No Urdu On Duolingo? Any Alternative Apps?

Urdu is definitely a language I’d love to learn! I’ve been looking for a place where I can learn at least a few words in this interesting language and can’t believe there is no Urdu on Duolingo. I wish to learn how to say at least a few introductory phrases, but I’ve had no luck finding any possibility for that.

I heard that language learning apps can help me with that. So, I did some research and find out that Duolingo is one of the most popular in that field and decide to try it and see for myself is it a really good tool the language learning. 

I was very disappointed when finding out that there is No Urdu on Duolingo. So I decided to look into this a bit more.

About the Urdu Language 

Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mostly in South Asia. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, Urdu is an Eighth Schedule language whose status, function, and cultural heritage are recognized by the Constitution of India. it has some form of official status in several Indian states.

Urdu has been described as a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. Urdu and Hindi share a common Indo-Aryan vocabulary base and very similar phonology and syntax, making them mutually intelligible in colloquial speech. Formal Urdu draws literary and technical vocabulary and some simple grammatical structures from Persian, whereas formal Hindi draws these from Sanskrit. 

Why there is No Urdu on Duolingo?

That’s a mystery to me and to many people that are writing to Dualogo’s staff on forums. In my opinion, there’s a serious problem with Duo not respecting its own users enough to reply to their questions. That’s a big problem. I really don’t know what is the criteria while chooses which course it wants to let come into life. 

I mean, if there’s a valid reason why Duolingo won’t even start an Urdu incubator and yet do have Klingon and High Valyrian language lessons, I’d like to at least know it.

I recently read on one of the posts that the option for contributing was there but apparently Duo team removed it. I have a friend who has also sent a request (a few times) and would be willing to contribute alongside other people. It shouldn’t be that difficult for Duolingo to organize having in mind that Hindi is already available and Hindi and Urdu are really similar and it’s mostly a matter of converting from the Hindi script to the Urdu script.

I wonder if Duolingo considers Hindi and Urdu the same language since technically Hindustani (Hindi+Urdu) is a single pluricentric language. Even native speakers of Hindi or Urdu agree that they have pretty much the same language, save for the writing system and religious-based preferences in the formal speech (Urdu prefers Arabic words, Hindi prefers Sanskrit.) Personally, I would love to have a course for just Urdu and take the Hindi course separately, because I love Urdu a lot and I feel like it should be treated separately from the equally lovely but different Hindi.

What’s more, the Hindi tree is still very short. And there are many languages in the queue that are more requested than Urdu.

What Are The Alternatives To Duolingo?


No Urdu On DuolingoI am glad you asked. There is one very obvious recommendation that can be made here, and that is the Ling Urdu app. Ling uses native Urdu speakers to help you learn Urdu, just like it will sound in the country. 

Through the gamification of learning, also makes the whole process much more engaging. You can see yourself progress as you make your way through the different topics and tests that come along with it.

Then there is the chatbot feature that simulates conversations and makes for great practicing your Urdu language skills. For an introvert like me, it helps to build up my courage to eventually feel confident enough to use it when out and about.

While these mobile apps do share a common goal of making language learning fun and accessible, what sets Ling apart is the focus on practical vocabulary, sentences, and phrases that you will use in everyday speech. 

Simply Learn

No Urdu On DuolingoThis one is actually a part of the same family as Ling. Simply Learn Urdu is a phrasebook in app form, giving you all the benefits that come with that. You can listen to the words and phrases being spoken by native Urdu speakers, along with the Urdu and phonetic spellings of the words. 

It makes for a great companion both when practicing and when you are in Pakistan. It makes use of flashcards and the spaced repetition learning technique that is said to really improve language learning.

It may not be the top choice if you want a deep understanding of the language but helps you start out with pronunciation and basic grammar like word order. 

Other Resources 

There are quite a few different apps and websites that work great with helping you to learn Urdu. Each one goes about its own way to replace the hole made by the lack of Tagalog in Duolingo. Ultimately, it is a case of finding which option works best for your case.

Like we said before, it is good to make a language learning plan and mix things up if you are serious about learning Urdu. If you are just looking for a more casual experience to learn a few phrases before traveling, then apps like the Ling Urdu app might be the best option for you.

What Are The Chances Of Urdu Appearing In Duolingo?

It’s a fact that many people would like to see Urdu In Duolingo. However, I would advise them not to get their hopes high. I doubt that the English/Urdu course will ever happen on Duolingo. 

Like in any other international services, Urdu is a totally unpopular and overlooked country (Netflix stopped creating Urdu subtitles). The most common answer to that situation is that Slovaks understand Czech so they can use that language in conversation with foreigners. I am so discouraged since language learning does not work that way. 

Duolingo has proven to be pretty a disappointment in this regard. So, maybe you should consider using Ling App for learning the Urdu language. 

Find Your Way To Learn Urdu

It is a shame that Duolingo doesn’t offer Urdu as an option.  However, this is a great opportunity for you to consider trying out some of the other options you can find on the market. While we highly recommend you to try the Ling Urdu app, we understand that everyone has their own preferences. There are many great resources for learning Urdu available so have a look around. Try some of them out and you may just find your new favorite language learning app.

Ling Thai offers some lessons for free to let you try it out. Download the app today.



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