Punjabi/Gurmukhi/Diacritics

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You have already learnt the first five letters and the ten matras (vowels) of Gurmukhi. In this chapter you will learn the diacritics of Gurmukhi and their usage in Punjabi.

Diacritics[edit]

Diacritics are the signs that are added to vowels and consonants to add phonetic value to them. Punjabi has three diacritics namely bindi (ਆਂ), tippi (ਅੰ) and udhak (ਅੱ) used with vowels. These diacritics are lexically significant as their use changes the meaning of the words. Therefore learning correct usage of these diacritics is important.

ਆਂ - bindi 
Bindi is the dot above ਆ and
ਅੰ - tippi 
Tippi is the inverted semi-circular shape above ਅ. Bindi and tippi are used with vowels to nasalize the vowel sounds or to reinforce the following nasal sound and therefore come along with one of the matras. Both serve the same purpose but bindi is used with kanna, bihari, lanv, dulavan, horha and kanaorha whereas tippi is used exclusively with mukta, sihari, aaunkarh and dulaenkarh. See the following examples.
ਆ + ਉਂ + ਸ = ਆਉਂਸ = ounce
ਹੈਂ + ਸ = ਹੈਂਸ = hence
ਸੈਂ + ਸ = ਸੈਂਸ = sense
ਸਾ + ਇੰ + ਸ = ਸਾਇੰਸ = science
ਸਿੰ + ਸ = ਸਿੰਸ = since
ਐ + ਸੰ + ਸ = ਐਸੰਸ = essence
ਅੱ - udhak 
Udhak is used to reinforce the sound of the consonant that follows. It is interesting to note that udhak comes with the letter preceding the letter to be reinforced.
ਸੈੱ + ਸ = ਸੈੱਸ = cess
ਅ +ਸੈੱ + ਸ = ਅਸੈੱਸ = assess
ਸੈਂ + ਸੱ + ਸ = ਸੈਂਸੱਸ = census

Exercises[edit]

1. Read these English words written in Gurmukhi.

  1. ਆਉਂਸ
  2. ਐਸੰਸ
  3. ਸਾਇੰਸ
  4. ਅਸੈੱਸ
Solutions
  1. Ounce
  2. Essence
  3. Science
  4. Assess

2. Write the above listed words in Gurmukhi and English side by side.

3. Write these English words in Gurmukhi.

  1. Hence
  2. Census
  3. Since
  4. Cess
  5. Sense
Solutions
  1. ਹੈਂ + ਸ = ਹੈਂਸ
  2. ਸੈਂ + ਸੱ + ਸ = ਸੈਂਸੱਸ
  3. ਸਿੰ + ਸ = ਸਿੰਸ
  4. ਸੈੱ + ਸ = ਸੈੱਸ
  5. ਸੈਂ + ਸ = ਸੈਂਸ

Summary[edit]

So you have learnt the first five letters, the ten matras and three diacritics of Gurmukhi. You are now ready to move on to the others rows of Gurmukhi letters. In the next lesson you will learn the five velars of Gumukhi script.

Vowels · Velars