Punjabi, a language primarily spoken throughout Pakistan and in the northern Indian state of Punjab, is one of a few closely related Indo-Aryan languages, including Lahnda and Western Pahari, or Dogri-Kangri, which are counted among the world's tone languages, despite having no genetic link to other recognized tone languages. Few grammars have been published for Punjabi, and of those available, the grammars either fail to discuss the existence of lexical tone or note tone only in passing, and these disagree among themselves on even the number of tones. Unfortunately, those grammars which do make note of the presence of lexical tone often fail to discuss the tone patterns or tonemics of Punjabi in a linguistically meaningful way or provide substantial evidentiary support for their own claims regarding tone pattern. This may be due to the fact that, unlike Chinese, which has a contrastive pitch on each syllable, Punjabi "does not lean heavily on pitch phonemes" (Malik, 1995). Still, they are widely evident in the spoken language and are in need of descriptive research supported by significant empirical data. It is the conclusion of this research that the high and low tones found in the Panjabi language can be directly correlated to the classic Gurmukhi orthography. The script features historically aspirated and unaspirated variations of most consonants, which, in certain phonemic environments, are explicit indicators of the tonal qualities found in the spoken language.
College and Department
Humanities; Linguistics and English Language
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bowden, Andrea Lynn, "Punjabi Tonemics and the Gurmukhi Script: A Preliminary Study" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 2983.
Indo-Aryan Languages, Gurmukhi, Punjabi, Panjabi, Tone, Tonemics