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20 Helpful Urdu Phrases for Travel in Pakistan Apkmusk

As a foreigner travelling in Pakistan, you will often be in the limelight, and people will come up to talk to you. This encounter gives you a chance to win the hearts of the locals and possibly make strong bonds of friendship, especially if you respond to them in some simple Urdu sentences like the ones mentioned below.

Greetings and Introductions

1: Asalaam-walaikum or Salam – May peace be with you/Hello

This phrase is the most common way to say hello in Pakistan, as the population is predominantly Muslim. Non-Muslims use the word as well, but the regular hello also works in most urban areas. Urdu is a combination of Persian from Iran, Sanskrit from India and Arabic; therefore, Urdu has many words in common with these languages. Salam is, however, a word related to the word Islam, and most Muslims from the farthest corners of the world will recognise it. If you meet Hindus, you can be more appropriate by greeting them with Namaste.

2: Aapka naam kia hai? – What is your name?

A simple way to get acquainted with a new person in Pakistan is to say this phrase. You can also just say ‘Apka naam?’, which means ‘Your name is?’ In return, they will ask for your name in the very same manner.

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3: Mera naam ____ hai. – My name is ____.

When someone asks you your name, this phrase would be the proper reply.

4: Aap kaise (for male)/ kaisi (for female) hou? – How are you?

In order to know how someone is doing, you can ask this question. It is a ubiquitous phrase in Pakistan, and everyone poses this question to each other when they meet, whether it’s the next day or years later. The word Aap here is a formal way to say you, but if you know the person well, you can replace it with the more casual Tum. In an informal setting amongst friends, one may simply say ‘Kaise (male)/Kaisi (female) hou’.

5: Mai Bilqul Theek. – I am fine.

This phrase is a non-gendered term where Mai means I; bilqul means totally or completely, and theek means alright or fine.

6: Main ___ se ayi hu. – I am from _____ (country).

When you’re in Pakistan, people are going to be very curious about you and will want to know where you are from. You should know how to respond to the very common question of ‘Ap kahan se hu?’, meaning ‘where are you from?’ In reply, you will use this phrase. People will be delighted to know that you are from a different country and will be very hospitable towards you. You can also use this phrase while introducing yourself to someone new.

7: Shukeriya – Thank you

Simple and precise, this word can be used in all social interactions in all parts of the country’s diverse cultural landscape. Even locals from villages where only a folk or regional language is spoken will know this term.

9: Theek Hai – Okay

Pakistanis use this word all the time, slipping it in at the end of the majority of their sentences. For example, ‘Hmmm Theek hai. Han theek hai’, or just simply ‘Theek’.

10: Muje _____ jana hai. – I want to go to______ (place).

You can use this phrase to tell someone where you want to go, and they will in return help you with the directions.

11: Aapko English ati hai? – Do you know English?

Before you sweat your wits trying to communicate in difficult situations with locals in Urdu, you can inquire if they speak English. Many urbanites and white-collar workers are quite fluent in English thanks to the country’s colonial past. Additionally, even in far-off towns and villages, there will be some people, such as guest house owners, who will be able to communicate with you in English because of tourism in that area.

12: Maaf kijeah – Pardon me/Excuse me/Sorry

You can use this term if you want to be excused from a formal meeting or apologise in a situation where your phone shouldn’t have rung, such as during prayers, or when you want to ask someone to repeat what they said.

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