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Hindi vs. Punjabi — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 25, 2023
Hindi and Punjabi are distinct languages originating from India. Hindi, predominantly spoken in North India, uses Devanagari script, while Punjabi, the language of the Punjab region, is written in Gurmukhi script.
Hindi vs. Punjabi — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Hindi and Punjabi


Key Differences

Hindi is one of the most spoken languages in the world and is the official language of India. It primarily uses the Devanagari script and has a rich literary tradition, including poetry, prose, and various forms of drama and discourse. Hindi has absorbed words from various languages, including Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic, and has a significant influence on the languages of the Indian subcontinent.
Punjabi, on the other hand, is the language of the Punjab regions in both India and Pakistan. It is written in the Gurmukhi script in India and the Shahmukhi script in Pakistan. Punjabi has its literary tradition with rich contributions to poetry, prose, music, and Sikh religious texts. It is known for its vibrant and rhythmic music, which often features themes of love, valor, and everyday life.
Hindi and Punjabi both have different phonologies, grammatical structures, and vocabularies, reflective of their unique linguistic roots and influences. Hindi has more sounds and phonetic diversity, while Punjabi has a tonal nature, with word meanings sometimes being determined by the pitch of the spoken word.
While both Hindi and Punjabi draw from Sanskrit and have been influenced by Persian and Arabic, the extent and nature of these influences differ. Punjabi has significant influences from Persian due to historical interactions, while Hindi has retained a substantial number of Sanskrit words.
Despite the differences, Hindi and Punjabi share cultural similarities and mutual intelligibility to some extent, especially in the spoken form, due to geographical proximity and shared cultural context, facilitating intermingling and exchange of words and expressions.

Comparison Chart


Written in Devanagari script.
Written in Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi script.


Predominantly spoken in North India.
Predominantly spoken in the Punjab region.


Has more sounds and phonetic diversity.
Has a tonal nature.

Literary Tradition

Rich in poetry, prose, and drama.
Known for poetry, music, and Sikh texts.

Linguistic Influence

Absorbs from Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic.
Significant Persian influences.

Compare with Definitions


The official language of India, written in the Devanagari script.
Many Bollywood movies are made in Hindi.


The language has a significant literary contribution, especially to Sikh religious texts.
The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, is written in Punjabi.


A language with a rich literary tradition, including various forms of poetry and prose.
Hindi literature encompasses a wide range of genres and themes.


An Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan.
Punjabi is known for its rich musical tradition, including Bhangra.


An Indo-Aryan language, primarily spoken in North India.
Hindi is the lingua franca of the Hindi belt in India.


Written in the Gurmukhi script in India and the Shahmukhi script in Pakistan.
Learning the Gurmukhi script is essential to read Punjabi in India.


A language that serves as a cultural and communicative link among diverse communities in India.
Knowing Hindi is beneficial for communication across different states in India.


Known for its rhythmic and vibrant music and dance forms.
Punjabi music is synonymous with energy and rhythm.


A language that has absorbed words from multiple languages including Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic.
Hindi vocabulary is enriched with words from different languages.


A language with words that have tones, affecting the meanings of the words.
The tonal nature of Punjabi can make it challenging for new learners to understand the nuances of the language.


Hindi (Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST/ISO 15919: Hindī), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST/ISO 15919: Mānak Hindī), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in India. Hindi has been described as a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language, which itself is based primarily on the Khariboli dialect of Delhi and neighbouring areas of Northern India.


Of or relating to the Punjab or the Punjabi language.


An Indic language of northern India, derived from Sanskrit and written in the Devanagari script. It is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, with more than 250 million people speaking it as their first language.


A native or inhabitant of the Punjab.


Relating to Hindi.


An Indic language spoken in the Punjab.


A group of vernacular Indic dialects spoken in northern India.


A member of the majority people of Punjab in northwestern India


The literary and official language of northern India that is based on these dialects. It is written in Devanagari and uses Sanskrit as a resource language.


The Indic language spoken by most people in Punjab in northwestern India


The name given by Europeans to that form of the Hindustani language which is chiefly spoken by native Hindus. In employs the Devanagari character, in which Sanskrit is written.


The most widely spoken of modern Indic vernaculars; spoken mostly in the north of India; along with English it is the official language of India; usually written in Devanagari script


Of or relating to or supporting Hinduism;
The Hindu faith

Common Curiosities

Which script is used for Hindi?

Hindi is written in the Devanagari script.

What script is Punjabi written in?

Punjabi is written in Gurmukhi script in India and Shahmukhi script in Pakistan.

Which language has a tonal nature?

Punjabi has a tonal nature, where the pitch can affect the word meanings.

Are Hindi and Punjabi similar?

They have some similarities due to geographical proximity but are distinct languages with different scripts, phonologies, and vocabularies.

Are Hindi and Punjabi mutually intelligible?

They have some degree of mutual intelligibility, especially in the spoken form, but are generally considered separate languages.

Is Hindi only spoken in India?

While predominantly spoken in India, Hindi is also spoken in some other countries and has many speakers worldwide.

Can Hindi speakers understand Punjabi easily?

Some Hindi speakers may understand Punjabi to some extent due to some shared vocabulary and cultural context, but full understanding may require learning.

Which language has more phonetic diversity?

Hindi has more sounds and phonetic diversity compared to Punjabi.

Is Punjabi influenced by other languages?

Yes, Punjabi has significant influences from Persian, among others.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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