Difference Between Punjabi and Gujarati

Difference Between Punjabi and Gujarati

The two main languages spoken in Punjab and Gujarat are Punjabi and Gujarati. Other dialects such as Hindi, Saraiki, and Rajasthani are apart. Both of these languages are derived from Sanskrit.

The word ‘Punjab’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Punja’, which means ‘five’ or ‘five rivers’, and Gujrati comes from the Sanskrit word ‘gujra’, which means ‘arms’. The two languages share some similarities. Punjabi and Gujarati both derive their words from Sanskrit, a mother tongue of the Indian subcontinent.

Both have common roots and are written in similar scripts like Devanagari or Kacchhi (Gujarati), Gurmukhī script (Punjabi). But there are also many differences between these two languages. The Gujarati language gives the speaker a more accessible and straightforward feeling than the Punjabi language. Unlike other Indian languages, there are only five vowel sounds in Gujarati, along with consonantal as an additional sound in almost every word.

Punjabi Vs. Gujarati

They have different writing systems, with most words written in Devanagari. In addition, several words that end in ‘r’ or ‘l’ do not exist in Gujarat. The grammatical structure of these two languages is quite similar; however, they differ significantly in vocabulary, which includes synonyms of various shades. The use of the letters آ, گ, and پ are also different.

In Gujarati, all these three are pronounced as ‘a’, whereas in Punjabi, only vowel sounds. There is no specific equivalent to the word “mul” in Gujarati. Which means “milk”, instead, it uses words like ‘thandai’, or sometimes ‘churni’ which means ‘milk’. While Gujarati uses the word “baap” for father; in Punjabi, it is replaced with ‘nana’. This means a respectful term used to address someone. Certain long words are different; their construction and forms differ while they have similar meanings.

What is Punjabi?

Punjabi is a language spoken in the Punjab region of India. It is one of the 22 official languages of India and is also recognized as a regional language in Pakistan. Punjabi is written in the Shahmukhi script. It is a tonal language, and the sentences are recorded in two versions, one of which has normal tones.

At the same time, the other uses diacritical marks to represent post-tonal features. The written form of Punjabi is quite similar to that spoken by the people; this means there are few differences between words used by speakers and those that appear in print. The significant difference comes from spelling as well as pronunciations. Punjabi is also written in an Indian script called the Gurmukhi, which uses a combination of Arabic and Devanagari.

This means that some characters are derived from both scripts, while others are used only by one. There are few differences between these two scripts; however, they share many similarities, such as having similar vowels, consonants, and certain letters like য, ૨ and চ.

The Punjabi script is one of the few updated to represent new sounds and diacritical marks in a form that resembles speech. This is called Tone I; it also includes both old forms of the language and more unique features like vowel-less words (called ‘soft sign’) and retroflex consonants. However, there are some differences; for example, the letter ಗ is used to represent a voiced velar stop and not an aspirated one. For more information on this, see Punjabi spelling conventions.

What is Gujarati?

Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Gujarat, India. It is the official language of Gujarat and one of the 22 official languages of India. Gujarati is also spoken in Surat and other parts of north-western India.

It is the second most spoken language in India after Hindi. It has around 33 million native speakers and 15 million monolingual Gujarati speakers but does not know English or other languages.

The primary difference between standard or formal, literary Gujarati and regional variants such as Sauraseni, Bagheli, etc., is that the latter lack many phonological features common to all Indo-Aryan languages like loanwords from Sanskrit, Hindi, and other languages.

Other differences are due to the absence of a long-vowel system, lack of distinction between aspirated and plain consonants, the use of retroflex phonemes in some dialects like Surati, etc., along with omission or replacement of letters such as ক, চ (kh), ં, ଟ (t), etc. Several Gujarati dialects have lost all or most of the vowels. In addition to these phonological differences due to different historical influences from Hindi, Sanskrit, and other languages on Gujarati.

Difference Between Punjabi and Gujarati

  • Punjabi is more popular than Gujarati.
  • The grammar in Punjabi is different from the Gujarati.
  • The vocabulary in Punjabi is different from the Gujarati.
  • Punjabi has a long vowel system while Gujarati does not.
  • The alphabet in Punjabi is different from the one in Gujarati.
  • Punjabi has aspirated and plain consonants while Gujarati does not.
  • The total number of speakers for Punjabi is more than that of Gujarati
  • Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language, while Gujarati is a Dravidian language.
  • Punjabi is the language of Punjab, while Gujarati is the language of Gujarat.
  • Their people wrote modern literature in these languages: Gurmukh Singh for Punjabi, whereas Mahadevbhai Desai & Akshayibhai Harikrishna Joshi were responsible for writing modern literature in Gujarati.


Punjabi and Gujarati are both eastern Indo-Aryan languages. However, they have several phonological differences due to the unique historical influences on these two languages. Despite having certain similarities in grammar, vocabulary, and literary traditions (due to shared Indo-European roots), their distinct geographical locations and linguistic histories make them different from each other linguistically and culturally. Punjabi is spoken in Pakistan and Indian Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi. Gujarati is an official language of India and also a lingua franca; however, it has many regional dialects.

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