The word 'Gurmukhi' literally means from the mouth of the Guru. It was developed in the 16th century CE by the second Sikh guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji, to write the Punjabi language.
Gurmukhi has 41 alphabets/varanmala (35 basic + 5 Urdu + 1 Talvi) as well as ten vowel modifiers. In addition there are five special sound modifier symbols. A vertical bar is used to indicate the end of a sentences. Two vertical bars indicate a longer pause between sentences or paragraphs.
Punjabi is a language (what we speak). Gurmukhi is a script (how we write Punjabi)
Language is the principal means we use to communicate with one another.
Punjabi is the official language of Punjab, the state of India. There are many people in other states of India, as Haryana, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir, who speak Punjabi as their mother tongue. In Pakistan, Punjabi is spoken by about one-half of all households.
Punjabi is the language, which was used by the Sikh Gurus. The sacred scripts of Sikhism are recorded in the Gurmukhi script. If someone wants to read the Sikh scripts, he needs to learn Gurmukhi script and Punjabi language.
The 'Vedic' language, which is sometime called 'Vedic Sanskrit', is considered the mother of all modern languages including Punjabi. The oldest available book 'Rigved' is in 'Vedic' language.
All the languages constantly undergo changes. It results in the development of new different languages.
It is said that the 'Vedic' language changed into classical 'Sanskrit'. Many great books were written in this language. 'Mahabharat' and 'Ramayan' are very famous classical literature. Even today, Sanskrit is still widely studied in India. It functions as a sacred and learned language.
After Sanskrit, it was time for 'Prakrit' languages. The 'Pali' and 'Magadhi' were two very famous 'Prakrit' languages. Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, used 'Pali' language. Mahavir Jain, the founder of Jainism, used 'Magadhi'.
The 'Prakrits' continued in everyday use till about the 10th century. After that the modern Indian languages had begun to develop. Today, most of Indians speak one of these modern languages. Punjabi is one of these modern Indian languages.
We present a series of simple and useful lessons which, we hope, our readers will find them helpful in their quest to learn the Punjabi language.