries.
During the time of British rule, Hindi (in its religiously neutral, 'Hindustani' variety) increasingly came to be the symbol of national unity over against the English of the foreign oppressor. And Hindustani was learned widely throughout India, even in Bengal and the Dravidian south. ... Independence had been accompanied by the division of former British India into two countries, Pakistan and India. The former had been established as a Muslim state and had made Urdu, the Muslim variety of Hindi-Urdu or Hindustani, its national language.
Hindustani - term referring to common colloquial base of HINDI and URDU and to its function as lingua franca over much of India, much in vogue during Independence movement as expression of national unity; after Partition in 1947 and subsequent linguistic polarization it fell into disfavor; census of 1951 registered an enormous decline (86-98 per cent) in no. of persons declaring it their mother tongue (the majority of HINDI speakers and many URDU speakers had done so in previous censuses); trend continued in subsequent censuses: only 11,053 returned it in 1971...mostly from S India; [see Khubchandani 1983: 90-1].
The everyday speech of well over 50,000,000 persons of all communities in the north of India and in West Pakistan is the expression of a common language, Hindustani.
The Hindi film industry used the most popular street level version of Hindi, namely Hindustani, which included a lot of Urdu and Persian words.
Spoken Hindi is akin to spoken Urdu, and that language is often called Hindustani. Bollywood's screenplays are written in Hindustani.
The national language of India and Pakistan 'Standard Urdu' is mutually intelligible with 'Standard Hindi' because both languages share the same Indic base and are all but indistinguishable in phonology and grammar (Lust et al. 2000).
Urdu is closely related to Hindi, a language that originated and developed in the Indian subcontinent. They share the same Indic base and are so similar in phonology and grammar that they appear to be one language.
High Hindi written in Devanagari, having identical grammar with Urdu, employing the native Hindi or Hindustani (Prakrit) elements to the fullest, but for words of high culture, going to Sanskrit. Hindustani proper that represents the basic Khari Boli with vocabulary holding a balance between Urdu and High Hindi.
People in Delhi spoke Khari Boli, a language the British called Hindustani. It used an Indo-Aryan grammatical structure and numerous Persian "loan-words."
On this there are far more reliable statistics than those on population. Farhang-e-Asafiya is by general agreement the most reliable Urdu dictionary. It twas compiled in the late nineteenth century by an Indian scholar little exposed to British or Orientalist scholarship. The lexicographer in question, Syed Ahmed Dehlavi, had no desire to sunder Urdu's relationship with Farsi, as is evident even from the title of his dictionary. He estimates that roughly 75 per cent of the total stock of 55,000 Urdu words that he compiled in his dictionary are derived from Sanskrit and Prakrit, and that the entire stock of the base words of the language, without exception, are derived from these sources. What distinguishes Urdu from a great many other Indian languauges ... is that is draws almost a quarter of its vocabulary from language communities to the west of India, such as Farsi, Turkish, and Tajik. Most of the little it takes from Arabic has not come directly but through Farsi.
On the issue of vocabulary, Ahmad goes on to cite Syed Ahmad Dehlavi as he set about to compile the Farhang-e-Asafiya, an Urdu dictionary, in the late nineteenth century. Syed Ahmad 'had no desire to sunder Urdu's relationship with Farsi, as is evident from the title of his dictionary. He estimates that roughly 75 per cent of the total stock of 55.000 Urdu words that he compiled in his dictionary are derived from Sanskrit and Prakrit, and that the entire stock of the base words of the language, without exception, are from these sources' (2000: 112-13). As Ahmad points out, Syed Ahmad, as a member of Delhi's aristocratic elite, had a clear bias towards Persian and Arabic. His estimate of the percentage of Prakitic words in urdu should therefore be considered more conservative than not. The actual proportion of Prakitic words in everyday language would clearly be much higher.
The position of Hindi-Urdu among the languages of the world is anomalous. The number of its proficient speakers, over three hundred million, places it in third of fourth place after Mandarin, English, and perhaps Spanish.
Whilst the Muhammadan rulers of India spoke Persian, which enjoyed the prestige of being their court language, the common language of the country continued to be Hindi, derived through Prakrit from Sanskrit. On this dialect of the common people was grafted the Persian language, which brought a new language, Urdu, into existence. Sir George Grierson, in the Linguistic Survey of India, assigns no distinct place to Urdu, but treats it as an offshoot of Western Hindi.
Apabhramsha seemed to be in a state of transition from Middle Indo-Aryan to the New Indo-Aryan stage. Some elements of Hindustani appear ... the distinct form of the lingua franca Hindustani appears in the writings of Amir Khusro (1253-1325), who called it Hindwi[.]
Note: Gurk?n? is the Persianized form of the Mongolian word "kürügän" ("son-in-law"), the title given to the dynasty's founder after his marriage into Genghis Khan's family.
Quite different group of nouns occurring with the ending -a in the dir. plural consists of words of Arabic or Persian origin borrowed by the Old Hindi with their Persian plural endings.
Historically speaking, Urdu grew out of interaction between Hindus and Muslims.
The primary sources of non-IA loans into MSH are Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, Turkic and English. Conversational registers of Hindi/Urdu (not to mentioned formal registers of Urdu) employ large numbers of Persian and Arabic loanwords, although in Sanskritized registers many of these words are replaced by tatsama forms from Sanskrit. The Persian and Arabic lexical elements in Hindi result from the effects of centuries of Islamic administrative rule over much of north India in the centuries before the establishment of British rule in India. Although it is conventional to differentiate among Persian and Arabic loan elements into Hindi/Urdu, in practice it is often difficult to separate these strands from one another. The Arabic (and also Turkic) lexemes borrowed into Hindi frequently were mediated through Persian, as a result of which a throrough intertwining of Persian and Arabic elements took place, as manifest by such phenomena as hybrid compounds and compound words. Moreover, although the dominant trajectory of lexical borrowing was from Arabic into Persian, and thence into Hindi/Urdu, examples can be found of words that in origin are actually Persian loanwords into both Arabic and Hindi/Urdu.
In the 1980s and '90s, at least three million Afghans--mostly Pashtun--fled to Pakistan, where a substantial number spent several years being exposed to Hindi- and Urdu-language media, especially Bollywood films and songs, and beng educated in Urdu-language schools, both of which contributed to the decline of Dari, even among urban Pashtuns.
Most Afghans in Kabul understand and/or speak Hindi, thanks to the popularity of Indian cinema in the country.