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The word "Punjabi" in Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi and Devanagari
|Spoken in||Pakistan, India. Overseas: UK,Canada,USA, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and more.|
|Region||Western Punjab, Eastern Punjab|
|Native speakers||104 million (2000–2008)|
|Writing system||Gurmukhi in India and among the Indian Punjabi diaspora
Shahmukhi in Pakistan and among the Pakistani Punjabi diaspora
|Official language in||India (Indian state of Punjab, secondary officially recognised language in the state of Haryana and West Bengal)|
|Regulated by||No official regulation|
pan – Eastern Panjabi
pnb – Western Panjabi
Punjabi (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ/پنجابی) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region (north western India and eastern Pakistan). In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language. Punjabi can be subdivided into two varieties, Eastern Punjabi in both India and Pakistan, and Western Punjabi solely in Pakistan. There are some 104 million (2008) native speakers of the Punjabi language; an estimated 76 million in Pakistan (2008) and 28 million in India (2001), and millions in the UK, Canada and Persian Gulf countries, making it the 10th most widely spoken language in the world.
The Punjabi language has many different dialects, spoken in the different sub-regions of greater Punjab. The Majhi dialect is Punjabi's prestige dialect and shared by both countries. This dialect is considered as textbook Punjabi and is spoken in the historical region of Majha, centralizing in Lahore and Amritsar.
Along with Lahnda and Western Pahari languages, Punjabi is unusual among modern Indo-European languages because it is a tonal language. For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. 21 February is celebrated as "Mother Tongue Punjabi" Day in Punjabi diaspora.
Punjabi emerged as an independent language in the 11th century. The first traces of Punjabi can be found in the works of the Nath yogis Gorakshanath and Charpatnath in the 9th and 10th century. The 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, Potwari and Hindko (earlier categorized as "Western Punjabi") started to be counted as separate languages, the percentage of Pakistanis recorded as Punjabi speakers was reduced from 59% to 44%. Although not an official language, Punjabi is still the predominant language of Pakistan.
Contemporary Punjabi is not the predominant language of the Sikh scriptures (which though in Gurmukhi script are written in several languages). Many portions of Guru Granth Sahib use Punjabi dialects, but the book is interspersed with several other languages including Brajbhasha, Khariboli, Sanskrit and Persian. Guru Gobind Singh, the last Guru of the Sikhs composed Chandi di Var in Punjabi, although most of his works are composed in other languages like Braj bhasha and Persian.
After the partition of India, the Punjab region was divided between Pakistan and India. Although the Punjabi people formed the 2nd biggest linguistic group in Pakistan after Bengali, Urdu continued as the national language of Pakistan, and Punjabi still did not get any official status, as it got in India. The rationale to make Urdu as the sole official language was so that citizens of the newly created state of Pakistan begin to see themselves as Pakistani rather than Pashtoon, Muhajir, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Baloch or Punjabi. The Pakistani establishment wanted to create a new identity projected through the prism of one language and culture for people with different ethnicities, which would strengthen it's unity.
In the 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 tactically stressed 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 (India), Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Majhi (Standard Punjabi) is the written standard for Punjabi in both parts of Punjab. The Punjabi language as spoken in India is an amalgamation of Sanskrit vocabulary and distinctly Punjabi vocabulary. In Pakistan the overall vocabulary of Persian and Arabic origin are stronger. A close affinity exists with Punjabi and Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi and other languages dominant in India and lands which belonged to British India prior to Partition of 1947. In addition, recent modernization and industrialization has witnessed an English influence in both parts of Punjab, as Punjab has undergone scientific and technological development. "Modern Punjabi" uses the Gurmukhī script in the Indian Punjab, which was specifically developed for the Punjabi language. Pakistani Punjabis, however, use the older Shahmukhī script, which is a modified Persian-Nasta’liq script. These two scripts are considered the official scripts of the Punjabi language. In India, Punjabi is one of the 22 languages with official status in India. It is the first official language of Punjab (India). In Pakistan, even though Punjabi has no official status, it is the most spoken language and is the provincial language of Punjab (Pakistan), the second largest and the most populous province of Pakistan.
The critical point in categorizing Punjabi is that many dialects traditionally considered as Punjabi are also claimed by Saraiki. For instance, in many books Multani and Derawali are considered as dialects of Punjabi because the regions where these dialects are spoken are part of Punjab as there is no Saraiki-speaking independent province. In Pakistan, in every census before 1981/1998, there was no column for Saraiki language and the exact figures of the Punjabi speaking population, excluding the dialects of Saraiki and Pothohari[disambiguation needed ] are not confirmed. Some people claim that actually the number of speakers of Saraiki are greater than those of the standard Punjabi dialects. Modern Punjabi consists of several dialects and is rich in their use in Punjab. The famous Punjabi poets in modern times are:
Punjabi is the most spoken language of Pakistan. Punjabi is spoken as first language by over 44.15% of Pakistanis (this figure includes those dialects of Punjabi which are also considered as Saraiki). 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.
The Punjabi speakers in Pakistan are composed of various social groups, castes and economic groups. Muslim Rajputs, Jat, Tarkhans, Dogars, Gujjars, Gakhars, Khatri or Punjabi Shaikhs, Kambohs, and Arains, comprise the main tribes in the north, while Awans, Gardezis, Syeds and Quraishis are found in the south (Saraiki speaking area). There are Pashtun 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, Indus Valley civilization (Harappa and Mohenjo Daro) and Central Asia.
|Year||Population of Pakistan||Percentage||Punjabi Speakers|
Source:  In the National Census of Pakistan (1981) Saraiki, Pahari-Potohari and Hindko (Before categorized as "Western Punjabi") got the status of separate languages, which explains the decrease of the number of Punjabi speakers.
|3||Islamabad Capital Territory||1,343,625||71.66%|
|6||Federally Administered Tribal Areas||12,880||0.23%|
Punjabi is spoken as a native language by over 2.85% of Indians. Punjabi is the official language of the Indian state of Punjab.
The Punjabis found in India are composed of various ethnic groups, tribal groups, social groups (caste) and economic groups. Some major sub-groups of Punjabis in India include Ahirs, Arora, Bania, Bhatia, Brahmin, Chamar, Gujjar, Kalals/Ahluwalias, Kambojs, Khatris, Lobanas, Jats, Rajputs, Saini, Sood and Tarkhan. Most of these groups can be further sub-divided into clans and family groups.
Most of the muslims of East Punjab (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.
|Year||Population of India||Punjabi Speakers in India||Percentage|
Punjabi 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 Kingdom (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.
|This unreferenced section requires citations to ensure verifiability.|
|3||United Kingdom||800,000|
|5||United Arab Emirates||200,000|
|6||United States||200,000|
|7||Saudi Arabia||100,000|
|8||Hong Kong||100,000|
|10||South Africa||30,000|
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 Patiala. In Pakistan, the Punjabi speaking territory spans the east-central districts of Punjab Province. Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faislabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Sialkot, Jhang, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Bahawalnagar, Multan, JhelumChakwal, Mianwali and Gujrat. 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.
The "Lahnda" construct
The name "Punjab" means "five waters" in Persian (panj ab) and refers to five major eastern tributaries of the Indus River. The historical Punjab region, now divided between Pakistan and India, 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 River, and lies entirely in present day India, well within the eastern half of historical Punjab.
The British linguist George Abraham Grierson came to the conclusion that a group of dialects known collectively as "western Punjabi" 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 Punjabi. He christened this group of dialects "Lahindā" in a volume of the Language Survey of India (LSI) published in 1919. (The -ā ending has on its own given rise to a bit of terminological confusion because, since "Lahnda" is a noun, not an adjective, some linguists of India have preferred to use the adjective "Lahndi" for the sake of consistency with the way of naming the other Indo-Aryan dialects and languages.) He grouped as "southern Lahnda" the dialects that are now recognized as Saraiki. 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.
Later dialectologists have criticized details of the Lahnda/Lahndi construct or even denied its validity entirely. For most workers in this field, however, the Lahnda controversy has had little relevance to classification of the dialects of the metropolis of Lahore and of other localities along the Pakistan-India border. In the aftermath of the 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.
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 Punjabi" and "Eastern Punjabi" has shifted since 1947 to coincide with the international border.
The long vowels (the vowels with [ː]) also have nasalized versions.
Punjabi has three phonemically distinct tones 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: ghoṛā [kòːɽɑ̀ː] "horse". A stem final murmured consonant became voiced and left a high tone on the two syllables preceding it: māgh [mɑ́ːɡ] "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: maghāuṇā [məɡɑ̀ːʊ̀ɳɑ̀ː] "to have something lit". Other syllables and words have mid tone.
The grammar of the Punjabi language is the study of the word order, case marking, verb conjugation, and other morphological and syntactic structures of the Punjabi language. This main article discusses the grammar of Modern Standard Punjabi as defined by the sources cited therein.
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, the Gurmukhī script is generally used for writing Punjabi. Punjabi Hindus, who are mainly concentrated in the neighbouring Indian states such as Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi, sometimes use the Devanāgarī script to write Punjabi.
Punjabi in modern culture
Punjabi is becoming more acceptable among Punjabis in modern media and communications. Punjabi has always been an integral part of Indian Bollywood cinema. In recent years a trend of Bollywood songs written totally in Punjabi can be observed. Punjabi pop and folk songs are very popular both in India and Pakistan at the national level. A number of television dramas based on Punjabi characters are telecast by different channels. The number of students opting for Punjabi literature has increased in Pakistani Punjab. Punjabi cinema in India has also seen a revival and more and more Punjabi movies are being produced. In India, number of student opting for Punjabi Literature as optional subject in IAS examinations has increased along with success rate of the students. Punjabi music is very popular in modern times..
This sample text was taken from the Punjabi Wikipedia article on Amritsar; translated to English[translation needed] and transliterated to Latin.
Gurmukhi: ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ, ਮਤਲਬ "ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਦਾ ਸਰੋਵਰ", ਪੰਜਾਬ, ਭਾਰਤ ਦਾ ਸਰਹੱਦੀ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਹੈ। ਇਹ ਸਥਾਨ ਸਿੱਖ ਧਰਮ ਦ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਅਤੇ ਸਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ ਕੇਂਦਰ ਹੈ| ਇਹ ਦੀ ਆਬਾਦੀ ਕਰੀਬ ੨੦੦੦੦੦੦ ਸ਼ਹਿਰੀ ਅਤੇ ੩੦੦੦੦੦੦ ਦੇ ਕਰੀਬ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ ਜ਼ਿਲੇ ਵਿੱਚ ੨੦੦੧ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਜਨ-ਸੰਖਿਆ ਗਣਨਾ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਹੈ। ਇਸ ਦਾ ਪਰਸ਼ਾਸਕੀ ਮੁੱਖ ਦਫ਼ਤਰ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ ਜ਼ਿਲਾ ਹੈ। ਇਹ ਭਾਰਤ ਦੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਪਰਦੇਸ਼ ਵਿੱਚ ਉੱਤਰੀ ਭਾਗ ਹੈ, ਜੋ ਕਿ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਤੋਂ 67 ਕਿਲੋਮੀਟਰ ਦੂਰ ਹੈ।
Shahmukhi: امرتسر، مطلب "امرت دا سروور"، پنجاب، بھارت دا سرحدی شہر ہے۔ ایہہ ستھان سکھی د دھارمک اتے سبھیاچارک کیندر ہے| اس دی آبادی قریب 2000000 شہری اتے 3،000،000 دے قریب امرتسر ضلع وچّ 2001 بھارتی جن-سنکھیا گننا انوسار ہے۔ اس دا پرشاسکی مکھ دفتر امرتسر ضلع ہے۔ ایہہ بھارت دی پنجاب پردیش وچّ اتری بھاگ ہے، جو کہ لاہور توں 67 کلومیٹر دور ہے۔
Transliteration: ammritsar, matlab "amrit dā sarōvar", panjāb, pā̀rat dā sarhaddī shahir he. ih sathān sikkh tàram da tā̀rmik atē sàbiācārak kēndar he. ih dī ābādī karīb 2,000,000 shahirī atē 3,000,000 dē karīb ammritsar zilē vicc 2001 pā̀ratī jan-sankhiā gaṇanā anusār he. is dā parshāskī mukkh daftar ammritsar zilā he. ih pā̀rat dī panjāb pardēsh vicc uttarī pā̀g he, jō ki lāhor tō᷈ 67 kilōmīṭar dūr he.
This sample text was taken from the Punjabi Wikipedia article on Lahore; translated to English and transliterated to Latin.
Gurmukhi: ਲਹੌਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦਾ ਦਾਰੁਲ ਹਕੂਮਤ ਐ। ਲੋਕ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਕਰਾਚੀ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਲਹੌਰ ਦੂਜਾ ਸਬ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਐ। ਲਹੌਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦਾ ਸਿਆਸੀ, ਰਹਤਲੀ ਤੇ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਈ ਦਾ ਗੜ੍ਹ ਐ ਤੇ ਇਸੇ ਲਈ ਇਹਨੂੰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦਾ ਦਿਲ ਵੀ ਕਿਹਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਏ। ਲਹੌਰ ਦਰਿਆਏ ਰਾਵੀ ਦੇ ਕੰਡੇ ਤੇ ਵਸਦਾ ਏ ਉਹਦੀ ਲੋਕ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਇੱਕ ਕਰੋੜ ਦੇ ਨੇੜੇ ਐ ।
Shahmukhi: لہور پاکستان پنجاب دا دارالحکومت اے۔ لوک گنتی دے نال کراچی توں بعد لہور دوجا سب توں وڈا شہر اے۔ لہور پاکستان دا سیاسی، رہتلی تے پڑھائی دا گڑھ اے تے ایسے لئی اینوں پاکستان دا دل وی کیا جاندا اے۔ لہور دریاۓ راوی دے کنڈے تے وسدا اے اسدی لوک گنتی اک کروڑ دے نیڑے اے ۔
Transliteration: lahor pākistān panjāb dā dārul hakūmat e. lōk giṇtī dē nāḷ karācī tō᷈ bāad lahor dūjā sab tō᷈ vaḍḍā shahir e. lahor pākistān dā siāsī, rahtalī tē paṛā̀ī dā gā́ṛ e tē isē laī ihnū᷈ pākistān dā dil vī kihā jāndā ē. lahor dariāē rāvī dē kanḍē tē vasdā ē uhdī lōk giṇtī ikk karōṛ dē nēṛē e.
Potohari-Pahari (Northern Lahnda) dictionary by Sharif Shad
Note 3 Bhatia, Tej K. 2007. Regional languages of South Asia. In: Sridhar and Kachru. Languages in South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Note 4 Bhatia, Tej K. 2005. Punjabi, Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition, pp. 291–295. Oxford: Elsevier Ltd
Bhatia, Tej K. Punjabi: A Cognitive-Typological Study. [General Editor: Bernard Comrie], London: Routledge. 2010 [paperback] and 1993.
Bhatia, Tej K. 1996. Lexical Anaphors and Pronouns in Punjabi. In: Lexical Anaphors and Pronouns in Selected South Asian Languages, Barbara Lust et al. (eds.), 637-714. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.