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Punjabi, often spelled Panjabi, is spoken in the Punjab, the historic region now divided between India and Pakistan. In Pakistan it is the daily language of about half the population, or 75 million people, though Urdu is the official language of the country. People in the northern half of Pakistan speak a separate dialect known as Lahnda, or Western Punjabi; those of the south speak Eastern Punjabi, the variety spoken in India.
In India Punjabi is the official language of Punjab state, and is also spoken in the neighboring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. In addition, about 25 percent of the people living in the New Delhi metropolitan area speak Punjabi in everyday life. All told, there are about 25 million speakers in India.
Like Hindi and the other languages of northern India, Punjabi belongs to the Indic branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It is closely associated with the Sikh religion and its alphabet, known as Gurmukhi, was the vehicle for recording the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. It was invented by the second of the Sikh Gurus in the 16th century. Gurmukhi means "proceeding from the mouth of the Guru.”
In Pakistan Punjabi, like Urdu, is written in the Perso-Arabic script. However, most official correspondence in Pakistan is done in Urdu.
Authorized from the original edition of The Languages of the World 3rd edition by Keneth Katzner published by Routledge, a member of the Taylor & Francis Group.
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