As a result of the rule of several dynasties and empires over Pakistan throughout the centuries, varied cultures and a rich linguistic diversity is present in this country to this day.

Both English and Urdu are the official languages of Pakistan. English is an important medium of formal communication in the country, left as a remnant of the British colonial rule in the region. The Constitution and the laws of Pakistan were originally written in English, and are now being translated into the local languages. English is also used by many educational institutes in the country, and is spoken, along with the local languages, in the homes and informal circles of the upper class of the country.

The other official language of Pakistan is Urdu, which is used in government administration, formal occasions, and taught in education institutions. Apart from being the official language of Pakistan, Urdu is also the national language of the country. Only around 8% of the country’s population speaks it as their first language, although a vast majority of the population speaks it as their second language. Urdu is thought to have evolved from an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the area around Delhi which absorbed words from Persian, Arabic and Chagatai. The government of the country has made efforts to promote the national language of Pakistan in an attempt to encourage national solidarity.

Provincial languages of Pakistan include Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Balochi.

There is also a large number of minority languages in Pakistan which are spoken by minority communities residing all over the country. Speakers of these languages range from a few hundred to a few thousand, however some of them are endangered and might go extinct altogether soon.

Foreign languages that have a significant impact in Pakistan include English, Arabic and Persian. English is one of the official languages of Pakistan aside from Urdu, and it plays a major role in the country’s cultural and linguistic environments. Arabic is the religious language of Muslims and thus plays a major role in Pakistan, which is a Muslim major country. Arabic is important in the religious education of Muslims, with the Quran, Hadith, Sunnah and other Islamic religious texts are taught in Arabic and translated to Urdu. A major portion of the Muslim population of Pakistan gets some form of formal or informal religious education in the Arabic language. Persian used to have a high status in the Muslim society in the past as it was the language spoken by the Royals of the Mughal Empire and served as this Empire’s official and cultural language. Today, only a small group of Pakistani residents speak this language.


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