Arabic Writing & Pronunciation (3)

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The following is a brief indication mainly of Persian and Urdu.

Persian
The sound of consonants and vowels in Persian is different from that of Arabic because Persian has no linguistic connection to Arabic.  “It is one of the Iranian languages which form a branch of the Indo-European family. [...]  The language was written in Cuneiform [...] In the 2nd century B.C. the Persians created their own alphabet, known as Pahlavi, which remained in use until the Islamic conquest of the 7th century.  Since that time Persian has been written in the Arabic alphabet with a number of additional characters to accommodate special sounds.”1

The same can be observed with the Greek alphabet which is used in Coptic as well as in Russian by adding a certain number of characters for special sounds.

However, Persian has kept the Arabic characters which do not exist in Persian.  Persian vowels, though few, are easily recognisable to the ear, unlike Arabic vowels.  The consonants are very different from Arabic ones.  This is important, as certain Arabic letters are not recognized in Persian pronunciation.2

The Persian style of writing is different from Arabic handwriting, but it is very aesthetic. For this reason, it is often used for headings in Arabic, especially in newspapers.  It is appreciated for its charm.

Kurdish and Pashto
The same rule applies to Kurdish and Pashto which are close to Persian, since they are part of the same family of Iranian languages.

Urdu
Urdu takes its name from the Turkish word ordu which means army and has given the word horde in English.  Urdu is a Hindustani dialect, close to Hindi, which was the language spoken at the court of the Moghuls in the 17th century.  Its name dates from this period, as it was the language of the imperial camp.  Urdu is the official language of Pakistan but it is also a constitutional language of India.3

Urdu belongs to the native Indian tradition rather than to Arab-Persian culture.4

“A large number of Persian, Arabic, and Turkish words entered the language via the military camps and the marketplaces of Delhi.”5

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