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Punjabi

Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Punjabi people in India, Pakistan and other parts of the world. It is an Indo-European language within the smaller Indo-Iranian subfamily. Unusually for an Indo-European language, Punjabi is tonal; the tones arose as a reinterpretation of different consonant series in terms of pitch. In terms of linguistic typology it is an inflecting language, and word order is Subject Object Verb.

Dialects and geographic distribution

Being one of the most spoken languages in the world, Punjabi is the official language of the Indian state of Punjab and the shared state capital Chandigarh. It is one of the second official languages of Delhi and Haryana.It is also spoken in neighbouring areas such as Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Punjabi is the predominantly spoken language in the Punjab province of Pakistan (and the most widely spoken language in Pakistan according to the CIA factbook), although it has no official status there, and both Urdu and English are preferred languages of the elite.

Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where Punjabis have emigrated in large numbers such as the United States, Australia, England (where it is the second most commonly used language) and Canada (where it is the fifth most commonly used language). Punjabi is the preferred language of most Sikhs, (most of their religious literature being written in it) and Punjabi Hindus. It is the usual language of Bhangra music, which has recently gained wide popularity both in South Asia and abroad.

There are many dialects of Punjabi and they all form part of a dialect continuum, merging with Sindhi and related languages in Pakistan, and Hindustani in India. The main dialects of Punjabi are Majhi, Doabi, Malwai and Powadhi in India, and Pothohari, Lahndi and Multani in Pakistan. Majhi is the standard written form of Punjabi.

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