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Difference Between Punjabi and Gurumukhi

Punjabi vs Gurumukhi

Most people are of the idea that Punjabi is a language and Gurumukhi is another language in which Guru Granth Sahib is written. However, this is not the case.

Suppose one wants to pass a message to the masses, that person will write in the most common language that will be easier to understand. He will not use a language which is new and which requires learning before the message is conceived. The same fact is followed here also. It is true that Gurumukhi is used to write Guru Granth Sahib, but the language in which it is written is Punjabi. The confusion may be cleared by the information that Punjabi is a language and Gurumukhi is the script which is used to write the sayings of the Gurus.

Punjabi is a language, and Gurumukhi is a script which is used to write the Punjabi language. Punjabi is a language belonging to the group of Indo-Aryan languages. This is a language spoken prominently in the Punjab state of both Pakistan and India. It greatly resembles Urdu and Hindi.

There are two main scripts that are used to write Punjabi. The Punjabi-speaking Muslims write this language in Perso-Arabic script from right to left. This script is also known as Shahmukhi.

Punjabi is written also like the Hindi and Urdu scripts. The Sikhs who speak Punjabi mainly write it in the Gurumukhi script adopted by Angad Dev Ji. Angad Dev Ji is among one of the ten Gurus of the Sikhs.  It was not invented by Guru Ji from scratch but by modifying the then existing Landa script and polishing it to what is known as Gurumukhi today.
Punjabi itself also evolved with time like any other language. There are a lot of differences between the 16th century Punjabi and the present-day version. Punjabi also has different dialects such as, Majhi, Malwi, Potohari, Doabi, Jhangvi, Multani.

Punjabi is spoken by 44 percent of the population of Pakistan and 3 percent of the total population in India. It is also spoken in many other countries as a minority language. Many Punjabi emigrants residing in countries like the U.K., U.S., Canada, etc., still use Punjabi. This is the reason that Punjabi has grown at a great pace and has acquired the fourth position in the list of most spoken languages of the world.

Gurumukhi is the most widely used script to write Punjabi in India. It is abugida derived from the Brahmi script standardized by the second Guru of the Sikhs. The present-day Gurmukhi constitutes a total of 35 letters and 9 vowels. Two symbols are for nasal sounds, and one symbol duplicates the sound of any consonant.


1. Punjabi is a language while Gurumukhi is not a language.
2. Gurumukhi is the script which is how the Punjabi is written, just like Devnagri being the script of Hindi.

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