Highlighting the Sound Shift in Punjabi Language: A Corpus-Based Descriptive Study



  • Muhammad Farukh Arslan PhD Scholar, Department of Applied Linguistics, Government College University, Faisalabad
  • Prof. Dr. Muhammad Asim Mahmood Dean of Arts & Social Sciences, Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan
  • Hira Haroon MPhil, Department of Applied Linguistics, Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan


Punjabi language, Sociolinguistics, sound loss, sound shift, language death


Punjabi language is most widely spoken language of Pakistan (Abbas, Chohan, Ahmed, & Kaleem, 2016). Punjabi is under developed language because of which, upcoming generations are shifting to other technically and digitally developed languages such as Urdu and English. In result of which, the sound shift is being observed in Punjabi language. Sounds which used to be present in the past in Punjabi language are found missing now. This leads to a problematic situation that this sound shift may result in language extinction and sound loss. This study is about the sound change and it has been studied in Punjabi language. On the basis of observation of speech in surrounding, researcher made a hypothesis that those speakers of Punjabi language who acquired Punjabi as L1 are able to produce few distinctive sounds that are not produced by the speakers who acquired Urdu as a mother tongue. For this purpose, a corpus of 2 million words was collected and the words including the sounds |n|ن  and |l| ل were particularly shortlisted from the corpus. The speakers from both origins were asked to pronounce these words, the hypothesis was proved and, in result, variations in the pronunciation of sounds were observed. Sociolinguists and Phonologists need to heed on this issue to save Punjabi language from extinction.


Abbas, F., Chohan, M. N., Ahmed, M., & Kaleem, M. (2016). Punjabi language in Pakistan: Past, present and future. Hamdard Islamicus, 39(3&4), 1-14.

Appel, R., & Muysken, P. (1987). Language maintenance and shift. Language, contact and Bilingualism, 32-45.

Birahmani, N. A., & Lohar, S. A. (2019). Language Maintenance and Shift: Attitudes of Brohi People towards Sindhi and Brahui Languages. Language in India, 19(2), 327-335.

Campbell, L., & Muntzel, M. C. (1989). The structural consequences of language death. Investigating obsolescence: Studies in language contraction and death, 181, 196.

Coulmas, F. (1999). Language masters: defying linguistic materialism. International journal of the sociology of language, 137(1), 27-38.

Chohan, M. N., Habib, M. A., & Hasan, W. (2018). Phonemic Comparison of Majhi and Shahmukhi-Dialects of Punjabi. Hamdard Islamicus, 41(3 & 4), 1-17.

Crystal, D. (2009). The future of language. Proceedings of LingO 2007, 1.

Crystal, D. (2000). Language death. Ernst Klett Sprachen.

Dorian, N. C. (2004). 17 Minority and Endangered Languages. The handbook of bilingualism, 46, 437.

Giles, H. (1977). Towards a theory of language in ethnic group relations. Language, ethnicity and intergroup relations.

Grimes, J. E., & Grimes, B. F. (1996). Ethnologue Language Family Index to the 13th Edition. Summer Institute of Linguistics. Dallas, USA. Electronic version, [http:/www. sil. org/ethnologue].

Haugen, E. (1966). Dialect, Language, Nation. American anthropologist, 68, 922-35.

Hudson, R. A. (1996). Sociolinguistics. Cambridge university press.

Kincade, D. M. (1991). The decline of Native Language in Canada. In Robins and Uhlenbeck (eds.). Stanford University Press. USA.

Krauss, M. (1992). The world’s languages in crisis. Language, 68(1), 4-10.

Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online: http://www.ethnologue.com/.

Mahmood, R., Hussain, Q., & Mahmood, A. (2011). Phonological adaptations of English words borrowed into Punjabi. European Journal of Social Sciences, 22(2), 234-245.

Malik, M. G. A. (2006). Punjabi Machine Transliteration. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Computational Linguistics and 44th Annual Meeting of the ACL, pp. 1137-1144.

Riaz, M. (2015). Pakistani English: Deviant pronunciation of English words by uneducated native Punjabi speakers. Journal of Second and Multiple Language Acquisition, 3(2), 23-33.

Singh, A., Pandey, D., & Agrawal, S. S. (2015, March). Analysis of Punjabi tonemes. In 2015 2nd International Conference on Computing for Sustainable Global Development (INDIACom) (pp. 1694-1697). IEEE.

Singh, P., & Lehal, G. S. (2006). Text-to-Speech Synthesis system for Punjabi language. In Proceedings of international conference on multidisciplinary information sciences and technologies, Merida, Spain.

Wardhaugh, R. (2006). Introduction. An Introduction to sociolinguistics (pp. 1-22). Cornwall: Blackwell publishing.

Wurm, S. A. (1998). Language endangerment and death in the central. Productivity and Creativity: Studies in General and Descriptive Linguistics in Honor of EM Uhlenbeck, 116, 479.



How to Cite

Arslan, M. F. ., Mahmood, P. D. M. A. ., & Haroon, H. . (2021). Highlighting the Sound Shift in Punjabi Language: A Corpus-Based Descriptive Study. Linguistic Forum - A Journal of Linguistics, 3(1), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.53057/linfo/2021.3.1.1