Urdu

Urdu is spoken throughout Pakistan, India, and the South Asian diaspora, where it serves as the language of journalism, education, commerce, religion, as well as arts and entertainment. Urdu boasts an especially vital tradition of poetry and fiction, which includes such celebrated writers as Mirza Ghalib, Muhammad Iqbal, Ismat Chughtai, and Saadat Hasan Manto. Urdu language courses have been offered at Duke since 2019, made possible by the Duke-UNC Middle East Consortium.

Duke offers two courses in the Urdu language: The Urdu Script (URDU 101) and Urdu and its Cultures (URDU 102). In The Urdu Script, students focus on learning to read and write the Nastaliq script, while developing communication skills and cultural awareness. Urdu and its Cultures (designed for students with at least elementary proficiency) introduces students to the legacy of Urdu language and literature in South Asia, while continuing to build communicative proficiency.

For more information, contact Peter Knapczyk (peter.knapczyk@duke.edu).

Placement in an Urdu language class follows the AMES department placement policy.

Self-Assessment Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to acquaint you with levels of Urdu classes and to help you choose the right course for you prior to finalization by the official placement. A self-placement should be confirmed or corrected by a formal placement assessment. The placement test consists of a 10-minute oral interview and a 20-minute written test. To schedule a test, please contact: Peter Knapczyk (peter.knapczyk@duke.edu)

I have never studied or been exposed to Urdu.
  • Enroll in URDU 101 (The Urdu Script)
I speak Urdu with my parents and friends. I can speak everyday Urdu fairly fluently, but I cannot read the Urdu script or any related script.
  • Enroll in URDU 101 (The Urdu script)
I speak Urdu with my parents and friends. I can communicate about basic things in Urdu with some effort. I do not know the Urdu script, but I can read Arabic (or Persian, etc.).
  • Enroll in URDU 101 (The Urdu Script) or contact the instructor to test into URDU 102 (Urdu and its Cultures)
I speak Urdu with my parents and friends: I can communicate about basic things in Urdu with some effort. I am familiar with the Urdu script and understand sentences slowly.
  • Enroll in URDU 102 (Urdu and its Cultures)