Punjabi, the language of the land of five rivers, is the official language of the state of Punjab in northwestern India and is spoken in various parts of Pakistan. In addition, it is the language of the holy scriptures of the Sikhs. Created about 400 years ago by the second Sikh guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji, the script is called Gurmukhi and has a total of thirty-five letters. 

Punjabi has been taught at Cal for the last several years. We offer courses at two different levels, beginning and intermediate. These courses are designed not only to create a strong foundation for the beginning Punjabi  student and sharpen the skills of the intermediatePunjabi  student, but also to provide a basic cultural comprehension of the various Punjabi societies in India, Pakistan, and here in the U.S. Therefore, by learning Punjabi you will learn much more than a language. You will learn about the rich culture of the Punjabis and their religious beliefs. In fact, those who learn Punjabi often find themselves enamored by the poetic, universal works in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs.

Punjabi Faculty

Courses Offered

Introductory Punjabi (PUNJABI) 1A
  • Course Format: Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.
  • Description: Gurmukhi script. Survey of grammar. Graded exercises, leading to a mastery of basic language patterns, essential vocabulary, and achievement of basic reading and writing skills.
Intermediate Punjabi  (PUNJABI) 100A
  • Course Format: Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.
  • Prerequisites: 1B is prerequisite to 100A; 100A is prerequisite to 100B.
  • Description: Focus on reading, writing and speaking Punjabi more fluently in formal and informal contexts. Selected readings vary every semester. These form the starting point to stimulate students' own writings which include a long interview with a Punjabi elder from the wider community. These may be recorded in the students' own voices and form a contribution to the ongoing "Punjabi Voices" project. Review of grammar provided as needed in addition to the introduction of more complex grammatical structures. Grading based on performance in class and final presentation, weekly quizzes, two midterms, and a final.