Is Urdu Hard To Learn? (13 Things You Can Expect)

Urdu is one of the Hindustani language skills and is considered a vernacular dialect. Urdu has a solid cultural identity, and approximately 100 million people speak it worldwide. The language is challenging to learn and takes intensive practice and effort. 

It is one of the most common and preferred languages widely used by people in Pakistan, India, Nepal, and the Gulf countries. There are also many Urdu speakers in the U.K, the U.S., Bangladesh, and Canada. 

If you are thinking about learning it, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ll help you understand Urdu and what it takes to learn it correctly!

Is Urdu Hard To Learn?

Urdu is challenging to learn due to its right-to-left script, unique alphabet, and pronunciation. Additionally, Urdu has a different structure from English and has relatively broad terminology and complex grammar. Moreover, it has classical and modern forms and takes a lot of patience and commitment. 

However, once you start understanding the basics of Urdu, you will see how simple and beautiful this language is. Let’s begin!

1. History of Urdu as a Hindustani Language

One of the cultural languages, Urdu, has many words from Hindi, Persian, Turkish, and Sanskrit. Urdu sounds very similar to Hindi; learning either will generally help speak the other language. However, the written script is significantly different, as you will learn from this article. 

Additionally, the roots of the language in terms of vocabulary, pronunciation, syntax, and grammar make it possible for informal communication between Urdu and Hindi.

With over 100 million speakers spread across over 26 countries, Urdu is the world’s 20th most widely spoken language.

Most importantly, since Urdu is written right to left, it improves your visual organization, which also tends to hone your analytical abilities!

2. Urdu is a Vernacular Dialect

Urdu is an Indo-European language that most likely originated close to Delhi before gaining popularity throughout the rest of the subcontinent.

Historically, Urdu emerged as a vernacular dialect due to interactions between the native languages from India and those spoken by the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire courts.

Due to its unique writing script from right to left, Urdu is challenging for many. These include people that follow the left-to-right writing style, such as in English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Hindi, etc. 

3. Learning the Urdu Alphabet

Learning the Urdu Alphabet

Research indicates it takes over 1000 hours of intensive study to become proficient in Urdu. There’s a lot of memorization in learning any language, and it’s the same in learning Urdu.  

Steps to Learn the Urdu Alphabet,

  • First, you must become familiar with the 40 Urdu alphabet forms and pronunciation. You may want to get a physical as well as a digital copy of the alphabet chart.
  • You can read the chart whenever you want if you place it on your desk or a wall.
  • Memorize 10 to 20 letters each week and keep going until you know them all. 
  • Practice reading Urdu text once you know the alphabet entirely. 

As you can see, it takes incredible effort and practice before you can go on to learn vowels and words in Urdu. In later paragraphs, we will get into the additional studying and support you may need. 

However, you can begin your Urdu learning through this method without spending much money and effort. 

4. Learning Urdu is More than just Vocabulary. It’s a Skill! 

If you want to be fluent in Urdu, reading texts and watching movies and tv shows in Urdu would be essential. 

Conversely, for those learning this language, being fluent in Urdu will let them have casual conversations with most people from South Asia and other countries and comprehend their literature, music, and films. 

Consider learning Urdu if your professional aspiration is to work for a multinational corporation. 

You can work for an international business, teach, or translate. Numerous regional languages, such as Hindi, Sindhi, Pashto, and Punjabi, would be simpler for you to learn.

Overall, by learning this language, your skill set is enriched. As a result, you will have a competitive advantage, which could lead to incredible work opportunities.

5. Learning Urdu From Audiobooks and Mobile Applications

Many give up or stop learning Urdu due to the rigorous and tedious practice one needs to do regularly. Therefore, it’s critical to add some interaction and fun. 

Perhaps reading and writing are your preferred methods of learning Urdu. However, many options are accessible online or in the form of audiobooks that will guide you step by step to learn the language. 

At the same time, one of the more practical techniques is using a mobile app to assist you with on-the-move, gamified, easy-to-understand lessons. 

For example, you can use your smartphone to listen to Urdu tutorials when you have a few spare minutes while waiting at the bus stop or lying in bed. Similarly, you have access to play games and quizzes and listen to real conversations within the apps.  

While you shouldn’t use these apps exclusively, they are a terrific tool for gradually enhancing your skills!

6. Learning Urdu Requires Cognitive Skills

You must pace yourself and focus when studying Urdu because it demands cognitive abilities.  

Maintaining motivation when introducing new grammatical rules, vocabulary, sentence structures, and word formation is an essential skill for this language. 

There are plenty of motivations to learn a new language. Some people learn Urdu as a hobby to pick up a few linguistic skills, keep their minds active, and increase their decision-making capacity.

Others enroll in professional programs to become translators, interpreters, or interns who wish to work overseas!

7. Urdu Requires Continuous Ongoing Learning 

Urdu Requires Continuous Ongoing Learning 

Consider the length and frequency of your study sessions as you learn this language. Instead of engaging in a weekly Urdu study marathon, learning a little every day is recommended. 

However, setting aside an hour daily is ineffective if it exhausts you.

In addition, avoid overworking yourself to the point where you begin to detest learning Urdu by taking into account your time limits realistically. Allow yourself time off when you need it instead.

There will be times when you feel discouraged by your grasp of the vocabulary. But remember that learning Urdu requires perseverance, time, and effort!

8. Avoid Using Informal Urdu (Slangs)

Several informal Urdu terms and phrases are inappropriate in certain situations. It is comparable to slang, which is used in all languages. 

However, it is more challenging to grasp slang in Urdu. The reason is that Urdu slang words may have multiple meanings. 

Therefore, you must understand the significance of your words, especially while speaking to senior citizens!

9. Grammatical Gender in Urdu is Tricky

In learning this language, it is good to know how to identify each noun because Urdu has both masculine and feminine genders and formal and informal verb forms!

All males—both human and animal—are masculine. All females – humans and animals are feminine. The gender of abstract nouns is another distinction that Urdu learners must be aware of when learning Urdu.

For example, a word is typically masculine if it ends with an ā. Conversely, a term with ī or in at the end is often feminine.

Similar to the majority of Indo-European languages, gender in Urdu is expressed by grammatical gender, which often confuses students!

10. Using Language Immersion Technique is not Simple

Students can use language immersion techniques to learn Urdu naturally. However, this is not as simple as it sounds. 

Generally, the immersion technique includes living in a country where the language is commonly spoken. 

If you cannot do that, start by spending some of your day immersed in Urdu-focused listening and speaking activities. You can do this in classes, using smartphone apps, watching videos, or reading when going about your daily life. 

Alternatively, create connections with other Urdu-speaking members in your community, in classes you may take, or in online communities that can serve in this capacity!

11. Coaching and Livestreams To Learn Urdu

Coaching and Livestreams To Learn Urdu

You can learn Urdu in various places, including private Urdu classes, language institutions, and universities. Additionally, there are many online resources and courses. 

However, it’s important to find a good coach or institution. We recommend doing thorough research and trying free trials. 

12. Careers From Knowing Urdu

There are multiple career options if you have command over a language. However, in most cases, you will need qualifications, certification, and proven experience. 

For example, Translators & Interpreters can earn between $40,000 to $75000 annually. Many jobs also require Urdu-speaking bilinguals in sectors such as education, finance, manufacturing, logistics, human resources, government, and digital media.  

As you can see, there is a considerable demand for Urdu speakers in the United States and worldwide. 

13. Alternatives to Urdu 

Since Hindi and Urdu languages share phonologies and grammar conventions, some linguists claim that they are mutually understandable languages. 

If you cannot grasp or learn Urdu, then you may try learning Hindi. 

Overall, you can adapt to the similarities between the two languages because of their shared historical background!

To learn more, you can also see our posts on Bengali, Hindi and Thai.


Urdu is a comparatively challenging language due to its unique grammar and extensive vocabulary, but learning it is not impossible. It just takes time, dedication, and discipline on the learner’s part.

If your goal is to speak and communicate with native Urdu speakers, it’s essential that you learn correctly. To achieve this goal, you can join classes online or take tutoring from a native speaker.