Punjabi (/pʌnˈdʒɑːbi/; Gurmukhi: ਪੰਜਾਬੀ pãjābī; Shahmukhi: پنجابی paṉjābī) is an Indo-Aryan language with more than 100 million native speakers worldwide. It is the native language of the Punjabi people, an ethnic group of the cultural region of Punjab. The Punjab extends from northwest India through eastern Pakistan.
As of 2015, Punjabi is the 10th most widely spoken language in the world. It is the most widely spoken language in Pakistan, the 11th most widely spoken language in India, and the third most-spoken native language in the Indian Subcontinent. In Canada, it is the fifth most-spoken native language, after English, French, Mandarin and Cantonese. It has a significant presence in the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Punjabi is unusual among Indo-European languages in its use of lexical tone (that is, the way in which the pitch of the voice conveys meaning). The Punjabi language is written in one of two alphabets: Shahmukhi or Gurmukhi. In the Punjab, both writing systems are used (a rare occurrence called synchronic digraphia): Shahmukhi is used mainly by Punjabi Muslims, and Gurmukhi is used mainly by Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus.
'Punjabi' written in Shahmukhi (top) and Gurmukhi (bottom) scripts
|Native to||Punjab region|
Eastern Punjabi: 34 million (2011)|
Western Punjabi: 93 million (2015)
Official language in
Pakistan (Punjab) |
India (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh)
Areas of the Indian Subcontinent where Punjabi is natively spoken
The word Punjabi has been derived from the word Panj-āb, Persian for "Five Waters", referring to the five major eastern tributaries of the Indus River. The name of the region was introduced by the Turko-Persian conquerors of South Asia and was a translation of the Sanskrit name for the region, Panchanada, which means "Land of the Five Rivers". Panj is cognate with Sanskrit पञ्च (pañca) and Greek πέντε (pénte) "five", and "āb" is cognate with Sanskrit अप् (áp) and with the Av- of Avon. The historical Punjab region, now divided between India and Pakistan, is defined physiographically by the Indus River and these five tributaries. One of the five, the Beas River, is a tributary of another, the Sutlej.
Punjabi developed from Sanskrit through Prakrit languages and later Apabhraṃśa (Sanskrit: अपभ्रंश; corruption or corrupted speech) From 600 BC Sanskrit gave birth to many regional languages in different parts of India. All these languages are called Prakrit (Sanskrit: प्राकृत prākṛta) collectively. Shauraseni Prakrit was one of these Prakrit languages, which was spoken in north and north-western India and Punjabi and western dialects of Hindi developed from this Prakrit. Later in northern India Shauraseni Prakrit gave rise to Shauraseni Aparbhsha, a descendent of Prakrit. Punjabi emerged as an Apabhramsha, a degenerated form of Prakrit, in the 7th century A.D. and became stable by the 10th century. By the 10th century, many Nath poets were associated with earlier Punjabi works.
Arabic and Persian influence in the historical Punjab region began with the late first millennium Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent. The Persian language was introduced in the subcontinent a few centuries later by various Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan dynasties including that of Mahmud of Ghazni. Many Persian and Arabic words were incorporated in Punjabi. Punjabi has more Persian and Arabic vocabulary than Bengali, Marathi, and Gujarati due to the proximity of the Punjab with western Asia. It is noteworthy that the Hindustani language divided into Hindi, with more Sanskritisation, and Urdu, with more Persianisation, but in Punjabi both Sanskrit and Persian words are used with a liberal approach to language. Later, it was influenced by Portuguese and English, though these influences have been minor in comparison to Persian and Arabic. However, in India, English words in the official language are more widespread than Hindi.
Punjabi is the most widely spoken language in Pakistan, the eleventh -most widely spoken in India and spoken Punjabi diaspora in various countries.
Punjabi is the most widely spoken language in Pakistan, being the native language of 44% of its population. It is the provincial language in the Punjab Province.
|Year||Population of Pakistan||Percentage||Punjabi speakers|
Punjabi is spoken as a native language, second language, or third language by about 30 million people in India. Punjabi is the official language of the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. Some of its major urban centres in northern India are Ambala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, and Delhi.
|Year||Population of India||Punjabi speakers in India||Percentage|
Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where Punjabi people have emigrated in large numbers, such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, where it is the fourth-most-commonly used language. There were 76 million Punjabi speakers in Pakistan in 2008, 33 million in India in 2011, 368,000 in Canada in 2006, and smaller numbers in other countries.
Despite Punjabi's rich literary history, it was not until 1947 that it would be recognized as an official language. Previous governments in the area of the Punjab had favoured Persian, Hindustani, or even earlier standardised versions of local registers as the language of the court or government. After the annexation of the Sikh Empire by the British East India Company following the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, the British policy of establishing a uniform language for administration was expanded into the Punjab. The British Empire employed Hindi and Urdu in its administration of North-Central and North-West India, while in the North-East of India, Bengali was used as the language of administration. Despite its lack of official sanction, the Punjabi language continued to flourish as an instrument of cultural production, with rich literary traditions continuing until modern times. The Sikh religion, with its Gurmukhi script, played a special role in standardising and providing education in the language via Gurdwaras, while writers of all religions continued to produce poetry, prose, and literature in the language.
In India, Punjabi is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. It is the first official language of the Indian State of Punjab. Punjabi also has second language official status in Delhi along with Urdu, and in Haryana. In Pakistan, no regional ethnic language has been granted official status at the national level, and as such Punjabi is not an official language at the national level, even though it is the most spoken language in Pakistan after Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. It is, however, the official provincial language of Punjab, Pakistan, the second largest and the most populous province of Pakistan as well as in Islamabad Capital Territory. The only two official national languages in Pakistan are Urdu and English, which are considered the lingua francas of Pakistan.
The Majhi (ماجھی ਮਾਝੀ) dialect spoken around Amritsar and Lahore is Punjabi's prestige dialect. Majhi is spoken in the heart of Punjab in the region of Majha, which spans Lahore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kasur, Tarn Taran, Faisalabad, Nankana Sahib, Pathankot, Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Narowal, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Chiniot, Gujranwala and Gujrat and in Mandi Bahauddin(97’/.) districts.
Majhi retains the nasal consonants /ŋ/ and /ɲ/, which have been superseded elsewhere by non-nasals /ɡ/ and /d͡ʒ/ respectively. The Majhi (and Lahnda) spoken in Pakistan is more Persianized in vocabulary, and the usage of the sounds /z/, /x/ and /ɣ/ is more common. (Tabbar in both dialects is informal in the following table)
|English||Gurmukhi based (India)||Shahmukhi based (Pakistan)|
|President||ਰਾਸ਼ਟਰਪਤੀ (rāśtarpatī)||صدرمملکت (sadar-e mumlikat)|
|Article||ਲੇਖ (lēkh)||مضمون (mazmūn)|
|Prime Minister||ਪਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ (pardhān mantarī)||وزیراعظم (wazir-e aʿzam)|
|Family||ਪਰਵਾਰ/ਟੱਬਰ (parvār/ṭabbar)||ٹبّر/خاندان (xāndān/ṭabbar)|
|Philosophy||ਫ਼ਲਸਫ਼ਾ/ਦਰਸ਼ਨ (falsafā/darśan)||فلسفہ (falsafā)|
|Capital||ਰਾਜਧਾਨੀ (rājdhānī)||دارالحکومت (dārul hakūmat)|
|Viewer||ਦਰਸ਼ਕ (darśak)||ناظرین (nāzrīn)|
Shahpuri dialect (also known as Sargodha dialect) is mostly spoken in Pakistani Punjab. Its name is derived from former Shahpur District (now Shahpur Tehsil, being part of Sargodha District). It is spoken throughout a widespread area, spoken in Sargodha and Khushab Districts and also spoken in neighbouring Mianwali and Bhakkar Districts. It is mainly spoken on western end of Sindh River to Chennab river crossing Jehlam river.
Malwai is spoken in the eastern part of Indian Punjab and also in Bahawalnagar and Vehari districts of Pakistan. Main areas are Ludhiana, Patiala, Ambala, Bathinda, Mansa, Ganganagar, Malerkotla, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Moga. Malwa is the southern and central part of present-day Indian Punjab. It also includes the Punjabi speaking northern areas of Haryana, viz. Ambala, Hissar, Sirsa, Kurukshetra etc. Not to be confused with the Malvi language, which shares its name.
Doabi is spoken in both the Indian Punjab as well as parts of Pakistan Punjab owing to post-1947 migration of Muslim populace from East Punjab. The word "Do Aabi" means "the land between two rivers" and this dialect was historically spoken between the rivers of the Beas and the Sutlej in the region called Doaba. Regions it is presently spoken includes the Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala districts in Indian Punjab, specifically in the areas known as the Dona and Manjki, as well as the Toba Tek Singh and Faisalabad districts in Pakistan Punjab where the dialect is known as Faisalabadi Punjabi.
Pwadhi, Powadh, Puadh or Powadha is a region of Punjab and parts of Haryana between the Satluj and Ghaggar rivers. The part lying south, south-east and east of Rupnagar adjacent to Ambala District (Haryana) is Powadhi. The Powadh extends from that part of the Rupnagar District which lies near Satluj to beyond the Ghaggar river in the east up to Kala Amb, which is at the border of the states of Himachal pradesh and Haryana. Parts of Fatehgarh Sahib district, and parts of Patiala districts like Rajpura are also part of Powadh. The language is spoken over a large area in present Punjab as well as Haryana. In Punjab, Kharar, Kurali, Ropar, Nurpurbedi, Morinda, Pail, Rajpura and Samrala are the areas where the Puadhi is spoken and the dialect area also includes Pinjore, Kalka, Ismailabad, Pehowa to Bangar area in Fatehabad district.
Jangli is a dialect of former nomad tribes of areas whose names are often suffixed with 'Bar' derived from jungle bar before irrigation system arrived in the start of the 20th century, for example, Sandal Bar, Kirana Bar, Neeli Bar, Ganji Bar. Former Layllpur and western half of Montgomary district used to speak this dialect.
West of Chenaab river in Jhang district of Pakistani Punjab the dialect of Jhangochi merges with Thalochi and resultant dialect is Chenavari. Name is derived from Chenaab river.
|Close||i(ː) ਈ||u(ː) ਊ|
|Near-close||ɪ ਇ||ʊ ਉ|
|Close-mid||e(ː) ਏ||o(ː) ਓ|
|Open-mid||ɛ(ː) ਐ||ɔ(ː) ਔ|
The long vowels (the vowels with [ː]) also have nasal analogues.
|Nasal||m ਮ||n ਨ||ɳ ਣ||ɲ ਞ||ŋ ਙ|
|tenuis||p ਪ||t̪ ਤ||ʈ ਟ||t͡ʃ ਚ||k ਕ|
|aspirated||pʰ ਫ||t̪ʰ ਥ||ʈʰ ਠ||t͡ʃʰ ਛ||kʰ ਖ|
|voiced||b ਬ||d̪ ਦ||ɖ ਡ||d͡ʒ ਜ||ɡ ਗ|
|Fricative||voiceless||f ਫ਼||s ਸ||ʃ ਸ਼||(x ਖ਼)|
|voiced||z ਜ਼||(ɣ ਗ਼)|
|Flap||ɾ ਰ||ɽ ੜ|
|Approximant||ʋ ਵ||l ਲ||ɻ ਲ਼||j ਯ||ɦ ਹ|
Level tone is found in about 75% of words and is described by some as absence of tone. There are also some words which are said to have rising tone in the first syllable and falling in the second. (Some writers describe this as a fourth tone.) However, a recent acoustic study of six Punjabi speakers in America found no evidence of a separate falling tone following a medial consonant.
It is considered that these tones arose when voiced aspirated consonants (gh, jh, ḍh, dh, bh) lost their aspiration. At the beginning of a word they became voiceless unaspirated consonants (k, c, ṭ, t, p) followed by a high-falling tone; medially or finally they became voiced unaspirated consonants (g, j, ḍ, d, b), preceded by a low-rising tone. (The development of a high-falling tone apparently did not take place in every word, but only in those which historically had a long vowel.)
The presence of an [h] (although the [h] is now silent or very weakly pronounced except word-initially) word-finally (and sometimes medially) also often causes a rising tone before it, for example cá(h) "tea".
The Gurmukhi script which was developed in the 16th century has separate letters for voiced aspirated sounds, so it is thought that the change in pronunciation of the consonants and development of tones may have taken place since that time.
The grammar of the Punjabi language concerns the word order, case marking, verb conjugation, and other morphological and syntactic structures of the Punjabi language. The main article discusses the grammar of Modern Standard Punjabi as defined by the sources cited therein.
Punjabi has two major writing systems in use: Gurmukhi, which is a Brahmic script derived from the Laṇḍā script, and Shahmukhi, which is an Arabic script. The word Gurmukhi means "from the Guru's mouth", and Shahmukhi means "from the King's mouth".
In the Punjab province of Pakistan, the script used is Shahmukhi and differs from the Urdu alphabet in having four additional letters. In the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi and other parts of India, the Gurmukhī script is generally used for writing Punjabi. Historically, various local Brahmic scripts including Laṇḍā were also in use.
This sample text was taken from the Punjabi Wikipedia article on Lahore.
Transliteration: lahaur pākistānī panjāb dī rājdā̀ni ài. lok giṇtī de nāḷ karācī tõ bāad lahaur dūjā sáb tõ vaḍḍā šáir ài. lahor pākistān dā siāsī, rátalī te paṛā̀ī dā gáṛ ài te is laī ínū̃ pākistān dā dil vī kihā jāndā ài. lahaur dariāe rāvī de kaṇḍè te vasdā ài. te isdī lok giṇtī ikk karoṛ de neṛe ài.
Translation: Lahore is the capital city of the Pakistani Punjab. After a number of people from Karachi, Lahore is the second largest city. Lahore is Pakistan's political stronghold and education capital and so it is also the heart of Pakistan. Lahore lies on the bank of the Ravi River. And, its population is close to ten million people.
IPA: [lə̄ɦɔ̄ːɾ pāːkɪ̄st̪āːnīː pə̄̃d͡ʒāːb d̪īː ɾāːd͡ʒt̪àːnɪ̄ ɦɛ̀ː ‖ lōk ɡɪ̄ɳt̪īː d̪ē nāːl kə̄ɾāːt͡ʃīː t̪ō̃ bāːə̄d̪ lə̄ɦɔ̄ːɾ d̪ūːd͡ʒāː sə́p t̪ō̃ ʋːə̄ɖāː ʃə̄ɦɪ̄ɾ ɦɛ̀ː ‖ lə̄ɦɔ̄ːɾ pāːkɪ̄st̪āːn d̪āː sɪ̄āːsīː | ɾə́ɦt̪ə̄līː t̪ē pə̄ɽɦàːīː d̪āː ɡə́ɽɦ ɦɛ̀ː t̪ē ɪ̄s lə̄īː ɪ́ɦnū̃ pāːkɪ̄st̪āːn d̪āː d̪ɪ̄l ʋīː kɪ̄ɦāː d͡ʒā̃ːd̪āː ɦɛ̀ː ‖ lə̄ɦɔ̄ːɾ d̪ə̄ɾɪ̄āːē ɾāːʋīː d̪ē kə̄̃ʈè t̪ē ʋə̄̃sd̪īː ɦɛ̀ː ‖ t̪ē īsd̪īː lōk ɡɪ̄ɳt̪īː ɪ̄kː kə̄ɾōɽ d̪ē nēɽē ɦɛ̀ː ‖]
The Victorian novel, Elizabethan drama, free verse and Modernism entered Punjabi literature through the introduction of British education during the Raj. Nanak Singh (1897–1971), Vir Singh, Ishwar Nanda, Amrita Pritam (1919–2005), Puran Singh (1881–1931), Dhani Ram Chatrik (1876–1957), Diwan Singh (1897–1944) and Ustad Daman (1911–1984), Mohan Singh (1905–78) and Shareef Kunjahi are some legendary Punjabi writers of this period. After independence of Pakistan and India Najm Hossein Syed, Fakhar Zaman and Afzal Ahsan Randhawa, Shafqat Tanvir Mirza, Ahmad Salim, and Najm Hosain Syed, Munir Niazi, Pir Hadi abdul Mannan enriched Punjabi literature in Pakistan, whereas Amrita Pritam (1919–2005), Jaswant Singh Rahi (1930–1996), Shiv Kumar Batalvi (1936–1973), Surjit Patar (1944–) and Pash (1950–1988) are some of the more prominent poets and writers from India.
When Pakistan was created in 1947, although Punjabi was the majority language in West Pakistan and Bengali the majority in East Pakistan and Pakistan as whole, English and Urdu were chosen as the national languages. The selection of Urdu was due to its association with South Asian Muslim nationalism and because the leaders of the new nation wanted a unifying national language instead of promoting one ethnic group's language over another. Broadcasting in Punjabi language by Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation decreased on TV and radio after 1947. Article 251 of the Constitution of Pakistan declares that these two languages would be the only official languages at the national level, while provincial governments would be allowed to make provisions for the use of other languages. However, in the 1950s the constitution was amended to include the Bengali language. Eventually, Punjabi was granted status as a provincial language in Punjab Province, while the Sindhi language was given official status in 1972 after 1972 Language violence in Sindh.
Despite gaining official recognition at the provincial level, Punjabi is not a language of instruction for primary or secondary school students in Punjab Province (unlike Sindhi and Pashto in other provinces). Pupils in secondary schools can choose the language as an elective, while Punjabi instruction or study remains rare in higher education. One notable example is the teaching of Punjabi language and literature by the University of the Punjab in Lahore which began in 1970 with the establishment of its Punjabi Department.
In the cultural sphere, there are many books, plays, and songs being written or produced in the Punjabi-language in Pakistan. Until the 1970s, there were a large number of Punjabi-language films being produced by the Lollywood film industry, however since then Urdu has become a much more dominant language in film production. Additionally, television channels in Punjab Province (centred on the Lahore area) are broadcast in Urdu. The preeminence of Urdu in both broadcasting and the Lollywood film industry is seen by critics as being detrimental to the health of the language.
The use of Urdu and English as the near exclusive languages of broadcasting, the public sector, and formal education have led some to fear that Punjabi in Pakistan is being relegated to a low-status language and that it is being denied an environment where it can flourish. Several prominent educational leaders, researchers, and social commentators have echoed the opinion that the intentional promotion of Urdu and the continued denial of any official sanction or recognition of the Punjabi language amounts to a process of "Urdu-isation" that is detrimental to the health of the Punjabi language In August 2015, the Pakistan Academy of Letters, International Writer’s Council (IWC) and World Punjabi Congress (WPC) organised the Khawaja Farid Conference and demanded that a Punjabi-language university should be established in Lahore and that Punjabi language should be declared as the medium of instruction at the primary level. In September 2015, a case was filed in Supreme Court of Pakistan against Government of Punjab, Pakistan as it did not take any step to implement the Punjabi language in the province. Additionally, several thousand Punjabis gather in Lahore every year on International Mother Language Day.
Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD) has questioned Pakistan's decision to adopt Urdu as its national language in a country where majority of people speak Punjabi language, citing his interpretation of Islamic doctrine as encouraging education in the mother-tongue. The list of thinktanks, political organisations, cultural projects, and individuals that demand authorities at the national and provincial level to promote the use of the language in the public and official spheres includes:
At the federal level, Punjabi has official status via the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. At the state level, Punjabi is the sole official language of the state of Punjab, while it has secondary official status in the states of Haryana and Delhi.
Both federal and state laws specify the use of Punjabi in the field of education. The state of Punjab uses the Three Language Formula, and Punjabi is required to be either the medium of instruction, or one of the three languages learnt in all schools in Punjab. Punjabi is also a compulsory language in Haryana, and other states with a significant Punjabi speaking minority are required to offer Punjabi medium education.
There is a vibrant Punjabi language movie industry in India, however Punjabi has a much smaller presence in television. Despite Punjabi having far greater official recognition in India, attitudes of the Punjabi speaking elite towards the language are ambivalent as they are in neighboring Pakistan.:37 There are also claims of state apathy towards the language in non-Punjabi majority states.
|logo of academy||Academy or institute and establishing year||Government||Note|
|Punjabi Sahit academy, Ludhiana,1954||Punjab, India||It works exclusively for promotion of Punjabi language.|
|Punjabi academy, Delhi,1981-1982||Delhi, India||This academy organise numerous activities and events and works exclusively for Punjabi language.|
|Jammu and Kashmir academy of art, culture and literature||Jammu and Kashmir, India||This academy works for Punjabi and other languages like Urdu, Dogri, Gojri etc.|
|Haryana sahitya sangam||Haryana, India||It works for Punjabi and other languages like Hindi, Urdu also|
|Punjabi academy||Uttar Pradesh, India|
|Punjabi academy||Uttarakhand, India|
|Punjabi academy,2 006||Rajasthan||it was established in 2006|
|Pilac(Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture, Lahore,2004||Punjab, Pakistan||It is works for patronage, promotion and development of Punjabi Language. PILAC also focuses on conservation, protection, promotion and enhancement of the art and cultural richness of Punjab.|
Sikhs often write Punjabi in Gurmukhi, Hindus in Devanagari, and Muslims in Perso-Arabic.
|title=at position 40 (help)
Punjabi was nonetheless included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India and came to be recognized as one of the fifteen official languages of the country.
in India, Punjabi is an official language as well as the first language of the state of Punjab (with secondary status in Delhi and widespread use in Haryana).
Punjabi was made the first compulsory language and medium of instruction in all the government schools whereas Hindi and English as second and third language were to be implemented from the class 4 and 6 respectively
Languages taught in the State under the Three Language Formula: First Language : Hindi Second Language : Punjabi Third language : English