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12 January 2014

Teach Yourself Urdu
David Matthews and Mohammed Kasim Dalvi
Teach Yourself
Publication Date
Language Learning

If you are a beginner learning Urdu, this is the book to get. Though I am lucky that I have an Urdu-speaking husband and spend time in Pakistan and with Pakistani relatives, this book will give you 'the ground-work', the vocabulary, the grammar.

The book comes with a CD which I did not get as my husband is able to assist with pronunciation, so I have to exclude this in my review, but would obviously say - get the CD if you don't have CONSTANT access pronunciation / speaking help.

The book starts by giving a brief history on Urdu, and than the first unit deals with the alphabet. You have work through it - it is no use trying to learn or understand Urdu in 'English(Roman) writings'. It does look daunting, but is actually not that hard. After that, 15 chapters deal with learning Urdu in the usual language book learning manner i.e. starting off easy and getting more challenging. Grammar is included from the 1st chapter, and that is good so. My experience - pay good attention to the grammar right from the start. Within a few weeks I was comfortably able to recognise words I learned in Urdu TV channels and able to apply it to my Urdu speaking (much to husband's delight). As with other language learning, you do have to stay on the ball though, and if you have a longer break away from it, you may find you have forgotten the letters, which dots to go where.... But it is easy enough to pick up.

The book is rather small, and while this is ideal for taking with you, it can also be a challenge to properly see the Urdu writing - and this is unfortunately somewhat essential with a non-Roman script. Also, my copy fell apart after a few weeks, and I stuck the pages together with sellotape. Again and again.

All and all, I found the book invaluable with my Urdu learning and for me, it is the best one on the market (and believe me, I have lots!)