Pakistan: there is more than one language

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Pakistan: there is more than one language
Pakistan: there is more than one language

Pakistan is a multinational state. In addition, the peoples living here strive for religious, tribal and territorial isolation, which gives rise to a huge number of dialects, many of which can be considered independent languages. And yet, seven main ones can be distinguished by answering the question of which language is the main one in Pakistan.


Urdu is not the mother tongue of most people in Pakistan. It is considered as such by no more than 8% of the population. However, it is official in Pakistan and serves as the lingua franca. It is taught in schools across the country, and the national media is sure to broadcast in this language. Therefore, all Pakistanis at least understand it. Sometimes this situation comes to the ridiculous and sad. For example, it is not uncommon for a Pashtun to write in Urdu but be illiterate in their native language.

Urdu is the twin of Hindi, the official language of India. Moreover, many linguists consider Urdu and Hindi to be the same language. Just "the language of the High City" (as the name is translated"Urdu", High City - this, by the way, Delhi) was once divided along religious lines. Muslim speakers switched to the Arabic alphabet, while Hindus remained in Devanagari Sanskrit (image below).

Devanagari inscription

The division of the British colonies in this region along religious lines led to the fact that Urdu and Hindi became even more isolated, becoming the state languages ​​of the conflicting states. In Urdu, more Persian and Arabic words appeared, while in Hindi, on the contrary, it decreased. Although native speakers of these two languages ​​understand each other without any problems.

Urdu is very famous for its Nastalq Arabic script. This Persian-influenced calligraphic style made the Arabic characters shorter and the word no longer a purely vertical line. The letters in the desktop seem to penetrate each other, together forming an outwardly beautiful graphic combination: the word looks like some kind of symbol.

Nastalk inscription

Because of this, books in Pakistan were partly handwritten for a long time. A typographical set of such words was impossible. The book was written by hand, and then lithographs from handwritten sheets were sent to the printing press. Only the introduction of computer typing eliminated this problem. However, it is not relevant. In official printed publications, standard Arabic naskh is used, and nastalq has acquired a more decorative and design character. The Pakistani public is concerned about the replacement of Arabic letters with Latin ones. Especially young people "sin" with thisgeneration. Main reasons: computers and mobile devices are not well adapted for Arabic script.

In the linguistic sense, Urdu is a typical Indo-Iranian language. And yet, let's name its features: "reverent" attitude to pronouns - here they manage to be divided into nouns, adjectives and numerals, and it is "forbidden" to say directly "This is not me" with the language. You have to say something like "Someone". Urdu uses postpositions that are not very popular throughout the language world. These are the same prepositions, but after the word.


We won't talk much about him. It is not native to any of the peoples of Pakistan. However, in the era of English rule, it spread, performing the functions of the language of interethnic communication. It retains this function even now, being the second official language of Pakistan, although it is noticeably inferior in popularity. Therefore, it is quite possible that the country will refuse it altogether.

Punjabi (Punjabi)

The most widely spoken language in Pakistan. In the eastern part of the country, it is spoken by eight out of ten Pakistanis (that's somewhere around 76 million people). As a percentage, it is 44 percent of all languages ​​in Pakistan. It is very similar to Urdu because it is related to it.


Pashtuns make up a significant portion of Pakistan's population, making them the second most spoken language (15%). The trouble with Pashto is that each tribe strives to speak in a special way, emphasizing its "self". A huge number of dialects even makes linguiststo doubt the existence of a single language, Pashto, which, despite being related to Urdu, acquired its own special letters in the alphabet. Even in writing, the Pashtuns tried to stand out: they invented the tahriri calligraphic style. Simplified, but its own.


The language of the Indian people of the Sindhis. There are a lot of them in Pakistan, which gives the language 14% of the prevalence. Sindhi, like Urdu, was divided along religious lines between India and Pakistan with the same consequences. True, while it is called both there and there the same. Of the "eccentricities" of the Sindhi, we note the absence of the middle gender and direct pronouns of the third person. However, Sindhis, like all the peoples of the country, are at least bilingual. They speak English too.

In English


The language of the Siraiki people living in the northeast of Pakistan. There are also a lot of Siraiks (or southern Punjabis, that is, Muslim Punjabis) - in the language share of languages, almost 11%. The language is also shared between India and Pakistan. Siraiqis write in Arabic, while northern Punjabis in Indian Punjab use the Hindu Gurmukhi alphabet.


The last among the popular (4%) languages ​​of Pakistan is the language of the Iranian people Balochi. Distributed in the southwest of the country, naturally, in the province of Balochistan. This language is Iranian and therefore stands apart from other languages ​​of Pakistan. For the rest of the peoples, there are no special problems in interethnic communication due to linguistic affinity. After all, there is also Urdu and English.

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