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The Urdu Language Landscape
Population of Pakistan: 167,762,040 (July 2008 est.)
Internet country code: .pk
Internet users: 12 million (2006)
Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-Iranian branch, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. It developed under Persian and to a lesser degree Arabic and Turkic influence on apabhramshas during the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire (1526–1858 AD) in South Asia.
Urdu is a standardised register of Hindustani termed the standard dialect Khariboli. The grammatical description in this article concerns this standard Urdu. In general, the term "Urdu" can encompass dialects of Hindustani other than the standardised versions.
Standard Urdu has approximately the twentieth largest population of native speakers, among all languages. It is the national language of Pakistan as well as one of the 23 official languages of India.
There are between 60 and 80 million native speakers of standard Urdu (Khari Boli). According to the SIL Ethnologue (1999 data), Hindi/Urdu is the fifth most spoken language in the world. According to George Weber’s article Top Languages: The World’s 10 Most Influential Languages in Language Today, Hindi/Urdu is the fourth most spoken language in the world, with 4.7 percent of the world's population, after Mandarin, English, and Spanish.
In Pakistan, Urdu is spoken and understood by a majority of urban dwellers in such cities as Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Abbottabad, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Multan, Peshawar, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Sukkur and Sargodha. Urdu is used as the official language in all provinces of Pakistan.
Sources: CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia – Content available under GNU Free Documentation License Related Article: The Global Language Landscape – Languages in Use on the Internet
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