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Punjabi (also 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, as an adjective, the word Punjabi qualifies anything or anyone that is related to either Punjab or the Punjabi language, such as the speakers of Punjabi, inhabitants of Punjab or the Punjabi cuisine of the region.

Punjabi is the official language of the Indian state of Punjab, and is also spoken in neighboring areas such as Haryana and Delhi. In Pakistan however, Urdu is the official language and Punjabi 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. This has led to resentment from many Punjabi speakers, who form the largest single linguistic group in Pakistan.

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. It is the usual language of Bhangra music, which has recently gained wide popularity both in South Asia and abroad.

Punjabi culture, much like its Bengali counterpart, suffered a split between India and Pakistan during the Partition of 1947. As such, Punjabi language and culture tend to be uniting factors in spite of national and religious affiliations.

Modern Punjabi 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 Persian, and even a few from Turkish. Many sources subdivide the Punjabi language into Western Punjabi (Lahnda) and Eastern Punjabi.

There are several 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 neighboring states such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi sometimes use the Devanagari script. Muslims and 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), Punjabis around the world have integrated terms from such languages as Spanish and Dutch. A distinctive "Diaspora Punjabi" is thus emerging.

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Above article originally from Wikipedia. The text in above article is made available under GNU Free Documentation License.
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