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Urdu is most often written in a Persian-Arabic script called Nastaleeq (Nastaliq).
The Nastaleeq character set (the Urdu alphabet) contains 39 characters -some people say 35-,
and is a super set of the Arabic and Persian alphabets.
There are no upper and lower case characters in Nastaleeq.
- Read table from left to right.
- There are up to four shapes four each character: detached, initial, medial and final.
This may seem a bit overwhelming at first sight, but it just makes writing faster and the
logic of the different shapes will soon be obvious to you.
- The shapes shown in the boxes "final" and "medial" should only be used when the characters
are connected to the previous character, otherwise you should use the "initial shape".
For pronunciation, correct relative sizes, writing base line position and example words
To hear the sound of the characters, you should
download and install
the "Real Audio Player" first. A click on the loudspeaker will make you hear the sound
of the character and the example word.
- Itrans code is normally used to produce correctly spelled asian scripts like
Devanagari. I have used it here also to help you pronounce correctly the example words, the only addition I made are the brackets which are used to indicate that
certain sylables are not pronounced.
For more info concerning the Itrans code have a look at
the Itrans homepage
- In the "name box" an approximation of the sound of the Urdu name of the character using
English is provided. I sometimes used capital letters to indicate sounds that don't exist
in English e.g. the pronunciation of Tay differs from the one used for tay, ZHay is not pronounced "zhay"!