Urdish or Urdunglish, a portmanteau of the words Urdu and English, is the macaronic hybrid use of South Asian English and Standard Urdu.[1] In the context of spoken language, it involves code-switching between these languages whereby they are freely interchanged within a sentence or between sentences. In Pakistan and India, many bilingual or multi-lingual Urdu speakers, being familiar with both Urdu and English, display translanguaging in certain localities and between certain social groups.[1]

In the context of written language, Urdish colloquially refers to Roman Urdu — Urdu written in English alphabet (that is, using Roman script instead of the traditional Perso-Arabic script), often also mixed with English words or phrases.

The term Urdish is first recorded in 1989. Other less common colloquial portmanteau words for Urdish include (chronologically): Urglish (recorded from 1995), Urdlish (1997) and Urduish (1998).[2]

When UrduHindi is viewed as a single spoken language called Hindostani, the portmanteaus Urdish and Hinglish mean the same code-mixed tongue.

On 14 August 2015, the Government of Pakistan launched the Ilm Pakistan movement, with a uniform curriculum in Urdish. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister of Pakistan, said, "Now the government is working on a new curriculum to provide a new medium to the students which will be the combination of both Urdu and English and will name it Urdish."[3][4][5]


  1. ^ a b Coleman, Julie (10 January 2014). Global English Slang: Methodologies and Perspectives. Routledge. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-317-93476-9. Within India, however, other regional forms exist, all denoting a mixing of English with indigenous languages. Bonglish (derived from the slang term Bong 'a Bengali') or Benglish refers to 'a mixture of Bengali and English', Gunglish or Gujlish 'Gujarati + English', Kanglish 'Kannada + English', Manglish 'Malayalam + English', Marlish 'Marathi + English', Tamlish or Tanglish 'Tamil + English' and Urdish 'Urdu + English'. These terms are found in texts on regional variations of Indian English, usually in complaint-tradition discussions of failing standards of language purity.
  2. ^ Lambert, James. 2018. A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity. English World-wide, 39(1): 32. DOI: 10.1075/eww.38.3.04lam
  3. ^ "Learning In 'Urdish'". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  4. ^ Yousafzai, Fawad. "Govt to launch 'Ilm Pakistan' on August 14: Ahsan". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  5. ^ Mustafa, Zubeida. "Over to 'Urdish'". Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.