,Panjabi or Jubjub ( in Gurmukhi script, in Shahmukhi script, in Devanagari script, in transliteration) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by
inhabitants of the historical Punjab
region (in Pakistan and
north western India).
According to the Ethnologue
estimate, there are 88 million native speakers of the Punjabi
language, which makes it approximately the 11th most widely spoken
language in the world. According to the 2008 Census of Pakistan,
there are 76,335,300 native speakers of (Various Dialects) Punjabi
in Pakistan and according to the Census of
, there are 29,102,477 (Eastern Dialects) Punjabi speakers
Punjabi language has many different dialects, spoken in the
different sub-regions of greater
. The Majhi
dialect is Punjabi's prestige
dialect, and is spoken in the historical region of Majha, which spans East-central districts of Pakistani
Punjab and the Indian State of
Along with Lahnda
and Western Pahari
languages, Punjabi is unusual
among modern Indo-European languages in being a tonal language
The Language Punjabi today generally refers to "Eastern Punjabi"
based on the Majhi, Malwi and Doabi dialects.
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan
many other modern languages of South
. The Punjabi language is a descendant of Sauraseni Prakrit
, which was the chief
language of medieval northern India.
Punjabi emerged as an independent language in the 11th century from
the Sauraseni Apabhramsa. The literary tradition in Punjabi started
with Fariduddin Ganjshakar
(Baba Farid) (1173-1266), many ancient Sufi mystics and later
Guru Nanak Dev
ji, the first Guru of
. The early Punjabi literature was
principally spiritual in nature and has had a very rich oral
tradition. The poetry written by Sufi saints has been the folklore
of the Punjab and is still sung with great love in any part of
Between 1600 and 1850, Muslim Sufi, Sikh and Hindu writers composed
many works in Punjabi. The most famous Punjabi Sufi poet was
Baba Bulleh Shah
(1680 – 1757),
wrote in the Kafi
style. Bulleh Shah practiced
the Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry established by poets like
(1538 – 1599), Sultan Bahu
(1629 – 1691), and Shah Sharaf
(1640 – 1724). His lifespan also
overlapped with the legendary Punjabi poet Waris Shah
(1722 – 1798), of Heer Ranjha
's rendition of the tragic love story of Heer Ranjha
is among the most popular medieval
Punjabi works. Other popular tragic love stories are Sohni Mahiwal
and Sassi Punnun
. Shah Mohammad
is another fine piece of poetry that gives
an eyewitness account of the First
that took place after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
linguist George Abraham
Grierson in his multivolume Linguistic Survey of India
(1904-1928) used the word "Punjabi" to refer to several languages
spoken in the Punjab region: the term
"Western Punjabi" (ISO 639-3 pnb) covered dialects (now designated
separate languages) spoken to the west of Montgomery and Gujranwala districts, while "Eastern Punjabi" referred to what
is now simply called Punjabi (ISO 639-3
pan) After Saraiki, Pothohari and Hindko
(earlier categorized as "Western Punjabi") got the status of
separate languages, the percentage of Punjabi speakers in Pakistan
decreased from 59% to 44%.
Association with the Sikhs
Punjabi is not the predominant language of the Sikh scriptures
(which are written in
several dialects, though in Gurmukhi script). A few portions of
Guru Granth Sahib use the Punjabi dialects, but the book is
interspersed with several other languages including old Hindi languages
(such as Brajbhasha
. Guru Gobind Singh
, the last Guru of the
Sikhs composed Chandi di Var
Punjabi, although most of his works are composed in other languages
like Braj bhasha and Persian.
However, in the 20th century, the Punjabi-speaking Sikhs started
attaching importance to the Punjabi written in the Gurmukhi script
as a symbol of their distinct identity. The Punjabi identity was
affected by the communal sentiments in the 20th century. Bhai Vir Singh
, a major figure in the
movement for the revival of Punjabi literary tradition, started
insisting that the Punjabi language was the exclusive preserve of
the Sikhs. After the partition of
, the Punjab region
divided between Pakistan and India. Although the Punjab people
formed the biggest linguistic group in Pakistan, Urdu was declared
the national language of Pakistan, and Punjabi did not get any
official status. The Indian Punjab, which then also included
what are now Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, became
1960s, the Shiromani Akali Dal
proposed "Punjabi Suba", a state
for Punjabi speakers in India.
Paul R. Brass, the Professor
Emeritus of Political Science and South Asian Studies at the
University of Washington, opines that the Sikh leader Fateh Singh
the linguistic basis of the demand, while downplaying the religious
basis for the demand—a state where the distinct Sikh identity could
be preserved. The movement for a Punjabi Suba led to
trifurcation of Indian Punjab into three states: Punjab ,
Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
In India, Punjabi is one of the 22 languages with official
status in India
. It is the first official language of Punjab and
Union Territory State Chandigarh and the 2nd
official language of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.
Pakistan, Punjabi is the provincial language of Punjab the second largest and the most populous province
The famous Punjabi writers from Pakistan include:
The famous Indian Punjabi poets in modern times are:
the most spoken language of Pakistan.
Punjabi is spoken as first language by over 44.15% of Pakistanis.
Punjabis comprise the largest ethnic group in the country. Punjabis
are dominant in key institutions such as business, agriculture,
industry, government, army, navy, air force, and police which is
why about 70% of Pakistanis can understand or speak Punjabi.
Punjabis found in Pakistan are composed
of various social groups, castes and economic
groups. Muslim Rajputs
, and Arains
, comprise the main tribes in the north, while
are found in the south. There are
tribes like the Niazis
and the lodhis
, which are
very much integrated into Punjabi village life. People in major urban
areas have diverse origins, with many post-Islamic settlers tracing
their origin to Afghanistan, Persia, Turkey, Arabia and Central
Census History of Punjabi Speakers in
||Population of Pakistan
Source: In the National Census of Pakistan (1981) Saraiki,
Pothohari and Hindko (Before categorized as "Western Punjabi") got
the status of separate languages thats why number of Punjabi
speakers got decreased.
Provinces of Pakistan by Punjabi speakers
Districts of Punjab along with their
Punjabi is spoken as a native language by over 2.85% of Indians.
is the official language of the Indian state of Punjab and
the shared state capital Chandigarh.
It is one
of the official languages of the state of Delhi and the
second language of Haryana.
Punjabis found in India are composed
of various ethnic groups, tribal group, social
groups and economic groups.
Some major sub-groups of
Punjabis in India include Ahirs
, Kalals/Ahluwalias, Kambojs
. Most of these
groups can be further sub-divided into clans and family
Most of East Punjab's Muslims (in today's states of Punjab,
Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh)
left for West
Punjab in 1947. However, a small community still exists
today, mainly in Malerkotla, the only
Muslim princely state among the seven that formed the erstwhile
Patiala and East
Punjab States Union (PEPSU). The other six (mostly Sikh)
states were: Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Faridkot, Kapurthala and Kalsia.
Census History of Punjabi Speakers In
||Population of India
||Punjabi Speakers in India
The Punjabi Diaspora
is also spoken as a minority
language in several other countries where Punjabis have emigrated in large numbers, such as
the United States, Australia, the United
(where it is the second most commonly used language) and Canada, where in
recent times Punjabi has grown fast and has now become the fourth
most spoken language..
Punjabi is the 2nd most common
language in the UK after English
and the 4th most common spoken language in Canada after English
List in order of native speakers
Dialects: linguistic classification
In Indo-Aryan dialectology generally, the presence of transitional
dialects creates problems in assigning some dialects to one or
another "language". However, over the last century there has
usually been little disagreement when it comes to defining the core
region of the Punjabi language. In modern India, the states are
largely designed to encompass the territories of major languages
with an established written standard. Thus Indian Punjab is the
Punjabi language state (in fact, the neighboring state of Haryana,
which was part of Punjab state in 1947, was split off from it
because it is a Hindi speaking region). Some of its major
urban centers are Ludhiana, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, and
Pakistan, the Punjabi speaking territory spans the east-central
districts of Punjab Province. Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faislabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Sialkot, Jhelum
Lahore the historic
capital of Punjab is the largest Punjabi speaking city in the
world. Lahore has 86%
native Punjabis of total population of the city. and Islamabad the Capital
of Pakistan has 71%
Native Punjabis of total population.
Major Punjabi dialects
- The Majhi dialect is Punjabi's prestige dialect and spoken in the heart of
Punjab where most of the Punjabi population lives. The Majhi dialect, the dialect of the historical
region of Majha, which spans the Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Okara, Gujranwala, Wazirabad, Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat and to some
extant in Jhelum District of
and Amritsar, Tarn Taran Sahib,
and Gurdaspur Districts
of the Indian State of
dialect is spoken in north Pakistani
mainly The area where Pothowari is spoken
extends in the north from Muzaffarabad to as far
south as Jhelum, Gujar Khan, Chakwal and Rawalpindi.
[phr] 49,440 (2000 WCD). Murree
Hills north of
Rawalpindi, and east to Bhimber.
is east of Rawalakot.
Potwari is in the plains around Rawalpindi. Alternate names:
Potwari, Pothohari, Potohari, Chibhali, Dhundi-Kairali. Dialects: Pahari
(Dhundi-Kairali), Pothwari (Potwari), Chibhali, Punchhi (Poonchi),
Jhelumi, Mirpuri. Pahari means 'hill language' referring to a
string of divergent dialects, some of which may be separate
languages. A dialect chain with Panjabi and Hindko. Closeness to
western Pahari is unknown. Lexical similarity 76% to 83% among
varieties called 'Pahari', 'Potwari', and some called 'Hindko' in
Jammun. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian,
Indo-Aryan, Northern zone, Western Pahari.
- Jhangochi or Rachnavi
- Jhangochi (جھنگوچی) dialect is spoken in
Pakistani Punjab. Jhangochi or
Rachnavi is the oldest and most
idiosyncretic dialect of the Punjabi. It is spoken
throughout a widespread area, starting from Khanewal and Jhang
at both ends of Ravi and
runs down to Bahawalnagar and
Chishtian areas, on
the banks of river Sutlej.
This entire area has almost the same traditions, customs and
culture. The Jhangochi dialect of Punjabi has several aspects that
set it apart from other Punjabi variants. This area has a great
culture and heritage, especially literary heritage, as it is
credited with the creation of the famous epic romance stories of
Heer Ranjha and Mirza Sahiba. It is spoken in the Bar areas of
Punjab, i.e. areas whose names are
often suffixed with 'Bar', for example Sandal
Bar, Kirana Bar, Neeli Bar, Ganji Bar and
also from Khanewal to Jhang
includes Faisalabad and
dialect is spoken in Pakistani
Punjab. The Shahpuri language has been spoken by the
people of the town Shahpur. This language has been spoken by the people
of District Sargodha including
Dera Chanpeer Shah, Khushab, Jhang, Mianwali, Attock, parts of
Lyallpur), parts of Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalnagar, Chakwal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab and
- Classified under Lahnda
languages by many linguists; perhaps differs from Punjabi.
dialect is spoken in north west Pakistani
and NWFP mainly this
dialect is spoken in districts of Peshawar, Attock, Nowshehra, Mansehra, Balakot, Abbottabad and
Murree and the
lower half of Neelum District and
spoken in the eastern part of Indian
Punjab. Main areas are Patiala Ludhiana, Ambala, Bathinda, Ganganagar, Malerkotla, Fazilka, Ferozepur.
Malwa is the southern and central part of present day
includes the Punjabi speaking northern areas of Haryana, viz.
Sirsa, Kurukshetra etc. Not
to be confused with the Malvi
language, which shares its name.
spoken in Indian Punjab.
"Do Aabi" means "the land between two rivers" and this dialects is
spoken between the rivers of Beas and Sutlej.
includes Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur
- Powadh or 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 up to the
Ghaggar river in the east, which separates the states of Punjab 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 language is spoken and
the area itself is claimed as including from Pinjore, Kalka to
Bangar area in Hisar district which includes even Nabha and Patiala
Punjabi University, Patiala, State of
Punjab, India takes a very liberal definition of Punjabi in that it
classifies Saraiki, Dogri, and Pothohari/Pothwari as
- Punjabi University classification
Accordingly, the University has issued the
following list of dialects of Punjabi:
The "Lahnda" construct
"Punjab" means "5 waters" in Persian (panj ab) and refers
to five major eastern tributaries of the Indus
historical Punjab region, now divided
between Pakistan and India, is defined physiographically by the
Indus River and these
five tributaries. The bulk of the Panjab, 3.5 rivers are
located in Pakistan. One of the five, the Beas River, is a tributary of another, the
Sutlej River, and
lies entirely in present day India, well within the eastern half of
The British linguist George
Abraham Grierson came to the conclusion that a group of
dialects known collectively as "western Punjabi" or Lahnda spoken
north and west of the Punjab heartland, in the Indus valley itself
and on the lower reaches of the other four tributaries (excluding
the Beas River), in fact constituted a language distinct from
eastern or jurdga Punjabi. He christened this group of dialects
"Lahindā" in a volume of the Language Survey
of India (LSI) published in 1919. He grouped as "southern Lahnda"
the dialects that are now recognized as multani or Saraiki.
northern Lahnda sub-Group has eveloved into Modern Panjistani (or
pahiri/mirpur/pothoahri)and modern Hindko .Grierson tentatively
identified the boundary between Punjabi and "Lahnda" as a
north-south line running from the Gujranwala District to the former
Montgomery District (near the town on Sahiwal). This line lies well west of Lahore
and within the boundary of Pakistan.
In the aftermath of the independence of Pakistan and subsequent
Partition of 1947, some
investigators supposed that the Punjabi speakers in new Pakistan
might give up their native dialects and adopt one or another
"Lahnda" dialect; but this did not occur. Most Punjabis in Pakistan
including Muslim migrants from East Punjab now speak the Lahnda
Classification by Ethnologue
Because of the stature of Ethnologue as a
widely accepted authority on the identification and classification
of dialects and languages, their divergent views of the
geographical distribution and dialectal naming of the Punjabi
language merit mention. They designate what tradition calls
"Punjabi" as "Eastern Punjabi" and they have implicitly adopted the
belief (contradicted by other specialists) that the language border
between "western Panjabi" and "eastern Panjabi" has shifted since
1947 to coincide with the international border.
|What are you doing? (masculine)
||Ki karda ae?
||Ka karne uo?
||Ke karde o?
||Ke (kay) peya kare-nanh?
|What are you doing? (masculine to address female)
||Ki kardi aa?
||Ka karani ay?
||Ke karani ae?
||Ke (kay) pai (payi) kare-neenh?
|How are you?
||Ki haal hai,
||Keh aal e?
||ke aal a?
||Tudda ke haal e (eh)?
|Do you speak Punjabi?
||Tusin Punjabi Bol laende ho ?
||Punjabii bolne uo?
||Punjabi bolde o?
||Punjabi uburne o?
|Where are you from?
||Tusin kidhar to ho?/ Tusi kidron aaye ho?
||Tusa kudhr nay aiyo?
||Tus kudhr to o?
||Kathe ne o?
|Pleased to meet you
||Tuhanu mil ke bahut khushi hoyi
||Tusan milay tay boo khushi oye
||Tusan nu miliye bahut khusi oyi
||Tussan mil ke khushi thi.
|What's your name?
||Tuhada naam ki e?
||Tusan naa ke aa?
||Tusan da naa kay ai?
||Tudda ke naanh ve?
|My name is ...
||Mera naam ... e
||Mara naa ... e
||Mera naa ... e
||Mainda naanh ... eh
|What is your village's name?
||Tuhade pind/graan da naam ki hai?/ Tuhada pind/graan kehda
||Tusane graana naa ke aa?
||Tusan da graan kay aa?
||Tudde gerayenh na ke naanh ve?
|Would you like (to eat) some sweets?
||Mithaee lainee aa? / Mithaee Khaauge?
||Mithaee khaani e?
||Kuj mitha khaine o?
|I love you.
||Main tainu pyar kardaa
||Mai tuki pyar karna
||Mai tusi pyar karna
||Main tuhan pyar kare-nanh.
|We went to the Cinema
||Assi Cinema gaye sige
||Assa cinema gaye saa
||Assi cinema gaye ayan.
|Where should I go?
||Mainu kitthe jana chahida hai?
||mai kudhar jaa
There are also nasalized
Punjabi has three phonemically distinct tone that developed from the lost
murmured (or "voiced aspirate") series
of consonants. Phonetically the tones are rising or rising-falling
contours and they can span over one syllable or two, but
phonemically they can be distinguished as high, mid, and low.
A historical murmured consonant (voiced aspirate consonant) in word
initial position became tenuis and
left a low tone on the two syllables following it: "horse". A stem
final murmured consonant became voiced and left a high tone on the
two syllables preceding it: "October". A stem medial murmured
consonant which appeared after a short vowel and before a long
vowel became voiced and left a low tone on the two syllables
following it: "to be lit". Other syllables and words have mid
There are several different scripts used for writing the Punjabi
language, depending on the region and the dialect spoken, as well
as the religion of the speaker. In the Punjab province of Pakistan,
the script used is Shahmukhi and
differs from the standard Nastaʿlīq script as it has four
additional letters. The eastern part
of the Punjab region, located in
India, is divided
into three states. In the state of Punjab,
Sikhs and others use the Gurmukhī
script. Punjabi Hindus who are
mainly concentrated in the neighbouring Indian states such of
Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, as well as
the national capital territry of Delhi, sometimes
use the Devanāgarī script to
- See List of eastern or
judrga Punjabi authors.
Pothohari (Nothern Lahnda,pahari or Modern panjistani) dictionary
by Sharif Shad
- Burling, Robbins. 1970. Man's many voices. New York:
Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
- Ethnologue. Indo-Aryan Classification of 219 languages that have
been assigned to the Indo-Aryan grouping of the Indo-Iranian branch
of the Indo-European languages.
- Ethnologue. Languages of India
- Ethnologue. Languages of Pakistan
- Grierson, George A. 1904-1928. Grierson's
Linguistic Survey of India. Calcutta.
- Masica, Colin. 1991. The Indo-Aryan languages.
Cambridge Univ. Press.
- Rahman, Tariq. 2006. The role of English in Pakistan with
special reference to tolerance and militancy. In Amy Tsui et al.,
Language, policy, culture and identity in Asian contexts.
- Shackle, C. 1970. Punjabi in Lahore. Modern Asian
Studies, 4(3):239-267. Available
online at JSTOR.
- Bhatia, Tej. 1993. Punjabi : a cognitive-descriptive
grammar. Routledge. Series: Descriptive grammars.
- Gill H.S. [Harjit Singh] and Gleason, H.A. 1969. A reference
grammar of Punjabi. Revised edition. Patiala, Punjab, India:
Languages Deparmtent, Punjab University.
- Shackle, C. 1972. Punjabi. London: English