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Evolution of Urdu Language

“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes”

Meaning of language

To understand the specific language we need to understand what exactly language means. For a layman I would call language a medium to communicate with people. Comprehensively language is not just the exchange of words rather it is communication of feelings, expressions, and beliefs. This might be in form of words, symbols, signs, signals, compositions of music notes or even vague or clear sounds.

History of languages

History of language starts from the beginning of evolution of mankind. In different times the modes of communication among the mankind has been different. Starting from the thought process to the molding words to express refers to language. It includes the words that are unsaid and expressed by actions. Therefore history of languages can be studied in detail by the study of nations and tribes. There has been a strong impact of languages on the cultural behavior of nations all over the world. Languages have evolved ever since the first sign of life on earth. About 200000 years ago different modes of communication were transformed in vocalization or speech. Later about 30000 years ago mankind developed symbols. This further revolutionized into writing about 7000 years ago.

Evolution of languages

“It is perfectly safe to attribute this development [of innate language structures] to “natural selection”, so long as we realize that there is no substance to this assertion, that it amounts to nothing more than a belief that there is some naturalistic explanation for these phenomena.” [Noam Chomsky, Language and Mind, 1972, p. 97]

We cannot trace back in time that a certain language was abruptly adapted or created. Languages were formed and changed gradually. Languages have rapidly changed as well. The greatest reason of change in language is due to socialization and intersection. Strongly interactive cultures show rapid changes. The cultures which are isolated in a tribe or in a geographical area show a slow change in language. If there is a lack of interaction there is a lack of adaptation of values and behaviors from other cultures.

Language and culture

If man would not have been interacting withother civilizations and culture there would have no development of language. Language is not the invention of isolation; rather it is the creation of socialization. For every developing, developed or grown culture there has been an evolution likely.

Urdu language

The story of Urdu starts from the times of Mughals. The armies of the Mughals belonged to different ethnic backgrounds having different dialects. Their languages evolved into a molded form of a new language which we call Urdu in the present time. Urdu is a derivative of a number of languages which were spoken by the army of the Mughals. These soldiers were:

  • Turkish
  • Arabs
  • Pathans
  • Balochi
  • Afghans
  • Persians
  • Rajputs
  • Jats

The word Urdu is derived from a Turkish word that means army. This is the reason we call Urdu the language of army or lashkari zuban.

Evolution of Urdu Language

The society in which a language is spoken decides its evolution, development and recognition. Evolution in the language Urdu has resulted due to the interaction of different dialects, invasions and conquests. Urdu was evolved in the following phases:

• The indo- Aryan family language includes Urdu as well. The historic background of this rich language originates from Saur Senic Prakrit. Sanskrit was evolved to form Saur Senic Prakrit. Later Saur Senic Prakrit was influenced by a number of Hindi dialects.

• Then comes the evolutionary phase, this was affected by the literature of Insha. Then it started to take the form a picture of a new language that we call Urdu today. This was the time when Urdu and Hindi was differentiated. The cultural impact was that the Muslims in the subcontinent either spoke Urdu or Farsi and the Hindus spoke Hindi (Khari Boli and Devanagari). There was a clear difference in the two languages as Urdu had certain words of Arabic and Persian in it which Sanskrit did not have.

• After the invasion of the Muslims in the subcontinent Persian was made the official language of the subcontinent. Later Urdu became the official language of the states ruled by Mughals. This laid a strong impact on the culture of India and further revolutionized the language to give a new form.

  • Urdu started to evolve after 1193 AD.

• Invaders of the subcontinent effected Urdu language. These were Arabs, Persian and Turks. Urdu has Persian words in it.

• Later the British rule in the subcontinent words of English also became a part of it. This change was not that obvious due to the clash with their rule.

Source by Asad Asrar

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