D. Resources for further study

There are many books, articles, and other materials on topics related to Urdu. Below we have listed some resources that we particularly recommend.

Dictionaries and other references and tools

Rekhta Dictionary

The most versatile online dictionary of Hindi-Urdu, available in all three scripts.

S.M. Salimuddin, The Oxford Urdu-English Dictionary

The most useful Urdu-English print dictionary.

Shanul Haq Haqqee, The Oxford English-Urdu Dictionary

The best English-Urdu dictionary.

John T. Platts, A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi, and English

A very useful dictionary, published in the late nineteenth century and still valuable, especially for historical texts.

Francis Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary

An essential resource for reading more Persianized texts, especially older ones.

Urdu Thesaurus

A compilation of synonyms, equivalents, parallel terms, and words that mean the same thing.

Grammar, vocabulary, and script

Ruth Laila Schmidt, Urdu: An Essential Grammar

A clear and comprehensive account of Urdu grammar.

Gregory Maxwell Bruce, Urdu Vocabulary: A Workbook for Intermediate and Advanced Students

A thorough introduction to Urdu etymology and other aspects of vocabulary, focusing especially on words of Persian and Arabic origin.

Brian Spooner and William L. Hanaway, Reading Nasta‘liq: Persian and Urdu Hands from 1500 to the Present

A guide to reading a variety of historical writing styles, including the shikasta scribal script.

Sangam transliterator

A tool that automatically transliterates among various scripts, including Hindi and Urdu. Imperfect, but useful nonetheless.

History of language and script

Walter Hakala, Negotiating Languages: Urdu, Hindi, and the Definition of Modern South Asia

A history of dictionaries and the relationships among Urdu, Hindi, Persian, and other language varieties.

Alexander Jabbari, The Making of Persianate Modernity: Language and Literary History Between Iran and India

A transnational history of language and literature.

Tyler Williams, If All the World Were Paper: A History of Writing in Hindi

A history of writing in the north Indian vernacular, variously known as Hindi, Urdu, Hindustani, Rekhta, Bhasha, etc.

Francesca Orsini, Print and Pleasure: Popular Literature and Entertaining Fictions in Colonial North India

A history of songs, romances, and other commercial genres in Hindi and Urdu.

Michael Beard, The Arabic Alphabet: A Guided Tour

A playful and erudite account of all the letters of the Arabic alphabet, with excursions into the histories of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish, Hebrew, and other languages.


Urdu Spot It cards

These are cards that you can print out to play a matching game. Each player gets a starting card, and the rest of the cards are stacked in the middle of the table. Every pair of cards has exactly one word in common. The first player to spot a match shouts it out and takes the top card, and the winner is the player with the most cards when the stack runs out.


Like Wordle, but… Urdle.


Frances Pritchett’s web site

A rich collection of materials on Urdu literature and other aspects of South Asian culture. The centerpieces are the extensively annotated sections devoted to the poetry of Ghalib and Mir (available in all three scripts).


An enormous compendium of Urdu literature, primarily poetry (available in all three scripts) and scanned books.



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