What Is The Basic Difference Between Arabic And Urdu?

Arabic and Urdu are both widely spoken and important languages to study especially in the Muslim world. Normally, it would be difficult to tell the difference between Arabic and Urdu for a new learner because both languages are quite similar in many aspects.

In this blog, the author compares Arabic and Urdu, two closely related languages. Throughout the post, the key similarities and differences between the two languages will be highlighted to provide new learners with a more in-depth understanding of what they should aspect from learning Arabic and Urdu.


Arabic and Urdu are two of the existing and spoken languages in the world. They share many similarities, but there are also a few key difference between Arabic and Urdu that set them apart.

Urdu is a relatively new language, developed in the 12th century in northern India. It became popular largely among Muslims of India and Pakistan. After the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, Pakistan announced Urdu as its official language and since then, Urdu has been adopted by other minority groups as well. Some Muslims living in India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh can also speak Urdu. 

Similarities Between Arabic and Urdu

Arabic and Urdu share many similarities. Both languages are spoken in many parts of the world. Arabic is spoken by more than 400 people around the world, while, Urdu speakers reach to 100 million approximately.

One major similarity between Arabic and Urdu is their writing system. Both languages use the Arabic alphabet, which is also used by other languages such as Persian. This alphabet is well suited to both languages, as it can accurately represent all the sounds of both Arabic and Urdu. Similarly, both languages are written from the right-to-left patterns.

Both share the status of being an official language of a country. Arabic is the official language of several Arab countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Urdu is the official and national language of Pakistan.

Arabic and Urdu both have been influenced by other languages over the years. Additionally, both languages have a rich literary tradition and boast a number of famous poets and writers.

Both languages share some other common features. For example, both languages make use of triconsonantal root words and have a similar sound system. Likewise, the gender system of words in Arabic and Urdu is also quite similar.

Another similarity between Arabic and Urdu is their grammar. Both languages have a rich system of verb tenses and aspects. This makes it relatively easy for speakers of one language to understand speakers of the other.

Difference Between Arabic and Urdu

When it comes to the difference between Arabic and Urdu, there are quite a few differences between two. For starters, Arabic is considered to be a more formal language while Urdu is seen as being more colloquial. Arabic is considered the 6th official language of the United Nations, but while, Urdu has not yet acquired this status. Likewise, Arabic has a larger number of speakers around the world than Urdu does.

Arabic and Urdu are both languages belonging to different language families. Urdu belongs to the Indo-Iranian family, while, Arabic is a member of the Semitic family

As far as grammar is concerned, there are also some difference between Arabic and Urdu. For instance, in Arabic, there is a dual form for nouns and verbs whereas this does not exist in Urdu. Additionally, Urdu employs a subject-object-verb word order which is different from the subject-verb-object order or verb-subject-object order used in Arabic.

Urdu has loanwords from Persian, Turkish, Arabic, English, and other languages, while Arabic does not have as many borrowings from other languages. Similarly, Arabic is the language of the Quran and is mostly spoken in Islamic countries.


Arabic and Urdu are two spoken languages in the world. They share many common roots, but they have also developed along very different paths. The basic difference between Arabic and Urdu has been discussed above. Moreover, Arabic is the language of religion, culture, and politics in much of North Africa and the Middle East, while Urdu is more commonly spoken as a second language in South Asia. Both languages are rich with vocabulary and idioms that reflect their diverse origins. If you want to learn either Arabic or Urdu, it’s important to understand how they differ from each other.

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