There are approximately 151.5 million Punjabi speakers, the official language of Punjab in India. It is certainly a widely spoken language globally. But have you thought of the Punjabi script or Punjabi typing? There is a complex Punjabi keyboard layout. We’re here to dig deeper into Punjabi writing.
The Punjabi language is part of the Indo-Aryan languages, spoken by people from Pakistani Punjab as well. Long ago, there was a war that separate the Punjab province dividing the people as well. The official language of Pakistan is Urdu but there are numerous native Punjabi language speakers.
Uniqueness Of Punjabi Writing
Punjabi is written in ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ Gurmukhi, which is a syllabic script. It is a tonal language, which means that the tone of a word can change its meaning. It’s important to pay attention to the tone when learning to read and write Punjabi. There are a total of 35 letters, including 10 vowels and 25 consonants.
The Punjabi alphabet has different forms depending on the position of a word (initial, medial, or final). Punjabi also has compound letters, which are formed by combining two or more letters.
Similar to English, Punjabi is written from left to right and the words are separated by spaces. The Shahmukhi script is from right to left which we will look at later. Practice is important when writing letters and words in Punjabi to correctly develop proper handwriting.
The Gurmukhi script, used to write Punjabi, was developed in the 16th century by Guru Angad Dev, one of the Sikh Gurus. The name “Gurmukhi” means “from the mouth of the Guru.”
Gurmukhi script is also used to write the Punjabi dialect spoken by Eastern Punjabi and the western Punjabi dialect spoken in Pakistan uses the Shahmukhi script which means “from the mouth of Shahs”.
The letters of the Gurmukhi script are rounded and easy to write, making it suitable for children to learn. The script was originally designed to be written with a pen or brush, rather than a stylus. Punjabi is the only language in which the Gurmukhi script is used.
The Gurmukhi script is considered to be one of the most scientific scripts among the Indian languages, with the letters representing the actual sounds of the language. It is also used for writing the holy text of Sikhism, found by the Guru Granth Sahib.
About The Shahmukhi (شاہ مکھی) Script
Shahmukhi script, on the other hand, is used to write the Punjabi dialect spoken in Pakistan. It is based on the Persian script and is written from right to left. It has a total of 38 letters, including 12 vowels and 26 consonants. The script is considered to be more complex than Gurmukhi and requires more effort to learn. Take a glance below:
ا ب پ ت ٹ ث ج چ ح خ د ڈ ذ ر ڑ ز ژ س ش
ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل لؕࣇ م ن ݨ (ں)
و ه (ھ) ء ی ے
Shahmukhi has more letters in its alphabet, which makes it more complex than Gurmukhi. The sound system of the Punjabi language is more or less the same for both scripts. However, the orthography is different, and the two scripts use different characters to represent the same sounds.
Which Language Is Similar To Punjabi Writing?
The Gurmukhi script used to write Punjabi is similar to the script used to write several other languages spoken in the Indian subcontinent, such as:
- Hindi हिन्दी: It is a Devanagari script and has many similarities with the Gurmukhi script in terms of the letters and their shapes
- Sanskrit संस्कृतम्: It is also a Devanagari script, with a similar structure and grammar to Punjabi.
- Nepali नेपाली: Also a Devanagari script like that of Punjabi, and like Sanskrit, it has a similar structure and grammar to Punjabi.
- Bengali বাংলা বর্ণমালা: It has its own Bengali script, but shares some similarities in terms of the letters and their shapes with the Gurmukhi script in the Punjabi language.
Additionally, the Shahmukhi script used to write Punjabi in Pakistan is similar to the scripts used to write several other languages spoken in the region, such as:
- Urdu اردو حروفِ تہجی: It is written using the same script as Shahmukhi, it is also heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic scripts.
- Persian الفبای فارسی: It is written in its own Persian script, but has a similar structure and grammar to the Punjabi language.
- Arabic الْأَبْجَدِيَّة الْعَرَبِيَّة: It is written using its own Arabic script, and like Persian, it has a similar structure and grammar to Punjabi.
The difficulty of writing Punjabi depends on one’s prior experience with writing and the script used. For those who are familiar with the script may not be very difficult. But for those who are not familiar with the script and have no prior experience writing in a similar language, it may take some time and effort to learn how to write Punjabi correctly.
Learn The Punjabi Language With Ling
The special part of understanding how to write a language is that it opens up a world of information to you that you probably did not know just by listening and speaking. By reading, you will be exposed to rich Punjabi literature, poetry, news, blogs, and so much more.
By now, you must have considered learning the language completely – not just for writing. Let the Ling App be your support while you do this!
The Ling app provides great resources, quizzes, interactive lessons, personalized features, and voice recognition for you to have a holistic learning experience. Learning a language just got a whole lot better with Ling!