Do You Get Offended By ‘Tum’ or ‘Tu’?

aap or tum

I think it’s an Urdu speaking thing to get offended when someone you dont know says tum to you. I’m sorry, aap janab is the only way to go. In childhood, we could easily get punished for using tum instead of ap for anyone no matter what the situation.

Well, when younger, my little sister used to think that ‘tum’ and ‘tu’ were swear words (I remember she once, in a fit of anger, said to me: “aap tum ho”). And this is exactly how it feels. Today a guy (very old) said “tum ne kya likha hai” and in my head I wss like omg mind your manners. If the person saying Tum is at least 15 years or more older than you then it’s not impolite at all. In Hindi too one addresses a stranger for the first time as Aap. Using Tum for someone who is clearly younger is usually not considered offensive (a lot depends on the tone in which it is said). Tu is always offensive unless of course it is your close friend.

Punjabi here. Anytime I speak in Urdu always use proper honorifics such as Aap and Janab. Saying tum denotes a familiarity that might not exist hence aap is the safest and a better option to adopt. It’s actually a fact. I have observed punjabies cares word of urdu alot when they speak. Part of why I speak in so much English is that one doesn’t have to deal with the aap/tum issue. There was a time when my my friends used to make fun of me because i used say lijiey diey kijiey, aap.

I rarely found those people in Karachi especially in urdu speaking families. If someone is a close friend then we are allowed to use TUM infact TO. But never ever said tum to else other. i always say app to all people either they elder or younger but when someone say “tum” to me it feel like one insulted me. The worst is when people keep switching between Aap and Tum in the middle of a conversation. It feels like a deliberate insult.

Yes, people who understand the nuances of addressing people. By the way, English doesn’t have informal and formal versions of ‘you’ but German does. If you used ‘du’ instead of ‘Sie’ with someone you’d just met and/or was older, they’d get equally offended. In Punjab ap drops to “tu” real quick. For me, Tum has an element of closeness with some respect so I prefer it. At 1/4th Urdu speaking, this is still true. Tum is informal enough; once I got called ‘tu’ by an Indian acquaintance and I was visibly horrified at the audacity.

Depends really. Lots of Urdu speaking I know use Tu as a term of endearment but obviously with close friends. Same for memons, Gujaratis, Punjabis. Yesterday I saw a lady doctor at a hospital in Lahore yelling at a woman for calling her tum. Interestingly the doctor was also calling patient tum and Bibi bat suno. And doctor’s accent didn’t reveal anything about her being urdu speaking if that was the case.

Thats one of the beauties of Urdu. Different words for different levels of respect and formality. Its sad to see the youth these days treating Urdu as something inferior.

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