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Punjabi language facts for kids

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Punjabi
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ پنجابی
Punjabi example.svg
Native to Punjab region
Ethnicity Punjabis
Native speakers Eastern Punjabi: 34 million (2011)
Western Punjabi: 93 million (2015)  (date missing)
Language family
Indo-European
Standard forms
Majhi
Dialects
Writing system Gurmukhi
Perso-Arabic (Shahmukhi)
Punjabi Braille
Laṇḍā (historical)
Official status
Official language in  Pakistan (Punjab)
 India (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh)
Linguasphere 59-AAF-e
Punjabispeakers.png
Areas of the Indian Subcontinent where Punjabi is natively spoken

Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language. It is the first 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, India Himachal Pradesh, India and Delhi, India, uttarpradesh rajasthan, Bihar, Jammu amd Kashmir and other states as well . It is spoken by the majority of the population of Pakistan.

Punjabi developed from the ancient language of Prakrit developed simultaneously with Sanskrit. Punjabi is known to have been spoken by the Indus Valley civilization according to DR Jaspal Singh Mayell. "Possibly, Punjabi is the only major South Asian language that has this kind of tonal character. There does seem to have been some speculation among scholars about the possible origin of Punjabi's tone-language character but without any final and convincing answer..."

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

Dialects

Dialects Of Punjabi
Dialects of Punjabi

Punjabi has many dialects. 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, "Shahpuri", "Jhangvi", "Dhanni", Pothohari and Hindko.

Majhi is Punjabi's standard 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, Rachnavi, Chenavari, Chhachi, Jandali, Ghebi. The Saraiki, spoken in southern Punjab, and Dogri, spoken in Kashmir, are closely related to Punjabi. The relation of several dialects to languages other than Punjabi creates problems in assigning them to one or another "language".

Distribution

Over 93% 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 44% of Pakistanis. There were 76 million Punjabi speakers in Pakistan in 2008. In India, Punjabi is spoken as a native language by 3% of the population. This was about 33 million in 2011. It is the official language of the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana.

Census history of Punjabi speakers in Pakistan
Year Population of Pakistan Percentage Punjabi speakers
1951 33,740,167 57.08% 22,632,905
1961 42,880,378 56.39% 28,468,282
1972 65,309,340 56.11% 43,176,004
1981 84,253,644 48.17% 40,584,980
1998 132,352,279 44.15% 58,433,431
Census history of Punjabi speakers in India
Year Population of India Punjabi speakers in India Percentage
1971 548,159,652 14,108,443 2.57%
1981 665,287,849 19,611,199 2.95%
1991 838,583,988 23,378,744 2.79%
2001 1,028,610,328 29,102,477 2.83%
2011 1,210,193,422 33,038,280 2.73%

Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where large numbers of Punjabis have emigrated.In the United Kingdom, it is the second-most-commonly used language. In Canada, it is the fourth-most-spoken language. There were 2.2 million Punjabi speakers in the US in 2017. and 1.3 million in the UK in 2000.

Phonology

Vowels
Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Open
Consonants
Bilabial Labio-
dental
Dental/
Alveolar
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal
Plosive and
Affricate
voiceless
voiceless aspirated
voiced
Fricative ਫ਼ ਸ ਜ਼ ਸ਼
Flap
Approximant ਲ਼

Writing system

Punjabi Alphabet
Gurmukhi alphabetic, excluding vowels.

There are three ways to write Punjabi: Gurmukhī, Shahmukhī, and Devanāgarī. 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.

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