Punjabi language

Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India
(Redirected from Darhab dialect)

Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language. It is native to Punjab region of Indian Subcontinent, which includes Pakistani province of Punjab and Indian state of Punjab. It is the first language of about 113 million people in the world[2] and is the 9th most spoken language in the world. It is also spoken in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh states of India and in capital Delhi. It is spoken by the largest ethnic group in Pakistan at 36%.[3]

ਪੰਜਾਬੀ پنجابی
'Punjabi' written in Shahmukhi (top) and Gurmukhi (bottom) scripts
Native toPanjab
Native speakers
113 million (2017)[1]
Standard forms
Perso-Arabic (Shahmukhi)
Punjabi Braille
Laṇḍā (historical)
Official status
Official language in
 Pakistan (provincial language of Punjab) [1]
 India (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh) (official)
Language codes
ISO 639-1pa
ISO 639-2pan
ISO 639-3Either:
pan – Chardi Punjabi
pnb – Lehndi Punjabi
Glottologpanj1256  Punjabi
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Spoken Punjabi in Malwai dialect

Punjabi developed from the ancient language of Prakrit developed simultaneously with Sanskrit.

Punjabi is written in two different scripts, called Gurmukhī and Shahmukhī. Punjabi is the main language spoken by the Sikhs.[4] 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. The Janamsakhis, stories on the life and legend of Guru Nanak (1469–1539), are early examples of Punjabi literature.


Dialects of Punjabi

Punjabi language has many dialects. The dialects are similar to each other that speakers can understand most of the dialects that are related to theirs. Some major dialects of Punjabi include Majhi, Puadhi, Malwai, Pothwari, Shahpuri, Jhangvi, Jatki, Bilaspuri, Jangli, Jhagvi, Ghebi, Doabi among others.[5]

Majhi is Punjabi's standard dialect because it forms the standard for writing in Panjabi. It is spoken in the centre of Panjab, 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 Panjabi include Rachnavi, Chenavari, Chhachi, Jandali. The relation of several dialects to languages other than Punjabi creates problems in assigning them to one or another "language".[6][7][8]



Over 95% of people who speak Punjabi as their first language live in Pakistan and India. It is the most widely spoken native language in Pakistan. It is spoken as a first language by over 65% of Pakistanis. There were 145 million Panjabi speakers in Pakistan in 2023.[9] In India, Punjabi is spoken as a native language by 4% of the population. This was about 70 million in 2023.[10] It is the official language of the Indian states of Panjab, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and additional official in Uttarakhand, Kashmir and Rajasthan.

Census history of Punjabi speakers in Pakistan
Year Population of Pakistan Percentage Punjabi speakers
1948 26,657,876 98.7 24,765,865
1954 33,740,167 96.3% 27,632,905
1961 42,880,378 88.7% 34,468,282
1974 65,309,340 85.2% 45,176,004
1998 84,253,644 75.8% 62,584,980
2023 241,352,279 65.3% 145,433,431
Census history of Punjabi speakers in India
Year Population of India Punjabi speakers in India Percentage
1948 353,878,767 17,452,875 5.6%
1985 548,159,652 23,108,443 3.8%
1997 665,287,849 34,


2005 838,583,988 47,378,744 3.4%
2015 1,028,610,328 59,102,477 3.5%
2023 1,610,193,422 70,038,280 4.8%

In the United Kingdom, it is the second-most-commonly used language.[11] In Canada, it is the third-most-spoken language.[12] There were 6 million Panjabi speakers in the US in 2023.[13] and 3 million in the UK in 2023.[11]


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close-mid ɪ ʊ
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛː ɔː
Bilabial Labio-
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
Plosive and
voiceless p ʈ t͡ʃ k
voiceless aspirated t̪ʰ ʈʰ t͡ʃʰ
voiced b ɖ d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative (f) ਫ਼ s(z) ਜ਼ (ʃ) ਸ਼ ɦ
Flap ɾ ɽ
Approximant ʋ l ɭ ਲ਼ j

Writing system

Gurmukhi alphabetic, excluding vowels.

There are three ways to write Punjabi: Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi, and Takri. In the Punjab province of Pakistan, the script that is most used is Shahmukhī. The Majhi dialect is the written standard for Punjabi in both parts of Punjab.

Doabi dialect is the purest dialect of Panjabi.


  1. "Pakistan Census". Census.gov.pk. Archived from the original on 12 September 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. "World", The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, 2023-11-29, retrieved 2023-12-05
  3. "Pakistan Census". Archived from the original on 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  4. Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember, Ian A. Skoggard, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures Around the World. Springer. p. 1077. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link)
  5. Grierson, George A. 1904–1928. Grierson's Linguistic Survey of India Archived 2021-11-07 at the Wayback Machine. Calcutta.
  6. Masica, Colin (1991) The Indo-Aryan languages. Cambridge Univ. Press. p 25.
  7. Burling, Robbins. 1970. Man's many voices. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  8. Shackle, C. 1972. Punjabi. London: English Universities Press. p 240.
  9. "Pakistan 1998 census – Population by mother tongue" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-02-17. Retrieved 2014-11-19.
  10. "Indian Census".
  11. 11.0 11.1 McDonnell, John (7 March 2000). "Punjabi Community". Parliamentary Business: Commons Debates. UK Parliament. p. Column 142WH. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  12. "Punjabi is 4th most spoken language in Canada". The Times of India. 14 February 2008.
  13. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articlesho/62121520.cms

More reading


  Punjabi phrasebook travel guide from Wikivoyage

  • Bhatia, Tej (1993 and 2010) Punjabi: a cognitive-descriptive grammar. London: Routledge. Series: Descriptive grammars.
  • Singh, Maya (1895) The Panjabi dictionary. Lahore: Munshi Gulab Singh & Sons.
  • Ethnologue: Languages of India and Pakistan