Punjabi's 100+ million speakers straddle the border between Pakistan and India, and it is Pakistan's most spoken native language. Punjabi has considerable divergence among dialects; we'll describe the Majhi dialect of Lahore.
Let's start by considering the segmental phonemes, shown here with their equivalents in both Gurmukhī and Shamukhī scripts, along with IPA and Musa transcription.
Punjabi is written using the Akshara gait in India, but the Alphabet gait in Pakistan, as shown on this page.
Punjabi has ten vowels. The three central vowels (in red below) are short; the others are all long.
|ਈ i i: ی||ਇ ɪ i اِ||ਉ ʊ u أ||ਊ u u: ۏ|
|ਏ e e: ے||ਅ ə ea اَ||ਓ o o: و|
|ਐ ɛ eh: ۓ||ਆ ɑ a: آ||ਔ ɔ oh: وَ|
The long vowels also have nasal versions, for which the Long mark is replaced by the Nasal suffix .
Letters on a yellow background only occur in foreign words.
|ਗ g g گ||ਜ ʤ dj ج||ਡ ɖ dr ڈ||ਦ d d د||ਬ b b ب|
|ਕ k k ک||ਚ ʧ ch چ||ਟ ʈ tr ٹ||ਤ t t ت||ਪ p p پ|
|ਖ kʰ kx کھ||ਛ ʧʰ chx چھ||ਠ ʈʰ trx ٹھ||ਥ tʰ tx تھ||ਫ pʰ px پھ|
|ਙ ŋ ng ں||ਞ ɳ ny ں||ਣ ɲ nr ں||ਨ n n ن||ਮ m m م|
|ਹ ɦ hh ح||ਸ਼ ʃ sh ش||ਜ਼ z z ض||ਸ s s س||ਫ਼ f f ف|
|ਵ ʋ vw و||ਲ਼ ɭ lr ل||ਲ l l ل|
|ਯ y y ی||ੜ ɽ rh ڑ||ਰ ɾ r ر|
Punjabi is mildly famous among linguists for being, along with two neighbors, the only Indo-European languages with tones. The marked tones arose from the breathy plosives of other Indo-Aryan languages, as follows:
However, these tones are not written in either of the current scripts. Instead, they use letters for the missing breathy plosives, and rely on writers and readers to know the rules above. In Musa, we write the tones, using a High Falling accent for high falling tone, and a Low Rising accent for low rising tone. Vowels with level tone use no written accent. Here are some examples:
Musa writes the stressed syllables with a high vowel.
Now that you know the letters, why not try to read some Punjabi written in Musa?
|اننے کتے ہرناں دے شکارى|
|ਅੰਨ੍ਹ ਕੁੱਤੇ, ਹਿਰਨਾਂ ਦ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰੀ|
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