Words R Us
- Punjabi (pan)
Punjabi is a Indo-Aryan language. It is the native language of about 130 million people, and is the 10th most spoken language in the world. Most of the people who speak this language live in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India. It is also widely spoken in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. It is natively spoken by the majority of the population of Pakistan.
Punjabi developed from the ancient language of Sanskrit just like many other modern Indo-Aryan languages. Punjabi is unusual among this group for being a tonal language.
Punjabi is written in two different scripts, called Gurmukhī and Shahmukhī. This site uses the Gurmukhi script. A Shahmuki / English dictionary is available at
Punjabi is the main language spoken by the Sikhs. Most parts of the Guru Granth Sahib use the Punjabi language written in Gurmukhī, though Punjabi is not the only language used in Sikh scriptures.
Punjabi has many dialects. They form a continuous series that eventually becomes Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan. The dialects are similar enough to each other that speakers can understand most of the dialects that are related to theirs. In India, the main dialects of Punjabi are: Majhi, Doabi, Malwi and Pwadhi. In Pakistan, the main dialects are Majhi, Pothohari, Hindko and Multani.
Majhi is Punjabi's most important dialect because it forms the standard for writing in Punjabi. It is spoken in the centre of Punjab, including the districts of Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Okara, Nankana Sahib, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Pakpattan, Hafizabad and Mandi Bahauddin. In India it is spoken in Amritsar, Tarn Taran Sahib and Gurdaspur districts.
Other dialects of Punjabi include Pahari, Dhani, Shah Puri, Jhangochi, Rachnavi, Chenavari, Chhachi, Jandali, Ghebi, Thalochi, Riasti. The Saraiki, spoken in northern Punjab, and Dogri, spoken in Kashmir, are closely related to Punjabi.