Punjabi dialects

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Punjabi languages
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Dialects Of Punjabi.jpg
Geographic distribution of various Punjabi dialects

The Punjabi dialects are the series of dialects spoken in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India.[1] A distinction is usually made between Punjabi in the east and the diverse group of "Lahnda" in the west. The literary languages that have developed on the basis of dialects of this area are Punjabi in eastern and central Punjab, Saraiki in the southwest, Hindko in the northwest, and Pothwari in the north. The varieties of "Greater Punjabi" have a number of characteristics in common, for example the preservation of the Prakrit double consonants in stressed syllables.[2] Nevertheless, there is disagreement on whether they form part of a single language group, with some proposed classifications placing them all within the Northwestern zone of Indo-Aryan, while others reserving this only for the western varieties, and assigning the eastern ones to the Central zone alongside Hindi.[3]

Major dialects[edit]

Standard Punjabi (Majhi)[edit]

Majhi is Punjabi dialect spoken by the majority of the people in Lahore, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Hafizabad, Nankana Sahib and Mandi Bahauddin districts of Pakistan's Punjab Province. It also has a large presence in every district in the rest of Pakistani Punjab, and in all large cities in Pakistan's other provinces.

In India it is spoken in Amritsar, Tarn Taran Sahib, Pathankot and Gurdaspur Districts of the State of Punjab and sizable population also in major cities of the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai India.

In Pakistan Standard Punjabi dialect is not called Majhi which is Indian terminology, in Pakistan it is simply called Standard Punjabi. This dialect is used for both Punjabi Films, TV and Theater industry to make Punjabi language content in Lahore.

Eastern Punjabi[edit]


Malwai is spoken in the southern part of Indian Punjab South of river Sutlej and also in Bahawalnagar and Vehari districts of Pakistan. This dialect is spoken in Ludhiana, Moga, Firozpur, Fazilka, Muktsar, Faridkot, Bathinda, Barnala, Sangrur and, Mansa districts of Punjab, India and also in Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan and, the Sirsa and, Fatehabad districts of Haryana. Not to be confused with the Malvi language, which shares its name.


Doabi is spoken in both the Indian Punjab as well as parts of Pakistan Punjab owing to post-1947 migration of Muslim populace from East Punjab. The word "Do Aabi" means "the land between two rivers" and this dialect is spoken between the rivers of the Beas and the Sutlej in the region called Doaba. Regions it is presently spoken includes the Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts in Indian Punjab, Una District of Himachal Pradesh as well as the Toba Tek Singh , Faisalabad , Mandi Bahauddin and Layyah districts in Pakistan Punjab where it is spoken by the erstwhile migrants from Eastern Punjab and their descendants.

This Dialect is also used as a standard for Indian Punjabi Films and TV shows.[citation needed]


Puadhi, Powadh, Pwadh is a region of Punjab and parts of Haryana between the Satluj and Ghaggar rivers. The part lying south, south-east and east of Rupnagar adjacent to Ambala District (Haryana) is Powadhi. The Powadh extends from that part of the Rupnagar District which lies near Satluj to beyond the Ghaggar river in the east up to Kala Amb, which is at the border of the states of Himachal pradesh and Haryana. Parts of Fatehgarh Sahib district, and parts of Patiala districts like Rajpura are also part of Powadh. The language is spoken over a large area in present Punjab as well as Haryana. In Punjab, Kharar, Kurali, Ropar, Nurpurbedi, Morinda, Pail, Rajpura and Samrala are the areas where the Puadhi is spoken and the dialect area also includes Pinjore, Kalka, Ismailabad, Pehowa to Bangar area in Fatehabad district.

Western Punjabi/Lahnda[edit]


Shahpuri or Awankari dialect (also known as Sargodha dialect) is mostly spoken in Pakistani Punjab. Its name is derived from former Shahpur District (now Shahpur Tehsil, being part of Sargodha District). It is spoken throughout a widespread area, spoken in Sargodha and Khushab Districts and also spoken in neighbouring Mianwali and Bhakkar Districts. It is mainly spoken on western end of Sindh River to Chennab river crossing Jehlam river.[4]


Jhangochi (جھنگوچی) spoken in Jhang and Khanewal districts is actually subdialect of Jatki[disambiguation needed]/Jangli.


Jatki or Jangli is a dialect of Native tribes of areas whose names are often suffixed with 'Bar' derived from jungle bar before irrigation system arrived in the start of the 20th century, for example, Sandal Bar, Kirana Bar, Neeli Bar, Ganji Bar. Native people called their dialect as Jatki instead of Jangli. Jatki dialect is mostly spoken by indigenous peoples of Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot, Nankana Sahib, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar, Vehari and Khanewal districts of Pakistani Punjab. It is also spoken in few areas of Sheikhupura, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran, Bahawalpur districts and Fazilka district of Indian Punjab.

Pothohari/Pahari-Potowari or Modern Panjistani[edit]

Pothohari is spoken in north Pakistani Punjab and Azad Kashmir. The area where it is spoken extends in the north from Muzaffarabad to as far south as Jhelum(mainly in Dina and Sohawa tehsils), Gujar Khan, Rawat and Rawalpindi, Murree Hills north of Rawalpindi, and east to Bhimber. Chibhali and Dhundi-Kairali dialects may be related. It merges with Hindko dialects in the north at Attock. Though the city of Rawalpindi sits surrounded by potohari speaker, the language spoken within the Rawalpindi city limits is similar to Standard punjabi mixed with potohari.


The diverse dialects of the furthest northwest areas of "Greater Punjabi" are known as Hindko. The central Hindko dialects comprise Ghebi, Awankari, Chacchi and Kohati. Peshawari, the divergent dialect spoken to the northwest in Peshawar, has been used as a basis for a literary language. The dialect of the Hazara region to the northeast forms a dialect group of its own known as Northern Hindko or Kagani.

Ghebi is quite similar to the Potowari dialect, but differs slightly, for example in the past tense, in which it uses (ahay+prefix) for 'was'. For example, "Mea ahayaan" means "I was". It also uses "Vinjna" instead of "jaana" or "gchna" for "going". It is mostly spoken in Fateh Jang Tehsil and Pindi Gheb Tehsil in Pakistani Punjab.


Spoken in parts of Rawalpindi Division (Pothohar) of Pakistani Punjab. Its name is derived from Dhan valley where its spoken. It is spoken in Chakwal,[5] Khewra, parts of Jehlam Districts and Attock Districts. The people of Pothohar speak Pothohari dialect. However, the people of Chakwal or the Dhanni area in particular do not speak Pothohari and are ethnologically not regarded as Potoharis. They speak a distinctive Chakwali or Dhanni dialect of Punjabi.[4]


These are a form of Derawali very strongly influenced by baluchi and sindhi languages, spoken in Musakhel and Barkhan, districts of Pakistani Province Balochistan respectively. Khetrani may not actually be a Lahnda language, but originally a Dardic language that gradually merged into neighboring lahnda dialects.


West of Chenaab river in Jhang district of Pakistani Punjab the dialect of Jhangochi merges with Thalochi and resultant dialect is Chenavari. Name is derived from Chenaab river.


The emergent language of the southern parts of Punjab is Saraiki. Its standard is based on the central dialect of Multani. Other dialects that are commonly associated with it are Riasti (also known as Bahawalpuri or Choolistani) to the south and Thali (or Thalochri) to the northwest. The varieties of Multani and Thali spoken in the west along the boundary with Balochistan and Pashtun dominated regions are also known as Derawali.


  1. ^ For the use of the term "Greater Panjabi", see Rensch (1992, p. 87) and Rahman (1996, p. 175).
  2. ^ Shackle 2003, p. 591.
  3. ^ Masica 1991, pp. 446–63.
  4. ^ a b "The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Mother Tongue: The Many Dialects of Punjabi". Sikhchic.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  5. ^ "History of Chakwal | I Have A Dream In My Eyes". Meetcornor.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02.


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