Punjabi (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ in Gurmukhi, پنجابی in Shahmukhi) is a word that refers to the native language of the residents of the area of India and Pakistan (formerly India) called Punjab and also to the people who live in this region. This area is situated in North West part of India and North East Pakistan and includes the cities of Amritsar, Lahore, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, etc.
The Punjabi language can be written in two different scripts – Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi script. The Gurmukhi script is derived from the Landa Script and standardized by Guru Angad Dev (the second Sikh Guru) in the 16th century. This script was designed to write the Punjabi language and other native languages. The word Gurmukhi literally means – “From the Mouth of the Guru”. The whole of the Guru Granth Sahib’s 1430 pages are written in this script.
Punjabi is an Indo-European language of the Indo-Iranian subfamily. Unusually for an Indo-European language, Punjabi is tonal; the tones arose as a reinterpretation of different consonant series in terms of pitch. In terms of morphological complexity, it is an agglutinative language (also very unusual for an Indo-European language, most of which are inflecting) and words are usually ordered ‘Subject Object Verb’.
The Punjabi people suffered a split between India and Pakistan during the Partition of 1947. However, Punjabi language and culture tend to be uniting factors in spite of national and religious affiliations.