Pakistani Languages

By | on October 23, 2016 | 0 Comment

pakistani-languagesUrdu, although mother tongue of less than 5% of population of Pakistan, is the lingua franca, the national language and along with English is also the official language of the country. In all the other provinces and regions, Urdu and English are the official languages while Sindhi is the official language in the province of Sindh in addition to the above two national languages.

Urdu language has its origins in the khari language spoken around Delhi and Lahore since millennia and was the language of the people and the bazaars. Muslims gave it the Arabic script and the name while its grammar and construction is purely local, derived from the Panini’s grammar, written 5000 years ago at Taxila university for Sanskrit. Persian and Arabic constitute more than 80 percent of its vocabulary,15 % are from Sansikrat while the rest are from Greek, Turkish, Portuguese and English, reflecting the influence of the foreign invasions.

It is a living language accepting every word of other language which  can be pronounced in Urdu. It is also a gender friendly language as it has different pronunciation for male and females in its verb and words. Its mythology is a mixture of Greek, Persian and local folklore. However, the myth of its being of Turkish origin has been totally discarded now as only less than 3000 words of Turkish origin have been traced out of more than 3000000 words Urdu language boasts of. Interestingly out of these 3000 words less than 30 are purely of Turkish origin while the rest are from other languages,

Other languages spoken are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Seraiki, Baluchi, Brahvi and Hindko. These are purely indigenous and preserved due to deep pride of their adherents, who are proud of their 5000 years old history. They have a rich repertoire of folklore developed over centuries with heavy influence of Greek and Persian traditions and strong oral tradition of poetry recitation and storytelling. Their generally sad and melancholic tone reflects centuries of miseries at the hands of foreign invaders, state oppression and societal compulsions.

Ironically it were the British scholars and bureaucrats who had a major role in the preservation and development of these languages which are presently not getting much state sponsorship. Globalization is Romanizing the national and regional languages as these are being written in Roman script in internet and mobile phone messaging, losing their traditional charm as the Roman script cannot properly convey the flavour of speaking these languages.

Arabic is the religious language of the people as almost all religious rites are performed while speaking Arabic although majority of the people do not understand their meanings i.e. reading of Quran, daily prayers, marriage and funeral rites etc. That’s why religious scholars and leaders enjoy great respect among the masses.

Persian, which used to be the court and literary language before Alexander introduced Greek in this part of the world in 323 BCE, again became the court language during the Mughal period. Although it has lost its relevance in everyday life but has very strong influence even today in our literature due to its predominance in Urdu vocabulary.







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