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Learn Urdu

What are the best apps to learn Urdu?

Well-known apps like Rosetta Stone, Babbel or Duolingo offer no Urdu courses, but there are other apps for learning Urdu that are just as good or even better.

Islamabad, Pakistan

   Overview of the Urdu Language:

Urdu has 70 million native speakers and there are about 100 million people who speak Urdu as a second language.

Hindi and Urdu are largely mutually understandable.

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. Although the Urdu language has only 16 million native speakers there, it is learned by almost everyone.

Most native Urdu speakers live in India (50 million) and Urdu is also widely understood in Afghanistan, mainly because of Pakistani films and media.

The K2 Mountain in Pakistan

Now let's take a look at the apps, software and online courses that you can use to learn Urdu. The biggest advantage of such learning apps is that they are much cheaper than traditional language courses.

Mondly Urdu App

The Best Alternative to Duolingo

The Mondly App lets you learn the Urdu language in a playful way with a series of interactive exercises.

This Urdu learning program contains:

  • Urdu vocabulary trainer with 5000 words
  • 50 topics and categories to choose from
  • 2100 Urdu lessons, including grammar
  • Conversation trainer for common situations (speech recognition)
  • There is even a virtual reality version of this learning app
Mondly has around 45 million users worldwide. This language course has the advantage of having 41 source languages and 41 target languages.

Summary: Mondly is very similar to the Babbel and Duolingo apps and even better in terms of quality. The cost-benefit ratio for the lifetime access to all 41 languages is unbeatable.

Link: Mondly Urdu App and Online Course


Urdu Basic Course

From 17 Minute Languages

Systems: Online Access (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

Suitable for: Beginners and Advanced Learners, Students, Professionals

Content: 1300 words (basic course), 5200 words (complete course), grammar, verb conjugations, exercises

Prices: USD 29,95 (Basic Course), USD 97 (Complete Course)

Overall Value:

The Urdu Basic Course contains a vocabulary trainer for the basic Urdu vocabulary (1300 words) with native-speaker audio, as well as grammar explanations and various exercises.

The vocabulary trainer works with a long-term memory method, in which the new vocabulary is checked at increasing intervals.

You can choose between text input, multiple choice or simply confirming whether you knew a word or not.

The exercises include text comprehension questions, filling in word gaps or just vocabulary lists where one side is covered.

The basic course corresponds to the official language levels A1 and A2 (explanation of CEFR language levels).

The Complete Course contains:

  • Basic course for beginners (basic vocabulary with 1300 words)
  • Intermediate course (1800 more words)
  • Advanced course for experts (2100 words)
  • Additional specialized vocabulary
  • Covers the official CEFR language levels A1 to C2
There are 17 different languages you can use to learn Urdu with this app.

Summary: Much cheaper and even better than the famous Rosetta Stone. There is a free demo version available and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Link: Urdu Basic Course and Complete Course


uTalk Urdu App

Alternative to Duolingo or Babbel

The uTalk app teaches about 2000 Urdu words and focuses primarily on playful exercises. There are several exercises to choose from:

  • Read and listen to Urdu words (with translation and photos)
  • Match the Urdu word you heard to a photo
  • Speak a Urdu word and compare the recording with the original
  • A memory game with pictures
  • Speak the Urdu translation of an English word
The vocabulary is divided into 60 freely selectable topics. The special thing about the uTalk app is that you get access to all 160 languages.

The interface of the app is well made and is similar to other apps like Babbel, Duolingo or Mondly.

Summary: Getting access to 160 languages is impressive and the scope (2000 words with native speaker audio and exercises) is also solid.

Link: uTalk Urdu Language Course App


Ling Urdu App

Playful Urdu Learning

Systems: Android App, iPhone App, Online Version (PC and Mac)

Content: Urdu lessons with native speaker audio

Prices: USD 8.99 (1 month), USD 79 (12 months),
USD 149 (unlimited)

Overall Value:

The Ling language learning app offers lessons for 60 languages and is quite similar to Duolingo or Babbel, which do not offer Urdu courses.

Ling uses "gamified learning", which means learning the Urdu language in a playful way. There are mini-games, levels, experience points, as well as tests and exercises at the end of each lesson.

The vocabulary covers about 1000 Urdu words and phrases, all with native speaker audio and pictures. Grammar is not included.

This app offers a test to determine your proficiency level in Urdu.

Summary: Good ideas that make learning Urdu more fun.

Link: Ling Urdu Language Course App


Bluebird Urdu App

Urdu Lessons and Exercises

Systems: Android and iPhone apps, online version (PC and Mac)

Content: Urdu exercises with native speaker audio and speech recognition

Prices: USD 9.99 (1 month), USD 100 (12 months), USD 200 (unlimited), USD 400 (163 languages)

Overall Value:

The Bluebird App offers 146 source languages and 163 target languages and dialects, including Urdu.

The Urdu language course in this app includes the following:

  • Daily video lessons in three difficulty levels
  • Basic Urdu vocabulary on several dozen topics
  • Common Urdu verbs with conjugations
  • Analysis of your own pronunciation (with speech recognition)
  • Tests: listening comprehension, filling in word gaps, vocabulary quizzes

There are about 500 video lessons for learning Urdu, each 5 to 60 minutes long. For languages with other scripts, the words can also be displayed transliterated in the Latin script.

The Bluebird app has no grammar lessons. Instead, you are supposed to understand the grammar "implicitly" from the examples, like in Rosetta Stone.

Summary: The video lessons and the interface take some getting used to, but the exercises are quite varied. Especially for smaller languages, this app is a viable alternative.


Memrise Urdu App

App with User-Generated Lessons

Systems: Android App, iPhone App, Online-Version (PC and Mac)

Content: Urdu lessons and vocabulary trainer with native speaker audio, grammar

Prices: USD 8,99 (1 month), USD 60 (12 months), USD 110 (unlimited)

Overall Value:

With the Memrise App you can learn over 90 languages.

This includes even very small languages - however, in such cases the language courses are often limited to just a few lessons.

One special feature of the Memrise learning app is the large number of lessons created by users (native speakers).

The quality of these lessons varies greatly though. For example, only the basic forms of verbs are usually taught, without the conjugations. Some languages also do not have an audio recording of the words at all.

Another good idea of the Memrise app are the user-generated tips and mnemonics for each word to help you memorize them.

Summary: User-generated lessons are a good idea. In practice, the quality of the lessons leaves a lot be desired.


Mango Urdu App

Includes Grammar

Systems: Android and iOS Apps, Online Version

Content: Urdu lessons with native speaker audio, grammar, culture

Prices: USD 7.99 (1 month), USD 80 (1 year),
USD 18 (1 month and 70 languages), USD 180
(1 year and 70 languages)

Overall Value:

The Mango Languages App offers 70 languages, including Urdu.

This app also has some grammar lessons and cultural explanations. The explanations in English are all recorded and well done.

However, the number of lessons for learning Urdu is quite small, which means that this app is only suitable for absolute beginners.

There are no exercises, except for the repeated vocabulary tests.

You can also record your own pronunciation in the app and compare it with the recording of a native speaker.

Summary: Good quality, but not much vocabulary. Only for absolute Urdu beginners.


Lingo Urdu App

Playful Urdu Learning

Systems: Android and iPhone Apps, Online Version (PC and Mac)

Content: Urdu lessons and exercises

Prices: USD 19.99 (1 month), USD 40 (3 months), USD 60 (6 months)

Overall Value:

The Lingo Play App offers language courses for 70 languages. It offers "gamified learning", which means learning vocabulary in a playful way.

Each Urdu lesson offers the following exercises:

  • Presentation of new words with translation and image
  • Decide whether a Urdu word matches the image
  • Select one of four pictures that matches a word
  • Type in the Urdu word for a picture
  • Correctly type in a spoken Urdu word
In the full version this app offers up to 5000 Urdu words. The interface of the app is similar to Babbel, Duolingo or Mondly.

There is also a multiplayer mode and competitions where you can test your Urdu skills against other people.

Summary: Overpriced Urdu course that does offer some good exercises, but is not better than other similar apps.


Simya Urdu App

Not really recommended

Systems: Android App, iPhone App

Content: Vocabulary trainer for Urdu learning

Prices: USD 9,99 (1000 words), USD 59 (1000 words in 50 languages)

Overall Value:

The Simya App for Android and iOS is purely a vocabulary trainer for 50 languages, including Urdu.

The free version contains 300 words and has very frequent "ad breaks". The paid version (without ads) also contains only 1000 words and phrases.

All the words have native speaker audio and you can use the app offline too.

Urdu grammar and verb conjugations are not included in this app.

Summary: Not really worth it, as there are much better alternatives like Mondly, Rosetta Stone or even Duolingo.


Pimsleur Urdu Course

Beginner course similar to Rosetta Stone

Systems: PC and Mac (incl. Mobile App)

Suitabe for: Beginners, advanced, students, travel vocabulary

Content: Urdu lessons with native-speaker audio and speech recognition

Price: USD 120 (basic course)

Overall Value:

The Pimsleur App is very similar to Rosetta Stone in that it does not give grammar explanations, verb conjugation tables, etc.

Instead, the Pimsleur method is supposed to let you learn the Urdu language intuitively, just like your native language - by combining pictures, reading and speaking (speech recognition).

This Urdu learning course for PCs and Macs also includes a mobile app for Android and iOS systems.

Pimsleur offers only initial Urdu lessons for beginners and has no intermediate or advanced lessons.

Summary: The most expensive Urdu beginners course, even though it is unlikely that learning with it is much better than with the cheaper apps.



Additional Ways To Learn Urdu Online:

Colanguage: Find Skype teachers

Overall Value:

At Colanguage you can arrange face-to-face language lessons online via Skype with language teachers around the world (from $5-10 per hour).

In addition to using apps, it is definitely a good idea to also practice with native speakers in order to learn Urdu properly.

Tandem: Find a language exchange partner

Overall Value:

Instead of hiring teachers, you can also find people who are interested in a free language exchange online via Skype.

It is completely free of charge, but you have to act as a language teacher for the other person half of the time.


Overview of the Urdu Learning Apps:

Learning App Subscrip-
tion?
Price Systems Value
17 Minutes
(Basics)
No
$29
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
17 Minutes
(Complete)
No
$97
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mondly
No
$99
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mondly
Yes
(1 month)
$10
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mondly
Yes
(12 months)
$48
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
uTalk
No
$199
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
uTalk
Yes
(1 month)
$12
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
uTalk
Yes
(12 months)
$60
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Ling
No
$149
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Ling
Yes
(1 month)
$9
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Ling
Yes
(12 months)
$79
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Bluebird
No
$200
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Bluebird
Yes
(1 month)
$10
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Bluebird
Yes
(12 months)
$100
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mango
Yes
(1 month)
$8
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mango
Yes
(12 months)
$80
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Memrise
No
$110
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Memrise
Yes
(1 month)
$9
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Memrise
Yes
(12 months)
$60
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Lingo Play
Yes
(1 month)
$20
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Lingo Play
Yes
(6 months)
$60
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Simya
(1 language)
No
$10
Android, iOS
Simya
(50 languages)
No
$59
Android, iOS
Pimsleur
(Basics)
No
$120
PC, Mac, Android, iOS

Best Urdu Online Course:
17 Minute Languages

Best App to Learn Urdu:
Mondly App

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