Punjabi (sometimes spelled Panjabi) is the language of the Punjab regions of
India and Pakistan.
It is an Indo-European language of the Indo-Iranian subfamily.
also spoken in neighbouring areas such as Haryana and Delhi. In Pakistan,
however, it is not an official language and has no official status in
education. In formal contexts, such as government, newspapers, and
education, as well as in most writing, Pakistani Punjabi speakers tend to
English, which are the nation's official tongues.
Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries,
including Afghanistan, as well as many nations where Punjabis have emigrated
in large numbers, such as Britain, Canada, and the United States. Punjabi is
the sacred language of the Sikhs, in which the religious literature is
written (See Adi Granth). It is the usual language of Bhangra music, which
has recently gained wide popularity both in South Asia and abroad.
Modern Punjabi is a has borrowed extensively from other languages, including
English. Like other North Indian languages, is
Sanskrit and is therefore Indo-European. In addition, like
Urdu, it has a substantial number of loanwords from Arabic,
Persian, and even a few from
Turkish. Many sources subdivide the Punjabi
language into Western Punjabi (Lahnda) and Eastern Punjabi.
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. Sikhs and others in the Indian state of Punjab tend to use the
Gurumukhi or Gurmukhi (from the mouth of the Gurus) script. Hindus, and
those living in neighbouring states such as Haryana and Himachal Pradesh
often use the Devanagari script. Finally, Muslims, and in general Pakistani
Punjabis, use a modified Arabic script called Shahmukhi.
English, Punjabi has moved around the world and developed local
forms by integrating local vocabulary. While most loanwords come from
Urdu (and indirectly, from
Arabic), Punjabi emmigrants around the world have integrated terms from such languages as
Dutch. A distinctive "Diaspora Punjabi" is thus emerging. As
there is no formal consensus over vocabulary and spelling in Punjabi, it is
likely that Diaspora Punjabi will increasingly deviate from the forms found
on the Indian Subcontinent in the future.