Beginning Urdu

A Complete Course

Joshua H. Pien and Fauzia Farooqui

"A complete first-year Urdu textbook designed to help learners acquire the language by actively using it in real-life situations."
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Beginning Urdu
is a complete first-year textbook designed to help learners acquire the language by actively using it in real-life situations. The book and its accompanying audio files–available on the Press website–contain all that is needed to complete one full year of study, including clear explanations of language structures; useful, fun, and engaging activities; and an organizational format that makes it easy to chart student progress.

• Develops all four skills—listening, speaking, reading, writing—through a wide range of tasks and activities, including role plays, games, and short conversations
• Beautifully illustrated with full-color, authentic images and written in an accessible style
• Introduces the sound system and script of Urdu
• Organized around functional themes such as home and family, everyday life, the marketplace, personal responsibilities, and travel
• Features straightforward grammatical explanations and topically organized vocabulary lists for each of the 34 chapters
• Integrates cultural information within the thematic units and also presents culture through aphorisms, poetry, and photographs
• Provides an activity set for each unit along with review activities, including tips for increasing fluency and sets of questions to help personalize learning
• Contains Urdu–English and English–Urdu glossaries
• Includes three appendices—Urdu numbers, additional grammatical structures for moving to advanced levels of proficiency, and a suggested syllabus

Beginning Urdu covers approximately 150 contact hours and is designed to bring learners to the ACTFL proficiency level of mid- to high-intermediate in all four skills. The book also serves as a valuable resource for independent learners.

Table of Contents

About Beginning Urdu
How to Use This Book: For Teachers
How to Use This Book: For Students
About the Urdu Language

The Sound System and Script of Urdu

Part I: The Sound System of Urdu

Lesson 1: Sounds Similar to English
Lesson 2: The Consonants r, l, v and the Vowels e and o
Lesson 3: Aspirated and Unaspirated Consonants
Lesson 4: Dental and Retroflex Consonants
Lesson 5: The Consonants r and rh and the Vowels ai and au
Lesson 6: The Consonants q, x, and gh
Lesson 7: Nasalized Vowels and Doubled Consonants
Exercise Answers

Part II: The Urdu Script
Lesson 8: Introduction to the Urdu Script: The be Series
Lesson 9: The jīm Series, sukūn and taśdīd
Lesson 10: The dāl and re Series
Lesson 11: The sīn and suād Series
Lesson 12: The Vowels vāo, choī ye, and baī ye
Lesson 13: fe, qāf, kāf, gāf, and lām
Lesson 14: Mīm, choī he, do caśmī he, and nūn ghunna
Lesson 15: The to and ain Series
Lesson 16: Additional Signs
The Arabic Definite Article
Exercise Answers

Unit 1: Me and My School

1. Introductions
Meeting Somebody New
Identifying Classroom Items
Asking and Answering Questions
Yes-or-No Questions
Greeting an Acquaintance

2. Me and My Classmates
Exchanging Basic Personal Information

3. My Classroom
Listing Items: There Is and There Are
Noun Types and Forms
Indefinite Words: koī and kuch

4. Describing Classroom Items
Describing Items by Their Qualities: Adjectives
Adjectival Question Words
Plurality and Respect with Adjectives and Nouns

5. Giving Commands and Making Requests
The Infinitive
The Imperative

6. Unit 1 Review Activities

Unit 2: My Family and My Home

7. Locating Places and Objects
Locating Places in the City
Locating Places within Countries
Locating Objects in the Home
Using Postpositions: Oblique Forms

8. Identifying Family Members
Using the Possessive Postposition
Possessive Pronouns
Stating the Number of Siblings You Have

9. Describing Family Members
Describing a Person's Physical Appearance
Stating a Person's Age
Oblique Adjectives

10. My Home, My Belongings
Features of One's Home
Expressing What one Has: Physical Possessions
Summary of Constructions for Expressing Possession

11. Making Comparisons
Comparative Constructions
Oblique Pronoun Forms
The Superlative Construction

12. Unit 2 Review Activities

Unit 3: Daily Life

13. My Daily Routine 1
Saying Where You Live and Work
Describing Routine Activities
Clock Time
Using Postpositions with Verbs

14. My Daily Routine 2
Uses of the Infinitive
Reflexive Pronouns

15. Describing Events in Progress
The Present Continuous Verb Tense
Conjunct Verbs

16. Weather and Climate
Describing the Weather
Describing the Climate

17. Unit 3 Review Activities

Unit 4: In the Market

18. Expressing Likes, Needs, and Desires
Expressing Likes and Needs
Contracted ko Pronoun Forms
Additional Uses of the Infinitive

19. Choosing Items and Expressing Measures
Using vālā to indicate an Item

20. Discussing Prices
Price Constructions

21. Unit 4 Review Activities

Unit 5: My Childhood

22. My Childhood Home
Describing Past Circumstances

23. Describing One's Childhood
The Past Habitual Verb Tense

24. Describing a Scene in the Past
The Past Continuous Verb Tense

25. Expressions of Time
Clock-Related Time Expressions
Non-Clock Based Time Expressions

26. Unit 5 Review Activities

Unit 6: Rules and Responsibilities

27. Rules and Regulations
The Verb saknā
V-ne denā
The verb pānā

28. Expressing Compulsion
Expressions of Compulsion

29. Giving and Following Instructions
The Subjunctive: Introduction
Expressing What One Wants Others to Do

30. Unit 6 Review Activities

Unit 7: A Trip to South Asia

31. My Plans
The Future Verb Tense
Invitations and Plans

32. My Travel Plans: Definite and Possible
Using the Subjunctive with Subordinating Expressions

33. Arranging Transportation and Lodging
How Long It Takes and How Much It Costs
Imminent Events

34. Finding One's Way
Giving and Following Directions

35. Seeking Information for Travel Plans
The Conjunction ki

36. Unit 7 Review Activities

Unit 8: Past Events and Experiences

37. My Weekend
The Perfective Verb Tense
Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
The Perfective of Transitive Verbs

38. Narrating a Story
The Past Perfect
The kar Construction

39. My Experience and Accomplishments
The Present Perfect Verb Tense
Stating How Long You Have Been Doing Something
The verb cuknā

40. At the Doctor
Ailments and Physical Conditions
Expressing the Beginning of an Action
Compound Verbs

41. Unit 8 Review Activities

Appendix 1: Numbers
Cardinal Numbers
Higher Numbers
Ordinal Numbers

Appendix 2: Grammar Supplement
Causative Verbs
Relative-Correlative Constructions
The Contrafactual Verb Form
Additional Meanings and Uses of honā
The Passive Voice
Participial Forms

Appendix 3: Additional Information for Teachers
Urdu-English Glossary
English-Urdu Glossary

Appendix 3: Additional Information for Teachers

Urdu-English Glossary

English-Urdu Glossary


"Beginning Urdu is a welcome addition to the study of South Asian languages. I commend this book for its accuracy, thoroughness, and usefulness. Going through the book, one can clearly see that the authors have a meticulous understanding of language pedagogy principles and a knack of presenting materials with great sensitivity to learners’ needs. One feels a fresh breeze in the selection of content and methodology here."—Surendra Gambhir, University of Pennsylvania



About the Author

Joshua H. Pien is a faculty researcher and Hindi-Urdu language specialist at the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. Previously he was an assistant professor of Hindi at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. He has also taught Hindi at the University of Wisconsin.

Fauzia Farooqui teaches Urdu and Hindi at Princeton University. She has also taught Urdu-Hindi at various other institutions, including the University of Virginia, the Defense Language Institute, University of Michigan, and the American Institute of Indian Studies in Lucknow, India. Her other publications include a monograph on the prose poem in Urdu and various original pieces of poetry, short fiction, and literary criticism, which have appeared in leading Urdu literary journals.

688 pp., 8.5 x 11
111 color illus., 64 line drawings, 3 maps
Jun 2012

688 pp., 8.5 x 11
111 color illus., 64 line drawings, 3 maps
ISBN: 978-1-58901-778-8
Jun 2012

688 pp.
111 color illus., 64 line drawings, 3 maps
ISBN: 978-1-64712-069-6
Jun 2012

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