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Lesson Transcript

John: Hi everyone, and welcome to UrduPod101.com. This is Absolute Beginner, Season 1 Lesson 1 - Introducing Yourself in Urdu. I’m John.
Afrah: Assalam u alaikum, I'm Afrah.
John: In this lesson you’ll learn how to say simple greetings and ask someone what their name is in Urdu. The conversation takes place between Asha and Ali.
Afrah: They are meeting for the first time at a party.
John:And since they don’t know each other, they will be using formal Urdu. Let's listen to their conversation.
آشا: ہیلو، آپ کا نام کیا ہے؟
علی: ہیلو، میرا نام علی ہے. اور آپ کا نام کیا ہے؟
آشا: میرا نام آشا ہے.
علی: آشا جی, آپ کا نام اچھا ہے.
آشا: آپ کا شکریہ!
John: Now let's listen to the same conversation at a slow speed.
ASHA: Hello, aap ka nam kia hai?
Ali: Hello, mera nam Ali hai. Aur aap ka nam kia hai?
ASHA: Mera nam Asha hai.
Ali: Ashaji, aap ka nam acha hai.
ASHA: Aap ka Shukriya!
John: Now let's listen to the conversation with English translation.
ASHA: Hello, aap ka nam kia hai?
John: Hello, what is your name?
Ali: Hello, mera nam Ali hai. Aur aap ka nam kia hai?
John:Hello, my name is Ali. And what is your name?
ASHA: Mera nam Asha hai.
John: My name is Asha.
Ali: Ashaji, aap ka nam acha hai.
John:Asha, your name is nice.
Asha: Shukriya!
John: Thank you!
John:So, in this conversation, Asha and Ali are meeting for the first time.
Afrah: Which means that they greet each other formally using the respectful and formal form of “you” which is aap.
John:Yes, this is a pretty standard way of addressing a stranger in Pakistani society.
Afrah: You can also add ji after a person's name to be even more respectful. Like in the conversation, Ali calls Asha, Ashaji.
John: Can you also add that suffix to a guy's name?
Afrah: Of course, for example Ali will become Ali ji.
John: It's actually almost like saying Ms. or Mr. in English, but it stays the same regardless of the gender. And that makes things very simple!
Afrah: Yes, in a way. But at the same time, Pakistani society is hierarchical in nature and everything including age, social standing, and positions at institutions are reflected in everyday speech by how we choose to address the other.
John:In fact, in Urdu, there are three different levels of respect one can show to the other person.
Afrah: But in this lesson we'll cover only the formal and respectful form of address.
John:Which can never go wrong in any situation.
Afrah: Let's now get started with the new words that were used in the conversation.
John: Sure, we'll first say the words at natural speed, then a bit slower so that you can distinctly hear every syllable in the word.
Afrah: So first we have, Hello. Hel-lo. Hello, which means “hello.”
John: The next one is
Afrah: aap ka,
John: which means, “your”
Afrah: Aap ka, aa-p ka, aapka. Then we have naam,
John: which means “name,” and almost sounds like it as well.
Afrah: nam, na-m, nam. Next is kia
John: which means, “what.”
Afrah: kia, ki-a, kia. Another one is hai,
John: which denotes the verb “to be”.
Afrah: So, we have hai, ha-i, hai. And next we have mera,
John: which means “my.”
Afrah: mera, me-ra, mera. Next is acha, one of my favorite words!
John: It means “nice.”
Afrah: acha, ac-ha, acha. And finally we have shukriya,
John: which means, “thank you.”
Afrah: shukriya, shuk-ri-ya, shukriya.
John: So let's talk about some of these new words.
Afrah: Hello, which means “hello,” is a common way of greeting in Urdu.
John:Some of you who are into yoga might have already encountered this word.
Afrah: It can be used at any time of the day as well. There is another word that is used along with hello. It is Assalam u alaikum. Not only can you use Assalam u alaikum to say “hello” but you can also use it to say goodbye!
John:So it’s quite a useful word..
Afrah: In addition to Hello, as we said earlier, Urdu also has Assalam u alaikum, and like hello, it can be used at any time of the day and also to say goodbye.
John:How about other ways of greeting, like when you want to say good morning, or good evening, or good night?
Afrah: Well, Pakistanis do have those time-specific greetings, but they're not as commonly used as hello or assalam u alaikum.
John: Shall we talk a little more about these different ways of addressing others in Urdu?
Afrah: Sure, so, there are three different levels of respect that one can show towards the other person .
John:And the most formal and respectful form is…
Afrah: aap.
John:The informal “you” is…
Afrah: tum.
John:And the casual “you” is…
Afrah: tu.
John: Well, the last one is casual but sometimes, it's also an intimate form of address.
Afrah: You will often hear it being used between close friends and siblings. However, to a stranger, it is without a doubt, rude. So the general rule is to avoid using it.
John:That's right. Let's use the formal “you” in a sentence.
Afrah: Okay. So, in the dialogue, Asha and Ali both ask each other’s names by saying, - aap ka nam kia hai?
John: Literally meaning “what is your name?”
Afrah: aap is the honorific form of you, while ka means “of.” And together they turn into a possessive form, “your”. Therefore, aap ka means, “your.”
John:So, one more time “What is your name?” in Urdu is…
Afrah: aap ka nam kia hai?
John:Let's now move to the Lesson Focus.

Lesson focus

Afrah: In this lesson we'll cover the use of the verb “to be”, hai. Basically, hai means “is”.
John: Compared to English, which uses the subject-verb-object order, Urdu uses a subject-object-verb order. This is quite an important point to remember.-- Urdu is a verb-final language .
Afrah: So, the verb hai comes at the end of a sentence.
John:And whether you're addressing a male or a female, the question “What is your name?” which is…
Afrah: aap ka nam kia hai…
John:Remains the same.
Afrah: Of course, being able to ask the question isn't enough. You'll want to be able to respond as well.
John:It's very simple. All you have to say is...
Afrah: Mera nam _[something]_____ hai, and just add your name after nam. So, if your name is Afrah, you say, Meraa nam Afrah hai.
John:What would you say if your name is Ali?
Afrah: Mera naam Ali hai. Very easy, right?
John:Yes, very easy because it doesn't change according to the subject's gender, like many other sentences in Urdu do.
Afrah: Yes, that's another important thing we'll cover in later lessons.
John: Just remember that in Urdu all nouns have genders. They are either Masculine or Feminine and verbs change accordingly.
Afrah:And the possessive forms aap ka, meaning “your”, and mera meaning “my,” change depending on what's being owned, and not on who is doing the owning. In this case the thing being owned, as in “name” or nam, is of masculine gender.
John: If all of this sounds a bit complicated, don't worry about it for now. All you need to know is that the sentence structure for “What is your name?” and “My name is ..[something]..” never change, no matter what your gender is. Just like in English!
Afrah: Even hai remains the same for both masculine and feminine subjects. For example, Afrah aik ladki hai is…
John:Afrah is a girl, and…
Afrah: Ali aik larka hai is…
John:Ali is a boy.
Afrah: You can also use hai without changing it for first person, second person, and third person singular subjects. For example, for first person singular, mera nam mahima hai is…
John:”My name is Mahima,” and for the second person singular,
Afrah: aap ka nam kamal hai is…
John:Your name is Kamal.
Afrah: And for third person singular, Woh kaisa hai? is…
John:How is he?
Afrah: hai means “is”, so obviously it works only for singular subjects. It changes into a nasal sounding hain when used for plural subjects. Hain therefore becomes the verb “to be” are.
John:Not to complicate things further, but sometimes, you can also use the plural form to show respect towards the subject even if it is singular. For example, in Urdu, “This is my mother” is…
Afrah: Yeh meri maaji hain.
John: While “This is my father” is…
Afrah: Yeh meray abuji hain. Listeners, note that here I used ji with “mother” and “father”. Maa means “mother”, and abu means “father”, and by adding ji, we showed them more respect. So the form is, [subject that you want to show respect] plus +ji.
So listeners, how would you refer to John respectfully? [PAUSE] John-ji.


John: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Afrah: Shukriya aur phir milenge!