From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Urdu اردو
Reading & Writing
Linguistic Terms
Related Wikibooks
Random lessons

The Urdu alphabet is derived from the Persian (Farsi) and the Arabic alphabet, where majority of the letters are borrowed from Arabic while only four alphabets are primarily borrowed from Persian. Very seldom, letters may be borrowed from Sanskrit. Even though the letters actually are inherited from these languages, the names used for these letters differ in some cases, for instance, letters ‘bay’ and ‘tay’ in Urdu are called only ‘baa’ and ‘taa’ in Arabic.

In Urdu, composition of alphabets based on three formations, former or pre (ترکیبِ سابق) , after (ترکیبِ لاحق) and parallel (ترکیبِ طرفین). For example, in با, the formation of Aliph (ا) with Bay (ب) is pre formation (ترکیبِ سابق) [1].

Below is a table of all the Urdu letters along with their names and the phonetic pronunciation of their names. It is also specified as to which language the letter is borrowed from and the respective keys to press on a keyboard. For the purposes of following the text in this book, Latin alternatives are provided with the alphabet.

Alphabet Name Phonetic pronunciation Origin Keyboard[1] Voice[2]
ا Aliph pronounced [əlɪf] Arabic J Vowel
ب Bay pronounced [beː] Arabic I Labial
پ Pay pronounced [peː] Persian Y Labial
ت Tay; with soft ‘t’ pronounced [t̪eː] Arabic U Dental
ٹ Tay; with hard ‘T’ pronounced [ʈeː] Sanskrit Shift + U Retroflex
ث Thay; colloquially ‘say’ pronounced [s·eː] Arabic Shift + T Dental
ج Jeem pronounced [dʒ·iːm] Arabic O Palatal
چ Chay pronounced [tʃ·eː] Persian Shift + O Palatal
ح Hay pronounced [heː] Arabic P Aspirated
خ Khay pronounced [xeː] Arabic Shift + P Velar
د Daal; with soft ‘d’ pronounced [d̪aːl] Arabic R Dental
ڈ Daal; with hard ‘D’ pronounced [ɖaːl] Sanskrit Shift + R Retroflex
ذ Dhaal; colloquially ‘zaal’ pronounced [zaːl] Arabic Shift + E Aspirated
ر Ray pronounced [reː] Arabic D Semi-vowel
ڑ Ray; with very guttural ‘r’ pronounced [ɽeː] Sanskrit Shift + D Hard retroflex
ز Zay pronounced [zeː] Arabic Shift + S Aspirated
ژ Zhay; much like ‘si’ in ‘vision’ pronounced [ʒeː] Persian Shift + A Aspirated
س Seen pronounced [siːn] Arabic V Dental aspirated
‎‎ش Sheen pronounced [ʃ·iːn] Arabic B Dental aspirated
ص Suaad pronounced [sʊ̈·aːd̪] Arabic W Velar aspirated
ض Dhuaad; colloquially ‘zuaad’ pronounced [zʊ̈·aːd̪] Arabic Shift + W Velar aspirated
ط Toay'n pronounced [t̪oːẽː] Arabic Q Dental velar
ظ Zoay'n pronounced [zoːẽː] Arabic Shift + Q Velar aspirated
ع Ain; guttural ‘a’ pronounced [aːiːn] Arabic M Velar vowel
غ Ghain; hoarse guttural ‘g’ followed by a hollow ‘h’ pronounced [ɣaːiːn] Arabic N Strong velar aspirated
ف Fay pronounced [feː] Arabic X Aspirated
ق Quaaf; ‘Qu’ is pronounced only as ‘k’ pronounced [kaːf] Arabic Z Velar
ک Kaaf pronounced [kaːf] Arabic K Velar
گ Gaaf pronounced [gaːf] Persian Shift + K Velar
ل Laam pronounced [laːm] Arabic G Dental
م Meem pronounced [miːm] Arabic A Labial
ن Noon pronounced [nuːn] Arabic F Palatal
ں Noon ghuna; nasal equivalent of ‘noon’ used to specify that the previous vowel is a nasal one pronounced [nuːn ɣʊ̈naː] Arabic Shift + F Palatal nasal
و Vao; as you'd say “wow” pronounced [vaːoː] Arabic S Vowel/semi-vowel
ہ Hay pronounced [heː] Arabic H Aspirated
‍‌ء Hamza pronounced [həmzaː] Arabic Shift + H Palatal nasal
ی Chhoti yeh; literally meaning ‘small yeh’ pronounced [yeː] Arabic L Vowel
ے Bari yeh; literally meaning ‘big yeh’ pronounced [yeː] Arabic C Vowel

  1. The keys as they appear on the keyboard layout for Windows operating systems
  2. The voice describes the characteristics of the sound produced by the letter of the alphabet. It may be Velar, Palatal, Retroflex, Dental, Labial or Aspirated consonants and vowels. Discuss this