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  • 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 use Urdu and 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 Hindi, Urdu, Persian and English. Like other North Indian languages, is derived from Sanskrit and is therefore Indo-European. In addition, like Hindi and 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.

  • Much like English, Punjabi has moved around the world and developed local forms by integrating local vocabulary. While most loanwords come from English, Hindi and Urdu (and indirectly, from Persian and Arabic), Punjabi emmigrants around the world have integrated terms from such languages as Spanish and 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.

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