SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

Urdu Language 1 (PG)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  1. knowledge and understanding of basic Urdu grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of essential Urdu vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Urdu structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand short passages in written Urdu on everyday topics
  5. the ability to produce short passages in written Urdu on everyday topics
  6. the ability to understand spoken Urdu on everyday topics
  7. the ability to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday 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 5 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 an introduction to Urdu language with emphasis on practical written and spoken Urdu. Communicative practice is established through learning language around dialogues dealing with a range of everyday situations, including travelling, buying and selling, and family life.

The course provides students with a basic knowledge of Urdu and practice of using Urdu in a variety of everyday situations. 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:

Details to be supplied by the convenor at the beginning of the course.

2) Additional Urdu References

Urdu Learning Resources
Asani, Ali. 2007. Let’s Study Urdu.  New Haven, Yale University Press
Bhatia, Tej. 2013. Colloquial Urdu. London, Routledge
Salimuddin, S.M. 2013. Oxford Urdu-English Dictionary. OUP
Haqee, Shanul. 2002. The Oxford English-Urdu Dictionary. 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

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.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules