Urdu is one of the most important and richest languages of the subcontinent, whose significance extends far beyond South Asian Islam. At our faculty, Urdu grammar and basic vocabulary are introduced through the Devanagari script in the first two terms and the Urdu scripts and written text are taught in the third term. Those who wish to learn Urdu should, therefore, initially join the “First-year Hindi” course.
Readings of a variety of Urdu literary texts are organised for students enrolled into the MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies. Those who wish to continue their Urdu studies after going through an elementary course in Oxford or elsewhere can also attend provided the course is not full. Admission for students from outside the Faculty is subject to availability and to the approval of the course tutor.
These classes are held once or twice a week and constitute in translating into English and interpreting the selected texts. Along with a close reading and translation of the texts, their socio-cultural context is also presented and sessions normally include an Urdu discussion of some earlier passage. Students will normally be given a basic vocabulary and should prepare their texts with the help of dictionaries in advance. They will sometimes have to present short Urdu essays about various topics related to the texts. The course normally presents a 5-10 hour weekly workload.