[skip to content]

South Asia Department

Urdu Language 2 (PG)

Course Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year


Urdu Language 1 (Postgraduate) or equivalent.  Your language level will checked before entry.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  1. knowledge and understanding of intermediate Urdu grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of a wide range of Urdu vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of a wide range of Urdu structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand passages in written Urdu of medium length on everyday and some specialised topics
  5. the ability to produce passages in written Urdu of medium length on everyday and some specialised topics
  6. the ability to understand spoken Urdu of medium complexity on everyday and some specialised topics
  7. the ability to engage in short spoken discourse of medium complexity on everyday and some specialised topics
  8. knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Urdu in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week.  10 research seminars to be taken within SOAS.  Attendance to be proven by signature from chair and to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Masters by the last day of term 2.

Scope and syllabus

The course provides teaching and learning of intermediate level Urdu language with emphasis on practical written and spoken Urdu. The course covers complex points of word and sentence structure as well as textual relations in Urdu writing and discourse. Communicative practice and structural knowledge is established through reading and discussing a variety of Urdu texts dealing with different topics and of different length and complexity.

The course provides students with intermediate knowledge of Urdu and practice of using Urdu in a variety of everyday and more specialised situations, including the understanding and expression of opinions and different points of view. It allows students to interact with Urdu speakers in Urdu and to use original Urdu language sources within the level covered in the course. This provides students with a basis to approach research topics relating to Urdu language and the histories, societies and cultures associated with Urdu.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written exam taken in May/June (40%); a translation project to be completed over the academic year of a suitable length to be submitted on the last day of term 2 (30%); an oral examination  taken in May/June (20%); two one-hour written tests counting for 5% each. 

Suggested reading

1) The course will be based on
Internally produced course book of reading and translation passages, supplemented by topical materials linked to weekly themes, providing the basis of conversation and essay writing.

and additional materials which will be made available throughout the course.

2) Additional Urdu References

  • Urdu Learning Resources
  • Matthews & Dalvi. 2007. Teach Yourself Urdu. London, Hodder Education
  • Asani Ali. 2007. Let’s Study Urdu.  Yale University Press
  • Bhatia, Tej. 2000. Colloquial Urdu.London, Routledge
  • Haqee Shanul. 2002. The Oxford English-Urdu. Oxford, OUP
  • Platts, John T. 1977. A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi, and English. New Delhi, Oriental Books Reprint Corporation
  • Schmidt, Ruth Laila. 1999. Urdu: An Essential Grammar. London,  Routledge

Linguistic Studies

  • Mascia, Colin P. 1991. The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Shackle, C (ed.). 1985. South Asian Languages: A Handbook. London, SOAS
  • Beg, M.K.A. 1996. Socio-Linguistic Perspectives on Hindi and Urdu in India. New Delhi : Bahri Publications,
  • Pandit, Ira. 1986. Hindi English code switching : mixed Hindi English. Delhi, Datta Book Centre, 1986
  • Shackle and Snell. 1990. Hindi and Urdu since 1900. London, SOAS
  • Abbi, Anvita. 2001. A manual of linguistic field work and structures of Indian languages. Munich, Lincom Europa

Texts and critical editions

  • Narang, Gopi Chand. 1967. Urdu: Readings in Literary Urdu Prose. New Delhi, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language


3) Additional resources relating to language-based scholarship discussed in the PG lectures

  • Austin, Peter, ed., 2008, 1000 Languages: The world-wide history of living and lost tongues, London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Baker, Mona, 1992, In Other Words: A coursebook on translation, London: Routledge.
  • Duranti, Alessandro, 1997, Linguistic Anthropology, Cambridge: CUP.
  • Geertz, Clifford, 1973/2000, The Interpretation of Cultures: selected essays, New York: Basic Books.
  • Pinker, Steven, 1994, The Language Instinct: the new science of language and mind, London: Allan Lane.