Mixing English in Pakistan

The World

If you talk to a middle or upper class Pakistani these days, you’ll hear a response which is a mix of Urdu and English. This American linguistical anthropologist speaks on the topic but doesn’t use his last name because he’s afraid a government official would be offended by his opinion. During his 10 years here, he’s seen the deterioration of Pakistan’s national language, which is giving way to English in more and more arenas. This newspaper editors wonders about this too and says he has to make a very conscious effort to speak in Urdu and it’s stylish now to toss around English phrases, especially among kids as more and more young people lose more and more Urdu vocabulary. Schools teach that Urdu was cobbled together from many different languages around the 18th centuries, but this analyst says news of Urdu’s death is greatly exaggerated by Pakistan’s elite and the common man also stills uses largely Urdu. But it’s just one of 55 languages spoken by Pakistan’s 170 million people. He says there’s a definite push for more English as a way to get a better job. Urdu may evolve into something else over the next few hundred years, just as Shakespeare’s �English� has evolved.

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