A fundamental goal of the Urdu program at the University of Washington is the learning of Urdu in the Nasta’liq writing system. It has been found over the years that students’ progress in learning Urdu is enhanced greatly if they learn the writing system as quickly as possible and not approach Urdu through the Roman alphabet (which actually slows down progress in the language). As a result, the first two weeks of Urdu 311 are mostly spent learning the basic sounds of Urdu and the elements of the Nasta’liq writing system. For the Nasta’liq writing we will use Let’s Study Urdu volume of Introduction to the Script. It is only after the writing system has been learned that we move on to grammar, reading, writing, speaking, etc. Once we get going on our “regular” schedule after the first two weeks, class time is divided into sessions that deal with separate activities (i.e., conversation, drill, reading, listening, etc.).
The main objective for the first-year Urdu course sequence (Urdu 311-312-313) is the enabling of students to develop usable proficiency in Urdu in each of a number of distinct skills, namely, speaking, reading, writing, listing, and knowledge of formal grammar. The primary text Let’s Study Urdu is designed in such a way as to enable students to develop their abilities with regard to each of these skills in a parallel manner. The primary text for the course is Let’s Study Urdu, which addresses each of the basic skills. The book contains 16 chapters plus appendices. We will complete all sixteen chapters of the book by the end of Spring Quarter and Chapter 6 or 7 by the end of Autumn Quarter. We will use the book in a comprehensive manner, which means we will be covering (and students will be responsible for) all grammar, conversations, readings, vocabulary, etc. Accompanying listening material is available with the book and in CD form and could be played on Real Player. Listening material is also available in the Language Learning Centre in the basement of Denny Hall and on their webpage. During the classes you will also learn about South Asian society in general and the etiquette and culture of the Urdu speaking community in India and Pakistan which affects the use of language in daily life. We will listen to and watch songs, ghazals and conversations, movie clips from Indian cinema (Bollywood) and other popular sources from Pakistan and India.