A class of young women in purple veils, overlaid with Urdu script

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There are more than 160 million speakers of Urdu, which is spoken in India and Pakistan, as well as among Indian and Pakistani diaspora. Mirza Ghalib was a nineteenth century classical Urdu poet, most known for his ghazals (love poems). Allama Iqbal, the "Father of Pakistan," was an early twentieth century poet and philosopher known for inspiring the creation of the Pakistani nation. Parveen Shakir, a twentieth century poet, contributes a female perspective to the Urdu literary tradition. Spoken Urdu and spoken Hindi are similar to the point of being mutually intelligible. Urdu is written in the Nastaliq script, a version of the Perso-Arabic script and draws vocabulary roots and words from Persian and Arabic.

First, second, and third year Urdu language courses are offered each year. It is possible to major in Asian Cultures and Languages with an Urdu specialization or minor in Urdu.