SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Panjabi at SOAS Language Centre

Panjabi (often spelled 'Punjabi') is statistically one of the most important languages of South Asia, with a number of speakers quite possibly in excess of 100 million. The difficulty in attempting to estimate speaker numbers is that in Pakistan, where the majority of speakers are located, the language has no official status and the language, being largely an oral medium, possesses a very considerable number of dialects.

In India, Panjabi has the status of official language and has its own distinctive script known as Gurmukhi, meaning 'from the mouth of the Guru'. Whilst it is by no means the only language of the Guru Granth Sahib (the collection of scriptures forming the core of Sikhism), it is unquestionably the case that Panjabi has become associated with Sikh identity – a fact reflected outside South Asia as well as within it.    

The Panjab was severely affected by Partition, a brutal political separation that was not without linguistic consequences. In India, where Panjabi has been cultivated as a literary medium, numerous Persian and Arabic loan words have been replaced with words of Sanskrit origin. More recently, Panjabi speakers have borrowed from English – a feature particularly widespread in the Panjabi spoken in diaspora.

SOAS Language Centre offers the following for Panjabi: 

Panjabi 1 includes Beginners-level study and Elementary-level study. The number of contact hours is twice what is customary for SOAS Language Centre short courses and all participants are set homework on a regular basis. The course permits learners to acquire a good basic grasp of the language within six months.

Please note that the course is taught as part of the BA degree in South Asian Studies. Language Centre students can register for the first and second terms of the academic year but do not receive accreditation. This means that they attend classes in the first two terms only and are not registered to sit for examination in the third term (The section relating to assessments does not apply to Language Centre students).

How to Enrol

You can view the times/dates for this course and enrol onto this course on our Online Store.

Please note the Terms and Conditions for this course.

Related Information:

Back to the Language Centre Homepage