interesting experience

Rajarshi Banerjee rajarshi.banerjee at SMGINC.COM
Thu Aug 31 05:27:48 UTC 2000

As an amatuer indologist (and now a laboring sanskrit student) i always pay
close attention to all my encounters with Indian culture. This past weekend
i was at my local convenience store where the clerk has become a good
aquaintence over the past year.( he was born and raised in India) I was
telling him of my travel plans for this fall and my intention of learning
rudimentary hindi so that i could communicate better when in major cities in
the north. His response was immediatly shocking to me. He told me at great
length how though most people believe they are speaking hindi, they are
actually speaking Urduu. This seems a bit of a rediculous claim considering
that none of the hindi liturature i have seen displays an arabic alphabet.
so my question is this: is there any value to this claim? Also, is this a
reletively common claim?
Stephen J Brown University of Rochester.

The script/alphabet does not determine the language spoken. both urdu and
hindi can be rendered in the nagari or arabic script. The grammar is also
the same.
What differentiates urdu from hindi is just a choice in vocabulary. for
example saying dost instead of mitra both of which mean friend. Normal
spoken hindi uses sanskritic as well as some persian words but cannot be
termed as urdu. An urdu speaker would normally substitute all sanskritic
words with persian/arabic. In general most hindi speakers can urduise their
hindi a bit and have a sense of what is arabic/persian and what is not. The
authentic urdu speakers have a better persio-arabic vocabulary though.

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