Semantic Change in Urdu: A Case Study of “Mashkoor”

Saira Zahid, Muhammad Asim Mahmood, Ansa Sattar


Languages are dynamic in nature and Urdu language is no exception. This study aims to probe semantic change in Urdu lexis and focuses on the meaning of the word “mashkoor” (thanked). For this study, Urdu dictionaries, a corpus of 25 million Urdu words and a questionnaire have been used. Our analysis determines that “mashkoor” has shifted meanings from being “thanked” to “thankful”. The results depict that the grammarians, lexicographers or the teachers are not the authority to decide correct usage in a language but it is the prerogative of users as well. The present study strengthens the idea that Urdu language has changed with the passage of time. It also proposes that Urdu dictionaries should be corpus based and include the current usage by the masses to incorporate the latest changes. This study will serve for other researchers as a springboard to further explore the other aspects of Urdu language.

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