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The Persian language influenced the formation of many modern languages of the Greater Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asian regions, including Urdu.[1]

Following the Turko-Persian Mahmud of Ghazni's Ghaznavid conquest of South Asia, a hybrid language of Turkish, Arabic and Persian and local dialects began to form, one that would eventually be known as Urdu. This language was called Zaban-e-Ordu ('language of the army') to distinguish it from Persian, the court language, and was later shortened to just Urdu. It grew from the interaction of Persian and Turkic speaking Muslim soldiers and the native peoples.[2] Under Persian influence from the state, the Persian script and Nasta'liq form of cursive writing was adopted, with additional figures added to accommodate the Indic phonetic system. The national anthem of Pakistan is highly Persianized.

Urdu is a morpho-syntax/grammatically an Indic language, written in the Perso-Arabic script, and contains literary conventions and specialised vocabulary largely from Persian.[2] Some grammatical elements peculiar to Persian, such as the enclitic ezāfe, and the use of the takhallus, were readily absorbed into Urdu literature both religious and secular.

Despite the heavy influence of Persian on Urdu, linguistically, Urdu is not classified as an Iranian language (as is Persian) but rather as an Indo-Aryan language (like Punjabi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Seraiki and Sindhi). Urdu soon gained distinction in literary and cultural spheres because of the hybrid nature of the language. Many distinctly Persian forms of literature, such as Ghazal, Qasida, Marsia and Nazms, caried over into Urdu literature, producing a distinct melding of Iranian and South Asian heritages. A famous cross-over writer was Amir Khusro, whose Persian and Urdu couplets are to this day read in South-central Asia.


  1. "Language Family Trees: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian". Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kachru, Yamuna (2006). Hindi. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 2.