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South Asia Department

Urdu Literacy

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2, Year 3 of 3 or Year 4
Taught in:
Full Year


Completion of a Hindi course or spoken competence/advanced competence in Urdu or a structurally-cognate South Asian language (ie, Punjabi, Gujarati).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of this course, students should have obtained intermediate reading ability and low intermediate writing ability in Urdu.  Students should be able to read a variety of texts in different genres of Urdu prose with the aid of a dictionary and to compose sentences on a wide variety of topics.


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 3 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course introduces students to the Urdu writing system and to the rules of word-formation and lexical borrowing in Urdu.

The course provides practice in reading comprehension by looking at selected Urdu texts and textual extracts. The texts are read in class, and are re-visited in regular homework tasks in which students make active use of material learnt from the texts. The concentration here is on language, rather than on the literary qualities of the texts.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (75%); continuous assessment based on in class tests, homework and classroom participation. (10%; 10%; 5%).

Suggested reading

The course will be based on

  • Delacy, Richard. 2010. Read and Write Urdu Script. London, Hodder Education
  • Narang, Gopi Chand. 2001. Urdu: Readings in Literary Urdu Prose. New Delhi, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language

Additional materials will be made available throughout the course.