Punjabi, often spelled Panjabi, belong to the Indic group of the Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken in Punjab, the historic region now divided between India and Pakistan. In Pakistan it is the daily language of about two-thirds of the population, or 80 million people, though Urdu is the official language of the country. In India it is the official language of Punjab state, and is also spoken in the neighboring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. In addition about 25 percent of the people living in the New Delhi metropolitan area speak Punjabi in everyday life.
All told, there are about 25 million speakers in India. Different dialects of Punjabi are spoken in India and Pakistan. The most prominent of these are Lehnda (or Lehndi), of Pakistan, as well as Majhi, Koabi, and Malwai. The Punjabi language is closely associated with the Sikh religion. Its alphabet, known as Gurmukhi, was the vehicle for recording the teachings of the Sikh gurus. It was invented by the second of the gurus in the 16th century. Gurmukhi means "proceeding from the mouth of the Guru." In Pakistan Punjabi, like Urdu, is written in the Perso-Arabic script. However, most official correspondence in Pakistan is done in the Urdu language.
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