Punjabi (Gurmukhi: ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Shahmukhi: پن٘جابی ; Punjabi pronunciation: [pənˈdʒaːbːi]; sometimes spelled Panjabi) is an Indo-Aryan language with more than 125 million native speakers in the Indian subcontinent and around the world. It is the native language of the Punjabi people, an ethnolinguistic group of the cultural region of Punjab, which encompasses northwest India and eastern Pakistan.
Punjabi 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. It is the third most spoken language in the United Kingdom after the native British languages and Polish. It is also the fifth most-spoken native language in Canada after English, French, Mandarin and Cantonese. It is the twenty-sixth most spoken language in the United States, and tenth in Australia.
Punjabi is unusual among Indo-European languages in its use of lexical tone; see § Tone below for examples. Gurmukhi is the official script for the language in Punjab, India while Shahmukhi is used in Punjab, Pakistan; other national and local scripts have also been in use historically and currently, as discussed in § Writing systems.
The word Punjabi (sometimes spelled Panjabi) 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 pañca (पञ्च), Greek pénte (πέντε), and Lithuanian Penki, all of which meaning 'five'; āb is cognate with Sanskrit áp (अप्) 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 Prakrit languages and later Apabhraṃśa (Sanskrit: अपभ्रंश, 'corruption' or 'corrupted speech') From 600 BC, Sanskrit was advocated as official language and Prakrit gave birth to many regional languages in different parts of India. All these languages are called Prakrit (Sanskrit: प्राकृत, prākṛta) collectively. Paishachi Prakrit was one of these Prakrit languages, which was spoken in north and north-western India and Punjabi developed from this Prakrit. Later in northern India Paishachi Prakrit gave rise to Paishachi Aparbhsha, a descendant 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.
The Arabic and modern-Persian influence in the historical Punjab region began with the late first millennium Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent. Many Persian and Arabic words were incorporated in Punjabi. Punjabi Sanskrit usage is less and Punjabi relies heavily on Persian and Arabic words are used with a liberal approach to language. Most important words in Punjabi, like ਅਰਦਾਸ and ਰਹਿਰਾਸ, and common words, like ਨਹਿਰ, ਜ਼ਮੀਨ, ਗਜ਼ਲ, etc., have all come out of Persian.
In fact, the sounds of ਜ਼, ਖ਼, ਸ਼, and ਫ਼ have been borrowed from Persian. Later, it was lexically influenced by Portuguese (words like ਅਲਮਾਰੀ), Greek (words like ਦਾਮ), Chagatai (words like ਕੈਂਚੀ, ਸੁਗਾਤ), Japanese (words like ਰਿਕਸ਼ਾ), Chinese (words like ਚਾਹ, ਲੀਚੀ, ਲੁਕਾਠ) and English (words like ਜੱਜ, ਅਪੀਲ, ਮਾਸਟਰ), though these influences have been minor in comparison to Persian and Arabic.
Punjabi is spoken in many dialects in an area from Delhi to Islamabad. The Majhi dialect has been adopted as standard Punjabi in India and Pakistan for education, media etc. The Majhi dialect originated in the Majha region of the Punjab. The Majha region consists of several eastern districts of Pakistani Punjab and in India around Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Tarn Taran districts. The two most important cities in this area are Lahore and Amritsar.
In India, Punjabi is written in the Gurmukhī script in offices, schools, and media. Gurmukhi is the official standard script for Punjabi, though it is often unofficially written in the Latin scripts due to influence from English, India's two primary official languages at the Union-level.
In Pakistan, Punjabi is generally written using the Shahmukhī script, created from a modification of the Persian Nastaʿlīq script. In Pakistan, Punjabi loans technical words from Persian and Arabic languages, just like Urdu does.
Punjabi is spoken as a native language by about 33 million people in India. Punjabi is the official language of the Indian state of Punjab. It is additional official in Haryana and Delhi. Some of its major urban centres in northern India are Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Ambala, Patiala, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur and Delhi.
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, 0.7 million in Canada in 2016, 0.3 million in the United States and smaller numbers in other countries.
The Majhi 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, Gujranwala and Gujrat districts. Punjabi official language based on the Majhi.
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 Indus River to Chenab river crossing Jhelum river.
Malwai is spoken in the southern part of Indian Punjab and also in Bahawalnagar and Vehari districts of Pakistan. Main areas are faridkot, Barnala, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ambala, Bathinda, Mansa, Sangrur, 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, Panchkula 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 in include 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.
Puadh 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 Puadhi. The Puadh 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 Puadh. The Puadhi dialect 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 areas where Puadhi is spoken and the dialect area also includes Pinjore, Kalka, Ismailabad, Pehowa to Bangar area in Fatehabad district.
Jatki or Jangli is a dialect of native 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. Native people called their dialect as Jatki instead of Jangli.
Jatki dialect is mostly spoken by Indigenous peoples of Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot, Nankana Sahib, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar, Vehari, and Khanewal districts of Pakistani Punjab. It is also spoken in few areas of Sheikhupura, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran' Bahawalpur, and Fazilka districts of Indian Punjab.
While a vowel length distinction between short and long vowels exists, reflected in modern Gurmukhi orthographical conventions, it is secondary to the vowel quality contrast between centralised vowels /ɪ ə ʊ/ and peripheral vowels /iː eː ɛː aː ɔː oː uː/ in terms of phonetic significance.
The three retroflex consonants /ɳ ɽ ɭ/ do not occur initially, and the nasals /ŋ ɲ/ occur only as allophones of /n/ in clusters with velars and palatals. The well-established phoneme /ʃ/ may be realised allophonically as the voiceless retroflex fricative /ʂ/ in learned clusters with retroflexes. The phonemic status of the fricatives /f z x ɣ/ varies with familiarity with Hindustani norms, with the pairs /f pʰ/, /z d͡ʒ/, /x kʰ/, and /ɣ g/ systematically distinguished in educated speech. The retroflex lateral is most commonly analysed as an approximant as opposed to a flap.
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 the United States 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.
Punjabi distinguishes two genders, two numbers, and five cases of direct, oblique, vocative, ablative, and locative/instrumental. The ablative occurs only in the singular, in free variation with oblique case plus ablative postposition, and the locative/instrumental is usually confined to set adverbial expressions.
Adjectives, when declinable, are marked for the gender, number, and case of the nouns they qualify. There is also a T-V distinction. Upon the inflectional case is built a system of particles known as postpositions, which parallel English's prepositions. It is their use with a noun or verb that is what necessitates the noun or verb taking the oblique case, and it is with them that the locus of grammatical function or "case-marking" then lies. The Punjabi verbal system is largely structured around a combination of aspect and tense/mood. Like the nominal system, the Punjabi verb takes a single inflectional suffix, and is often followed by successive layers of elements like auxiliary verbs and postpositions to the right of the lexical base.
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 Punjabi language is written in multiple scripts (a phenomenon known as synchronic digraphia). Each of the major scripts currently in use is typically associated with a particular religious group, although the association is not absolute or exclusive. In India, Punjabi Sikhs use Gurmukhi, a script of the Brahmic family, which has official status in the state of Punjab. In Pakistan, Punjabi Muslims use Shahmukhi, a variant of the Perso-Arabic script and closely related to the Urdu alphabet. The Punjabi Hindus in India had a preference for Devanagari, another Brahmic script also used for Hindi, and in the first decades since independence raised objections to the uniform adoption of Gurmukhi in the state of Punjab, but most have now switched to Gurmukhi and so the use of Devanagari is rare.
This sample text was taken from the Punjabi Wikipedia article on Lahore.
ਲਹੌਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੀ ਰਾਜਧਾਨੀ ਹੈ। ਲੋਕ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਕਰਾਚੀ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਲਹੌਰ ਦੂਜਾ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਹੈ। ਲਹੌਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦਾ ਸਿਆਸੀ, ਰਹਤਲੀ ਅਤੇ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਈ ਦਾ ਗੜ੍ਹ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਇਸੇ ਲਈ ਇਹਨੂੰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦਾ ਦਿਲ ਵੀ ਕਿਹਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ। ਲਹੌਰ ਰਾਵੀ ਦਰਿਆ ਦੇ ਕੰਢੇ 'ਤੇ ਵਸਦਾ ਹੈ। ਇਸਦੀ ਲੋਕ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਇੱਕ ਕਰੋੜ ਦੇ ਨੇੜੇ ਹੈ|
لہور پاکستانی پن٘جاب دا دارالحکومت ہے۔ لوک گݨتی دے نالؕ کراچی توں بعد لہور دوجا سبھ توں وڈا شہر ہے۔ لہور پاکستان دا سیاسی، رہتلی اتے پڑھائی دا گڑھ ہے اتے، اسے لئی ایہ نوں پاکستان دا دل وی کیہا جاندا اے۔ لہور راوی دریا دے کنڈھے تے وسدا اے۔ اسدی لوک گݨتی اک کروڑ دے نیڑے اے۔
.lahaur pākistānī panjāb dī rājtā̀ni/dārul hakūmat ài. lok giṇtī de nāḷ karācī tõ bāad lahaur dūjā sáb tõ vaḍḍā šáir ài. lahaur pākistān dā siāsī, rátalī ate paṛā̀ī dā gáṛ ài te ise laī ínū̃ pākistān dā dil vī kihā jāndā ài. lahaur rāvī dariā de káṇḍè te vasdā ài. isdī lok giṇtī ikk karoṛ de neṛe ài
[ləɔːɾᵊ paːkɪstaːniː pənd͡ʒaːbᵊ diː ɾaːd͡ʒᵊtàːni: / daːɾəl hʊkuːmət ɦɛ̀ː ‖ lo:kᵊ ɡɪɳᵊtiː de naːlᵊ kəɾaːt͡ʃiː tõ: baːədᵊ ləɦɔːɾᵊ duːd͡ʒaː sə́bᵊ tõ: ʋəɖːaː ʃəɦɪɾ ɦɛ̀ː ‖ ləɔːɾᵊ paːkɪstaːnᵊ daː sɪaːsiː | ɾə́ɦtəliː əte: pəɽàːiː daː ɡə́ɽ ɦɛ̀ː əte: ɪse: ləiː ɪ́ɦnū̃ paːkɪstaːnᵊ daː dɪlᵊ ʋiː kɪɦaː d͡ʒa:ndaː ɛ̀ː ‖ ləɔːɾᵊ ɾaːʋiː dəɾɪa: de: kə́ɳɖe: te: ʋəsᵊdaː ɛ̀ː ‖ ɪsᵊdiː lo:kᵊ ɡɪɳᵊtiː ɪkːᵊ kəɾo:ɽᵊ de: ne:ɽe: ɛ̀ː ‖]
Lahore is the capital city of Pakistani Punjab. After Karachi, Lahore is the second largest city. Lahore is Pakistan's political, cultural, and educational hub, and so it is also said to be the heart of Pakistan. Lahore lies on the bank of the Ravi River. Its population is close to ten million people.
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.
Despite Punjabi's rich literary history, it was not until 1947 that it would be recognised 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 Urdu in its administration of North-Central and Northwestern India, while in the North-East of India, Bengali language 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.
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. Thinktanks, political organisations, cultural projects, and individuals also demand authorities at the national and provincial level to promote the use of the language in the public and official spheres.
At the federal level, Punjabi has official status via the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution, earned after the Punjabi Suba movement of the 1950s. 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. In 2012, it was also made additional official language of West Bengal in areas where the population exceeds 10% of a particular block, sub-division or district.
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.[dubious ]
There are vibrant Punjabi language movie and news industries in India, however Punjabi serials have had a much smaller presence within the last few decades in television due to market forces. Despite Punjabi having far greater official recognition in India, "where the Punjabi language is officially admitted in all necessary social functions, while in Pakistan it is used only in a few radio and TV programs," attitudes of the English-educated elite towards the language are ambivalent as they are in neighbouring Pakistan.:37 There are also claims of state apathy towards the language in non-Punjabi majority areas like Haryana and Delhi.
The Punjabi Sahit academy, Ludhiana, established in 1954 is supported by the Punjab state government and works exclusively for promotion of the Punjabi language, as does the Punjabi academy in Delhi. The Jammu and Kashmir academy of art, culture and literature in Jammu and Kashmir UT, India works for Punjabi and other regional languages like Urdu, Dogri, Gojri etc. Institutions in neighbouring states as well as in Lahore, Pakistan also advocate for the language.