2.8 Cultural Notes and Extra/Optional Online Materials

Cultural Notes

Topics Explanation
السلام علیکم

assalaam alaikum



“Assalaam alaikum/aadab” is used as “Hello” at any time of day by Urdu speakers. It is culturally odd to shake hands, so when you say Assalaam alaikum/aadab, just make the hand gesture. However, in a business setting and bigger metropolitan cities, you will notice that people shake hands because of the effect of western world.
Personal Pronoun “You” Unlike English, Urdu has three different second persona, personal pronoun “you”.

تو tu: It is used with younger, intimate relations such as mother, and God, and someone who is lower in socio-economic status. It is a very informal way to say “You” in Urdu.

تم tum: It is used with friends and with someone who is of equal status. It is somewhat informal. It should be used carefully only after confirming with the person you are speaking to.

آپ aap: It is used with older and respected people of the community. It is also used for someone who is of higher socio-economic status. It is a very formal way to say “You” in Urdu.

Introduction Typically, in Urdu culture, you typically do not have to go on introducing yourself to everyone. Culturally, you will be introduced to other people by your host, a friend, and/or someone who already knows you.

However, you should expect some very personal questions which may be culturally odd for you in your first meeting with someone, such as: are you married? how much money do you earn? etc. Please know that the sense of privacy varies between different cultures.

Yes/No Question You learned in this chapter that you can simply add کیا kyaa at the beginning of a simple sentence to form a yes/no question.

For example: کیا آپ امریکی ہیں؟  Are you an American?

However, it is very common for the native speakers to pose a yes/no question by using a simple sentence in a raised tone. It is also very common in English.

For example: آپ امریکی ہیں؟  You are an American?

Gender In this chapter, you learned that all Urdu nouns have a grammatical gender. However, you may hear native speakers use Urdu words with incorrect gender during conversation. It is for two major reasons: (a) Not everyone knows the gender of the noun a hundred percent, (b) there are many dialects of Urdu which are mutually intelligible, but do not have gender features. So, they claim to be the native speaker of Urdu, but their L1/mother tongue is not modern, standard Urdu.
خدا/الله حافظ

khuda/allah hafiz

khuda/allah hafiz is used to say “good bye” in Urdu.

Extra/Optional Online Materials



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Basic Urdu Copyright © 2022 by Rajiv Ranjan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book