Punjabi Alphabet: Vowels

This is a companion post to a previous post that lists the consonants of the Punjabi alphabet. Or, in other words, now I can finally provide some closure to being able to read Punjabi. (Making sense of what I read, of course, is a totally different problem.) The first three letters of the alphabet — ੳ, ਅ, and ੲ — are not used by themselves. Each serves as a foundation on which independent vowels are formed. Vowels take two forms: (1) independent vowels, which stand alone or can be used as the first letter in a word, are formed by adding a vowel sign to one of the three bases; and (2) dependent vowels, which are formed by adding a vowel sign to a consonant (in the second case, the vowel can not be the first letter of the word).

Dependent Vowels

Vowel sign Transliteration Name Joined with ਮ
(invisible) a ਮੁਕਤਾ muk-tā
ā ਕਾੱਨਾ kaṃ-nā ਮਾ
ਿ i ਸਿਹਾਰੀ si-hā-rī ਮਿ
ī ਬਿਹਾਰੀ bi-hā-rī ਮੀ
u ਔਂਕੜ auṃ-kaṛ ਮੁ
ū ਦੁਲੈਂਕੜੇ du-laiṃ-ka-ṛe ਮੂ
e ਲਾਂਵ lāṃv ਮੇ
ai ਦੁਲਾਂਵਾਂ du-lāṃ-vāṃ ਮੈ
o ਹੋੜਾ ho-ṛā ਮੋ
au ਕਨੌੜਾ ka-nau-ṛā ਮੌ

Independent Vowels

Base + Vowel Sign Independent Vowel Transliteration
ੳ + ੁ u
ੳ + ੂ ū
ੳ + ੋ o
ਅ + (invisible) a
ਅ + ਾ ā
ਅ + ੈ ai
ਅ + ੌ au
ੲ + ਿ i
ੲ + ੀ ī
ੲ + ੇ e

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