In this section, we will look at the basics of Punjabi grammar. It is not necessary to go through the grammar lessons before learning other sections. Grammar can be learned separately. The most important concept in this section of the book concerns parts of speech. We will also give basic rules of grammar that will be helpful in learning the language. Many examples will also will be given. However, it is not possible to deal with the subject exhaustively. At places where many different gramatical derivations are possible we will provide helpful tables to illustrate patterns.
Parts of Speech
English speakers reading this Wikibook are likely already familiar with the concept of parts of speech from English grammar. Parts of speech in Punjabi are similar. These parts of speech are ਨਾਂਵ (noun), ਪੜਨਾਂਵ (pronoun), ਕਿਰਿਆ (verb), ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ਣ (adjective), ਕਿਰਿਆ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ਣ (adverb), ਸੰਬੰਧਕ (preposition), ਯੋਜਕ (conjunction) and ਵਿਸਮਿਕ (interjection). It is assumed that the reader has a basic understanding of these terms. We will concentrate on studying the rules governing these parts of speech. To do so requires a basic knowledge of some other concepts of grammar. These are ਲਿੰਗ (gender), ਵਚਨ (number), ਪੁਰਖ (person) ਕਾਰਕ (case) and ਕਾਲ (tense).
- ਲਿੰਗ (gender)
- ਲਿੰਗ or gender: in Punjabi, people and animals have gender, e.g. ਕੁੜੀ (girl) is of feminine gender (ਇਸਤਰੀ ਲਿੰਗ). Inanimate things can also have gender.
- ਵਚਨ (number)
- ਵਚਨ or number of a part of speech tells us whether the word refers to single person, place or thing, in which case it is singular (ਇਕ-ਵਚਨ) e.g. ਕਿਤਾਬ i.e. book or more than one thing in which case it is plural (ਬਹੁ-ਵਚਨ) e.g. ਕਿਤਾਬਾਂ i.e. books.
- ਪੁਰਖ (person)
- There are three grammatical persons. First person (ਪ੍ਰਥਮ-ਪੁਰਖ), signified by ਮੈਂ (I) or ਅਸੀਂ (we), is the speaker. The second person (ਦੂਜਾ-ਪੁਰਖ) is spoken to, for example ਤੂੰ (you, singular) or ਤੁਸੀਂ (you, plural). The third person (ਤੀਜਾ-ਪੁਰਖ) e.g. ਉਹ (he, she or they).
- ਕਾਰਕ (case)
- The functionality of a noun or pronoun in the sentence affects its form. These form variants of the noun or pronoun are called the case (ਕਾਰਕ) of the noun or pronoun. For example, pronouns in English can be subject (e.g. "he") or object (e.g. "him"). The Punjabi cases are
- ਕਰਤਾ ਕਾਰਕ (subjective or nominative case; the doer of the verb's action),
- ਕਰਮ ਕਾਰਕ (objective case; the object of the action of the verb),
- ਕਰਨ ਕਾਰਕ (instrumental or agentative case, the instrument with which the action of the verb is done or the agent through which it is done),
- ਸੰਪ੍ਰਦਾਨ ਕਾਰਕ (dative case, indirect object of verb that is the beneficiary of the action of the verb or receives something),
- ਅਪਾਦਾਨ ਕਾਰਕ (ablative case, that is moving away from or is being given away by the subject),
- ਸੰਬੰਧ ਕਾਰਕ (prepositional case, that establishes a relation with subject),
- ਅਧਿਕਰਣ ਕਾਰਕ (locative case, the place where or on/in/under which something is placed),
- ਸੰਬੋਧਨ ਕਾਰਕ (vocative case, the address to another person, etc.).
- ਕਾਲ (tense)
- ਕਾਲ or tense relates to time of happening of the verb. Tense can be past (ਭੂਤ ਕਾਲ) e.g. ਖਾਧਾ (ate), present (ਵਰਤਮਾਨ ਕਾਲ) e.g. ਖਾਂਦਾ (eat) or future (ਭਵਿਖ ਕਾਲ) ਖਾਂਵਾਂਗਾ (will eat).
What is the practical use of these concepts? As you go along, you will learn to compose sentences. If you are aware of the basic rules of grammar, it will be of great help in understanding the composition of the sentences and their meanings. Learning grammar rules, however, can be rather dull. And though it will be extremely useful to go through all the sections below, one after the other, you may also find it useful to refer to related sections as the need arises. Happy reading!