Punjabi (also spelt Panjabi) is spoken in the Punjab, a region now divided between India and Pakistan. In Pakistan it is spoken by about 80 million people (2/3 of the population) although the official language is Urdu. It is the official language of the Punjab state and is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Harayana and Himachal Pradesh.


About 25% of the people living in the New Delhi area speak Punjabi. Altogether, there are about 25 million Punjabi speakers in India.

Punjabi is closely associated with the Sikh religion. The alphabet, known as Gurmukh, was used for recording the teachings of the Sikh Gurus and was invented by the 2nd of the Sikh Gurus in the 16th century. Gurmukhi means "proceeding from the mouth of the Guru".

In Pakistan, Punjabi is written in the Perso-Arabic script, like Urdu. This script is referred to as "Shahmukhi" when used for Punjabi.

The Punjabi language came to the UK with the arrival of South Asian immigrants. These immigrants have been present in Britain for at least a century and Sikhs are one of the largest communities of South Asian descent with a population in the region of 400,000. They have settled mainly in larger towns such as Inner and Outer London, Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester and Bradford. Punjabi is one of the most-spoken languages of the U.K.

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