The University of Iowa

May 3 presentation asks ‘How Many Languages Are Hindi-Urdu?’

April 26th, 2013

For almost two centuries, scholars have tried to clarify the relations between two language varieties commonly referred to as “Hindi” and “Urdu,” sometimes lumped together under the hyphenated rubric of “Hindi-Urdu.”

Michael Shapiro of the University of Washington, Seattle, will present “So How Many Languages Are Hindi-Urdu Anyway?" on Friday, May 3, 2013, at 4 p.m. in University Capitol Centre, Room 2520B. This event is free and open to the public. Chai and snacks will be served.

This talk will describe the complex of historical, cultural, and political factors that have fed this debate and how these factors have been reflected in grammars, dictionaries, pedagogical materials, and linguistic studies. It will also explore the real-world consequences of these terminological issues, whether in second-language classrooms or in formulating language policies for modern nation states.

Shapiro is professor of Hindi in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature and adjunct professor in the Department of Linguistics, University of Washington, Seattle. His research and teaching is related to the languages, linguistics, literatures, and cultures of North India.

This event is sponsored by the South Asian Studies Program in International Programs and the Department of Linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, contact Philip Lutgendorf at or 319-541-5145.

See the event poster