Can Punjabi and Hindi speakers understand written Urdu?

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Member since: Mar 04
Posts: 1

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 05-03-04 12:03:58

Hi all,

Very interesting web site and discussion. I have a question that I'm hoping some of you may be able to give insight to (I'm not a Desi, but curious to learn more).

Is written Urdu understandable for South Asians who speak Hindi and Punjabi? I have found information that Urdu is "intelligible" with Hindi (although they use different scripts), but can't find information about how understandable it is in written format for Punjabi or Hindi speakers.

Thanks very much.

Garvo Gujarati   
Member since: Nov 01
Posts: 3111

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 05-03-04 12:40:43

I don't understand it at all! I know hindi/punjabi reading well, but have not figured out how to read urdu.

One should try to understand that, as Arabic is also going to be another major world language, since urdu and arabic scripts are similar (at least to me they look similar, please correct if I a wrong) it would definately help!

A Proud Indian Canadian

Pramod Chopra   
Member since: Sep 03
Posts: 1284
Location: Pickering, ON

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 05-03-04 14:39:02

Hi Curious,

Hindi / Punjabi speaker can understand up to some extent only spoken Urdu but not the written Urdu as the Urdu is written in Arabic style script.

You may also find it surprising but most of the people of speak Hindi and or Punjabi may not also be in a position to understand written punjabi as the script of punjabi is 'Gurmukhi' which not every hindi or punjabii speaking person can read.


Pramod Chopra
Senior Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Company of Canada

Garvo Gujarati   
Member since: Nov 01
Posts: 3111

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 05-03-04 14:58:57

I am trying to follow all north indian scripts - Dev Nagari (Marathi and Hindi), Gujarati, Gangla and Gurmukhi.

I can easily say that they are matching quite a lot - only thing is to understand the differences and keep reading it.

Sometimes I grab punjabi newspaper from grocery stores and reads some stories. It is difficult, but great fun! Same way I am tring to read Bangla and it is not so hard!

Appearntly it seems that the south indian fonts are different - but they do have some pattern matching with north indain fonts, not appeant though.

Even with English fonts we do have some matching characters like R, K, E, F, M, N, V, Y with our fonts!

A Proud Indian Canadian

Member since: Oct 02
Posts: 3409
Location: Mississauga

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 05-03-04 15:02:44

Besides, urdu is written and read right-to-left, I believe.

Are you there?

Garvo Gujarati   
Member since: Nov 01
Posts: 3111

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 05-03-04 15:27:51

So is hebrew - I guess languages originated from that region have this style!

A Proud Indian Canadian

Member since: Jun 03
Posts: 140
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 05-03-04 15:50:38


I can read and write urdu and i can understand punjabi and hindi (thanks to Indian Tv channels and to some extent Bollywood).

Urdu is written from right to left and has the same alphabets like Arabic,

A person who can read arabic can read urdu (to some extent as the pronounciation will be a bit out).

I personally think the generally used Urdu and Hindi is very similar (bolloywood style), but if we look at the detailed Vocab of both languages then they will differ in the use of pronouns through the verbs will sound very similar.

Amitabh used some good Hindi words in the movie Mohabatein, while shahrukh spoke more or less in Urdu, but we Urdu speaking people enjoyed it throughly just like Hindi/punjabi speaking people.

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