University of Washington, Department of Asian Language and Literature
So How Many Languages are Hindi and Urdu Anyway? And Whatever Happened to
the Hyphen in Hindi-Urdu?
Friday, May 27, 2011
Paccar Hall Room 291
In this talk I explore some definitional matters that have for almost two
centuries bedeviled attempts to sort out attempts to clarify the relations
between two language varieties commonly referred to as “Hindi” and “Urdu,”
but that sometimes have sometimes been lumped together under the hyphenated rubric of “Hindi-Urdu.” I’ll describe the complex of historical, cultural, and political factors that have led to the use of a multiplicity of terms to
refer to specific New Indo-Aryan vernacular speech varieties. I will also
describe how these factors have been reflected in grammars, dictionaries,
pedagogical materials, and linguistic studies of these speech varieties.
I’ll examine to extent to which formal linguistic criteria can help clarify
this terminological morass. And lastly, I’ll speak about the consequences
that these terminological issues have in the real world, whether in
second-language classrooms or in formulating language policies for modern
Reception to Follow.
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