Until recently I had been trying to spend more time in Pakistan's megatropolis, Karachi. As part of this move I had been trying to learn Urdu. There are a variety of excellent study materials for Urdu, but I won't write about those today. Rather, I want to offer up a resource for serious students of the language.
Frequency dictionaries are wonderful things. They present words of a language in the order of frequency used (usually in writing). They are assembled by amassing huge databases/corpora of text and these are analysed to see which words are used most often.
For a beginning learner of a language, they can be a real help. You start with the most frequently used words and work your way out to the ones you'll encounter less.
Nothing like this exists for Urdu. Or so I thought. I was passed a series of scanned PDF images of an old frequency dictionary published in Canada in 1969. This was made on the basis of an analysis of newspaper copy/texts. Obviously the language used is a bit dated, but as a solid start, this is a good selection. (For those with deep pockets, you can search bookfinder.com for "An Urdu Newspaper Word Count" by Mohammad Abd-Al-Rahman Barker but I'll warn you that the cheapest copies available are $100+ USD).
Unfortunately, in the part of the dictionary I was sent, the words are listed in alphabetical (by Urdu) order. This means that the order is not ideal. There are, however, 9,956 words in this collection. If you're serious about Urdu you could do a lot worse than learning all of them. You'll skew your vocabulary a little towards the literary side, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
I had someone type up the whole dictionary into Anki and add a spoken audio file for every word. (Many thanks to Affan Ahmad for this massive labour.) You can even set Anki to deliver you words randomly served from the frequency dictionary.
So, without any further ado, the files are here. They are split up because Anki became a bit difficult when inputting the files, but you can combine them on your own computer into a single "Urdu" folder.
Enjoy! And please post any feedback below in the comments. I mainly wanted to get this out into the public so people can use it (rather than gathering dust on my laptop).
UPDATE: I now offer one-on-one language coaching. Read more about what it involves and what kinds of problems it's best suited to addressing.