Major Punjabi dialects


1. Majhi Punjabi

The Majhi dialect is the prestige dialect of Punjabi’s and spoken in the heart of Punjab where most of the Punjabi population lives. The Majhi dialect, the dialect of the historical region of Majha, spans the Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Okara, Gujranwala, Wazirabad, Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat and to some extant in Jhelum District of Pakistani Punjab and Amritsar, Tarn Taran Sahib, and Gurdaspur Districts of the Indian State of Punjab.


2. Pothowari Punjabi

This Pothowari dialect is spoken in north area of Pakistani Punjab. It extends in the north from Muzaffarabad to as far south as Jhelum, Gujar Khan,  Rawalpindi, Murree Hills (north of Rawalpindi), and east to Bhimber. Poonchi is east of Rawalakot. Potwari is in the plains around Rawalpindi.
Alternate names: Potwari, Pothohari, Potohari, Chibhali, Dhundi-Kairali. Dialects: Pahari (Dhundi-Kairali), Pothwari (Potwari), Chibhali, Punchhi (Poonchi), Jhelumi, Mirpuri.
Pahari means ‘hill language’ referring to a string of divergent dialects, some of which may be separate languages. Pahari is a dialect chain with Panjabi and Hindko. Closeness to western Pahari is unknown. Lexical similarity 76% to 83% among varieties called ‘Pahari’, ‘Potwari’, and some called ‘Hindko’ in Mansehra, Muzaffarabad, and Jammun.


3. Hindko Punjabi

Classified under Lahnda languages by many linguists; perhaps differs from Punjabi. Hindko dialect is spoken in north west Pakistani Punjab and North-West Frontier Province mainly this dialect is spoken in districts of Peshawar, Attock, Nowshehra, Mansehra, Balakot, Abbottabad and Murree and the lower half of Neelum District and Muzaffarabad.


4. Jhangochi /Rachnavi/Changvi or Chenavari Punjabi

Jhangochi dialect is spoken in Pakistani Punjab. Jhangochi or Rachnavi is the oldest and most idiosyncratic dialect of the Punjabi.

It is spoken throughout a widespread area, starting from Khanewal and Jhang at both ends of Ravi and Chenab to Gujranwala district. It then runs down to Bahawalnagar and Chishtian areas, on the banks of river Sutlej. This entire area has almost the same traditions, cu1stoms and culture.

The Jhangochi dialect of Punjabi has several aspects that set it apart from other Punjabi variants. This area has a great culture and heritage, especially literary heritage, as it is credited with the creation of the famous epic romance stories of Heer Ranjha and Mirza Sahiba.

It is spoken in the Bar areas of Punjab, i.e., areas whose names are often suffixed with ‘Bar’, for example Sandal Bar, Kirana Bar, Neeli Bar, Ganji Bar and also from Khanewal to Jhang includes Faisalabad and Chiniot.


5. Shahpuri Punjabi

The Shahpuri dialect has been spoken by the people of the town Shahpur. This language has been spoken by the people of District Sargodha including Dera Chanpeer Shah, Khushab, Mianwali, Attock, Chakwal, Mandi Bahauddin and Jhang. Parts of Faisalabad, Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalnagar districts.


6. Dhani Punjabi

The people of Pothohar speak Pothohari dialect. However, the people of Chakwal or the Dhanni area in particular do not speak Pothohari and are ethnologically not regarded as Potoharis. They speak a distinctive Chakwali or Dhanni dialect of Punjabi, which is closer to Shahpuri, a dialect spoken in the Shahpur-Salt Range area and also has a slight element of Saraiki and Pothohari.


7. Multani/ Saraiki Punjabi

Multani or Saraiki is a mixture of Jhangochi of Punjabi and Sindhi. Saraiki is the new name. For centuries, Multani was in use. It is now considered a separate language instead of merely a dialect of Punjabi.

Historically, the speakers of dialects now recognized as belonging to Saraiki did not hold the belief that they constituted a cohesive language community or a distinct ethnicity. This consciousness developed among local elites in the years after the founding of Pakistan in 1947 in response to the social and political upheaval caused by the mass immigration of Urdu speaking refugee Muslims from India.

Saraiki has various sub-dialects such as Derewali, Thalochi, Multani and Riasuti. It is mostly spoken in southern and western districts of Punjab, which comprises Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Bhakkar, Layyah, Mianwali, western parts of Khushab districts, Multan, Lodhran, southern and western parts of Khanewal, Bahawalpur, southern parts of Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan.

More than Saraiki waseb, Saraiki is native language in the districts of Chakwal, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahuddin, Faisalabad, Okara and Toba Teksingh are also Saraiki.

It is widely spoken and understood as a second language in Northern and Western Sind down to the suburbs of Karachi and in Kachhi plain of Baluchistan.

In Sindh Saraiki is widely spoken in Kashmore, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Tando Allahyar, Sobho Khan Mastoi, Kamal Khan Mastoi and Ghotki.

In Balochistan Saraiki is widely spoken in Barkhan, Naseerabad, Jafarabad and Jhal Magsi.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Saraiki is native language in the districts of Dera Ismail Khan.

In India Saraiki is spoken in Sirsa, Fatehabad, Hisar, Bhiwani, Panipat districts of Haryana, some area of Delhi and Ganganagar district, Hanumangarh and Bikaner districts of Rajasthan.


8. Malwi Punjabi

Malwi dialect is spoken in the eastern part of Indian Punjab. Main areas are Ludhiana, Moga, Sangrur, Barnala, Faridkot, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mansa, Muktsar, Ambala, Bathinda, Ganganagar, Malerkotla, Ropar, and Ferozepur.

Malwa is the southern and central part of present day Indian Punjab. It also includes the Punjabi speaking northern areas of Haryana, viz. Ambala, Hissar, Sirsa, Kurukshetra etc. Not to be confused with the Malvi language, this shares its name.


9. Doabi Punjabi

Doabi dialect is spoken in Indian Punjab. The word “Do Aabi” means “the land between two rivers” and this dialect is spoken between the rivers of Beas and Sutlej. It includes Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur districts.


10. Pwadhi Punjabi

Powadh or Puadh or Powadha is a region of Punjab and parts of Haryana between the Satluj and Ghaggar rivers. The part lying south, south-east and east of Rupnagar adjacent to Ambala District (Haryana) is Powadhi.

The Powadh extends from that part of the Rupnagar District which lies near Satluj up to the Ghaggar River in the east, which separates the states of Punjab and Haryana. Parts of Fatehgarh Sahib District, and parts of Patiala districts like Rajpura are also part of Powadh.

The Pwadhi dialect is spoken over a large area in present Punjab as well as Haryana. In Punjab, Kharar, Kurali, Ropar, Nurpurbedi, Morinda, Pail, Rajpura, and Samrala are the areas where the Puadhi language is spoken and the area itself is claimed as including from Pinjore, Kalka to Bangar area in Hisar district which includes even Nabha and Patiala in it.


11. Dogri Punjabi

Although Dogri is generally considered a separate language having its own vocabulary, some sources consider it a dialect of Punjabi. It is spoken by about 3.5 million peoples in the Jammu region of India.

Punjabi University classification

Malwai , Dogri , Doabi , Bhattiani,Powadhi , Thali , Pahari , Kachi ,
Rathi , Dhani , Kangri , Swaen , Chambiali , Punchi , Wajeerawadi ,
Pothohari , Baar di Boli , Chacchi , Jangli , Hindko , Jatki , Ghebi ,
Chenavri , Awankari , Multani , Bherochi , Bhawalpuri , Amritsar-Lahore ,