Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hindustani, a Neo-Sanskritic language which is based on the Hindi vernacular of the Doab (the region between the Ganges and Jumna rivers). Here it took its present form in the 16th century in the camps of the Moghul conquerors, and hence its native name Urdu, Zabdn ("camp language").

In its structure it is essentially Indie, though the synthetic Sanskrit forms are mostly replaced by analytic constructions, and in this respect it is the most advanced of all Sanskritic tongues. In its vocabulary it is, like English, a composite language, the three chief elements being Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic, the two latter increasing or diminishing according as it is spoken or written by Mohammedans or Hindus. It is also written in three different characters: Devaneigari by the Hindus, the Persian form of the Arabic, with a few additional letters by the Mohammedans, and the Roman by the missionaries and other Europeans. The literature is copious, comprising histories, annals, tales, educational works, and much poetry, mostly translations, or based on Persian originals.

Hindustani has always been more of a lingua franca than the language of any particular district, and as such is now current in almost every part of the peninsula, being spoken altogether by over 100,000,000, but by few exclusively. There are two distinct forms, the Northern, and the Southern, or Dakhni, spoken in the Deccan, which presents many peculiarities of structure due to the influence of the surrounding Dravidian languages.