The Punjab alphabet is used to read and write in Punjabi, the language of the historical Punjab region of India, which is now partially also part of Pakistan. Punjabi is one the top 11 most-spoken languages in the world, though it includes various dialects. Punjabi can be written in either Gurmukhi script or Shamukhi script. Shamukhi is the standard in Pakistan and is essentially a version of Arabic script. Gurmukhi is easier and more simplified. Most resources for learning Punjabi online use Gurmukhi.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Computer printer
- Index cards
Decide which script you want to learn first. If you are extremely motivated, you could try to learn them both. Shamukhi is very different from Gurmukhi, however, and trying to learn both may become confusing and frustrating. If your reason for learning Punjabi is to communicate with people in Pakistan, or if you plan to travel there, concentrate on Shamukhi. If you are going to do most of your learning online or need to learn Punjabi to communicate with people in or from India, focus on Gurmukhi.
Choose whether to do the bulk of your learning from books, from tutors or online. There are numerous online resources for learning the Punjab alphabet, but you won't get the personal attention that you would from a tutor. A good place to start learning Punjabi online is the Let's Learn Punjabi website, linked in the References section below.
Find a chart of the Punjabi alphabet and familiarise yourself with it. Print it if you access it via the internet; a printable alphabet chart is linked in Resources below. A good way to get organised is to divide the alphabet into vowels and consonants. Learn the names and shapes of the vowels, and then memorise the names and shapes of the consonants.
Make Punjabi alphabet flash cards on index cards. Write a Punjabi letter on one side of a card and the name of the letter and how to pronounce it on the other side. Quiz yourself or get other people to help you, which will be more fun.
Learn how to write the alphabet. Don't just try to approximate how it looks on paper. Learn the correct way to form the letters and the stroke order. (See the Punjabi Language Alphabets link in References below.)
Practice every day. Study steadily, every day, even if it is just for a few minutes. The longer break you take between lessons, the more you will forget. Always reinforce what you have learnt at the beginning of your study session before moving on to learning new things.
Practice your Punjabi by writing the alphabet in a notebook every day. Do so in the correct stroke order until you have the writing down perfectly.
Study until you can recognise each letter, name it, pronounce it and write it correctly.
Tips and warnings
- Finding Punjabi reading resources will help you to identify letters and practice your pronunciation. The bilingual English-Punjabi reader Frog and the Wide World, by Max Velthuijs, is available on Amazon.com at .amazon.com/dp/1840592109?tag=njbargayourlo-20&camp;=14573&creative;=327641&linkCode;=as1&creativeASIN;=1840592109&adid;=0P0H7KCH5X77EB6039WV& .
- Don't study for too long at one time. While it's not good to go too long between study sessions, studying for too long at once is counterproductive.
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