Learn Gurmukhi

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Painti Akhri
'Gurmukhi alphabet'

Painti Akhri is a Punjabi term that refers to the Gurmukhi alphabet. The first word "painti" literally means "35" and the word "akhri" means "writing" - It not surprising that there are thirty-five letters in the Gurmukhi alphabet.

The word Gurmukhi literally means "from the mouth of the Guru". Gurmukhi is the name of the script used in writing primarily Punjabi and, secondarily, Sindhi language. It is exclusively used to write the Sikh holy scriptures, Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth.

Although the "Painti Akhri" was originally just used in Punjab, India, the alphabet has now crossed the frontiers of its homeland. Sikhs have settled in all parts of the world and Gurmukhi has accompanied them everywhere.


Essential Features of the Gurmukhi Script

  • There is no concept of upper or lower case letter.
  • The Gurmukhi script, unlike the Greek and Roman alphabets, is arranged in a logical fashion: vowels first, then consonants (Gutturals, Palatals, Cerebrals, Dentals, Labials) and semi-vowels.
  • This is a syllabic script in which all consonants have an inherent vowel. Diacritics, which can appear above, below, before or after the consonant they belong to, are used to change the inherent vowel.
  • When the Gurmukhi letters appear in the beginning of a syllable, vowels are written as independent letters.
  • When certain consonants occur together, special conjunct symbols are used which combine the essential parts of each letter.

Video lessons

Please watch the video lesson below to easily learn to read and write Gurmukhi. All links are to YouTube videos by 'Basics of Sikhi'

Lesson 1: Gurmukhi #1 - Why Learn Gurmukhi (Punjabi)?

  1. 1 in this series for Learning Gurmukhi / Punjabi Alphabet. We look at the benefits of learning to read, pronounce and understand the Gurmukhi script (paintee) instead of just using translations and transliterations (romanised). Although it may be fine to use transliterations for a little while, if you serious about understanding Sikhi, you should plan to learn to read, pronounce and understand the Gurmukhi scrip. And you know what, it is not that difficult! See for yourself - Watch these short videos.

Lesson 2: Gurmukhi #2 - How does Gurmukhi work? Learn Punjabi

How do we make words in Punjabi / Gurmukhi. #2 video in this series explains how consonants and vowels work and how we can form simple words. This will be followed by further videos on exactly how to pronounce and write each letter (akhar) and vowel (laga matra).

Lesson 3: Gurmukhi #3 - Science of Gurmukhi Alphabet. Learn Punjabi, Russian Sikh explains Punjabi alphabet

Amazing how the Gurmukhi alphabet - Painti Akhri has a logically foundation in logic! It took a Russian Sikh who lives in London to explains the how Guru Angad to logically structure the 35 letters of Punjabi Alphabet / Gurmukhi Alphabet. We look at how the letters are divided into lines based on the position of the tongue and how the columns also denote how to pronounce the letters.

Lesson 4: Gurmukhi #4 - Same Sounding Akhars

Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi series video #4 - Here we divide up the 40 letters in Gurmukhi Alphabet into (1) Sounds that are the same as English Sounds (2) Sounds that are a combination of English and Punjabi and (3) Sounds unique to Punjabi Gurmukhi . We use examples of English and Gurmukhi words. NB, this is part of 5 videos just on the Sounds of Gurmukhi and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

Lesson 5: Gurmukhi #5 - Combination Sound Akhars

Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi series video #5 - Here we divide up the 40 letters in Gurmukhi Alphabet into (1) Sounds that are the same as English Sounds (2) Sounds that are a combination of English and Punjabi and (3) Sounds unique to Punjabi Gurmukhi . We use examples of English and Gurmukhi words. NB, this is part of 5 videos just on the Sounds of Gurmukhi and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

Lesson 6: Gurmukhi #6 - Unique sounding akhars

Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi series video #6 - Here we divide up the 40 letters in Gurmukhi Alphabet into (1) Sounds that are the same as English Sounds (2) Sounds that are a combination of English and Punjabi and (3) Sounds unique to Punjabi Gurmukhi . We use examples of English and Gurmukhi words. NB, this is part of 6 videos just on the Sounds of Gurmukhi and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

Lesson 7: Gurmukhi #7 - Sounds of five special akhars

Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi series video #7 - Here we look at five special Akhars of the Gurmukhi alphabet that change their pronunciation slightly, depending upon their position in a word. Info sourced from www.gursevak.com, featuring research by Baba Jaswant Singh ji of Damdami Taksal. NB, this is #7 in a series of videos just on the Sounds of Gurmukhi and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

Lesson 8: Gurmukhi #8 - Lagaan - Ten vowel sounds

Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi series video #8 - Here we look at the ten vowels of the Gurmukhi alphabet that are all derived from the first three semi-vowels of Oora, Aira and Eeri ੳ ਅ ੲ . Info sourced from www.gursevak.com, featuring research by Baba Jaswant Singh ji of Damdami Taksal. NB, this is #8 in a series of videos just on the Sounds of Gurmukhi and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

Lesson 9: Gurmukhi #9 - Four Lag Akhars (Emphasis and Nasalisation)

Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi series video #9 - Here we look at the Four Lag Akhars that attach to the 40 Akhars and work alongside the Lagaan but this time are for Emphasis and Nasalisation only. NB, this is #9 in a series of videos just on the Sounds of Gurmukhi and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

Lesson 10: Gurmukhi #10 - Seven Half Akhars (Sayunkat Akhar)

Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi series video #10 - Here we look at the Seven Half Akhars that attach below (pairee) the full akhars and how they work alongside the Lagaan. NB, this is #10 in a series of videos just on the Sounds of Gurmukhi (more to come) and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

Lesson 11: Gurmukhi #11 - Muharni #1 of 12 - Mukta Akhars

Video 1 of 12 in the Muharni series; looking at the Mukta sound, where each letter just has the aira letter. NB, this is part of stage #11 in Learning Gurmukhi (more to come) and following this, there will be videos on writing Gurmukhi. Please use the sounds videos to perfect your pronunciation.

It is strongly suggested that you follow the rest of these 11 lessons in this part of the series HERE at the Youtube website.


See also

Banis in Gurmukhi

Setting up Gurmukhi facility on your Computer

External Links

Learning Tools

Unicode Gurmukhi

Conversion tool

  • Punjabi Font Converter This is an online utility which will allow the conversion of ASCII based Gurmukhi characters to Unicode. So for example the phrase : siqgur pRswid will be converted to ਸਤਿਗ੝ਰ ਪ੝ਰਸਾਦਿ

Dictionary

History of Script

Typing

Translation tools

References

  • 1. Singh , G.B., Gurmukh] Lipi da Janarn te Vikds. Chandigarh, 1972
  • 2. Teja Singh, Sahit Darshan. Paliala, 1951
  • 3. Bedi, Tarlochan Singh , Punjabi Vaiiak da Alochnatmak Adhyan. Delhi, n.d.
  • 4. Arun, V.B., Panjabi Bhasha da ftihds. Ludhiana, 1956
  • 5. Bedi, Kala Singh, Panjabi Bhashn da Vikds. Delhi, 1971
  • 6. Chatterji, Suniti Kumar, ed., The Cultural IIni/nge of India. Calculla, 1978
  • 7. Grierson, G.A., Linguistic Sumey of India. Calcutta, 1916
  • 8. Linguistic Survey of India,Vol IX, Part I, Delhi, 1968. &
  • 9. Singh, G.B., Gurmukhi Lippi da Janam te Vikas, Chandigarh, 1972.