Lahnda (/ˈlɑːndə/)[2] also known as Lahndi or Western Punjabi, is a group of north-western Indo-Aryan language varieties spoken in parts of Pakistan and India.[3] The main Lahnda languages are Saraiki, Hindko and Pahari/Pothwari.[4] They are spoken in large parts of Pakistani Punjab, in some areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province (especially Hazara), throughout Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir and in the western parts of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

RegionWestern Punjab region
Native speakers
42 million
(Shahmukhi alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-2lah
ISO 639-3lah – inclusive code
Individual codes:
hnd – Southern Hindko
hno – Northern Hindko
jat – Inku
phr – Pahari-Pothwari
skr – Saraiki
xhe – Khetrani

Terms like Lahnda or Western Punjabi are exonyms employed by linguists, and are not used by the speakers themselves.[5] The validity of Lahnda as a genetic grouping has not been established.[6]



Lahnda means "western" in Punjabi. It was coined by William St. Clair Tisdall (in the form Lahindā) probably around 1890 and later adopted by a number of linguists — notably George Abraham Grierson — for a dialect group that had no general local name.[7]:883 This term has currency only among linguists.[6]


Map of North Lahnda (Hindko and Pahari-Pothwari) dialects and varieties

Below is a list of the varieties of Lahnda and its number of speakers:[8]

Within Lahnda, Ethnologue also includes what it labels as "Western Punjabi" (ISO 639-3 code: pnb) – the Majhi dialects transitional between Lahnda and Eastern Punjabi; these are spoken by about 62 million people.[9]


Recently, Saraiki and Hindko are being cultivated as literary languages.[10] The development of the standard written Saraiki began in the 1960s.[11][12] The national census of Pakistan has counted Saraiki and Hindko speakers since 1981.[13]


Lahnda has several traits that distinguish it from Punjabi, such as a future tense in -s-. Like Sindhi, Siraiki retains breathy-voiced consonants, has developed implosives, and lacks tone. Hindko, also called Panjistani or (ambiguously) Pahari, is more like Punjabi in this regard, though the equivalent of the low-rising tone of Punjabi is a high-falling tone in Peshawar Hindko.[10]

Sindhi, Lahnda, Punjabi, and Western Pahari form a dialect continuum with no clear-cut boundaries. Ethnologue classifies the western dialects of Punjabi as Lahnda, so that the Lahnda–Punjabi isogloss approximates the Pakistani–Indian border.[14]


  1. ^ Ernst Kausen, 2006. Die Klassifikation der indogermanischen Sprachen (Microsoft Word, 133 KB)
  2. ^ "Lahnda" . Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  3. ^ Defined as a "macrolanguage" in Simons & Fennig (2017) and as a "series of dialects" in Masica (1991, pp. 17–18). For the difficulties in assigning the labels "language" and "dialect", see Shackle (1979) for Punjabi and Masica (1991, pp. 23–27) for Indo-Aryan generally.
  4. ^ Shackle 1979, p. 198.
  5. ^ Masica 1991, p. 17–18.
  6. ^ a b Masica 1991, p. 18.
  7. ^ Grierson, George A. (1930). "Lahndā and Lahndī". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 5 (4): 883–887. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00090571 .
  8. ^ Simons & Fennig 2017.
  9. ^ Lewis, Simons & Fennig 2016b.
  10. ^ a b Shackle, Christopher (2010). "Lahnda". In Brown, Keith; Ogilvie, Sarah (eds.). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Oxford: Elsevier. p. 635. ISBN 9780080877754.
  11. ^ Rahman 1997, p. 838.
  12. ^ Shackle 1977.
  13. ^ Javaid 2004, p. 46.
  14. ^ Lahnda at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)


External links


Information as of: 13.08.2021 11:50:29 CEST

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