II. Structure of the language:

A. Phonetic Structure:

1. Initiation:


	There are ten vowels in Punjabi language. These vowels are /ә, a, i, I, U, u e, ε, o ɔ/.

			F				      B
		(unrounded)			(rounded) 

	high		i 			u 
			                   i	u
	 Mid.	          e		      ә		       o

	 Low		 ε	 	  a	                  ɔ

These can be divided into two classes: Centralized vowels /I, ә, U/ and peripheral vowels /i, e ε a ɔ, o, u/ and more or less centralized in articulation. /ә/ is only slightly higher than /a/. /I U/ are slightly lower than /i u/. /I/ is slightly less front than /i/ and /U/ is less back than /u/. The centralized vowels are perhaps some what shorter in duration than the peripheral and following tradition in India languages, are sometimes referred to as ‘short’ in opposition to ‘long’. However, the difference in duration is less prominent than that in quality and is less regularly maintained. They are, therefore, not here considered as short. The characteristic feature is clearly their centralization and the associated laxer articulation. If referred to as short, this can only be considered as a conventional designation with no phonetic significance.

6. Nasality:

All the ten vowels of Punjabi may be oral or nasalized. However, the centralized and peripheral vowels cannot be shown in opposition in the final position since the opposition central/peripheral is neutralized in favour of the peripheral vowels. The centralized nasal vowels may be interpreted as automatically nasalized before homorganic nasals and there are the three words may be transcribed as /čәņṭ/. /ṭIņḍ/ and /kUn'j/. However, phonetically the consonantal release in minimal and it is better to treat it as the automatic variant of the nasalized vowels.

Any vowel following a nasal consonant is automatically nasalised and the opposition oral/nasal is neutralized in favour of nasalised vowels. However, word-finally, if the vowel has low tone or mid tone in a disyllabic word, this opposition is neutralized in favour of oral vowels. All types of nasalisation spread over any sequence of vowels not interrupted by a true consonant.

7. Diphthongs:

Centralized vowels occur as the first member of diphthongs. Peripheral vowels followed by vowels that are always peripheral, fall into different syllables. Excepting the diphthongs, every syllable contains one and only one vowel.

The following are the diphthongs in Punjabi. /Iә/, Io, /Iɔ, Ia, Ua, әI, әe, әu/

All sequences of vowel, other than monosyllabic diphthongs, involve two peripheral vowels. There is a very slight to moderate non-syllabic vocalic glide between successive vowels.

8. Voice quality:

Semi vowels:

/y/ and /w/ are semivowels. They pattern like consonants except in delimiting the domain of nasalisation/y/ occurs only initially and largely only before the back vowels, /ә/ and /a/. In some dialects, initial /j/ is replaced by /y/. /w/ does not occur finally. It is commonest before front vowels /ә/ and /a/ in initial position. /w/ occurs medially only when either preceded or followed by a front vowel, in the sequences /awa/ and /әwa/ or syllable initial after consonants. It is not geminated and does not occur as first member in clusters. [y] and [w] like glides between consonants and vowels are phonemicised as /I/ and /U/ and form the first elements of diphthongs.


There are three tones in Punjabi – high, mid and low. In the production of tones, there is neither friction nor stoppage of air in the mouth. They are pronounced always concurrently with a syllable. In the production of low tone there is a considerable amount of constriction in the larynx along with some creakiness. Sometimes fall of the larynx is accompanied by the lowest possible pitch. The fall in pitch is followed by a rise not to the same level in all the cases. In high tone, the pitch of the voice is raised and falls down in the same syllable in a monosyllabic word but is polysyllabic words the fall is realized on the tail syllable which follows the on set syllable. In mid tone words, the pitch remains fairly level which may rise towards the end. The rise is not necessarily realized in all the cases.

High Tone:

High tone is higher, other things being equal, than the other two and the syllable with this tone is also shorter than with the other two tones. High tone is marked by [/]. It occurs in initial, medial and final positions.

Mid tone:

Mid tone is considered to be intermediate in pitch between the high and low tones. The syllable is of an intermediate length in this case. Mid tone is not marked in the phonetic transcription. The difference between the mid and high tone and between the mid and low tone can be seen in the pronunciation of following minimal pairs:

k̂orā	-	kórā	-	kòrā
ca  	-	cá	-	cà

Low Tone:

Low tone has been described as the lowest of the three tones. The pitch tends to fall. The syllable under this tone is longer in comparison with the other two. Low tone is marked by [\]. It occurs mostly in medial and final positions.

Tone Domains:

A Punjabi tone is normally realized over two syllables, its domain. Of these, the most important is the first or on-set syllable, and it is on this syllable that the tone is written in transcription. The onset of the tone can be on either the first or the second syllable of a word. In the latter case, there is a pre-tonal neutral syllable, one that is outside the domain of the tone of that word. The second part of the tone, the tail, is on a syllable following that having the onset. There are four important possibilities.

1. The word may contain a syllable following that with the tone onset. In this case, the tail will be realized on this syllable.

2. The onset-bearing syllable may be final, so that there is no syllable within the word on which the tail can be realized but the following word has a pre-tonal neutral syllable. The tone tail is then realized on the initial syllable of the following word.

3. The onset-bearing syllable is final in the word and the word final in an utterance or an intonation span. In this case, there is a non-phonemic prolongation of the word to allow for the realization of the trail. This is vocalic release after a consonant or a lengthening of a final vowel. It is a phonetic syllable, but as it is wholly predictable, it is not to be considered phonemically as a syllable.

4. The onset bearing final syllable is followed by a word with an initial onset-bearing syllable. In slow speech, a prolongation similar to that of the last case may be heard, though usually somewhat less prominent. With faster speech, this extra length may not be heard at all and the trail is simply not realized.

Tone Onsets:

The three tones oppose each other on onset syllables in at least three ways: pitch level, pitch contour and duration. Of these, Pitch level is often the most conspicuous, but is also most affected by intonational span. The other two features are, therefore, of considerable importance in distinguishing tones. Though the tones are named according to level, this should not be interpreted to mean that other features are non-significant or even necessarily secondary.

Tone Tails:

The syllable immediately after a tone onset bears the tone tail. That is to say, its pitch is predictable from the tone and serves in a secondary way as a cue for recognition of the tone. It may be affected by the following tone, but this effect is relatively minor.

The tail of a high tone tends to remain level if the next tone-bearing syllable is relatively high. Otherwise, it may fall very slightly. The tail of a mid tone generally rises appreciably, though this rise is reduced if the next tone-bearing syllable is relatively low. The tail of a low tone rises even more than that of a mid tone.

B. Phonology:

7. Neutralization:

There is a general neutralisation amongst all the voiced and voiceless stops in medial or final position after a nasalised vowel under high tone. There are some vocalic and consonantal neutralization due to this contrastive phenomenon. The pre-tonal vowels are always short. The opposition I/e, u/o and ә/a are neutralized in this position. If the tonal contour that begins with the second syllable is that of low tone, the preceding consonant is always a voiced one. The oppositions p/b, t/d, ta/da c/j, k/g are neutralized as in /nәbà/ (support), /wәdà/ (increase) /lãgà/ (help cross) etc.


All consonants in word final position have a slight vocalic release when the tone occurs on the proceeding syllable.

Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar
Stops Voiceless p t t6 k
Voiced b d d6 j g
Aspirates ph th t6h càh kh
Nasals m n ņ ŋ
Flaps & r
Lateral l
Sibilants s
Fricatives (f) (z)

Stops and nasals occur at five points of articulation namely: Velar, Palatal, Retroflex, Dental and Labial. There are four series: Voiceless unaspirate, Voiceless aspirate, Voiced unaspirate and Nasal. Velar articulations vary from pre-velar to mid-velar are slightly post-velar. The exact articulation is conditioned by adjacent vowels. Dental articulations are frontal and pre-palatal. The tongue tip is normally depressed. Palatal stops are clearly affricated with a sibilant quality in the off-glides. Retroflex articulations are apical and alveolar or very front palatal. The articulator is always the tip of the tongue, never the blade, and may involve the lower surface. The retroflection however, is generally weak. Palatal articulations are generally post-dental and always blade rather than tip of the tongue. The opposition with the retroflex articulation is as much, atleast in the articulator as it is in the point of articulation. Labial articulations are bilabial. There is a clear opposition of aspirate and unaspirate in the voiceless stops. This opposition is maintained in all positions. Voiced stops and nasals are unaspirated only. Aspiration does not occur after voiced consonants with the word, even as a separate phoneme. Aspirate stops are treated as unit phonemes through transcribed by digraphs. This treatment simplifies the statement of pattern by eliminating all three member final clusters. Treatment as unit phonemes also simplifies equating phonemics and orthography. No confusion can result from the transcription because of very severe restrictions of distribution of /h/ which never occurs following any consonant within the word. All stops are lenis in medial position after centralized vowels unless geminated. Geminated stops occur only after centralized vowels and are fortis.

This opposition is not maintained after peripheral vowels and in this opposition the stops tend to be neither markedly lenis nor markedly fortis. /ph/ is commonly heard as a fricative /f/, particularly between vowels and in word final position. The extent to which this occurs varies from speaker to speaker and from style to style, being commoner in more rapid speech and less formal diction. In addition to the stops and nasals, there are three pairs of continuants: retroflex and dental, three unmatched consonants and two semi vowels. /s/ is a voiceless, post-dental blade sibilant. /sa/ is a voiceless, alveolar to slightly retroflex tip sibilant. This opposition is fairly strong in all dialects. But is some dialects, the opposition /sa/ and /ch/ is weak /l/ is a voiced lateral continuant with post dental blade articulation. /la/ is a voiced lateral continuant with apical alveolar or retroflex articulation. This opposition is quite strong in Majhi dialect and minimal pairs are numerous. It is however lacking in some dialects. /r/ is a post dental trill generally fairly weakly trilled. /ra/ is a retroflex flap never having more than one constriction. /h/ is a glottal of the type customarily called “voiced h”. /f/ and /z/ are unpaired fricatives, one labio dental or bilabial voiceless the other post dental. They occur only in loan words from Persian and Arabic.

The palatal and the velar nasal /n'/ and /nQ/ have very low function load. They are distinctively used only in very careful speech in words like /әn'anaa/ ‘child’ /wәnQä/ braclets. Colloquially these words may be pronounced as /ә'jana/ and /wә'gã/. In the initial position, /n'/ and /nQ/ are neutralized with the dental nasal /n/ where only the archiphonemic form of /n/ occurs. The opposition n/n is very strong in medial and final position where there are numerous minimal pairs. However, in the initial position, this opposition is neutralized in the favour of the dental nasal /n/. The retroflex lateral /ia/ is in strong opposition with the dental /l/ in the medial position though it is not represented in the Gurmukhi orthography where there is no letter for /la/. In the initial position the opposition l/la is neutralized in favour of /l/. The oppositional load of ra/da is quite strong in medial and final position as in /sarai/ ‘burnt’ /sadai/ ‘ours’. This opposition is well maintained in Gurmukhi orthography. This opposition, however, in neutralized in the initial position where only the archiphonemic form /da/ occurs.

When the tonal contour begins from the second syllable with low tone, the preceding consonant is always voiced and in this position the opposition voiceless/voiced is neutralized as in /lәbà/ ‘help find’, /pәjà/ ‘make run’. /f/ occurs in loan words from Persian or Arabic in the standard speech of educated people and in the written language.

In colloquial speech, however, /ph/ is substituted. Or rather, in colloquial speech, there is no opposition between /f/ and /ph/, the tendency being to use only /ph/ in intervocalic and final positions, often with a decided preference for /f/. Careful standard speech maintains the opposition, but somewhat tenuously and generally only in the initial position.

/fɔrәn/ ‘at once’, colloquial /phɔrәn/ also [bәrf or bәrәf] ‘ice’ which is from Persian and might be expected to have /f/ with [lef] ‘mattress’ which traditionally has /ph/. The two words /bәrf/ and /leph/ are pronounced with /ph/ about equally frequently so that [f] and [ph] cannot be considered in opposition in this position.

/z/ too occurs in loan words from Persian or Arabic. In colloquial speech, however, /j/ is usually substituted. Occasionally a further substitution affecting also words with /j/ in standard speech occurs and /y/ is pronounced in initial position /z/ occurs in many positions, so that it is much less restricted them other consonants discussed here, but is like them in being very infrequent.

/zor/	or	/jor/	or	/yor/	strength 
/roz/	or	/roj/	or	/roy/	daily 

/h/ occurs commonly only initial. Here it is some what frequent than in Hindi or Urdu. /h/ in medial position is limited to a very few learned words as used in careful formal pronunciation.

These words are either not used at all in colloquial Majhi – in Doabi and Malwai dialects, medial /h/ is oppositional or altered in unpatterned ways to conform to normal phonological net-work.


All consonants occur geminated except / r, la, na, ra, n', nQ, h, y, w/. Geminates are prolonged and more fortis. Geminate aspirates are prolonged and aspirate only at the final release. They are phonetically similar to a cluster of an unaspirated stop and the homorganic aspirate. There is, however, no structural reason to consider such geminates as different from others. Note that all geminates are written alike. Geminates occur only after centralized vowels.

sUkka	‘dry’	SUka 	   ‘dry’ (v)
bәcca 	‘child’	bәca 	  ‘save’         

On the basis of phonology, Punjabi is compared to Hindi and other Indo-Aryan languages. Both Punjabi and Hindi have ten distinctive vowels each but with the development of tones, the vowels of Punjabi have a phonological structure very different from that of Hindi. While the tones have considerably changed the phonological structure of the vowels of Punjabi, their effect on the consonantal system is even more fundamental. In Punjabi, each articulatory domain has three phonological oppositions whereas Hindi has four.

In the initial position, the voiced aspirate of Hindi corresponds to the corresponding voiceless stop followed by low tone. Medially, the Punjabi language has a voiced stop followed by low tone and in the final position. We have the voiced stop preceded by high tone. All this shows that the Punjabi /p/ and /b/ not only correspond to the Hindi /p, b/ but one of their phonologic functions is the multiple correspondences with /ph/. This is true also of all other consonants of this oppositional network. Sindhi is the only Aryan language with implosives and Punjabi is the only major language with a developed tonal system. Almost all other languages Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati and Marathi have voiced aspirates but their functional load is not very high. The opposition voiced aspirate/voiced are maintained primarily in the initial position. Medially and finally, minimal pairs are extremely rare and the neutralization with other stops is quite frequent.

Marathi language has another important distinction, that of affricates. Instead of the usual five points of articulation in the Indo-Aryan languages, Marathi has six distinctive points of articulation. Assamese has only three. In the vocalic systems, the major difference apart from these shown for Punjabi and other languages is that Assamese, Bengali and Gujarati have no central/peripheral opposition. In Assamese, the opposition e/ε is maintained only in the medial position. In other positions, there is neutralization in favour of /e/. The opposition of /ɔ/ is neutralized in favour of /ɔ/ in open syllable when the following syllable has /u/.

In Bengali, the functional load of the opposition o/ɔ is very low. Generally, a vowel of intermediate quality between [o] and [ɔ] occurs. All Bengali vowels may occur oral or nasalized but the nasalized /ɔ’/ is rarely in opposition with /o’/. Like Bengali and Assamese, Oriya does not generally have distinctive long and short vowels but there are a few minimal pairs where this distinction is phonemically pertinent as in /phere/ ‘he returns’ /phēre/ ‘again’. The functional load of this opposition is quite low.

In Gujarati, the functional load of the oppositions e/ε and o/ɔ is very low and before nasals, these oppositions are neutralized in favour of the higher vowels /e/ and /o/. Length of vowels is a distinctive feature in Gujarati and all eight vowels occur as long and short.

Voiced Aspirates:

The five ‘voiced aspirates’ of the alphabet ‘x M Y X G’ (‘gh, jh, dh, dh, bh’), so called because they occupy the same place in the alphabetic order as Devanagari ?k > < /k Hk and are cognate to the latter, and the various conjuncts with j ‘h’ have paralleled reading rules. The consonantal values of gh, jh, dah, dh, bh are / k, c, ta, t, p/ when initial and /g, j, da, d, b/ when medial or final. The consonantal values of b, BQ, bQ, VQ (nh, lh, rah) etc. are always that of the base consonant /n, l, r/. In addition, all these mark low or high tone on an adjacent vowel. In initial position in the word, the voiced aspirates indicate low tone on the first syllable.

kòrā	-	horse 
càru	-	broom 
taòl	-	drum 
tobi	-	washer man
pài	-	brother 

In final position, the ‘voiced aspirates’ indicate high tone on the preceding vowel. These are written with [Z] /әddәk/ if following a centralized vowel, except that ‘nh’ and ‘mh’ are written with ‘taIppi/

	dúd	-	milk
	láb	-	profit

In medial position and marked with /әddәk/ or /taIppi/ in the case of ‘nh’ and ‘mh’, the ‘voiced aspirates’ indicate high tone on the preceding vowel.

	bәggi		-	buggy
	bәddi		-	tied 

When the ‘voiced aspirates’ with /әddәk/ or /taIppi/ has no vowel, and is followed by a consonant with a vowel, there is no gemination even with consonants which can be pronounced double.

	mәgda	-	lit 
	lәbda		-	finding 

In medial position after a peripheral vowel and with only a single vowel following, the ‘voiced aspirates’ indicate high tone on the preceding vowel.

	mági		-	maghi 
	máji		-	majhi dialect 
	vádu		-	extra 

In medial position after a centralized vowel and followed by a peripheral vowel and not marked with /әddәk/ or /taIppi/ the ‘voiced aspirates’ indicate low tone on the following vowels.

	pәgàrna	-	to melt 
	lәbàIa	-	helped find 

The letter ‘h’ represents the phoneme /h/ when initial.

	hәri		-	green 
	hatthi		-	elephant

Non-initial ‘h’ normally has no consonantal value, but represents high tone on the preceding vowel. In this case, ‘h’ follows peripheral vowels only.

	sá	-	breath 
	rá	-	path 	   

In a few learned words, medial ‘h’ is pronounced /h/ in formal speech by educated speakers, though for most this is somewhat artificial. In general the words concerned are learned and not used at all in colloquial speech

	әhI'sa	-	non violence 
	kәhanai	-	story 

The last has a colloquial equivalent /kànai/. This is homophonous with ‘ghani (mud). All such learned words with /∂/ before /h/ and with a peripheral vowel following are pronounced consequently with low tone.

The letter ‘h’ in a secondary form is used to form conjuncts.


a) Nouns: Noun is inflected for number and case. There are two numbers singular and plural. There are five cases, two of these, direct and oblique, apply to all nouns. The vocative is common only with animate nouns, though it is occasionally used with some others. The ablative occurs only in the singular of a small class of nouns. Another small class has a locative case in the singular. In place of the ablative plural, most locative singulars, and all comparable uses of words learning neither of these cases, phrases are used consisting of the oblique followed by a post-position.

Nouns are assigned to one to two genders, masculine and feminine. Generally /a/ ending nouns are called masculine and /i/ ending nouns are called feminine.

Pronouns: Pronouns are infected for number and case. There are two types of pronouns with totally different paradigms. The first type including the first and second person, singular and plural, has forms for direct, oblique, dative, ablative and genitive. The latter is an adjective and is further inflected following the usual adjective paradigm. The second type, including the third person pronouns, has in addition a locative and an instrumental.

First Singular First Plural Second sign Second Plural
Direct mε' әs'i tu' tUsi'
Oblique mε' әsã tu' tUsã
Dative mεnu' sanu' tεnu' tUhanu'
Ablative mεttho' sattho' tεtho' tUhatho'

/әpnā/ or /apnā/ is the usual reflexive genitive pronoun. It is used for all persons, singular and plural. It means that the possessor is identical with the subject of the sentence. It is inflected for number, gender and case like all adjectives and like the genitives above. /apã nu'/ to us’ is colloquially used in place of /sanu'/ / tUsi'/ and related forms are commonly used as a pronoun of respect /ap/ ‘you’ is occasionally used in Punjabi following Hindi, Urdu patterns as a pronoun of respect. The much more usual respectful form is /tUsi'/, /ap/ is uninflected. There are two sets of deictic or third person pronouns. These make no distinction of gender or of number in direct case. /ó/ is the commoner, and is generally used when no contrast is intended. When they do contrast, /é/ refers to the nearer, and /ó/ to the more remote.

The instrumental and genitive singulars appear to be the simple form plus the postposition nu'/ /ne/ and /da/, except that the latter do not have tones. On the basis of the assumption that every word in Punjabi has a tone, these are here treated as suffixes. The existence of alternative short forms for the instrumental is confirmation. In the plural, the postpositions are used in the regular way with the oblique and do bear tones.

Interrogative and relative pronouns are inflected for case, but do not mark number.

ii) Gender:

There are two genders, masculine and feminine. Every Punjabi noun is assigned to one of these. The assignment is often entirely arbitrary, predictable neither from form nor meaning. However, most nouns ending in /a/ are masculine. A majority of nouns ending in/i/ are feminine, but there are some frequently used ones ending in /i/ which are masculine. The latter are commonly terms referring to professions or employment whenever there are two contracting nouns from the same stem. There is a gender contrast as follows:


1.Masculine in /a/ ending changes into/i/ ending in feminine e.g. 
/lәraka/ 	‘boy’  - 	lәraki/ 	‘girl’,  
/kòrā/ 	 ‘horse’ 	/kòrai/	 ‘mare’ 

2.Masculine /i/ ending changes into /әna/ ending.
 /tòbi/ 	‘washerman’ - 	/tòbәn/ 	‘washerwomen’, 
 /mali/ 	‘gardener’
 /malәna/ 	‘gardener’s wife’

3.Masculine in consonant ending changes into /i/ ending 
/das/ 	‘servant’		/dasi/	female servant
/tәrkhana/	 ‘carpenter’	/tәrkhanai/	wife of carpenter 

4.Some masculine nouns in consonant ending changes into/i/, /nai/, /ni/ 
/nәta/	‘acrobat’ 	-	/nәtanai/	‘acrobat wife’
/saer/	 ‘lion’		-/saerni/	‘lioness’ 

5.Masculine consonant ending changes into /ani/
/jetah/ husband’s elder brother	-	/jetahanai/ ‘his wife’ 
/nɔkәr/	‘servant’	-/nɔkranai/ -	‘female servant’ 

6.With most inanimate nouns the masculine refers to a longer type, the feminine to a smaller 
/rәssa/ 	‘big rope’		/rәssi/	‘small rope’
/sotā/ 	‘big stick’		/sotai/	‘small stick’


There are two classes of adjectives in Punjabi, inflected or ‘black adjectives’ and uninflected or ‘red adjectives.’ These names are based on typical representatives of the two groups /kala/ and /lal/, black and red respectively. The meanings are carried by inflected and uninflected adjectives in most Indic languages, whether the words are cognate or not, and has suggested these terms. Punjabi adjectives do not differ from noun in the feminine plural as does Hindi or Urdu adjectives.

				Masculine		Feminine   	  	
Singular		direct	                  kala		kali
		oblique	   	  kale		kali
Plural	                direct                	  kale		kaliã
		oblique	   	  kaliã		kaliã

A few black adjectives have nasalised vowels. These follow the same paradigm, but show nasalization in all forms.

	/bárvã/	-	/bárvi'/	‘twelfth’

Various verb forms, one postposition /da/, genitive pronouns, and certain numerals are inflected in the same manner.

Cardinal numerals are adjectives. Those from /do/ ‘two’ onwards are inflected for case but not for gender: /d∂s admi/ ‘ten men’ - /d∂sã admiãda/ ‘of ten men’ /d∂s kUraiã/ ten girls /d∂sã kUraiã da/ ‘of ten girls’

i) Post Positions:

There are three types of post-positions in Punjabi.


1.	/da/ ‘of/ is inflected for gender, number and case and agrees with the following noun. 
					Masculine			feminine  
	Singular 		direct		/da/			/di/
			oblique		/de/			/di/	
	Plural		direct		/de/			/diã/	 
			Oblique		/dIã/			/diã/

2. Three forms always immediately follow the noun and show no inflection. These are:
/ne/ instrumental or agentive
/nu'/ ‘to’ also marks various verbal complements
/to'/ ‘from’ ‘by’
/ne/ and /nu'/
lose their tone and become suffixes after certain pronouns. The combinations have been listed in the paradigms of pronoun. /to''/ is related in some less obvious way to the various allomorphs marking the ablatives of pronoun and of certain nouns: /o, tho'/

3. There are a large number of post positions which may follow a noun or a noun plus /de/. The use of /de/ is in most instances completely optional, unlike Hindi /ke/. These generally have two forms. One can be considered as comparable to a locative singular noun, of which /k∂/re/ is the only example in standard use; the other to an ablative singular noun, some of these are, infact related to noun, so that the post positions can be considered as the locative and ablative cases of the nouns. The postposition /de/ cannot precede the shortened forms, /te/ ‘on’ or /to'/ ‘from’ but can be used with the longer equivalent forms /Utte/ or /Utto'/.


Auxiliary: The auxiliary verb /ho/ ‘be’ in Punjabi is used in the formation of various inflected verbal constructions. Here simple present indicative, past, future and subjunctive forms of it are given. The simple present and past forms of the verb 'be’ are inflected for person and number.

Person (Present) Singular Plural (Past) Singular Plural
1st ã/hã (am) ã/hã (are) si/sã (won) si/sã (were)
2nd e'/hε' (are) o/ho (are) si/sε' (here) si/so (were)
3rd e'/hε' (is) ne/h∂n (are) si (won) s∂n (were)

/hã, hε', ho, hε and h∂n/ are mostly used in written form and in formal speech. The forms a, e', o, e and ne are used in spoken or informal speech. The forms /si, s∂n, sã, sε' and so/ are used in both written and spoken form. Examples of the use of auxiliary verbs are given as under: -

Present Past
mε' ã I am mε' sã I was
∂si' ã We are ∂si' sã We were
tu' e You (sg.) are tu' sε' You (pl.) were
tUsi'o You (pl.) are tUsi' so You (pl.) were
ó e He/she/it is ó si He/she was
ó ne They are ó s∂n They were

Future: The future indicative forms of the verb /ho/ ‘be’ are formed by adding various suffixes agreeing with the subject in person, gender and number.

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st person hovãga hovãge hovãgi Hovãgiã
2nd person hove'ga hovoge hove'gi Hovogiã
3rd person hovega honage hovegi Honagiã



	The subjunctive forms of the verb /ho/ ‘be’ agreeing with the subject in person and number. 
	Singular		Plural
1st 	hovã		hoie
2nd	hove'		hovo
3rd 	hove		hona

Main verbs:

There are two types of verbal roots in Punjabi: monosyllabic and disyllabic. These roots may either be vowel ending or consonant ending.

Vowel Ending Consonant Ending
a. Monosyllabic ja (go) sUta (throw)
de (give) p∂r (read)
ro (weep) k∂r (do)
pi (drink) lIkh (write)
si' (stitch) sUna (listen)
(wash) mIl (meet)
b. Disyllabic k∂ma (earn) c∂m∂k (shine)
s∂ma (absorb) Ub∂ (boil)

There are a few sets of formally linked intransitive and transitive verb roots.

Intransitive		Transitive  
b∂l (burn)		bal (burn)
m∂r (die)		mar (kill)


The morpheme /naa/ is added to the verbal base in order to form infinitives:

	h∂s		h∂snaa		to laugh
	vekh		vekhnaa		to see
	lIkh		lIkhnaa		to write 
	ja		janaa		to go

Incase the verb root ends in /r/, /ra/ and /na/ the morpheme – na is added to form the infinities.

	d∂r		d∂rna		to be afraid 
	k∂r		k∂rna		to do 
	tUr		tUrna		to walk 
	l∂ra		l∂rana		to quarrel 
	sUna		sUnana		to listen 

The infinitives are used in the imperative constructions


	(tusi')	rotai	khanā	eat meals 
	(tUsi')	k∂/r	janaa	go to home

The infinitives may be used as nouns as in the following.


	k∂m k∂rna tahik hε		It is good to work 
	lIkhna mUskIl hε		It is difficult to write 

In the formation of oblique infinitive, the final/a/ is dropped and the final consonant cluster is broken by inserting the vowel /∂/


				Infinitive		  Oblique infinitive    		 
      	    janaa			to go 		   jana
	   khanaa			to eat		   khana
	   pinaa			to drink		   pina
	   k∂rnā			to do 		   k∂r∂n
	   p∂rana			to read		   p∂ra∂n

The following suffixes are added to the oblique forms of the infinitives for making the nominal agents agreeing with the noun in number and gender:


            		      Masculine				      Feminine 
	Singular			Plural		 Singular          		 Plural 
1	-vala			-vale		-vali			-valiã
2	-ala			-ale		-ali			-aliã
3	-har			-har		-har			-har

The suffix 'har' is added to a limited number of oblique infinitives.

	sIrj∂nhar		(The God)


There are two types of causative verbs. Some verbs have both causal forms and some have only one of the two. In most of the examples /aU/ is added in the formation of causal I and /vaU/ in added in the formation of causal II.


Verb			Causal I		Causal II
Utatahnaa	(to rise)		UtatahaUnaa	UtatahvaUnaa
r∂lnā	(to mix)		r∂laUnaa		r∂lvaUnā
da∂rna	(to fear)		d∂raUnaa		d∂rvaUnā

In the second category of verbs, while making casual forms, the initial vowel of the verb root changes and is shortened in length.


				Causal I		Causal II  	
bolna	(to say)			bUlaUna		bUlvaUnā
Khedanā	(to play)			khIdāUnā		khIdavaUnā	
Jagnaa	(to wakeup)		j∂gaUnā		j∂gvaUnā	

The following causal forms are derived from the intransitive verb roots:

	mItānā	(to be wiped out)	mItāUnā	mItavaUnā
	t∂rna	(to swim)	 	t∂raUnā	t∂rvaUnā

In case the verb root ends in a vowel, the /-va/ and /-laU/ suffixes are added to the verb root for forming stems. The two causal forms are in free variation.

	Khanā	(to eat)	khUanā/khIlaUnā
	denā	(to give)	dIvaunā/dIlaUnā
	dekhnā	(to see)	dIkhaUnā/dIkhalnā
	sIkhnā	(to learn)	sIkhanā/sIkhalnā

Tenses and Moods:

The tenses are formed either directly from the root or with the imperfective or perfective participle forms.

Imperative: The imperative is formed by adding /Ø/ to the verb root in its singular form and /o/ is added to it in its plural form:

	     Singular	     Plural     
	Kha + ø= kha	kha+o=khao
	Ja + ø=ja		ja+o=jao

The singular forms are used in addressing younger members of one’s family or intimate friends. These forms are also used for addressing the persons who are of lower social status than the speaker. The plural forms of imperative are used for second person singular for showing politeness and respect.


	The negative imperative is formed by putting /na/ before the verb.
	 ∂jj na jao		Don’t go today
	 k∂l na ao		Don’t come tomorrow 

The polite and respectable forms of future imperative are formed by adding –i –vi to the root in singular and Io –vIo in plural.

	Singular			Plural 
	p∂rai'	please read	p∂rIo
	lIkhi'	please write	likhIo

/i'/ and /Io/ are added to the consonant ending roots and /-vi'/ and /vIo/ to the vowel ending roots.

The infinitive form may also be used as an imperative for both singular and plural of the second person address.

	tusi' ana		you come 	 
	tusi' k∂r janā	go home 


The subjunctive expresses possibility, doubt, supposition, desire, uncertainty etc. The simple subjunctive forms are identical for both genders. Adding the following suffixes to the verb root forms the present subjunctive:

	Singular					      Plural    
1st person	-ã	k∂rã/khavã				-ie	k∂rie/khavie
2nd person-e'	kare'/khave'			-o	karo/khavo
3rd person	-e	k∂re/khave				-∂n	k∂r∂n/khav∂na

In case the verb root ends in a vowel, the consonant /v/ is inserted between the verb root and the suffix. In the subjunctive constructions the auxiliary verb is not used. The negative morpheme is always /na/. The subjunctive is used in the following types of sentences.

	tu' na khae'		you may not eat 
	Ó nav∂l na p∂ra∂n  		they may not read the novels 

The forms of the past subjunctive are the same as the present participle which are declined for gender and number:

 	              Masculine			  	      Feminine 
	Singular		Plural		     Singular	Plural
	k∂rda		k∂rde	  	   k∂rdi		k∂rdia'
	bolda		bolde		    boldi		boldiã

The past subjunctive is usually used only in conditional sentences.

Future: The simple future is formed by adding the following suffix to the verb roots, which are declined for person, number and gender.

 			Masculine			  	Feminine 
1st person		ãga		ãge		ãgi		ãgiã
2nd person	e'ga		oge		e'gi		ogiã
3rd person		ega		(ã)ge		egi		(ana) giã

In case the verb root ends in a vowel, /v/ is inserted between the verb root and suffix.


Masculine 			  Feminine 	
mε' tUrãga			mε' tUrãgi		I will walk 
∂si' turãge			∂si' tUrãgiã		We will walk	
tu' tUre'ga			tu' tUre'gi		you will walk
tUsi' tUroge		tUsi' tUrogiã	you will walk
Ó tUrega			Ó tUregi		he/she will walk 
Ó tUr∂nge			Ó tUr∂ngiã		they will walk 

In case the verb root ends in a vowel there are alternative forms also used where /U/ is not inserted between the verb root and the suffix. Thus the following forms are in free variation

mε' jaU'ga / javãga		mε' jaU'gi/javãgi 
tu' jae'ga / jave'ga		tu'jae'gi/jave'gi
Ó jaega / javega		ó jaegi/javegi

There are certain alternative short future forms used with the first and third person singular subjects. They do not infect for gender.

mε' jau'		I will go 
tu' jai'		you will go 
ó jau		he/she will go


Imperfective Participles: The simple imperfective participle is formed by adding the following imperfective participle markers to the consonant ending verb roots agreeing with the subject in gender and number:

	 	Masculine			      	Feminine 		  
	Singular		Plural 		Singular		Plural 	
	    -da		  -de		  -di		  -diã

Here /d/is the participle marker and a e i and iã are number and gender markers

Verb		Simple	Imperfective 	     Participle 
k∂ra		do	k∂rda		k∂rdek∂rdi		k∂rdiã
p∂ra		read	p∂radá		p∂rde		p∂radi	p∂radiã
lIkh		write	lIkhda		lIkhde		lIkhdi		lIkhdiã

In case the verb root ends in a vowel, the following suffixes are added to the verb roots:

	     Masculine	   	          Feminine  
Singular		Plural		Singular		Plural
-nda		-nde		-ndi		-ndiã

pi 		drink		pI'da		pi'de		pi'di		pi'diã
kha		eat		khãda		khãde		khãdi		khãdiã
ro		weep		ro'da		ro'de		ro'di		ro'diã

Perfective Participle:

The simple perfective participle is formed by adding the following participle markers, which are declined for number and gender:

	     Masculine				  feminine  
Singular		Plural			Singular		Plural
   -Ia		   -e			     -i		 -iã
aIa		ae			     ai		aiã	come
gIa		g∂e			     g∂i		g∂iã	went

Irregular Participles:

It is to be noted that/ho/ has an irregular present participle /hU'da/. There are other irregular past participles used with certain verbs. Past participle in /a-/

	taut		taUtatā	(break)
	bεtah		bεtaha	(sit)	
	l∂g		l∂gga	(begin)
Past participle in /-ta/ or /-tta/ /-tti/
	nà	(bathe)	nàta
	pi	(drink)	pita
	si	(sew)	sita
	de	(give)	dItta 
Past participle in/-Ia/
	pε	(fall)		pIa
	ja	(go)		gIa

2. Derivational Morphology:

Compound Participle:

The compound imperfective participle is formed by adding the perfective participle of the verb /honae/ ‘to be’ to the simple imperfective participle of a verb. They can be used as adjectives:


	lIkhda 	hoIa		writing   
	c∂ldi	 hoi		running
	v∂gda	 hoIa		flowing  

Derivation of Nouns:

A large number of nouns in Punjabi are derived from adjectives and verbs, by making certain phonological changes.

Nouns derived from adjectives. The suffix /-i/ is added to a number of adjectives for deriving nouns:


	Adjectives				Nouns  
	k∂mzor		(weak)	k∂mzori	(weakness)
	khUs		(happy)	khUsi	(happiness)
	g∂r∂m		(hot)	g∂rmi	(heat)
	g∂rib		(poor)	g∂ribi	(poverty) 
	s∂cca		(true)	s∂ccai	(truth)

The final vowel /a/ of the adjectives is dropped for making a noun.


	Adjectives			Nouns 	  
	g∂'da			g∂'d
	pU/kha			pU/kh
	s∂cca			s∂c

The final vowel /a/ of the adjective is dropped before the /-Iai/ suffix is added for making nouns

	ɔkha			ɔkhIai
	p∂kka			p∂kIai

Some nouns are derived from verbs by adding a zero suffix.

	Verb roots				Nouns  
	har		(defeat)	har	(defeat)
	kheda		(play)	kheda	(play)
	jItt		(win)	jItt	(victory)
	soc		(think)	soc	(thought)

Some nouns are derived by adding the suffix /-a/ to the verb roots:

	d∂b			(press)	d∂ba		(pressure)
	lUk			(hide)	lUka		(concealment)
	khIc			(attract)	khIca		(attraction)

The suffix /-ai/ is added to certain verb roots for deriving nouns

	sUna			(listen)		sUnaai		(listening)
	Una			(knit)		Unaai		(knitting)
	cUk			(lift)		cUkai		(carriage)

The suffix /-i/ is added to the verb roots for forming nouns:

	Usar			(construct)		Usari		(construction)
	k∂ma			(earn)		k∂mai		(earning)
	bol			(say)		bolli		(saying)

Nouns are derived from verb roots by changing the short vowel into long and by adding a suffix /-a/.

	sUkk			(dry)	soka		(draught)
	h∂ss			(laugh)	hassa		(laughter) 
	v∂d			(increase)	váda		(increase)
	rUs			(be angry) 	rosa		(anger)
	k∂'b			(shiver)	kãba		(shivering) 

e) Adverbs:

Adverbs in Punjabi as in other languages can be divided into different categories such as adverbs of time, adverbs of place or direction, adverbs of manner, adverbs of degree, adverbs of affirmation and negation etc. Adverbs of time are given:

	∂jj		‘today’
	h∂r roz		‘daily’
	h∂r vele		‘always’
	s∂vere		‘in the morning’

Adverbs of place and direction are given:

	Us par		‘across’
	dur		‘for away’ 
	nerae		‘near’
	nal nal		‘near by’
	hetahã		‘under’

Adverbs of manner are given

	Cheti cheti		‘quickly’
	hɔli hɔli		‘slowly’ 
	tez tez		‘fast’
	k∂de k∂de		‘occasionally’	
	ph∂tā ph∂ta	‘at once’ 

Adverbs of degree are given

	bɔt			‘very’ 
	kÚj			‘some’
	kafi			‘enough’
	sIrf			‘only’
	bilkul			‘quite’ 

Adverbs of affirmation and negation are given:

	hãji			‘yes’
	p∂kka			‘sure’ 
	n∂i'			‘no’

Primary and derived Adverbs:

Morphologically adverbs can either be primary adverbs or derived adverbs.

The pronominal adverbs which coincide with the pronominal adjectives like /Inna/ ‘this much’ /Unna/ ‘that much’ /jInna/ ‘as much’ /edaa/ /kInna/ ‘how much’ are primary adverbs. Primary adverbs also include adverbs like /k∂l/ ‘yesterday’ /∂jj/ ‘today’ /roz/ ‘daily’ /dur/ ‘far away’ /h∂mesā/ ‘always’ etc.

The derived adverbs are of various types corresponding to the pronominal /é/ ‘this’, /ó/ ‘that’ /jo/ ‘that’ and /ki/ ‘what’, following correlative adverbs are formed in Punjabi.


	ethe		(here)		othe	(there)	jItthe	(where)
	kItthe		(where)		etho'	(hence)	otho'	(thence)
	jItho'		(whence)		kItho'	(whence)	éd∂r	(hither)
	Ód∂r		(thither)		jídd∂r	(whither)	kÍdd∂r 	(whither) 

Certain indeclinable adjectives are used as adverbs without change of form: /zIada/ ‘more’ /thik/ ‘correct’ /tez/ ‘sharp’ etc.

Some declinable adjectives when used as adverbs may either retain their direct case form /bUra/ bad/badly /c∂'ga/ good/well, or take the oblique case forms:

	s∂jja	‘right’		s∂jje	‘on the right’
	kh∂bba	‘left’		kh∂bbe	‘on the left’

Adverbs are derived from the nouns in their oblique form:

	s∂vera	‘morning’	s∂vere	‘in the morning’
	sām	‘evening’	saami	‘in the evening’ 
	dIn	‘day’	dIne	‘by day’ 


The present progressive is formed by adding the following aspect markers which are actually perfective participle forms of the verb /rεnā/ ‘to live’ remain to the root of the verb agreeing with the subject in number and gender which are followed by the present auxiliary.


	    	 Masculine				    feminine  
	Singular		Plural		Singular		Plural 
	  ría		   r∂e		 r∂i		r∂iã

The second person masculine plural form is used for honorific singular and plural for both masculine and feminine subjects. The past progressive is also formed by adding the aspect markers to the root of the verbs agreeing with the subject in number and gender, which are followed by the past auxiliary.


	Masculine			Feminine 
mε'  ga  ría  si			mε' ga r∂i si 	(I was singing)
tu' ga ría si				tu' ga r∂i si		(you were singing) 
ó ga ría si				ó ga r∂i si 		(he/she was singing)

Negative particle is not used with the progressive construction.

Present imperfective:

The present imperfective of verbs is formed by combining their imperfective participle with the present tense of the auxiliary:

			Masculine			          Feminine  

1st person		k∂rda hã		k∂rde hã		k∂rdi hã	k∂rdiã hã
2nd person	k∂rda hε'		k∂rde ho		k∂rdi hε'	kᾌrdiã ho
3rd person		k∂rda hε 		k∂rde h∂n		k∂rdi hε	k∂rdiã h∂n

Past Imperfective:

The past imperfective tense of verbs is formed by combining their imperfective participle with the past tense of the auxiliary:

Masculine			Feminine  
mε' k∂rda sã		mε' k∂rdi sã	I used to do 
tu' k∂rda si			tu' k∂rdi si		you used to do 
ó k∂rda si			ó k∂rdi si		He/she used to do 


Interjections in Punjabi expressing surprise, pleasure, pain, anger, dislike, distress etc. are used as independent words. Some examples of these injections are given. The surprise is expressed by interjection like/ó/, /óho/, /hε'/, /ki/. The happiness, applause or pleasure is expressed by the interjections like /vá/, /sābasa/, /khub/, vá-vá/ /b∂lle/ /∂sake/ /aha/ etc.

The following interjections express sorrow, pain and grief like /hae/, /∂fsos/, /hae hae/ /hae oe/etc. Some interjections express disgust, dislike or disapproval /thu thu/, /chi chi/ /phItatae mu'/

Some interjections express warning like /kh∂b∂rdar/ /suneε/

Some interjections are prefixed to a noun in the vocative case and used as modes of address. Besides the above interjections certain nouns, pronouns, adjectives and verbs are also used as interjections.

Nouns: 	s∂tnam	s∂tnam	(used for God)
Pronouns:	/ki/	& /é/ 	(for what and this)
Verbs:	c∂l	 h∂ta	(go away) 	     

E. Lexicon:

The three processes involved in word formation are: Prefixation, Suffixation and Compounding. Prefixed used in Punjabi are both at Sanskritic origin and also of Perso-Arabic origin.

The prefix - /∂/ denotes negation in the vocabulary of Punjabi language e.g.
ਗਿਆਲ /gIan/ 'knowledge' ਅਗਿਆਲ /∂gIan/ 'ignorance'
ਨਾਥ /nath/ 'lord' ਅਨਾਥ /∂nath/ 'orphan'
ਖੰਡ /kh∂da 'part' ਅਖੰਡ /∂kh∂'d/ 'indivisible'
ਪੂਰਨ /pur∂'n/ 'complete' ਅਪੂਕਨ /∂pur∂n/ 'incomplete'
ਮਰ /m∂r/ 'die' ਅਮਰ /∂m∂r/ 'immortal'

The prefix/Up/ denotes 'near’,

ਵਾਰ /vak/ 'sentence' ਉਪਵਾਕ /Upvak/ 'sub-clause'
ਕੁਲਪਤੀ /kulp∂ti/ chancellor ਉਪ ਕੁਲਪਤੀ /Upkulp∂ti/ vice chancellor
ਭਾਸ਼ਾ /pàsa/ language ਉਭਾਸ਼ਾ /Uppàsa/ 'dialect'

The prefix/nIr/

ਬਲ /b∂l/ Power ਨਿਰਬਲ /nIrb∂l/ 'without power'
ਵੈਰ /Vεr/ enemity ਨਿਰਵੈਰ /nIrvεr/ 'without enemity'
ਧਨ /t∂n/ 'wealth' ਨਿਰਧਨ /nIrt∂n/ 'penniless'
ਆਸ /as/ hope ਨਿਰਾਸ /nIras/ 'hopeless'

The prefix/VI/

ਦੇਸ਼ /'desa/ 'country' ਵਿਦੇਸ਼ /vIdesa/ 'foreign country'
ਭਾਗ /pàg/ 'division' ਵਿਭਾਗ /vIpàg/ 'department'
ਗਿਆਨ /gIan/ 'knowledge' ਵਿਗਿਆਨ /vIgIan/ 'Science'
ਅਰਥ /∂rth/ 'meaning' ਵਿਅਰਥ /vI∂rth/ 'meaningless'

The prefix /∂n/

ਪਡ਼ /p∂ra/ 'read' ਅਨਪਡ਼ /∂np∂ra' 'illiterate'
ਮੇਲ /mol/ 'value' ਅਨਮੇਲ /∂nmol/ 'priceless'
ਸੁਣਿਆ /sUnIa/ 'heard' ਅਨਸੁਣਿਆ /∂nsUnIa/ 'unheard'
ਜਾਣਿਆ /janaIa/ 'known' ਅਨਜਾਣਿਆ /∂njanaIa/ 'unknown'
ਗਿਣਤ /gIna∂t/ 'counted' ਅਨਗਿਣਤ /∂ngIna∂t/ 'countless'

The prefix /h∂r/ denotes 'every'

ਰੇਜ਼ /roz/ 'daily' ਹਰ ਰੇਜ਼ /h∂rroz' 'every day'
ਤਰਾਂ /t∂rã/ /like this/ ਹਰ ਤਰਾਂ /h∂rt∂rã/ 'by all means'
ਵਾਰ /var/ 'turn' ਹਰ ਵਾਰ /h∂rvar/ 'each time'
ਕੈਈ /koi/ 'any one' ਹਰ ਕੇਈ h∂r koi/ 'every one'

The Persian prefix /be/ denotes 'without'

ਅਰਾਮ /∂ram/ 'rest' ਬੇਅਰਾਮ /be ∂ram/ 'restless'
ਅਸਰ /∂sͬr/ 'effect' ਬੇਅਸਰ /be∂s∂r/ 'in effect'
ਘਰ /k∂r/ 'home' ਬੇਘਰ /bek∂r/ 'homeless'
ਜਾਨ /jan/ 'life' ਬੇਜਾਨ /bejan/ 'lifeless'
ਕਾਰ /kar/ 'work' ਬੇਕਾਰ /bekar/ 'unemployed'


A large number of suffixes from Sanskrit and Perso-Arabic origin are used in the word-formation or derivation of different categories of words in Punjabi.

The suffix – a denotes having
ਮੈਲ /mεl/ 'dirt' ਮੈਲਾ /mεla/ 'dirty'
ਭੁੱਖ /pùkkh/ 'hunger' ਭੂੱਖਾ /pùkkha/ 'hungry
ਝੂਠ /cùtah/ 'lie' ਝੂਠਾ /cùtaha/ 'lier'
ਐਖ /ɔkh/ 'difficulty' ਐਖਾ 'ɔkha' 'difficult'
ਲੂਣ /luna/ 'salt' ਲੂਣਾ /lunaa/ 'salty'

The suffix – /-ti/ is used to form abstract nouns
ਮਿਣ /mIn/ 'measure' ਮਿਣਤੀ /mInati/ 'measurement'
ਗਿਣ /gIna/ 'count' ਗਿਣਤੀ /gInati/ 'counting'
ਬੁਣ /bUna/ 'knit' ਬੁਣਤੀ /bUnati/ 'texture'

The suffix – /-p∂n/ is added to adjectives to form abstract nouns
ਪੀਲ਼ਾ /pila/ 'yellow' ਪੀਲ਼ਾਪਣ /pila p∂na/ 'yellowness'
ਪਾਗਲ /pag∂l/ 'mad' ਪਾਗਲਪਣ /pag∂lpan/ 'madness'
ਭੇਲ਼ਾ /pòla/ 'innocent' ਭੇਲ਼ਾਪਣ /pòlap∂n/ 'innocence'
ਇਕੱਲਾ /Ikk∂la/ 'alone' ਇਕੱਲਾਪਣ /Ikk∂lap∂n/ 'loneliness'

The suffix – /dar/ is added to form nouns 'denoting' having as well as adjectives:
ਦੁਕਾਨ /dUkan/ 'shop' ਦੁਕਨਦਾਰ /dUkandar/ 'shopkeeper'
ਜ਼ਮੀਨ /z∂min/ 'land' ਜ਼ਮੀਨਦਾਰ /z∂mindar/ 'landlord'
ਤਹਿਸੀਲ /tεsil/ 'tehsil' ਤਹਿਸੀਲਦਾਰ /tεsildar/ 'tehsildar'
ਹਵਾ /h∂va/ 'air' ਹਵਾਦਾਰ /h∂vadar/ 'airy'
ਰੰਗ /r∂'g/ 'colour' ਰੰਗਦਾਰ /r∂'gdar/ 'coloured'

The suffix – /-la/ is used to form adjectives
ਹੇਠ /hetah/ 'below' ਹੇਠਲਾ /hetahla/ 'lower'
ਵਿਚਕਾਰ /vIckar/ 'centre' ਵਿਚਕਾਰਲਾ /vIckarla/ 'central'
ਧੁੰਦ /tU'd/ 'mist' ਧੁੰਦਲਾ /tU'dla/ 'dim'
ਉਂਪਰ /upp∂r/ 'above' ਉਂਪਰਲਾ /upp∂rla/ 'upper'


The compounds formed in Punjabi are mainly of two types:

1. Coordinative compounds

2. Dependent compounds

The coordinative compounds are formed by combining two nouns, adjectives, numerals, verbs or adverbs without the use of coordinating conjunction morpheme /te/, /∂te/ 'and'. Combining related sets of words, synonyms and antonyms forms these compounds.

Related words: Related sets of words having independent meanings are combined to give combined meaning of the compound.

ਦਾਣਾ ਪਾਣੀ /danā panai/ 'food'
ਜਾਣ ਪਹਿਚਾਣ /jana pεcana/ /familiarity/
ਹੱਥ ਪੈਰ /h∂tth pεr/ 'all limps'
ਮਾਂ ਖਾਪ /mã bap/ 'parents'


A large number of compounds are formed by combining synonyms of the same or close meaning for example:

ਸ਼ਰਮ ਹਯਾ /S∂rm h∂ya/ 'Shamefulness'
ਪਿਆਰ ਮੁਹੱਬਤ /pIar mÚb∂t/ 'love'
ਮਿੱਟੀ ਘੱਟਾ /mItatai k∂ṭṭa/ 'dust'
ਕੰਮ ਕਾਰ /k∂m kar/ 'work'
ਸਾਫ਼ ਸੁਥਰਾ /saf sUthra/ 'neat and clean'
ਅਮਨ ਚੈਨ /∂m∂n cεn/ 'peace and order'
ਧਨ ਦੈਲਤ /t∂n ḍ̂l∂t/ 'wealth'
ਸਾਧੂ ਸੰਤ /sádu s∂'t/ 'saint'


A number of antonyms and different numerals are also combined in the formation of compounds for expressing generality or approximation:

ਦੂੱਖ ਸੁੱਖ /dUkh sUkh/ 'sorrow and happiness
ਆਉਣ ਜਾਣ /aUna jana/ 'coming and going'
ਬੂਰਾ ਭਲਾ /bUra p∂la/ 'bad and good'
ਉਂਚਾ ਨੀਵਾਂ /Ucca nivã/ 'high and low'
ਅੱਚ ਰੱਲ /∂jj k∂l/ 'these days'
ਅੱਗੇ ਪਿੱਛੇ /∂gge pIcche 'before and after'
ਇੱਕ ਦੇ /Ikk do/ 'one or two'
ਪੰਚ ਸੱਤ /p∂'j s∂tt/ 'about six'
ਉਨੀਂ ਵੀਹ /Uní ví/ 'about twenty'

Some compounds numerals are used as idioms also like Uní ví means 'with a little difference'.

Dependent Compounds:

In the dependent compounds, the function of the one member of the compounds is dependent on the other, for example:

ਮੇਮਬੱਤੀ /mom b∂tti/ 'candle'
ਹੱਥ ਕਡ਼ੀ /h∂tth k∂ria/ 'handcuff'
ਭੁੱਖ ਹਡ਼ਤਾਲ /pùkkh h∂ratal/ 'hunger strike'
ਤਾਰ ਘਰ /tar k∂r/ 'telegraph office'
ਡਾਕ ਘਰ /dak k∂r/ 'post office'
ਚੇਬ ਰਤਰਾ /jeb k∂tra/ 'pick pocket’
ਗੰਗਾ ਚਲ /g∂ga j∂l/ 'water of Ganges'

Some numerals are used as modifiers in combination with the nouns in the formation of compounds:

ਦੇ ਮੰਜ਼ਿਲਾ /dom∂nziIa/ 'double storey building'
ਬਾਰਾਂ ਸਿੰਗਾ /barã sÌga/ 'stag having twelve horns'
ਦੁਨਾਲੀ /dUnali/ 'two bores rifle'
ਪੰਜਸੇਰੀ /p∂'jseri/ 'five seers'
ਚਾਰਪਈ /carpai/ 'cot having four legs'
ਸਤਨਾਜਾ /s∂tnaja/ 'mixture of seven grains'

Punjabi and Hindi, being close cognate languages, share a number of common lexical borrowings. The lexical borrowings in these two languages, borrowed from common sources, have undergone different phonological changes. Both Punjabi and Hindi borrowed a large number of lexical items from Sanskrit, Perso-Arabic sources and English.

The classified vocabulary may include the vocabulary related to the parts of body, kinship terms, birds, animals, agriculture and crops, flora and fauna, register of administration, law, business, science and technology etc.

Kinship terminology:

/pIo/pIta/ 'father' /mã/mata/ 'mother'
/p∂ra/pài 'brother' /pe/n/ 'sister'
/pUtt/ 'son' /tì/ 'daughter'
/dada/ 'grand father' /dadi/ 'grand mother'
/p∂radada/ 'great grand father /p∂radadi/ 'great grand mother'
/nana/ 'mother's father' /nani/ 'mother's mother'
/p∂ranana/ 'great grand father' /p∂rannanni/ 'great grand mother'
/taIa/ 'father's elder brother' /tai/ 'father's elder brother's wife
/caca/ 'father's younger brother' /caci/ 'father's younger brothers wife
/mas∂ra/ 'mother's sister's husband' /masi/ 'mother's sister'
/fuff∂ra/ 'father's sister's husband' /pùa/ 'father's sister'
/pànaja/ 'sister's son' /pànaji/ 'sister's daughter'
/pàtija/ 'brother's son' /p∂tiji/ 'brother's daughter'
/dóta/ 'daughter's son' /dóti/ 'daughter's daughter'
/pota/ 'son's son' /poti/ son's daughter
c∂cera pài/ 'father's brother's son' /c∂ceri pe/n/ father's brother's daughter
j∂vai/ 'daughter's husband' /nu'/ 'daughter in law'
/p∂naoia/ sister's husband
/p∂rjai/ brother's wife
/k∂rvala/ 'husband' /k∂rvali/ 'wife'
/p∂ti/ 'husband' /p∂tni/ 'wife'
/jetah/ 'husband's elder brother' /jetahanai/ 'husband's elder brother's wife
/dIor/ 'husband's younger brother' /d∂rani/ husband younger brother wife
/sala/ 'wife's brother' /sali/ 'wife's sister'
/salehar/ 'wife's brother's wife' /sádau/ 'wife's sister's husband'
/n∂n∂d/ 'husband's sister' /n∂nadoia/ 'husband's sister's husband

Colour Terms:

ਚਿੱਟਾ /cItatā/ 'white' ਕਾਲਾ /kala/ 'black'
ਸਫ਼ੈਦ /s∂fed/ 'white'
ਪੀਲ਼ਾ /pila/ 'yellow' ਹਰਾ /h∂ra/ 'green'
ਨੀਲਾ /nila/ 'blue' ਲਾਲ /lal/ 'red'
ਸੰਤਰੀ /s∂tri/ 'orange' ਸੁਨਹਿਰੀ /sune/ri/ 'golden'
ਕੇਸਰੀ /kesri/ 'saffron' ਗੁਲਾਬੀ /gUlabi/ 'pink'
ਅਸਮਾਨੀ /∂smani/ 'sky blue' ਉਨਾਭੀ /unábi/ 'maroon'
ਸਲੇਟੀ /s∂letai/ 'grey' ਜਾਮਣੀ /jamnai/ 'purple'
ਭੂਰਾ /pùra/ 'brown' ਪਿਆਜੀ /pIaji/ 'pink'
ਬੈਂਗਣੀ /begnai/ 'purple' ਫਿਰੇਜ਼ੀ /fIrozi/ 'azure'
ਮੂੰਗੀਆ /mu'gia/ 'bottle green' ਮੇਤੀਆ /motia/ 'broken white'
ਸਰੇਂ ਫੁੱਲਾ /S∂ro' phUlla/ 'mustard'
ਗੂਡ਼ਾ ਨੀਲਾ /gúrā nila/ 'very blue'
ਬਿਸਕੁਟੀ /bIskUtai/ 'biscuit colour'
ਬਦਾਮੀ /b∂dami/ 'almond colour'
ਚਾਂਦੀ ਰੰਗਾ /cãdi r∂ga/ 'silver colour'
ਕਣਰ ਵੰਨਾ /k∂n∂k v∂na/ 'wheatish'

Body Parts:

ਸਿਰ /sIr/ 'head' ਜ਼ਾਡ਼ /jára/ 'molar'
ਮੱਥਾ /m∂ttha/ 'forehead' ਮਸੂਡ਼ਾ /m∂sura/ alveolar ridge'
ਅੱਖਾਂ /∂kkhã/ 'eyes' ਜੀਭ /jíb/ 'tongue'
ਭਰਵੱਟੇ /p∂rv∂tte/ 'eye brows' ਸੀਘ /s∂'g/ 'throat'
ਪਲਕਾਂ /palkã/ 'eye lash' ਠੇਡੀ /tahodai/ 'chin'
ਡੇਲਾ /dela/ 'eye ball' ਮੁੱਛਾਂ /mUcchã/ 'moustaches'
ਨੱਕ /n∂kk/ 'nose' ਦਾਡ਼ੀ /dárai/ 'beard'
ਕੰਨ /k∂'n/ 'ear' ਵਾਲ /val/ 'hair'
ਮੂੰਹ /mu'/ 'mouth' ਗਲ਼ਾ /g∂la/ 'neck'
ਦੰਦ /d∂d/ 'teeth' ਬਾਂਹ /bá/ 'arm'
ਬੂਲ /búll/ 'lips' ਕੂਹਣੀ /kúnai/ 'elbow'
ਗੁੱਟ /gUtata/ 'wrist' ਪਿੰਜਣੀ /pI'jnai/ 'lower part of leg'
ਹੱਥ /h∂tth/ 'hand' ਗਿੱਟਾ /gItata/ 'ankle'
ਉਂਗਲੀ /U'g∂li/ 'finger' ਪੈਰ /per/ 'feet'
ਅੰਗੂਠਾ /∂'gutaha/ 'thumb' ਅੱਡੀ /∂dadai/ 'heels'
ਪੰਜਾ /p∂'ja/ 'paw' ਅੰਗੂਠਾ /∂gutaha/ 'toe'
ਨੰਹੁ /nU'a/ 'nail' ਪਿੱਠ /pItatah/ 'back'
ਗਰਦਨ /g∂rd∂n/ 'neck' ਮੰਮਾ /m∂ma/ 'breast'
ਛਾਤੀ /chati/ 'chest' ਯੇਨੀ /yoni/ 'vagina'
ਦਿੱਡ /taÌda/ 'belly'
ਪੇਟ /peta/ 'stomach'
ਫੇਫਡ਼ੇ /phephrae/ 'lungs'
ਦਿਲ /dIl/ 'heart'
ਦਿਮਾਗ /dImag/ 'brain'
ਸਾਹ 'breath'
ਨਾਡ਼ੀ /narai/ 'nerve'
ਖੂਨ /khun/ 'blood'
ਲਹੂ /l∂u/ 'blood'
ਕਮਰ /k∂m∂r/ 'waist'
ਪੱਟ /p∂tata/ 'thigh'
ਚਿੱਤਡ਼ /cIttara/ 'buttock'
ਲਿੰਹ /II'g/ 'penis'
ਗੇਡਾ /goda/ 'knee'
ਲੱਤ /l∂tt/ 'leg'

Cooking Terminology:

ਰੇਟੀ /rotai/ 'bread'
ਚਪਾਤੀ /c∂pati/ 'thick Indian bread'
ਫੁਲਕਾ /phUlka/ 'light Indian bread'
ਪਰੈਂਠਾ /p∂rãtaha/ 'stuffed fried bread'
ਮੱਕੀ ਦੀ ਰੇਟੀ /m∂kki di rotai/ 'bread made by maize flour'
ਸਰੇਂ ਦਾ ਸਾਗ /s∂rõ da sag/ 'a dish made by mustard green leaves'
ਦਾਲ /dal/ 'pulse'
ਤਡ਼ਕਾ /t∂raka/ 'fry'
ਪਲਾਓ /plao/ 'cooked rice'
ਖ਼ੀਰ /xir/ 'rice pudding'
ਭੁੰਨਣਾ /pUnna/ 'to roast'
ਤਲ਼ਣਾ /t∂lna/ 'to fry'
ਮਸਾਲਾ /m∂sala/ 'spices'
ਉਬਾਲਣਾ /Ubalna/ 'to boil'
ਪਕਾਉਣਾ p∂kaUna/ 'to cook'
ਰਾਡ਼ਨਾ /rárana/ 'to roast'
ਤੰਦੂਰੀ ਚਿਕਨ /t∂duri cIk∂n/ 'roasted chicken'
ਮੱਛੀ ਤਲਣਾ /m∂cchi t∂lna/ 'fish fry'
ਤਰੀ /t∂ri/ 'gravy'
ਸਲਾਦ /slad/ 'salad'
ਰਾਇਤਾ /raIta/ 'a curd dish'
ਹਲਵਾ /h∂lva/ 'pudding'
ਗਚਰੇਲਾ /g∂jrela/ 'a pudding made with carrot & milk
ਪਕੈਡ਼ਾ /p∂k̂ra/ 'a fried snacks made with onion & vegetables prepared from gram flour'
ਦਲ਼ੀਆ /d∂Iaia/ 'a dish made by crushed wheat'
ਖਿਚਡ਼ੀ /khIcrai/ 'a dish made by rice & pulse'
ਮਟਰ ਪਨੀਰ /m∂ṭ∂r p∂nir/ 'a dish made by peas & cheese'
ਮੀਟ /mita/ 'a dish made by flesh of goat'
ਭਡ਼ਥਾ /p∂ratha/ 'a dish made by fried brinjal'
ਭੁਰਜੀ /pùrji/ 'a dish made by fried onion & eggs
ਬਡ਼ੀਆਂ ਪਕੈਡ਼ੇ /b∂raiã p∂k̂rae/
ਸੇਵੀਆਂ /seviã/ 'pice, a sweet dish'
ਮਿੱਠੇ ਚੈਲ਼ /mItatahe caßl/ 'sweet rice'
ਕਡ਼ੀ /kárai/ 'a dish made by sour curd'
ਚਟਣੀ /c∂tanai/ 'sauce'
ਸ਼ਾਹੀ ਪਨੀਰ /sái p∂nir/ 'cheese made dish'
ਮਲਾਣੀ ਕੇਫਤਾ /m∂lai kofta/ 'fried balls of mashed vegetable and cream'
ਚਨਾ ਮਸਾਲਾ /c∂na m∂sala/ 'spiced gram'
ਪੂਰੀ /puri/ 'round fried bread'
ਪੂਡ਼ਾ /pura/ 'fried thin bread'
ਸਾਲ ਪੂਡ਼ਾ /mál pura/ 'sweet deep fried thin bread' used in rainy season'
ਦਰੀਂ ਭੱਲੇ /d∂i p∂lle/ 'fried cake of pulse flour and curd'
ਮਾਂਹ ਛੇਲੇ /mã chole/ 'a dish with lentil and gram'
ਕਾਖਲੀ ਛੇਲੇ /kabli chole/ 'white gram'
ਭਠੂਰੇ ਛੇਲੇ 'p∂tahure chole/ 'a fried bun and gram'
ਆਲੂ ਛੇਲੇ /alu chole/ 'a dish made by patato and peas'
ਆਲੂ ਮਟਰ /alu m∂ta∂r/ 'a dish made by patato and peas'
ਆਲੂ ਗੋਭੀ /alu góbi/ 'a dish made by potato and cauli-flower'
ਆਲੂ ਮੇਥੀ /alu methi/ 'a dish made by potato and green leaves'
ਆਲੂ ਥਤਾਊਂ /alu b∂tau'/ 'potato and brinjal made dish'
ਮਟਰ ਚਿਮੀਂਕੰਦ /m∂t∂r jImik∂'d/ 'peas and an edible tuberous root'

Days of Week:

ਸੇਮਵਾਰ /somvar/ 'Monday'
ਮੰਗਲਵਾਰ /m∂'g∂lvar/ 'Tuesday'
ਬੂੱਧਵਾਰ /bÚddvar/ 'Wednesday'
ਵੀਰਵਾਰ /virvar/ 'Thursday'
ਸੁੱਕਰਵਾਰ /saUkk∂rvar/ 'Friday'
ਸ਼ਨੀਚਰਵਾਰ /S∂nic∂rvar/ 'Saturday'
ਐਤਵਾਰ /etvar/ 'Sunday'

Months of year:

ਜਨਵਰੀ /j∂nv∂ri/ 'January'
ਫਰਵਰੀ /f∂rv∂ri/ 'February'
ਮਾਰਚ /marc/ 'March'
ਅਪੈਲ /∂prel/ 'April'
ਮਈ /m∂i/ 'May'
ਚੂਨ /Jun/ 'June'
ਜੁਲਾਈ /jUlai/ 'July'
ਅਗਸਤ /∂g∂st/ 'August'
ਸਤੰਬਰ /s∂'t∂b∂r/ 'September'
ਅਕਤੂਬਰ /∂ktub∂r/ 'October'
ਨਵੰਬਰ /n∂v∂b∂ r/ 'November'
ਦਸੰਬਰ /d∂s∂b∂r/ 'December'


ਇੱਕ /Ikk/ 'one'
ਦੇ /do/ 'two'
ਤਿੰਨ /tÌn/ 'three'
ਚਾਰ /car/ 'four'
ਪੰਚ /p∂'j/ 'five'
ਛੇ /che/ 'six'
ਸੱਤ /s∂tt/ 'seven'
ਅੱਠ /∂tatah/ 'eight'
ਨੈਂ /n̂̂/ 'nine'
ਦਸ d∂s/ 'ten'
ਗਿਆਰਾ /gIarã/ 'eleven'
ਬਾਰਾਂ /barã/ 'Twelve'
ਤੇਰਾ /terã/ 'Thirteen'
ਚੈਦਾਂ /ĉdã/ 'fourteen'
ਪੰਦਰਾਂ /p∂'drã/ 'fifteen'
ਸੈਲਾਂ /solã/ 'sixteen'
ਸਤਾਰਾਂ /s∂tarã/ 'seventeen'
ਅਠਾਰਾਂ /∂taharã/ 'eighteen'
ਉਨੀਂ /Uni'/ 'nineteen'
ਵੀਹ /ví/ 'Twenty'
ਇੱਕੀ /Ikki/ 'Twenty one'
ਬਾਈ /bai/ 'twenty two'
ਤਾਈ /tei/ 'twenty three'
ਚੈਵੀ /ĉvi/ 'twenty four'
ਪੱਚੀ /p∂cci/ 'twenty five'
ਛੱਬੀ /ch∂bbi/ 'twenty six'
ਸਤਾਈ /s∂tai/ 'twenty seven'
ਅਠਾਈ /∂tahai/ 'twenty eight'
ਉਣੱਤੀ /Un∂tti/ 'twenty nine'
ਤੀਹ /tí/ 'Thirty'
ਇਕੱਤੀ /Ikk∂ti/ 'thirty one'
ਬੱਤੀ /b∂tti/ 'thirty two'
ਤੇਤੀ /teti/ 'thirty three'
ਚੈਂਤੀ /ĉti/ 'thirty four'
ਪੈਂਤੀ /peti/ 'thirty five'
ਛੱਤੀ /ch∂tti/ 'Thirty six'
ਸੈਂਤੀ /se'ti/ 'thirty seven'
ਅਠੱਤੀ /∂th∂tti/ 'thirty eight'
ਉਣਤਾਲੀ /Unatali/ 'thirty nine'
ਚਾਲ਼ੀ /caIai/ 'forty'
ਇਕਤਾਲੀ /Iktali/ 'forty one'
ਬਿਆਲੀ /bIali/ 'forty two'
ਤਰਤਾਲੀ /tartali/ 'forty three'
ਚੁਤਾਲੀ /cUtali/ 'forty four'
ਪੰਜਤਾਲੀ /p∂jtali/ 'forty five'
ਛਿਆਲੀ /chIali/ 'forty six'
ਸੰਤਾਲੀ /s∂'tali/ 'forty seven'
ਅਠਤਾਲੀ /∂tahtali/ 'forty eight'
ਉਣੰਜਾ /Un∂'ja/ 'forty nine'
ਪੰਜਾਹ /p∂'já/ 'fifty'
ਇਕਾਰਠ /Ikátah/ 'sixty one'
ਬਾਹਠ /bátah/ 'sixty two'
ਤਰੇਂਹਠ /t∂re'tah/ 'sixty three'
ਚੈਂਹਠ /ĉ'tah/ 'sixty four'
ਪੈਂਹਠ /pe'tah/ 'sixty five'
ਛਿਆਹਠ /chIátah/ 'sixty six'
ਸਤਾਹਠ /s∂tátah/ 'sixty seven'
ਅਠਾਹਠ /∂tahátah/ 'sixty eight'
ਉਣਹੱਤਰ /Un∂tt∂r/ 'sixty nine'
ਸੱਤਰ /s∂tt∂r/ 'seventy'
ਇੱਕਤਰ /Ikk∂t∂r/ 'seventy one'
ਬਹੱਤਰ /b∂tt∂r/ 'seventy two'
ਤਿਹੱਤਰ 'tI∂tt∂r/ 'seventy three'
ਚੁਹੱਤਰ /cu∂tt∂r/ 'seventy four'
ਪਝੰਤਰ /pãjtar/ 'seventy five'
ਛਿਹੱਤਰ /ChI∂ttar/ 'seventy six'
ਸਤੱਤਰ /s∂tt∂r/ 'seventy seven'
ਅਠੱਤਰ /∂th∂tt∂r/ 'seventy eight
ਓਣਾਸੀ /unasi/ 'seventy nine'
ਅੱਸੀ /∂ssi/ 'eighty'
ਇਕਾਸੀ /Ikasi/ 'eighty one'
ਬਿਆਸੀ /bIasi/ 'eighty two/
ਤਰਾਸੀ /t∂rasi/ 'eighty three/
ਚੁਰਾਸੀ /cUrasi/ 'eighty four/
ਪਚਾਸੀ /p∂casi/ 'eighty five/
ਛਿਆਸੀ /chIasi/ 'eighty six'
ਸਤਾਸੀ /S∂tasi/ 'eighty seven'
ਅਠਾਸੀ /∂tahasi/ 'eighty eight'
ਉਣਾਨਵੇਂ /Unanve'/ 'eighty nine'
ਨੱਬੇ /n∂bbe/ 'ninty'
ਇਕਾਨਵੇੰ /Ikanve'/ 'ninety one'
ਬਾਨਵੇਂ /banve'/ 'ninety two'
ਤਰਾਨਵੇਂ /tranve'/ 'ninety three'
ਚੁਰਾਨਵੇਂ /cUranve'/ 'ninety four'
ਪਚਾਨਵੇਂ /p∂canve'/ 'ninety five'
ਛਿਆਨਵੇਂ /chIanve'/ 'ninety six'
ਸਤਾਨਵੇੰ /s∂tanve'/ 'ninety seven'
ਅਠਾਨਵੇਂ /∂tahanve'/ 'ninety eight'
ਨਡ਼ਿਨਵੇਂ /n∂raInve'/ 'ninety nine'
ਸੈ /ŝ/ 'hundred'

1 1 one
2 2 two
3 3 three
4 4 four
5 5 five
6 6 six
7 7 seven
8 8 eight
9 9 nine


Copyright CIIL-India Mysore