Learning Urdu: A How-To

As a lingua franca (bridge language) of Pakistan, it’s no wonder that learning Urdu has struck your fancy. Learning any second language is a challenge, but it is a challenge that you can master with the right kind of foundation. You probably already know that if you are dedicated to the learning process and are willing to put in some honest effort, Urdu will successfully become a part of your language skills.

Get Guidance
It is important to have some sort of structural support as you learn a language like Urdu to keep you on the right track and ensure that you are covering all the ground necessary to really learn the language. You have a variety of options when it comes to how to get that guidance, so decide which is right for you.

Finding a class that teaches Urdu near you may be unlikely, but check out local colleges and language centers in case their offerings surprise you. You also have the ability to enroll in online Urdu courses. Be sure that when doing this you read user reviews, and utilize any free trials so that you get the best Urdu education for your dollar.

You can also hire a tutor to teach you. This is a great option as languages are best taught through another person who already has the working knowledge and expertise that you wish to acquire. Working one-on-one with someone helps them understand your learning style and gives you the opportunity to have highly personalized lessons that are designed to work specifically for you. Tutors are also valuable in that they can give you insight on the culture surrounding the language, any slang or nontraditional usages, and be there to answer questions. They also make excellent conversation partners and can even go over your written work to make your abilities more fluid and natural. Look for tutors in classifieds, Craigslist, or other tutoring sites like here on LRNGO, or WyzAnt.

If you like the idea of a tutor but don’t like the cost, then look into becoming involved with language exchanges. Essentially, language exchange is a mutual tutoring, like “you teach me English and I’ll teach you Urdu”. No cost besides your time, and all the benefits of a tutor. As you know, LRNGO offers a free platform for learning exchange, so you can find a partner near you or online to work with via video chat.

Practice Outside of Lessons
This is an essential part of your study. The guidance of an instructor is important, but if you don’t practice on your own, you won’t grow in your language skills. Check out sites like Urdu101, My Languages, and BBC Urdu for resources and links that will help you practice outside of class. Listening to radio shows and reading news in Urdu will help increase your ability to use the language in everyday life.

It’s also important to be sure you practice frequently and consistently. Make a schedule with the guidance of your instructor and ask them for advice on how to incorporate Urdu into your daily life for maximum practice.

The key to Urdu is to stay dedicated and determined and to practice, practice, practice. I know it’s cliché, but you can achieve your goal with substantial effort. The hardest part is just to get started and make the decision to start learning!

Photo Credit: Irfan Ahmed

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