Urdu vs Hindi: Difference and Comparison

India takes pride in how the country is symbolized and hailed for its diversity. Indian diversity can be seen in many forms.

There is diversity in every nook and cranny, that is, in the breathtaking monuments and buildings, in the busy streets and shops, in the vibrant people, and in the 21 languages that they use to speak with.

Languages are the prime mediums through which communication takes place.

With the help of languages, one can express his or her opinions on any topic, his or her feelings, ideas, and even information about anything and everything.

And in case of people living in India have 21 languages to exchange information and ideas, such as Bangla, Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Nepali, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu, and 11 more.

Each language has unique characteristics, making it easier for others to differentiate between these languages.

However, Hindi and Urdu are not that easy to differentiate. They are strikingly similar, making it hard to differentiate them.

But there are a few categories in which these two languages differ.

Key Takeaways

  1. Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken in Pakistan and India, written in the Perso-Arabic script and heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic vocabulary.
  2. Hindi is also an Indo-Aryan language, predominantly spoken in India and written in the Devanagari script, with strong Sanskrit influences.
  3. While Urdu and Hindi share a common grammatical structure and many words, they diverge in their script, vocabulary, and cultural expressions.

Urdu vs. Hindi

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is influenced by Persian and Arabic. Hindi is the official language of India and is also spoken in Nepal, Fiji, and other countries. It evolved from Hindustani and became a literary language in the 19th century.

Urdu vs Hindi
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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonUrdu  Hindi
AssociationThe Urdu language is associated with Muslims, the natives, and the leading population of Pakistan.The Hindi language is associated with Hindi people, the natives, and the leading population of India.
Foreign InfluencesThe Urdu language is influenced by foreign languages, thus having foreign vocabulary and loanwords.Foreign languages considerably less influence the Hindi language, thus having a smaller number of loanwords.
Writing systemThe Urdu follows the Nastaliq script, where the writing system is from right to left.Hindi follows the Devanagari script, where the writing system is from left to right.
National languageUrdu is the national language of Pakistan.Hindi is the national language of India.
  VocabularyThere are differences when it comes to the vocabulary used in Urdu too. For example, ‘dost’ is the Urdu word for a ‘friend.’There are many differences in the vocabulary used. For example, the word ‘mitr’ means a ‘friend’ in Hindi.

What is Urdu?

Urdu and Hindi are languages that have a lot of similarities within them. They are alike in origin, derivation, grammar, phonology, etc.

Both these languages include a mixture of Indo-Aryan and Indo-European languages. Most of these languages are derived from Sanskrit, which is why they have a common Indic base with the same grammar rules.

However, there are certain differences based on which one can differentiate these two languages.

Urdu is a language that is associated with Muslims. Muslims constitute the leading population of Pakistan and are also considered the natives of Pakistan. Thus, Urdu is associated with Muslims, who form a large part of Pakistan.

Persian, Turkish, and Arabic have heavily influenced the Urdu language. As a result, one can spot the presence and frequent use of foreign words and other loanwords from these three languages in Urdu.

Another characteristic feature of the Urdu language is the writing system it follows. Urdu follows the Nastaliq script. Nastaliq script comprises parts from Persian and Arabic script.

Thus, Urdu follows the writing system from right to left.

As mentioned earlier and above, Urdu is associated with Muslims, the natives, and the leading population of Pakistan. Thus, Urdu is hailed and designated as the national language of Pakistan.

Although the certain element of grammar, such as sentence structure, is the same in both Urdu and Hindi, there are certain vocabulary differences found in both.

A few examples of the words used in Urdu are: –

  1. Dost- means ‘friend.’
  2. Shukriya- means ‘thank you.’
  3. Dil- means ‘heart.’
  4. Aurat- means ‘woman.’
urdu

What is Hindi?

Hindi is a language that is associated with the Hindi people. Hindi people constitute the leading population of India. They are also considered the natives of India.

Thus, Hindi is associated with Hindi people, who form part of India.

Persian, Turkish, and Arabic languages have also influenced the language of Hindi, but lesser when compared to the Urdu language. Thus, there are fewer foreign words and loanwords in Hindi, unlike in Urdu.

The writing system that the language follows also plays a key role in differentiating these two languages. Hindi follows the Devanagari script. Thus, in this language, one writes from left to right.

Hindi is primarily associated with the Hindi people, who form the leading population of India; the Hindi language is hailed and designated as the national language of India.

There are differences in how certain words are used in the Hindi language. A few examples of the words used in Hindi are: –

  1. Mitr- means ‘friend.’
  2. Dhanyavad- means ‘thank you.’
  3. Hriday- means ‘heart.’
  4. Sthree- means ‘woman.’
hindi

Main Differences Between Urdu and Hindi

  1. Urdu is associated with Muslims, who are considered the natives of Pakistan and constitute Pakistan’s leading population. But Hindi is associated with the Hindi people, who are considered the natives of India and constitute the leading population of India.
  2. Foreign languages influence Urdu more, thus using more foreign words and loanwords. But Hindi is less influenced by foreign languages, thus using fewer foreign words and loanwords.
  3. While Urdu follows the Nastaliq script, having to write from right to left, Hindi language follows the Devanagari script, having to write from left to right.
  4. Urdu is called the ‘National language of Pakistan.’ But Hindi is called the ‘National language of India.’
  5. While a friend, heart, woman, and thanking someone is referred to by the words ‘dost,’ ‘dil,’ ‘aurat’ and ‘shukriya in Urdu, the same are referred to by the words ‘mitr,’ ‘hriday,’ ‘sthree’ and ‘dhanyavad’ in Hindi.
Difference Between Urdu and Hindi
References
  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11145-010-9256-9
  2. https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/myl/llog/King2001.pdf
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