10 Best Difference Between Punjabi and Hindi

Nov 20, 2023
Difference Between Punjabi and Hindi

Punjabi and Hindi both play significant roles within India and internationally, both are widely spoken but possess distinct geographical distribution and cultural relevance characteristics.



Punjabi is spoken widely throughout India and Pakistan’s Punjab region which forms one of their border zones, serving as both India’s official state language as well as being widely spoken across Haryana, Delhi, and parts of Rajasthan where Punjabi is spoken. Part of the Indo-Aryan family (part of the Indo-European family), Gurmukhi script provides unique characteristics specific to Punjabi written from left to right allowing a smooth conversational flow, and is written using characters written from left to right allowing easy translation between speakers of Indian origin as they navigate back in both directions from each end.



Hindi, the national language of India, is spoken widely throughout its borders and serves as the unifying tongue in Northern India. Deriving directly from Sanskrit – an ancient Indo-Aryan tongue – the Devanagari writing system comprises characters representing sounds or syllables while Standard Hindi- based on the Khariboli language- is commonly employed by education institutions, media companies, and governments alike.

Punjabi and Hindi share historical and cultural ties despite their distinct identities, having both been heavily impacted over centuries by exchanges of cultural information that have created distinct vocabularies and identities for both.

Importance and Significance of Punjabi and Hindi in India and Beyond

Punjabi and Hindi are not just spoken languages in India – both are essential components of society, culture, and communication that impact millions across India as well as globally.

Punjabi’s Importance

  1. Regional Significance: Punjabi holds immense significance within its native Punjab region, famed for agricultural prowess and rich cultural legacy. Punjabi serves to express a unique Punjabi identity while being used to convey literature, music, and artworks that express this.
  2. Sikh Religion: Punjabi, as used in Guru Granth Sahib, has an intrinsic link with Sikhism that serves as a symbol for its adherents’ spiritual and religious unity.
  3. Punjabi Are Prominent Worldwide: Punjabi speakers can be found throughout Canada, England, and America mainly speaking Punjabi to maintain a cultural identity while aiding communication among diasporic communities.

Hindi’s Importance in India

  1. National Language of India: Hindi is one of India’s official languages and serves to facilitate national unity by serving as a communication vehicle in an ethnically and linguistically diverse nation like India.
  2. Media and Entertainment: Hindi has taken an incredible role in India’s vibrant film industry and the diaspora community alike, becoming an influential form of cultural expression, entertainment, and economic activity. Movies, songs, and television shows all help spread Hindi’s popularity worldwide.
  3. Education and Administration: Hindi is widely utilized for instruction at schools and colleges as well as being utilized extensively within India’s government administration, official communications, and legal proceedings.

Beyond India

Both Punjabi and Hindi languages have global recognition due to the large Indian diaspora community, with millions speaking or understanding these dialects around the globe, helping preserve culture while communicating within international communities.

Punjabi and Hindi languages have long been recognized for their literature, music, and cinema. Such recognition highlights their immense cultural relevance beyond India’s borders.

Punjabi and Hindi languages hold great value and significance both within India and around the globe, acting as vehicles for religious practices, cultural expression, education, communication, and administration.

Comparison Table:

Aspect Punjabi Hindi
Language Family Indo-Aryan Indo-Aryan
Spoken in Punjab region (India and Pakistan) Northern and Central India
Official Language Official language in Punjab (India) Official language of the Indian Union
Writing Script Gurmukhi Devanagari
Number of Speakers Approximately 44 million Approximately 322 million
Grammatical Gender Yes Yes
Verb Conjugation Regular verb conjugation patterns Regular verb conjugation patterns
Phonetics and Sounds Retroflex sounds prominent Retroflex sounds prominent
Cultural Impact Strong cultural significance in Punjab region Widely used in Bollywood, the Hindi film industry
Literary Influence Rich Punjabi literature and poetry Rich Hindi literature and poetry
Film Industry Growing Punjabi film industry (Punjwood) Established Hindi film industry (Bollywood)
Global Reach Significant Punjabi diaspora in various countries Significant Indian diaspora contributes to the popularity of Hindi
Regional Identity Integral part of Punjab’s regional identity Associated with Hindi-speaking regions of India

Historical and Geographic Context

Understanding Punjabi and Hindi’s historical and geographic backgrounds provides invaluable insight into their origins and development, helping shed light on any differences that might exist between the languages.

Origin and Development:

  • Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan-derived language that emerged as part of an Indo-European family that included Vedic Sanskrit as it evolved over time with regional influences; over time however it branched off and developed its own distinct vocabulary, grammar structure, and script.
  • Hindi, which descended from Sanskrit and evolved from its Prakrit Dialect known as Shauraseni, gained widespread use during Medieval Europe when it started taking in vocabulary and components from regional dialects; Standard Hindi became established during the 19th Century based upon the Khariboli dialect and became official Indian Language.

Geographic Distribution Punjabi:

  • Punjabi is spoken widely throughout India and Pakistan’s Punjab region, both being the home countries of its original language speakers. Punjabi serves as India’s official state language as well as being spoken across Haryana, Delhi, and some parts of Rajasthan; its popularity extends across Pakistan’s Punjab province too.
  • Hindi is spoken primarily in India’s northern and central regions – specifically states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan. The language serves as a common tongue among people from varying linguistic backgrounds within its borders.

Cultural and Historical Influences:

  1. Punjab Region: Punjab boasts an extensive cultural history that was formed over millennia by various influences such as Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic tradition, Persian invasions, and Mughal rule. All these interactions had profound ramifications for Punjabi language development – impacting vocabulary usage, grammar structure, and the overall evolution of its spoken form.
  2. Indo-Islamic Influences: Historical interactions between India and the Islamic world during the Delhi Sultanate period and the Mughal era have left an impactful mark on both Punjabi and Hindi languages, drawing heavily upon Persian and Arabic loanwords to enrich their vocabulary, creating depth to their linguistic landscape.
  3. Colonial Period in India: British colonialism had an enormous effect on the Punjabi and Hindi languages in India. English introduced new words, concepts, and administrative structures which changed both of their vocabulary significantly; moreover, English helped spread Hindi across linguistic groups across India as an informal common tongue.

Understanding the historical and geographical background of Punjabi or Hindi helps us appreciate how they were formed over time by cultural factors that shaped them linguistically or otherwise, opening the way for further investigation of their features such as vocabulary or grammar.

Linguistic Characteristics

These two languages share many similarities and distinctions that allow researchers to analyze them together for unique linguistic features. Analysing alphabets, phonetics and phonology; vocabulary, and grammar as well as specific linguistic aspects will reveal each culture’s distinctive linguistic elements can reveal valuable linguistic details about a subject matter.

Alphabets and Writing Systems:

  1. the Punjabi language utilizes the Gurmukhi alphabet which contains characters to represent consonants, diacritics and vowels; writing directionality being left-to-right syllabic writing. Gurmukhi utilizes a different set of characters than Devanagari used by Hindi; this ensures accurate transcription when translating into this script from left to right.
  2. Hindi uses the Devanagari alphabet, also used by other Indian dialects. Devanagari contains characters representing syllables, sounds, consonants vowels, and diacritic markings that compose its written characters from left to right in its writing direction.

Phonetics and Phonology:

  1. Punjabi: Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan phonetic language that includes many consonant sounds and vowels that range from voiced or voiceless stops, fricatives, and nasals all the way to retroflex sounds that differ significantly from their Hindi equivalents.
  2. Hindi: Similar to Punjabi, Hindi has a wide array of vowel and consonant sounds including voiced or voiceless stops as well as fricatives and nasals, plus retroflexes which define its phonology.

Vocabulary & Grammar:

  1. Punjabi: Punjabi’s vocabulary is heavily impacted by both culture and history, drawing heavily upon Sanskrit, Persian, and English words for words from Sanskrit through Arabic to English as well. Punjabi also uses gender distinction between nouns while its verb conjugations system relies heavily on aspects such as the time of tense of sentence construction to distinguish masculine from feminine nouns.
  2. Hindi: Hindi’s vocabulary combines elements from Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and English languages as well as regional colloquialisms and colloquiality influences. Hindi also features gender conjugations based on aspect, tense, and mood.

Structure and syntax of sentences:

  1. Punjabi: Punjabi sentences tend to follow a Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) format with postpositions used to demonstrate grammar relationships and add variety and vibrancy to each paragraph. Punjabi syntax allows for long and short sentences alike allowing it to create its characteristic burstiness.
  2. Hindi: Hindi follows a word order similar to Punjabi’s in that its sentences contain Subject-Object Verbs (SOV). Hindi uses prepositions and postpositions to show relationships grammatically while the syntax allows for various sentence lengths contributing to written English’s “burstiness.”

Though Punjabi and Hindi share similarities, they also differ substantially in many areas such as phonetics, vocabulary, and sentence structure. By understanding these features of both languages we gain greater appreciation of their unique beauty and distinction.

Vocabulary & Grammar

Vocabulary and grammar play an integral role in distinguishing Punjabi from Hindi. Although both cultures share many similarities in history and culture, there are distinct linguistic distinctions when it comes to vocabulary and grammar usage.

The Vocabulary of Punjabi:

  1. Punjabi’s vocabulary draws upon Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and English languages to create its rich lexicon that contains words related to spirituality, cuisine, folk music and agriculture – in addition to regional influences and informal sources. It boasts its own regional sources as well as its rich regional repertoires that speak directly of Punjabi tradition and culture.
  2. As with Punjabi, Hindi vocabulary draws upon Sanskrit as well as Persian, Arabic, and English languages – with Sanskrit being more strongly influenced due to its classical roots compared with Punjabi. Hindi vocabulary includes words related to Indian history, culture, art, science, and administration as well as popular topics like Bollywood, Yoga spirituality as well as cuisine in general.


  1. These include noun declension, verb conjugation, and gender marking of nouns and adjectives, inflected for gender (masculine/feminine), number (singular/plural), and case type (direct, oblique/vocative). Verbs in Punjabi conjugate according to tense and aspect; postpositions may also be used to demonstrate relationships within its grammar system.
  2. Hindi grammar resembles that of Punjabi in several respects, including noun declension and verb conjugation. Nouns in Hindi may be inflected to indicate gender (masculine/feminine), number (singular/plural), case type (direct, oblique, and vocative), as well as case (direct/oblique/vocative). Verbs are conjugated according to the time frame (past present future etc), aspect, mood, or person as well as prepositions/postpositions to demonstrate relationships within an ensemble sentence.

Sentence Structure:

  1. Punjabi sentences generally follow an SOV structure; however there may be variations based on context and emphasis. Furthermore, Punjabi sentences tend to be both complex and short with long and short sentence structures which contributes to its vibrant writing style.
  2. Hindi Sentences Are Arranged According to Subject, Object Verb Order, Like Punjabi, Hindi sentences tend to follow an SOV format – with variations depending on context and emphasis based on variations based on long vs short sentences allowing for quick writing style changes.

Punjabi and Hindi share many vocabulary and grammar features due to their common history and roots; however, each language boasts unique vocabulary as well as its own grammar rules that give each its unique identity. Exploring their respective vocabularies gives insight into understanding each unique linguistic feature.

Cultural and Societal Impact

Punjabi and Hindi both possess significant cultural and social impact; millions of Indians depend on these languages for communication among various communities and cultural expression. They play an invaluable role in building cultural expression, identity, and community cohesion.

Culture Impact

  1. Punjabi language and culture have long been closely interlinked, from poetry and folk songs that celebrate its rich heritage, to Bhangra – one of many dance forms associated with its culture – has had an enormous influence on the Indian music industry and many popular Punjabi songs being composed within it.
  2. Hindi has made an enormously significant contribution to India’s cultural and artistic landscape, including Bollywood (Hindi movie industry). Bollywood or Hindi film industry is one of the largest film industries worldwide and contains hundreds of film releases every year with iconic images representing popular culture like dance sequences, songs, and dance routines as iconic representations of Hindi-speaker communities and its vibrant diversity.

Societal Impact

  1. Punjabi serves as an indispensable means of communication within Punjabi-speaking communities and beyond, serving to preserve cultural heritage while strengthening community ties and passing down cultural knowledge to future generations. Punjabi has provided Sikhs an avenue through which to express themselves freely while further developing their identity and faith through communication through language.
  2. Hindi serves as India’s unifying lingua-franca, providing people of diverse linguistic backgrounds with a means of communicating. As part of national integration and creating an identity shared by its speakers. Hindi’s widespread usage across commerce, education, administration, and media ensures that its practical nature provides high social cohesion levels.

Language Preservation and Diaspora

Punjabi: Punjabi culture and language have been upheld and preserved through diaspora Punjabi communities around the globe, especially in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia where residents speak Punjabi actively participate in cultural events, media platforms, and language schools to uphold and preserve their rich linguistic legacy.

Hindi: Thanks to India’s global diaspora, Hindi has become a truly international language. Through festivals, educational initiatives, and community organizations worldwide, its speakers have helped promote Indian culture outside its homeland through festivals, celebrations, and local organizations that advocate for it.

Punjabi and Hindi languages, in general, have had an immense effect on culture and society. Both serve as platforms for artistic expression, cultural celebrations, and community cohesion, as integral components of Indian culture and have had global impacts through shaping identities and forging connections among individuals of Punjabi or Hindu origin.

Regional and National Identity

Punjabi and Hindi languages play an instrumental role in shaping the regional and national identities of India, contributing significantly to its rich cultural and linguistic fabric while forging distinct regional identities as well as creating an overwhelming sense of national pride.

Regional Identity

  1. The Punjabi language forms an integral component of its regional identity across both India and Pakistan, especially within Punjab itself and nearby regions like Haryana and Delhi. Speakers of Punjabi can take great pride in representing their cultural heritage by using it through literature, music, and art from this unique culture.
  2. Hindi is spoken throughout central and northern India in areas including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan where its speakers share cultural practices, traditions, and historical narratives that help form their unique regional identities. As part of regional identity, it provides a means of connection among its speakers from diverse linguistic backgrounds – it serves as an integral element in regional identity formation as it brings people from disparate linguistic backgrounds together through cultural sharing as well as language barriers.

National Identity

  1. Punjabi Culture and Language have made an immense contribution to shaping India’s national identities. Punjabi is recognized by India and plays an essential part in national integration; Punjabi-speaking groups have contributed greatly to Indian culture across many fields such as agriculture, literature arts the industry. Punjabi music festivals’ cuisines are recognized and appreciated across India adding strength to national identities further cementing its national identities.
  2. Hindi, one of India’s official languages, plays an instrumental role in shaping its nationalism and nation-building. As one of many official Indian languages used throughout government departments, educational institutions, media outlets, cultural gatherings, and cultural practices across India; Hindi has come to symbolize unification across its diverse linguistic groups. Hindi’s widespread adoption in education institutions, media channels, and cultural enterprises contributes to its recognition across Indian society as one that unifies.

Regional and National Integration

  1. Punjabi and Hindi languages contribute significantly to India’s regional and national integration by offering a unifying means of communication across people of diverse linguistic backgrounds, increasing mutual understanding between regions as well as building shared national identities through language learning.
  2. Punjabi and Hindi languages play an integral role in Indian regional and national identity, representing different local cultures, histories and traditions while helping promote unity and national integration. Both play an essential part in celebrating and protecting India’s cultural and linguistic legacy.

Usage and Demographics

Punjabi and Hindi have always played an essential role within India as well as abroad, being widely spoken with an expansive user base representing diverse linguistic communities. Their usage & Demographics exemplify this point well.


  1. Punjabi is spoken primarily within its home state of Punjab but can also be found throughout other Indian states like Haryana and Delhi and parts of Rajasthan and Himachal. Furthermore, Punjabi serves as the main form of communication within Punjabi-speaking communities which span rural as well as urban settings.
  2. Punjabi, one of Pakistan’s official languages, is spoken throughout much of Pakistan’s Punjab region and in cities such as Lahore or Faisalabad with large Punjabi-speaking populations such as these two cities. While Urdu may also be widely spoken across this vast nation.


  1. In India, Hindi is widely utilized. As its official language and used to facilitate communication among many linguistic communities. Furthermore, its widespread usage makes it widely spoken throughout central and northern regions of India such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan.
  2. Hindi has gained widespread usage due to its large diaspora of Indian speakers across many regions and nations worldwide, from India and Canada through Australia to other areas around the globe. Literature, films, and music all play their parts in popularizing this global tongue.


  1. Demographics of Punjabi in India and Pakistan priveste its spoken presence varies; although, Punjabi remains India’s most-spoken language with approximately 10 million speakers across its major states (Punjab being the most populous of these). Haryana, Delhi, and other states also boast significant Punjabi populations that speak it fluently; many also make the pilgrimage to Mecca every year to celebrate Christmas day with those speaking it! Across Pakistan, there are an estimated 100 million speakers of this tongue alone!
  2. Hindi, the second-most spoken language globally with over 322 million speakers in India alone is widely understood across states and regions of India as it constitutes a large portion of its population. Hindi has also been recognized by India’s Constitution; thus teaching its lessons continues in many schools and colleges throughout India.

Punjabi and Hindi languages are two widely-spoken and spoken tongues in India that represent important communication tools across and within different communities, serving to unify linguistic communities as a whole and playing vital roles in such aspects of society as education, governance, and media coverage.

Mutual Influence and Interactions

Punjabi and Hindi, two closely-knit languages with strong geographical proximity and historical ties, have had considerable mutual influences throughout their histories. Each has been greatly shaped by the other on various levels – vocabulary usage, phonetics, and grammar being key examples of such.

  1. Vocabulary: Punjabi, Hindi, and Sanskrit all share an initial vocabulary; over time though they have borrowed heavily from one another as they developed on the Indian subcontinent – most obviously when discussing religion and literature topics. Punjabi and Hindi both borrowed words from each other which has contributed significantly towards expanding and enriching both vocabularies.
  2. Phonetics and Phonology: Punjabi and Hindi share many phonetic characteristics due to their Indo-Aryan ancestries, such as consonants, vowels, and retroflex sounds that make understanding each other much simpler. Through such phonetic similarities between both languages comes ease in comprehending and pronouncing one another accurately.
  3. Grammar: Punjabi and Hindi grammar have both been heavily impacted by each other. Though both share an almost identical basic structure, specific rules, and patterns may vary slightly; Punjabi’s verb conjugation system and gender system resemble those found in Hindi; with so much interaction taking place between these languages comes an increased cross-pollination in grammatical terms.
  4. Interactions Between Punjabi and Hindi Literatures: Punjabi and Hindi literature have had a considerable influence on each other’s literary traditions, often sharing similar thematics, narratives, poetic styles, music dance, and folklore influences between their works; particularly noticeable is how Punjabi film music was heavily influenced by Hindi cinema music in terms of influence on films made with these respective scripts.
  5. Media and entertainment: Both Punjabi (commonly referred to as “Punjwood”) and Hindi film production industries have had mutual influences between themselves, especially on filmmaking and cinema production industries like Bollywood. Punjabi films, artists, and music have been adopted into Bollywood film industries with great success due to its inclusion of Punjabi dialogues and cultural elements into Hindi movies as well as popularizing Punjabi music references in movies thereby raising recognition and exposure of Punjabi culture worldwide.

Punjabi, Hindi, and other related languages all demonstrate the dynamic relationship between cultural exchange and language development. Their geographical and cultural proximity has allowed constant exchange, leading to mutual enrichment in terms of both languages as well as cultures.


Punjabi along with Hindi both are distinct dialects spoken in various areas of India. In contrast, Hindi is considered to be the language used by India and is the official language of Indian government and is widely used throughout the country, Punjabi is mainly spoken in the northern states of Punjab. Linguistically speaking, Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan dialect that has its own distinctive writing system, Gurmukhi, while Hindi utilizes its own Devanagari script. Culturally, both languages share long histories and are integral to India’s rich heritage. Knowing the distinctions among Punjabi and Hindi helps to appreciate the diversity of culture and language that adds to the richness of India.