Giving the people Urdu, we are!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/06/30 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

That's right, now available, it's the Urdu Langauge Interface Pack for Windows 7!

Available for 32-bit only, and the system must have English fallback resources. You can download it from right here.

The Urdu Windows 7 LIP is produced as part of the Local Language Program sponsored by Public Sector.

And now a few facts about Urdu:


~60 million native speakers, ~40 milion second language speakers



Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. Although English (the second official language) is widely used in elite circles and Punjabi has more native speakers, Urdu is promoted and expected by the administration to eventually prevail in Pakistan. It is taught as a compulsory language up to high school and has started becoming the lingua franca.

From a linguistic perspective, Urdu and Hindi are two standard forms of one language rather than two different languages (This phenomenon is referred to as a "diasystem" and known from language groups like Persian/Dari/Tajik, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (formerly known as Serbo-Croatian), Danish/Norwegian or Malay/Indonesian. The issue is, of course, politically highly charged, and speakers of these languages normally consider them as distinct languages). Urdu has been borrowing more from Persian, while Hindi has been using Sanskrit to extend its vocabulary, and both are written in different scripts.



Urdu is an Indo-European language.


Urdu is written with Perso-Arabic, an extended Persian script (which is an extended Arabic alphabet).


Although Urdu is generally expected to be rendered with the Nastaliq calligraphy style of the Perso-Arabic script, the development of properly validated OpenType Nastaliq fonts continues to be a challenge (yet remains high on the list of items in Microsoft's lists of things it wants!).

You can find out more about the Urdu language here.


GregM on 30 Jun 2010 8:36 AM:

"~40 second language speakers"

I assume that's supposed to be "~40 million".

Michael S. Kaplan on 30 Jun 2010 10:05 AM:

Ooops! Fixed now... :-)

Bulletmagnet on 5 Jul 2010 3:35 AM:

Congratulations on the Urdu LIP.

I eagerly await the Skuldu and Belldandyu LIPs :)

Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Jul 2010 4:12 AM:

Well, I wouldn't hold my breath on that! (ref: here)

Todd on 1 Aug 2010 1:21 PM:

"Tajiki", not "Tajik". A Tajik is a person, not a language. Oh, and keep working on Nastaliq - that would be so cool to have Iqbal's poems displayed properly.

Michael S. Kaplan on 1 Aug 2010 3:12 PM:

Well I do have to go with Microsoft's language list on this one, for now at least. :-)


Emkay on 24 Aug 2010 12:40 PM:

Found your comments about Nastaliq extremely hopeful and made my day - even if they might be a dream that stays a dream. :-) The Urdu world will celebrate with whoops of joys if Microsoft ever ships Nastaliq fonts. De-facto reality is, for a language usage to flourish there needs to be *one* font capable of rendering it on the Windows product. IMHO, that has been the biggest problem in usage of Urdu on computers. There are some Urdu Nastaliq fonts (e.g. Nafees, Jamil Noori, Faiz Lahori) and I am sure they are IMPERFECT by some measures of Microsoft may expect from a "validated OpenType Nastaliq Font" - but even an imperfect one would be a great improvement over not having it!

Since people don't understand encoding vs font-display separation, there is much information on the web about why Urdu doesn't work - and expressed in colorful manner at times. My Urdu teacher calls reading Urdu with Microsoft (Naskh) fonts like looking at "piles of earthworms" - and she *does* read Arabic with Naskh. This issue of why Nastaliq is important - is very hard to convey to people not familiar with the culture behind the language.

referenced by

2010/07/18 Where's the other Urdu?

2010/07/09 The script can make the language more complicated [to use]

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