Oct 22, 2018

Urdu – A Language of Millions

The objective of this blog post is to briefly review the Urdu or Modern Standard Urdu, which is a consistent register of the important language globally. Historically, Urdu is associated with the Muslims of the region of subcontinent before the partition. It is the national and one of the two official languages of Pakistan, along with English, and is spoken and understood throughout the country, whereas, the languages spoken throughout various regions of the country are the provincial languages. Despite of this, Urdu is chosen as a token of unity and not to give any preference over the other native local languages. Urdu is therefore spoken and understood by the vast majority of people in some form or another, including a majority of rural and urban dwellers. Also, despite the fact that the people from different provinces may have different indigenous languages, it is written, spoken and used in all provinces or territories of Pakistan, as a result it is the base language of the country. For this reason, it is also taught as a compulsory subject up to higher secondary and graduate schools in both English and Urdu medium teaching systems. This has produced millions of Urdu speakers from people whose native languages are different from the State language of Pakistan. It is distinct by its mixture of vocabulary from Arabic, Persian and Turkish that are not found in the standard dialect of Urdu, but Urdu uses more Perso-Arabic prefixes and suffixes. In terms of pronunciation, Urdu spoken in various states of world is different from Urdu spoken in other areas due to a mixture of the native languages. Urdu is conventionally written in the style of the Persian alphabets and relies heavily on Persian and Arabic calligraphy as a source for technical and literary vocabulary. In a very preliminary stage, the early Islamic religious preachers, Urdu poets and Urdu writers served a lot in evolving and development of Urdu, and contributed to mobilize people for knowing this language. Today, Urdu is spoken in many countries around the world, and has always been considered an elevated and somewhat aristocratic language in South Asia. It continues to conjure a subtle, polished affect in South Asian linguistic and literary sensibilities, and thus carries on to be preferred for songwriting, newspapers and poetry, even by non-native speakers.

A language is the method of human communication in a particular country or community, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. The human language has the properties of productivity, recursivity, and displacement, and relies entirely on social convention and learning. The estimates on the number of languages in the world vary; however, Ethnologic info contains information on 7,106 known living languages. It is the comprehensive reference work that catalogs all the known living languages in the world today. Many of the languages listed in it are technically dialects and not the separate languages. They are listed separately because they differ from each other enough to be mutually unintelligible. Urdu is a language spoken by peoples in many countries around the world and is widely spoken amongst Pakistani communities all over the globe. 

Pakistan is a country with at least six major languages and 58 minor ones. Urdu is national language and English is the official language of Pakistan. The national language Urdu, has over 11 million mother-tongue speakers while those who use it as a second language could well be more than 105 million. Philologists say that there are over 300 dialects and languages spoken in the country today and each is distinctly differently from the other. Urdu is used as identity symbols of nation and it is not resented or opposed in any region where there are native languages spoken. Urdu has been formed from or vernacular spoken (Khariboli- Prakrit), in North India, by adding Persian and Arabic words to it. Contrary to the widely held misconception, it is not formed in the camp of the Mughal armies. But the word Urdu is derived from the same Turkish word “ordu” (army) that has given English horde. However, Turkish borrowings in Urdu are minimum, and the words that Urdu has borrowed from Turkish and Arabic have been borrowed through Persian, and hence are a “Persianized’’ version of the original words. The name Urdu has been first used by the poet Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi around 1780. Although English is used in most elite circles, and Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers, only about 7% of Pakistanis have Urdu as their native language, but Urdu is understood all over Pakistan. It is used in education, literature, and office and court business. It holds in itself a repository of the cultural and social heritage of the country.  The earliest linguistic influences in the development of Urdu probably began with the Muslim conquests of Sindh particularly with the conquest of Muhammad Bin Qasim in 94 AH/ 712 AD. The language started evolving from Persian and Arabic contacts during the invasions of the Indian subcontinent by the 11th century to onward. Urdu developed more decisively during the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526) and the Mughal Empire (1526-1858). When the Delhi Sultanate expanded south to the Deccan Plateau, the literary language was influenced by the languages spoken in the south and court usage. The earliest verse dates to the 15th century and the golden period of Urdu poetry was the 18th-19th centuries. Urdu religious prose goes back several centuries, while secular writing flourished from the 19th century to onward. During the 14th and 15th centuries, much poetry and literature began to be written in Urdu. More recently, Urdu has mainly been connected with the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, but there are many major works of Urdu literatures today. The arrival of the Muslims in the sub-continent of Indo-Pakistan was a remarkable incident of the history of subcontinent. It influenced almost all departments of the social life of the peoples. The Muslims had a marvelous contribution in their culture and civilization including architecture, painting and calligraphy, book-illustration, music and even dancing. The Muslims had always taken interest in life-history, biographical literature and political history. Therefore, they had an excellent contribution in this field also. However, their most significant contribution is the bestowal of Urdu language. Although the Muslims came to the subcontinent in three capacities, as traders or business men, as commanders and soldiers or conquerors and as preachers who performed the responsibilities of preaching, but their role in evolving and development of Urdu is the most significant. Modern Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is also spoken and understood by many millions of people in the world. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Urdu was chosen to be the national language of the new country. In Pakistan Urdu is mostly learned as a first language and most of Pakistan's population has also their native languages other than Urdu. Despite this, Urdu was chosen as a token of unity and as a lingua franca so as not to give any native Pakistani language preference over the other languages. Urdu is therefore spoken and understood by the vast majority in some form or another, including a majority of urban dwellers in such cities as Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Jhang, Sargodha and Skardu. It is written, spoken and used in all provinces or territories of Pakistan despite the fact that the peoples from differing provinces may have different indigenous languages, so, from the facts it is the "base language" of the country. For this reason, it is also taught as a compulsory subject up to higher secondary and graduate schools in both English and Urdu medium teaching systems. This has produced millions of Urdu speakers from peoples whose native language is one of the State languages of Pakistan such as Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi, Potwari, Hindko, Pahari, Saraiki, Balti and Beruhi who can read, and write Urdu. It is absorbing many words from the regional languages of Pakistan. This variation of Urdu is sometimes referred to as Pakistani Urdu.  Speakers and geographic distribution of Urdu Language Today, Urdu is spoken in many countries around the world, including Britain, Canada, the United States, the Middle East and India. In fact there are more Urdu speakers in India than they are in Pakistan. Urdu is also one of the officially recognized languages in India and has official language status in some Indian states. Urdu is also read and written in many parts of India and a number of daily newspapers and several monthly magazines in Urdu are published in these states. It is an official language of six Indian states and one of the 22 scheduled languages in the Constitution of India. Apart from specialized vocabulary, Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi, which is associated with the Hindu community. The Urdu language received recognition and patronage under the British rule when the British replaced the Persian and local official languages of North Indian States with the Urdu and English languages in 1837. Lucknow, in India has been a center of Urdu culture and literature for centuries. The city has been home to many Urdu poets, including Mir Taqi Mir, who was a famous poet in the 18th century. The Indian city of Agra is famous for the Taj Mahal. It is also the birth place of one of the most famous Urdu poets, Mirza Ghalib, who was born there in 1797.  In Jammu and Kashmir, section 145 of the Kashmir Constitution provides: "The official language of the State shall be Urdu but the English language shall unless the Legislature by law otherwise provides, continue to be used for all the official purposes of the State for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of the Constitution”. Outside South Asia, it is spoken by large numbers of migrant from South Asian workers in the major urban centers of the Persian Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. Urdu is also spoken by large numbers of immigrants and their children in the major urban centers of the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Australia. There are many areas in Britain with large numbers of Urdu speakers. These include northern towns such as Manchester, Leeds and Bradford, parts of Scotland and the West Midlands, and various parts of London. Along with Arabic, Urdu is among the immigrant languages with the most speakers in Catalonia, leading to fears of linguistic ghettos. The importance of Urdu in the Muslim world is visible in the Islamic Holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, where most informational signage are written in Arabic, English and Urdu, and sometimes in other languages. Significant Urdu speaking communities exist in the United Arab Emirates as well. Estimating the number of peoples or speakers for whom Urdu is a second language, is uncertain and controversial. There are between 60 and 70 million native speakers of Urdu: there were 52 million in India per the 2001 census, having some 6% of the population; and approximately 10 million in Pakistan or 7.57% per the 1998 census and several hundred thousand in Bangladesh. However, a knowledge of Urdu allows one to speak with far more peoples and it is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, English, and Spanish. Urdu in Pakistan has undergone changes and has lately incorporated and borrowed many words from Pakistani languages like Pashto, Punjabi, Sindhi and Balti as well as former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) Bengali language, thus allowing speakers of the language in Pakistan to distinguish themselves more easily and giving the language a decidedly Pakistani flavor. Similarly, the Urdu spoken in India can also be distinguished into many dialects like Dakhni (Deccan) of South India, and Khariboli of the Punjab region since recent times, for socio-political reasons. So, although most of the population is conversant in Urdu, it is the first language of only an estimated 7% of the population who are mainly Muslim immigrants in different parts of South Asia. The regional languages are also being influenced by Urdu vocabulary. There are millions of Pakistanis whose native language is not Urdu, but because they have studied in Urdu medium schools, they can read and write Urdu along with their native language. Most of the nearly five million Afghan refugees of different ethnic origins (such as Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazarvi and Turkmen) who stayed in Pakistan for over twenty-five years have also become fluent in Urdu. With such a large number of peoples speaking Urdu, the language has acquired in recent years a peculiar Pakistani flavor to further distinguishing it from the Urdu spoken by native speakers and diversifying the language even further. Urdu is written in an adapted form of Arabic script and during the 8th century the Persians began to use the Arabic script, adding a few letters for Persian sounds that did not occur in the Arabic language. Several centuries later, invaders of subcontinent who came from central Asia, added more letters to write the language spoken and this language eventually became known as Urdu. The Urdu script is written from right to left which is in the opposite direction to English. There are 36 letters in the Urdu alphabet that are in an extension of the Persian alphabets, which are their self an extension of the Arabic alphabets. However, there are also some symbols that can go above or below letters to modify their sound. Calligraphy in Urdu script is considered an art form. It is often used to write a verse or saying, or someone's name or a title. The images created by a Calligrapher can be in abstract shapes, or sometimes forms of objects or animals. Urdu also retains a complete set of aspirated stops (sounds pronounced with a sudden release with an audible breath), as well as retroflex stops. Urdu does not retain the complete range of Perso-Arabic consonants, despite of its heavy borrowing from that tradition. The largest number of sounds retained is among the spirants, which a group of sounds uttered with a friction of breath against some part of the oral passage.

Urdu has a rich culture of literature spanning many centuries and this literature has a history that is inextricably tied to the development of the Urdu language. Its first major poet was Amir Khosrow (1253-1325), who composed couplets, folksongs, and riddles in the newly formed speech. Some famous classical poets include Mirza Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir. More recently, to a great extent Pakistan owes its existence to the vision of one of the greatest Urdu poets, Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), who was the national poet of Pakistan.  His poetry in Urdu is recited from the cradle to the corridors of power, and from the elementary school to the parliament house. There are several genres of Urdu poetry, the most famous probably being the amatory verse that can be set to music and can be sung.  Urdu is also used for many lyrics of songs in films or movies. It is really courteous that the popularity of Urdu and its great literature increased manifold after the country became independent. A great number of newspapers are published in Urdu in Pakistan, contributing for knowing of this language. In India, Urdu is spoken in places where there are large Muslim minorities or cities that were bases for Muslim Empires in the past. Some Indian schools teach Urdu as a first language and have their own syllabus and examinations. Indian religious schools also teach Arabic as well as Urdu. There are several Urdu publications including daily newspapers for Urdu speaking communities in that region. Urdu literature is mostly popular in Pakistan, however, it is also popular in India and is widely understood in Afghanistan, whereas Sayed Shamsullah Qadri is considered as the first Urdu researcher of Deccaniyat. It is argued that languages need communities of people who speak them and pass them on to the next generation. The communities can only exist where there is a viable living environment. The knowledge of any language is essential in every aspect and interaction to inform the peoples, communicate with each other, what we feel and desire around us, understand the world around us, and teamwork in our everyday lives. Therefore, all language communities should be considered equal and their languages should be strengthened by being put into practices.

During the very initial stage, the Muslims came to the sub-continent in three capacities, such as traders or business men, as commanders and soldiers or conquerors. The origin of Urdu is related to the arrival and residing of the Muslims in the subcontinent, and they did not bring it with them. It came into being just due to the interaction of the conquerors and the conquered, and the heterogeneous language like Urdu arose due to amalgamation of local languages with Arabic, Persian and Turkish. In a very preliminary stage, the early Islamic religious preachers adopted the local dialects as well as contemporary literary traditions and characteristics to perform their job of preaching. Nevertheless, they served a lot in evolving and development of Urdu while performing the preaching duties. Similarly, role of the Urdu poets who performed the responsibilities of poetry by writing patriotic poems, prose, novels and fictions, in the evolving and development of Urdu is the most significant. Furthermore, Urdu song writers and lyricists made it a highly reformed literary language capable for all types of expressions. Additionally, Urdu writers also wrote humorous columns, essays, articles and debates in different newspapers and periodicals which are available online, and contributed a lot to mobilize people for knowing of this language. This information will be valuable to anyone with an interest in cross-cultural communication, language planning and language policy, language development, language relationships, and to all with a general curiosity about languages.

Oct 22, 2017

Composition of Chemical Compounds

A chemical formula conveys considerable quantitative information about a compound and its constituent elements. We have already learned how to determine the molar mass of a compound, and, in this section, we consider some other types of calculations based on the chemical formula.

The colorless, volatile liquid halothane has been used as a fire extinguisher and also as an inhalation anesthetic. Its empirical and molecular formulas are C2HBrClF3, its molecular mass is 197.382 u, and its molar mass is 197.382 g/mol, as calculated below:

The molecular formula of C2HBrClF3 tells us that per mole of halothane there are two moles of C atoms, one mole each of H, Br, and Cl atoms, and three moles of F atoms. This factual statement can be turned into conversion factors to answer such questions as, "How many C atoms are present per mole of halo thane?" In this case, the factor needed is 2 mol C/mol C2HBrClF3. That is, 

In Example 3-3, we use another conversion factor derived from the formula for halothane. This factor is shown in blue in the setup, which includes other familiar factors to make the conversion pathway:

Calculating Percent Composition from a Chemical Formula
When chemists believe that they have synthesized a new compound, a sample is generally sent to an analytical laboratory where its percent composition is determined. This experimentally determined percent composition is then compared with the percent composition calculated from the formula of the expected compound. In this way, chemists can see if the compound obtained could be the one expected.
Equation (3.1) establishes how the mass percent of an element in a compound is calculated. In applying the equation, as in Example 3-4, think in terms of the following steps.
1. Determine the molar mass of the compound. This is the denominator in equation (3.1).
2. Determine the contribution of the given element to the molar mass. This product of the formula subscript and the molar mass of the element appears in the numerator of equation (3.1).
3. Formulate the ratio of the mass of the given element to the mass of the compound as a whole. This is the ratio of the numerator from step 2 to the denominator from step 1.
4. Multiply this ratio by 100% to obtain the mass percent of the element.
The mass composition of a compound is the collection of mass percentages of the individual elements in the compound.

The percentages of the elements in a compound should add up to 100.00%, and we can use this fact in two ways.
1.    Check the accuracy of the computations by ensuring that the percentages total 100.00%. As applied to the results of Example 3-4:
           12.17% + 0.51% + 40.48% + 17.96% + 28.88% = 100.00%
     2. Determine the percentages of all the elements but one. Obtain that one            difference (subtraction). From Example 3-4:                                         
% H = 100.00% - % C - % Br - % Cl - % F
= 100.00% - 12.17% - 40.48% - 17.96% - 28.88%
= 0.51%
Establishing Formulas from the Experimentally Determined Percent Composition of Compounds
At times, a chemist isolates a chemical compound—say, from an exotic tropical plant—and has no idea what it is. A report from an analytical laboratory on the percent composition of the compound yields data needed to determine its formula.
Percent composition establishes the relative proportions of the elements in a compound on a mass basis. A chemical formula requires these proportions to be on a mole basis, that is, in terms of numbers of atoms. Consider the following five-step approach to determining a formula from the experimentally determined percent composition of the compound 2-deoxyribose, a sugar that is a basic constituent of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The mass percent composition of 2-deoxyribose is 44.77% C, 7.52% H, and 47.71% O.
1. Although we could choose any sample size, if we take one of exactly 100 g, the masses of the elements are numerically equal to their percentages, that is, 44.77 g C, 7.52 g H, and 47.71 g O.
2. Convert the masses of the elements in the 100.00 g sample to amounts in moles.

3. Write a tentative formula based on the numbers of moles just determined.
4. Attempt to convert the subscripts in the tentative formula to small whole numbers. This requires dividing each of the subscripts by the smallest one (2.982).

If all subscripts at this point differ only slightly from whole numbers— which is not the case here—round them off to whole numbers, concluding the calculation at this point.
5. If one or more subscripts is still not a whole number—which is the case here—multiply all subscripts by a small whole number that will make them all integral. Thus, multiply by 4 here.

The formula that we get by the method just outlined, C5H10O4, is the simplest possible formula—the empirical formula. The actual molecular formula may be equal to, or some multiple of, the empirical formula, such as C10H20O8, C15H30O12, C20H40O16, and so on. To find the multiplying factor, we must compare the formula mass based on the empirical formula with the true molecular mass of the compound. We can establish the molecular mass from a separate experiment (by methods introduced in next blog posts). The experimentally determined molecular mass of 2-deoxyribose is 134 u. The formula mass based on the empirical formula, C5HK3O4, is 134.1 u. The measured molecular mass is the same as the empirical formula mass. The molecular formula is also C5H10O4.
We outline the five-step approach described above in the flow diagram below and then apply the approach to Example 3-5, where we will find that the empirical formula and the molecular formula are not the same.

Combustion Analysis
Figure 3-6 illustrates an experimental method for establishing an empirical formula for compounds that are easily burned, such as compounds containing carbon and hydrogen with oxygen, nitrogen, and a few other elements. In combustion analysis, a weighed sample of a compound is burned in a stream of oxygen gas. The water vapor and carbon dioxide gas produced in the combustion are absorbed by appropriate substances. The increases in mass of these absorbers correspond to the masses of water and carbon dioxide. We can think of the matter as shown below. (The subscripts x, y, and z are integers whose values we do not know initially.)

After combustion, all the carbon atoms in the sample are found in the C02. All the H atoms are in the H20. Moreover, the only source of the carbon and hydrogen atoms was the sample being analyzed. Oxygen atoms in the C02 and H20 could have come partly from the sample and partly from the oxygen gas consumed in the combustion. Thus, the quantity of oxygen in the sample has to be determined indirectly. These ideas are applied in Example 3-6.

We have just seen how combustion reactions can be used to analyze chemical substances, but not all samples can be easily burned. Fortunately, several other types of reactions can be used for chemical analyses. Also, modern methods in chemistry rely much more on physical measurements with instruments than on chemical reactions. We will cite some of these methods later in other posts (use search box above to look for the relative content).

Oct 19, 2017

The Mole Concept and Chemical Compounds

Once we know the chemical formula of a compound, we can determine its formula mass. Formula mass is the mass of a formula unit in atomic mass units. It is always appropriate to use the term formula mass, but, for a molecular compound, the formula unit is an actual molecule, so we can speak of molecular mass. Molecular mass is the mass of a molecule in atomic mass units.
Weighted-average formula and molecular masses can be obtained just by adding up weighted-average atomic masses (those on the inside front cover). Thus, for the molecular compound water, H2O,

Mole of a Compound
Recall that in previous blog posts, a mole was defined as an amount of substance having the same number of elementary entities as there are atoms in exactly 12 g of pure carbon-12. This definition carefully avoids saying that the entities to be counted are always atoms. As a result, we can apply the concept of a mole to any quantity that we can represent by a symbol or formula—atoms, ions, formula units, or molecules. Specifically, a mole of compound is an amount of compound containing Avogadro's number (6.02214 x 1023) of formula units or molecules. The molar mass is the mass of one mole of compound—one mole of molecules of a molecular compound and one mole of formula units of an ionic compound.
The weighted-average molecular mass of H2O is 18.0153 u, compared with a mass of exactly 12 u for a carbon-12 atom. If we compare samples of water molecules and carbon atoms by using Avogadro's number of each, we get a mass of 18.0153 g H2O, compared with exactly 12 g for carbon-12. The molar mass of H2O is 18.0153 g H2O/mol H2O. If we know the formula of a compound, we can equate the following terms, as illustrated for H2O, MgCl2, and Mg(NO3)2.

Such expressions as these provide several different types of conversion factors that can be applied in a variety of problem-solving situations. The strategy that works best for a particular problem will depend, in part, on how the necessary conversions are visualized. As we learned in previous posts, the most direct link to an amount in moles is through a mass in grams, so generally the central focus of a problem is the conversion of a mass in grams to an amount in moles, or vice versa. This conversion must often be preceded or followed by other conversions involving volumes, densities, percentages, and so on. As we saw in previous posts, one helpful tool in problem solving is to establish a conversion pathway. In Table 3.1, we summarize the roles that density, molar mass, and the Avogadro constant play in a conversion pathway.

Mole of an Element - A Second Look
In previous blog posts, we took one mole of an element to be 6.02214 X 1023 atoms of the element. This is the only definition possible for such elements as iron, magnesium, sodium, and copper, in which enormous numbers of individual spherical atoms are clustered together, much like marbles in a can. But the atoms of some elements are joined together to form molecules. Bulk samples of these elements are composed of collections of molecules. The molecules of P4 and Ss are represented in Figure 3-5. The molecular formulas of elements that you should become familiar with are

H2 O2 N2 F2 CI2 Br2 I2 P4 Ss

For these elements, we speak of an atomic mass or a molecular mass, and molar mass can be expressed in two ways. Hydrogen, for example, has an atomic mass of 1.00794 u and a molecular mass of 2.01588 u; its molar mass can be expressed as 1.00794 g H/mol H or 2.01588 g H2/mol H2.
Another phenomenon occasionally encountered is the existence of an element in more than one molecular form, a situation referred to as allotropy. Thus, oxygen exists in two allotropic forms, the predominantly abundant diatomic oxygen, O2, and the much less abundant allotrope ozone, O3. The molar mass of ordinary dioxygen is 31.9988 g O2/molO2, and that of ozone is 47.9982 g O3/mol O3.