Not only does Urdu have more than 100 million speakers across the Middle East and Asia, but it’s also a very useful language to learn if you’re studying the history of the Middle Ages. The classical language got its start in the 12th century and was used widely in literature and other areas by the 1300s. Urdu has heavily influenced and been influenced by languages such as Arabic, Hindi, Turkish and Sanskrit. As such, if you’re learning one of these languages, then Urdu could likewise be helpful.
Just like when learning any language, when you’re learning Urdu, you can find quite a few online resources to help you along your language-learning journey. One of the most popular resources is podcasts. Podcasts can be an excellent complement to either an in-person or online Urdu course, as they’re available any time, anywhere, and can help you brush up on difficult-to-understand concepts, vocabulary words and more. You can even just use podcasts to help you learn a little bit more about a language’s context and the history and culture from which it stems.
Looking for podcasts to help you better grasp the Urdu language? Check out these six options. (And if you’re looking for even more ways to learn Urdu, from apps and courses to movies and novels, check out our roundup of Urdu-learning resources.)
Podcasts for Beginners
If you’re an absolute newb when it comes to learning Urdu, you’ll want to start with one of these podcasts designed for beginners.
UrduPod101 offers a range of podcast episodes, starting with episodes that are a beginner level and moving into more advanced concepts that might be more suitable for an intermediate learner. However, you can easily differentiate between these types of podcasts, so you’re not getting ahead of yourself.
In addition to podcast episodes, UrduPod101 offers a range of other resources online, that can help you brush up on your Urdu speaking, listening and comprehension skills. Some of these resources are hidden behind a paywall and require you to sign up for a subscription. Memberships aren’t very expensive, but if you’re wondering if it’d right for you, you can check out our full review of UrduPod101 for more information.
Learn basic Urdu from your podcast host, Shireen, and engage with an active language learning community. The Urdu Seekhiye channel is updated about once monthly with a new episode and each episode is less than half an hour in length.
Topics covered include basic conversational phrases that you might need when conversing with someone in Urdu. Episodes also cover topics such as translations and interviews with Urdu language learners. The podcast additionally offers free online Urdu resources, such as video lessons on beginner topics, like the Urdu alphabet.
Urdu Aaj Kal
This podcast doesn’t necessarily teach you so much Urdu in a format where you’re learning vocabulary words and phrases, so much as it teaches you the importance of learning Urdu and what it can do for you. In each episode, the host, screenwriter and poet Muhammad Faraz, sits down with modern Urdu poets and writers and discusses the Urdu language and modern Urdu literature.
If you know a bit of Urdu vocabulary and phrases, then you might be ready to move on to a podcast that is mostly in the Urdu language, but that is still intended to serve Urdu language learners.
Doorbeen is a language-learning podcast aimed at children ages seven to 12, but that can easily benefit adult learners as well. The podcast is given in the Urdu language, but with the goal of teaching children the complexity and beauty of the Urdu language and prose.
Topics discussed include politics, sports, science, technology and culture. The relatively new podcast has uploaded more than two dozen episodes since it began in September 2019. New episodes are uploaded every few weeks, with episodes under 10 minutes in length each.
This podcast spreads the Urdu language, with an intended audience of those who are not native Urdu speakers and who have limited knowledge of Urdu. However, it’s given in partial Urdu, so you’re still learning Urdu in a way that makes sense for an intermediate skill level.
Content includes short stories of a variety of genres. The podcast offers a few dozen episodes, with episodes still being uploaded on a regular basis, every few weeks. Episodes are typically around 15 minutes in length.
If you’ve reached the point where you can follow and comprehend spoken Urdu pretty well, then you may want to move on to Urdu podcasts that are fully given in the language.
SBS Urdu is an Urdu-language podcast produced by the Special Broadcasting Service that caters to native Urdu speakers. The news-based podcast covers topics of interest to those who live where Urdu is one of the primary languages, as well as expats. Music is also featured. New episodes are uploaded every day, sometimes more than once a day.
Learning to speak Urdu is definitely not the easiest undertaking in the world, but it can be a very richly rewarding one if you stick with it. Listening to Urdu podcasts, whether as a beginner or a more intermediate or advanced learner, can help you fine-tune your Urdu listening and comprehension skills, as you learn new vocabulary words, phrases and grammar concepts.
Do you know any Urdu language-learning podcasts that aren’t featured above? Let us know!
Looking for more resources for learning Urdu, from courses and apps to movies and novels? Check out Mastering Urdu and Nastaliq: A Comprehensive Guide