Urdu dictionaries of women’s parlance

Lahore:03 february:Language variation has been a subject of huge research studies in the West. Sociolinguists say that within a society the differences in speech may occur because of the different ethnic or social background. However, even within the same social class or ethnic group some differences in speech are found which may be the result of the factors such as the speakers’ age or sex. Exposure to the world outside the home makes a lot of difference and, historically, in our society women had been segregated. A separate portion of the house called ‘zanan khana’ (women’s quarters) was where a woman usually lived most of her life. If ever she left the house under strict veil, she would meet womenfolk only. As a result, the parlance of women became quite different from what men spoke. The women from a specific social background spoke a different language as compared to the language used by the men of the same group. The features of women’s different way of speaking, or parlance, as the term goes, included not only pronunciation or intonation but also vocabulary. The scholars and lexicographers of Urdu have been very much aware of the language variation that took place because of the gender of the speakers and have compiled some dictionaries. Some of these lexicographic works explain the women’s parlance that included some of the secret vocabulary which, as put by Waheeda Naseem, men do not get even a whiff of. Here is a brief intro to some of the dictionaries of Urdu that record and explain women’s version of the Urdu language:Express turbuni.

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