Basic Urdu is funded by the Dr. Delia Koo Endowment from the Asian Studies Center at Michigan State University. This resource is an online, interactive theme-based textbook for true beginners in the Urdu language that promotes communicative, linguistic, and cultural competence. It has a mixture of pedagogical approaches to fit all types of learning, and teaching, philosophies and styles to achieve the intermediate low- to mid-ACTFL proficiency level within a semester.

The book has eight chapters: Chapter 1 is an introduction to the Urdu script and sound system. Chapters 2-8 are based on themes: beginning conversation; family; describing places; expressing likes, dislikes, needs, and possession; giving instructions and making request, expressing present, past, and future actions; and talking about past and completed actions.

Each chapter starts with a review of the vocabulary, grammar, and theme of the previous chapter. Each chapter has 2-3 “reading/listening carefully” activities tailored to fit the proficiency level of the intended learners. Each chapter also has a “study abroad” section. Reading/listening and study abroad sections have both pre- and post-reading/listening activities to help learners achieve interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication skills. The goal of the study abroad section is to mirror study abroad experiences. Each chapter also has a grammar section which includes 3-4 grammatical items explained in a video and text which are followed by interactive activities. Each chapter ends with cultural notes and a few additional online materials related to the theme of the chapter.

The book caters to different learning and teaching styles, so learners can go through the reading/listening and grammar sections in either order to develop the linguistic competence. Vocabulary in reading/listening includes the English meaning so learners can infer other meanings and glean context. Activities in reading/listening and grammar are developed using h5p so learners can get immediate constructive feedback.

Lastly, this book is the beginning of a journey and not the end of it. I promise to keep this book updated and revised based on users’ and experts’ feedback, so if you find any error, or just have a suggestion, please feel encouraged to write to


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

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