Did you know that apart from being some of the most popular foods in the Indian subcontinent and Indian diaspora across the world, what else is common between Kulcha (ਕੁਲਚਾ – kulcā), Paneer (ਪਨੀਰ – panīr), Pista Kulfi (ਪਿਸਤਾ ਕੁਲਫ਼ੀ – pistā kulfī) and Falooda (ਫ਼ਲੂਦਾ – falūdā)? All these are Persian loan words in Punjabi.
Yep, that’s true! Kulcha came from the Persian word kulīča (کلیچه), so did panir (پنیر), pistâ (پسته), qulfī (قلفی), and fâluda (فالوده). And it isn’t the only language to loan words to the Punjabi language. Interesting, right? Let’s dig in deeper.
Loan Words In Punjabi
The Punjabi language has also borrowed words from other languages like Arabic, Sanskrit, Urdu, and English, to name a few. But in this article, we will speak about the Persian and Arabic influence on the Indian subcontinent, particularly on the Punjab region. Now let’s have a look over the borrowed words along with their meanings.
Persian Loanwords In Punjabi
Here are words borrowed from Persian Into Punjabi.
|Cost, value, price||ਕ਼ੀਮਤ||Qīmat||قیمت|
|Rule, principle, method||ਕਾਇਦਾ||Kāidā||قاعده|
|Bedsheet, sheet, shawl||ਚਾਦਰ||Cādar||چادر|
|Earth, land, field||ਜ਼ਮੀਨ||Zamīn||زمین|
|Poison, venom, toxin||ਜਹਿਰ||Zahr||زهر|
|Jewel, precious stone||ਜੌਹਰ||Jauhar||جوهر|
|Large cooking pot, cauldron||ਦੇਗ||Deg||دیگ|
|Box, chestbox, trunk||ਸੰਦੂਕ||Sandūk||صندوق|
Arabic Loanwords In Punjabi
Here are words borrowed from Arabic Into Punjabi.
|Like, in the manner of||ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ||Tarhā̃||طَرْحًا|
Loanword Phonology: Impact On Pronunciation
According to linguistic research, loanwords are words borrowed from one language to another with the same or similar meanings. The prevalent term used for the word ‘loan’ in Punjab is Karazā (ਕਰਜ਼ਾ) – itself a loan word from Persian! The word is also used in the Urdu and Hindi languages alike.
What usually happens is that these borrowed words then undergo adaptation into the structural constraints of the borrowing language phonology. So, for instance, in a modern language like Punjabi, Persian words like qulfī or kulīča transform slightly into kulfī (ਕੁਲਫ਼ੀ) and kulcā (ਕੁਲਚਾ).
As per linguistics, the important distinction to note here is that there is no concept of a half-sound either in the Punjabi language or in the Punjabi script (Gurmukhi) like in Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, or Arabic. Therefore, the Persian word qulfī (قلفی) is written as कुल्फ़ी in Hindi with a half-alphabet or semiconsonant (ल्) to denote the half-sound. But in Punjabi script, the same word is written as ਕੁਲਫ਼ੀ with the consonant (ਲ), eliminating the half-sound. However, the pronunciation, more or less, remains the same when spoken.
Journey Of Persian And Arabic Loanwords Into Punjabi
Language travels with people, and so does culture. With the Mughal invasion of the Indian subcontinent came Persian and Arabic influence on language, culture, and food. The name of the region itself – Punjab – is derived from the Persian Panj-āb meaning ‘five waters’, a reference to the five rivers crisscrossing the region.
Before that, Punjab was known by its Sanskrit name, Panchananda, which also means the ‘land of five rivers’. As is known, the Punjabi language developed earlier from the Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrit languages and later as its degenerated form or Apabhraṃśa. As the Mughals continued spreading their reign over most of the Indian subcontinent, they continued influencing the spoken languages and literature in the regions.
Punjabi Spoken In India And Pakistan
By the time the Mughal reign ended, Urdu and Hindi had already taken birth in the Delhi region – both heavily influenced by Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Sanskrit. By the time British rule ended, the subcontinent saw the Punjab region of undivided India being divided into two, as Pakistan came into existence. The Punjabi language had by now also been influenced by the English language. English loanwords became a part of Punjabi vocabulary.
Not only Punjabi but other languages like Urdu, Hindi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Bangla, and so on in India and Pakistan saw the entry of English loanwords in their lexicon. So today, millions in India and Pakistan – with their first language being Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu – can understand each other to an extent, thanks to the common loanwords these languages share.
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