Music, Poetry, Literature, Culture
Music, Poetry, Literature, Culture


About Punjabi Language

Punjabi 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 native tongue. 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. Native speakers of the Punjabi language and their respective diaspora are referred to as ethnic Punjabis. 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.

Punjabi peopleThe Punjabi people (Shahmukhi), (Gurmukhi)), also spelt Panjabi people; are an ethnic group which originates from the Punjab region also referred to as the land of five-rivers (Persian: panj-āb; “five waters”) or as bread basket of Pakistan and India. Punjabis are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group of North Indian origin; which in modern day constitutes parts of Haryana, Kashmir, Pakistani Punjab, Indian Punjab, and parts of Rajasthan. Traditionally, Punjabi identity was primarily linguistic, regardless of religious affiliation or race, referring to those for whom the Punjabi language(s) was the first language and who resided in the Punjab region and adopted its cultures and traditions over time. However, in recent times, the definition has been broadened to include people of Punjabi origin, even if they no longer speak the Punjabi language(s). Punjabis are primarily found in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India, which forms the present Pakistan province of Punjab and Indian state of Punjab. The present day Punjab region, has been the location of some of the oldest civilizations in the world like the Indus Valley Civilization. Following independence from Britain, the Punjab region was divided between the two nations. In Pakistan, Punjabis are the largest ethnic group, comprising more than 40% of the total population of the country. They reside predominantly in the province of Punjab and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In India, Punjabis represent about 2.5% of the population. The majority of Punjabi-speaking people in India can be found in the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, as well as in Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Large communities of Punjabis are also found in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and the states of Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The inhabitants of Punjab are collectively called ‘Punjabis’ although they are broken down into castes and/or tribes, many of which are not exclusively found in Punjab but are common to the entire Indian Subcontinent. Punjabi, with its many dialects, is the most spoken language in Pakistan and fourth most common language in India. According to the Ethnologue 2005 estimate, there are 88 million native speakers of the Punjabi language, which makes it the twelfth most widely spoken language in the world. According to the 2008 Census of Pakistan, there are approximately 76,335,300 native speakers of Punjabi in Pakistan, and according to the Census of India, there are over 29,102,477 Punjabi speakers in India. Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where Punjabis have emigrated in large numbers, such as the United Kingdom (where it is the second most commonly used language, and Canada, in which Punjabi has now become the fourth most spoken language after English, French and Chinese, due to the rapid growth of immigrants from Pakistan and India. There are also sizable communities in the United States, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Persian Gulf countries, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Punjabis are linguistically and culturally related to the other Indo-Aryan peoples of South Asia. There are an estimated 120 million Punjabis around the world. If regarded as an ethnic group, they are among the worlds’ largest. In South Asia, they are the second largest ethnic group after the Bengali People.


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