Hindustani: Hindi and Urdu – A Single Language?


Hello everyone, welcome to the Langfocus channel
and my name is Paul Today I’m going to talk about
a language called Hindustani Or it’s sometimes called Hindustani There are countries with names like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan…
Is there a country called Hindustan? Well, kind of. At certain points throughout history,
the term Hindustan has been used to refer all of India. But more generally, it is used to refer to the area
of the Northern Indian subcontinent. The term Hindustan itself is a Persian term
meaning Land of the Indus (River) Hindustani is a language that arose in the Hindustan region. Maybe you’ve never heard of Hindustani before,
but you’ve probably heard of Hindi & Urdu. Hindustani is a pluricentric language, meaning that it’s
a single language that has 2 different standard varieties. Even though Hindi and Urdu are refered to by different names,
the spoken language is essentially the same, aside from some differences in accent
and maybe local, regional vocabulary. The standard languages however, which are used
in writing and in formal situations, have more significant differences that reflect
the cultural and religious identity of the speakers. But the development of these 2 standard languages
is a recent phnomenon. For most of its history, Hindustani was a single language
that was refered to by various different names. Hindustani is spoken as a native language
by lots and lots of people. It depends on how you count it but around 324 million people are native speakers of either Hindi or Urdu. There are 258 million speakers of Hindi in India
and about 52 million speakers of Urdu in India.
And 14.7 million speakers of Urdu in Pakistan. And that’s refering to native speakers. They also functions as lingua franca
in very linguistically diverse regions. There are an additional 214 million
second language speakers of Hindustani. This is perhaps most striking in Pakistan, where only
8% of the people speaks Urdu as a native language. But over 94 million people speak it as a second language
because it is widely learned as the language of education. There are also 120 million second language
speakers of Hindi in India. So if we include both native speakers and second language speakers of both varieties of Hindustani, then there are about 538 million speakers of the language. Hindustani a member of the Indo-Aryan branch
of the Indo-European language family. And it’s a descendant of the Sauraseni Prakrit language,
the language from which all modern Indo-Aryan
languages descended from. And if we go back earlier than the Sauraseni Prakrit
language, it is a descendant of Sanskrit. Early forms of Hindustani developed between
the 7th to 13th century CE, a time of heavy Islamic influence on the Indian subcontinent,
due to conquest by Central Asian Turkic envaders. Then, in the 13th century CE, the Delhi Sultanate began
its rule and expanded this Islamic influence. Hindustani was the language
of the common people around Delhi, while Persian became the official state language,
and language of the courts and the language of the elite. The Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim kingdom which was
ruled by successive Turkic and Afghan dynasties. These dynasties were Persianized, meaning that
they looked up to and admired the Persian culture, so they brought the Persian language
and its literary traditions with them to Hindustan. And they also spoke their native languages,
among them, Turkic languages. They were followed by the Mughal Empire in 1526. They were another Persianized people
of Turkic-Mongol descent and like the Delhi Sultanate, they introduced Persian
as the official language of the Empire, the lingua franca of the elite people
and the prestigious literary language. At the same time, Arabic was influencial
as a language of religion. During this timle, Hindustani, which was known by
different names such as Hindavi and Delhavi, spread over much of the northern Indian subcontinent
as a lingua franca, althought there were some difference
in vocabulary. The influence of Persian during these dynasties as well
as the status of Arabic as the language of religion, had an impact on the Hindustani language. But the degree of that impact depended on the local
area and the culture and the religion of the community. For examples, Muslim communities used more Arabic
and Persian words and wrote in the Perso-Arabic script, called Nastaliq, while Hindu communities used more sanskrit words
and wrote in the Devanagari script. In the 18th c., towards the end of the Mughal Empire,
a form of Hindustani, based on the Khariboli dialect of Delhi, came to
replace Persian as the language of the elite. And soon after, under British rule, it became
the official language along with English. It was a variety of Hindustani,
containing Persian vocabulary. Another name for that language started to be used,
which was Urdu. That name Urdu is a shortened form of the Persian phrase
“Zaban-e Urdu” which means “language of the camp”. This is because the language was the lingua franca of the Mughal army and was used their army camps. Until this Persianized variety of Hindustani
was made the official language, Hindustani was considered a single language
for all communities, with mere local variations. But when the Urdu variety written in Nastaliq script
was made an official language by the British, this angered Hindus who thought that the language
should be written in the Devanagari script,
which is native to the subcontinent. This erupted into a major dispute over which script
the language should be written in. Amidst this dispute, the standard language of
Hindustani began to diverge into 2 different languages. With Hindi drawing on Sanskrit for much of its formal
vocabulary and purging the language of some
of its Persian and Arabic vocabulary. Urdu went the other direction, purging the language of
some of its Sanskrit vocabulary and expanding
the amount of Persain and Arabic vocabulary. But this applies mainly to the standard written languages,
with the spoken languages remaining almost completely intelligible. When a Hindi speaker and an Urdu speaker encounter
each other, they have no problem communicating at all. There might be some different vocabulary that filters
down from the literary language and there might be
some different vocabulary coming from local dialects, and there might be a slightly different accent
but generally they are not different at all. In fact, Bollywood movies are created in a kind of neutral
Hindustani language, that is usually neither Hindi nor Urdu. It’s both. To do this, they avoid using literary vocabulary
that is specific to either language and they focus on the common vocabulary
of the spoken languages. Let’s look at a couple of sentences to see
how similar the 2 languages are in casual speech and how they diverge in the more formal register. The 1st sentence means “I want to meet you” First in casual Urdu. Now in casual Hindi As you can see the casual forms are quite similar
or almost the same. Now in literary Urdu. Now in literary Hindi. In the literary forms, you can see
that the vocabulary is quite different The next sentence: “I want to know how you are” In casual Urdu. Now in casual Hindi. In literary Urdu. And now in literary Hindi. These examples basically show
that Hindustani is a single language but that literary Urdu and literary Hindi have been crafted to
reflect the different religious and literary traditions
of their speakers. Of course, it would be a mistake to think that
all Muslims on the Indian subcontinent speak Urdu
and that all Hindu speak Hindi. But think of it like this:
for people who specifically speak Hindustani, their religion basically determines
which one they speak, Hindi or Urdu. It would also be a mistake to think that Urdu is the
Pakistani language while Hindi is the Indian language. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan,
along with English. But in fact, only 8% of the population
are native speakers of Urdu, as I said before. Numerous other languages are spoken in Pakistan
and the most widely spoken one is actually Punjabi. But Urdu is the lingua franca
and virtually everyone learns it. In India, Hindi and English are
the official languages at the national level, but each state is free to choose
its own official languages too. There is a total of 22 recognized languages
at the state level, and that includes Urdu So Urdu is not just the language of Pakistan. It’s also an official language in 8 states in India,
including the Delhi Capital region It is spoken by 51.5 million native speakers in India And that is 3.5 times greater than the number
of Urdu native speakers in Pakistan So how hard is it to learn Hindustani?
Either Hindi or Urdu. Well, if you’re a speaker of an Indo-European language,
then you already speak a language that’s related to Hindustani. So most of the grammatical concepts will be familiar to you
but there will also be some challenging differences as well. If we look back at our sentence from before,
in English, it tranlates as something like
“I – you – meet – want” English is a SVO language,
while Hindustani is generally SOV that means subject-object-verb
and the verb goes at the end of the clause. You will also notice that “meet” comes also before “want”. So the auxiliary verb, or the helping verb, comes after
the main verb at the very end of the clause or sentence. In Hindi there are also feminine and masculine nouns
as well as three noun cases. But these 3 noun cases seem significantly simpler than
some other languages that you may have encountered. [cough] Hungarian One of the hardest things about learning Hindi
or Urdu just might be that so many people
on the Indian subcontinent are fluent in English. So it might be hard to get to speak any other language
than English with you, especially highly educated people. But if you spend time with the common people
that you meet every day, then you’ll have plenty
of chances to practice. Speaking about Hindi and Urdu can be confusing
because they used to be considered one language and now, in terms of spoken communication,
they are still essentially one language. Whether someone speaks Hindi or whether they speak
Urdu depends more on their cultural and religious identity. Urdu speakers identify with islamic and Persian heritage
and its literay tradition, while Hindi speakers identify with Sanskrit
and Hindu religion and its literary tradition They speak the same language,
but, on top of that spoken language, each group has adopted a formal literary tradition
that emphasizes its prefered cultural and religious identity. As a learner of the language, assuming that you want
to converse and communicate with people, then learning either variety will give you
access to the other one. And that is a total number of 538 millions people and with a diaspora all over the world,
even outside of the subcontinent you will have countless opportunity to practice and
make new connections using the Hindustani language. And that brings us at the end of this video. Speakers of Hindi or Urdu, we’d like
to hear your comments down below. Tell us your experience with communicating with
people who speaks the other variety of Hindustani. Is it the same language to you? How much difference
is there? How much similarity is there? Let us know in the comments. I would also like to thank everyone who made new
Patreon contributions since the last video I made. And also to the people who gave one time donations through the blue support button on the channel page And also I’d like to say thanks to those people
who have offered to help out with some
of the videos on the geofocus channel. And today somebody also offered to help out
by submitting some subtitles or captions
in their native language for some of my videos. That would be a great thing if you’d like to do that too.
Then that’s very welcome and I would be very thankful. Any help like that you can do to support
the channel is fine by me. Thank you for watching. Have a nice day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *