Urdu is the national language of Pakistan (around 109 million speakers) and one of the 22 official languages of the Indian Union. It is mainly spoken in northern India, but also in certain Indian states such as Telengana and Maharashtra. It enjoys official or co-official status in 5 Indian states and in the territory of Delhi. In India, Urdu is spoken by around 50 million people. According to Ethnologue 2018, there are 163 million Urdu speakers worldwide.
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A sister language to Hindi, Urdu (formerly Hindustani for Europeans before 1947) differs from Hindi in that it has a strong Indo-Persian and Arabo-Persian heritage, both in terms of lexicology and everyday vocabulary, and in terms of the Indo-Persian writing system adapted to North Indian syntax. Like the other languages of India and South Asia, it has also been influenced by English. The language of the court during the last Moghul period (early 18th century) in India, Urdu has its origins in the Khari boli language of Delhi and the surrounding area. From then on, it was considered a literary language under the Muslim aegis, and enjoyed notable support from Muslim rulers. Orally, Urdu is distinguished from Hindi by sociolinguistic features inherited from Indian Persian, with regional variants, and is claimed by millions of Muslims in northern India. In written form, and as a mother tongue (taught in many schools and universities), it is estimated to be spoken by over a hundred million people. The Perso-Arabic alphabet is used to write the Urdu language.

Urdu literature is therefore a common heritage stemming from Arab-Persian models and covering many South Asian regions and Indo-Pakistani diasporas. It is also very much in evidence in audiovisual culture (Indian and Pakistani cinema and television). Urdu literature is translated into English and now also into French.

Knowledge of the Urdu language, combined with other skills, can open up interesting career opportunities, particularly in translation and interpreting in France and England, but it can also be useful in marketing and trade in/with the Indian subcontinent and also in the Gulf States, where there is a migratory flow of Urdu speakers from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.