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India to cull tough words from Urdu syllabus: report

India is planning to make the tricky task of learning Urdu easier -- by leaving difficult words off the school syllabus, a report said on Wednesday.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2008 20:21 IST

India is planning to make the tricky task of learning Urdu easier -- by leaving difficult words off the school syllabus, a report said on Wednesday.

The National Council of Education Research, which prepares school curriculums, has been ordered to replace complicated words in school texts with easier equivalents from Hindi or English, the Press Trust of India said.

India's official language, Hindi, forms the base of Urdu, according to experts, but Urdu also contains a number of Persian words.

The federal panel that reviews India's education policy said some common words in Urdu were almost impossible for even fluent speakers of the language to pronounce.

It cited ala-e-paimaieshe-hararat, the Urdu word for thermometer, and mahir-e-zarahat, or surgeon, and asked the education council to seek easier alternatives.

"Languages do get influenced by the culture and environment," said a senior unnamed education ministry official.

"If we incorporate the simplified and commonly used words (in texts), that will further popularise the language" as a choice for learners, he said.

"The school syllabus is not for seasoned Urdu speakers and is designed for learners who are young, who do not understand words that are not used much these days," he added.

After the subcontinent was divided at independence from Britain in 1947, mainly Hindu but officially secular India made Hindi its official language, while Muslim-majority Pakistan awarded Urdu official status.

Hindi speakers already use a lot of English words for medical and other terms.