Lesson Topics

lesson 1
lesson 2
lesson 3
lesson 4
lesson 5
lesson 6
lesson 7
lesson 8
lesson 9
lesson 10
lesson 11
lesson 12
lesson 13
lesson 14
lesson 15
lesson 16
lesson 17
lesson 18
lesson 19
lesson 20
Lesson 12 
A Legend (Guru Nanak and Mardana) - narrative, different forms of past tense,instrumental constructions, case forms.

Dialogues in Gurmukhi with Transcription and Translation

Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਇੱਕ ਵੇਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਏ। ik werā̃ dī gal e. Once upon a time.
ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮਰਦਾਨਾ ਕਿਸੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਏ। gurū nānak te mardānā kise pĩḍ gae. Guru Nanak and Mardana went to a certain village.
ਓਥੋਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਓਹਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਬੜਾ ਆਦਰ ਕੀਤਾ। othõ de lokā̃ ne ónā̃ dā baṛā ādar kītā. The people of that place paid them much respect.
ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ : gurū jī ne kiā́ : The Guru said,
ਇਹ ਪਿੰਡ ਉੱਜੜ ਜਾਏ। é pĩḍ ujjaṛ jāe. “May this village be scattered”.
ਫਿਰ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਤੇ ਮਰਦਾਨਾ ਦੂਸਰੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਏ। phir gurū jī te mardānā dūsre pĩḍ gae. Later the Guru and Mardana went to another village.
ਓਥੋਂ ਦਿਆਂ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਓਹਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਬੜਾ ਨਿਰਾਦਰ ਕੀਤਾ। othõ diā̃ lokā̃ ne ónā̃ dā baṛā nirādar kītā. The people of that place treated them very disrespectfully.
ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਅਸੀਸ ਦਿੱਤੀ : gurū jī ne asīs dittī : The Guru blessed them,
ਇਹ ਪਿੰਡ ਵਸਦਾ ਰਹੇ। é pĩḍ wasdā raé. “May this village prosper”.
ਮਰਦਾਨੇ ਨੇ ਪੁੱਛਿਆ। mardāne ne puččhiā : Mardana asked,
ਇਹ ਕਿਓਂ? é kiõ? “Why is this?”
ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਉੱਤਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ। gurū jī ne uttar dittā : The Guru gave answer,
ਜੇ ਚੰਗੇ ਲੋਕ ਉੱਜੜ ਜਾਣਗੇ, je čãge lok ujjaṛ jāṇge, “If good people will scatter,
ਤਾਂ ਜਿੱਥੇ ਵੀ ਜਾਣਗੇ, ਆਪਣੀ ਚੰਗਿਆਈ ਨਾਲ ਲੈ ਜਾਣਗੇ। tã jitthe wī jāṇge, āpṇī čãgiāī nāḷ lɛ jāṇge. Then wherever they will go, they will take with them their goodness.
ਭੈੜੇ ਲੋਕ ਆਪਣੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਵਿੱਚ ਈ ਰਹਿਣ ਤਾਂ ਚੰਗਾ ਏ। pɛ̀ṛe lok apṇe pĩḍ wič ī rɛ́ṇ tā̃ čãgā e. But it is better for bad people to remain in their own village”.


Guru Nanak (1469-1538) was the founder of the Sikh movement.

/ik werā̃ dī gal e/, literally ‘It is the happening of one time’, is a conventional opening for tales and legends.


The pattern practices in the first eleven lessons have given you a number of hints at Punjabi grammar. You have seen, for example, that certain nouns have different forms for singular and plural (e.g. /sãtrā/ /sãtre/) and others are alike (e.g. /ãb/ /ãb/). It is now time to organize some of these facts. If this can be done it should make clear some of the underlying principles of Punjabi sentence structure, and help greatly as you try to get a further command of the language.  

When such facts are systematically presented, we call it “grammar”. Americans are often conditioned to think of grammar as merely a long list of definitions and a number of rather pointless rules. That is a mistake. The terminology is really rather unimportant and formal definitions are often beside the point. Rules are much less important than understanding.  

A few technical terms will have to be used, of course. But do not worry about their definitions. Instead, try to see the patterns that call forth the terms. Check back through past dialogues and pattern practices. You will find many examples of every principle that is mentioned in the grammar notes. The notes will, for the most part, merely systematize things that you already have some informal acquaintance with.  

There is one very important reason for calling your attention to grammatical patterns. That is, many of them are quite different from English patterns. They will be hard to master unless you see how they are different. Not everything in Punjabi is obviously logical, any more than is the case with English. However, many of the patterns are much more reasonable when you are able to see their organization in Punjabi terms rather than in English. The grammar notes are designed to call your attention to the system of Punjabi grammar and to show how many of the patterns fit together.  


Punjabi expresses certain relationships by means of postpositions. These are words like :
Gurmukhi Transcription Translation Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਵਿਚ wič ‘in’ ਨਾਲ਼ nāḷ ‘with’
ਤੋਂ ‘from' ਦਾ ‘of’
ਨੂੰ nū̃ ‘to’ ਨੇ ne ‘has’

All of these have occured in past lessons, some of them many times.

"Translations" have been given for five of the six. With any kind of word, one-word “meanings” are notoriously treacherous. With postpositions they are worse than average. Sentences containing /wič/ can often be translated by sentences containing ‘in’. This is probably more often the case than not, but there are instances where ‘in’ simply will not work. So to say “/wič/ means ‘in’ ” can be most misleading. With some others, the situation is even worse. Probably more sentences with /nū̃/ can be translated by sentences with ‘to’ than with any other English word. ‘To’, therefore, is probably the best one-word “translation” for /nū̃/. But there are very many ways in which sentences containing /nū̃/ can be translated, and the use of 'to' is only one of the many. 'To' is unsatisfactory in more instances than it is satisfactory. We gave it merely because nothing is better.

With /ne/, the problem is so difficult that it is certainly better not to attempt to give any single-word “meaning” at all. That does not mean that we can give no guidance on the use of /ne/. It is used in very specific ways, and it can and should be described. But a translation is not a workable way of describing them. /ne/ is used in certain very definite places in certain specific Punjabi sentence patterns. These patterns can be described. This grammatical description will say everything that it is really worthwhile to say about the use of /ne/. A “translation” will be able to add nothing at all.

Similarly with /nū̃/ a grammatical description of certain patterns will tell us a great deal more than any translation as ‘to’. Indeed, it will tell us everything correct of what the translation might tell us.

With any “small words” like /ne/ and /nū̃/ the important thing is the patterns in which they are used. These will become clear in due course—perhaps you have already surmised a great deal of them. The translation is unimportant.
12.5 Postpositions are used in several ways. The most important one is immediately following a noun in such a way that the noun and the postposition form a phrase. That is, they form a unit —a subassembly — which operates as a single entity in larger patterns. This is true of all these postpositions. The choice from the list is largely a matter of the relationship of this phrase to other words in the sentence.
For example, /dā/ usually relates to another noun. Usually the phrase with /dā/ precedes the other noun. It thus works very much like English ‘-’s’ which also follows nouns, and joins them to following nouns.
Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਰਾਮ ਦਾ ਪਿੰਡ rām dā pĩḍ ‘Ram's village’

If we translate /dā/ by ‘of’ (and this is a common practice), we must remember that the order is entirely different :
Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਰਾਮ ਦਾ ਪਿੰਡ rām dā pĩḍ ‘The village of Ram’


/dā/ is unique among Punjabi postpositions in that it agrees with the following noun in much the same way as does an adjective.
Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਮੋਹਣ ਦਾ ਸੰਤਰਾ móṇ dā sãtrā ‘Mohan's orange’
ਚੰਗਾ ਸੰਤਰਾ čãgā sãtrā ‘a good orange’
ਮੋਹਣ ਦੀ ਨਾਰੰਗੀ móṇ dī nārãgī ‘Mohan's orange’
ਚੰਗੀ ਨਾਰੰਗੀ čãgī nārãgī ‘a good orange’
ਮੋਹਣ ਦੇ ਸੰਤਰੇ móṇ de sãtre ‘Mohan's oranges’
ਚੰਗੇ ਸੰਤਰੇ čãge sãtre ‘a good oranges’
ਮੋਹਣ ਦੀਆਂ ਨਾਰੰਗੀਆਂ móṇ dīā̃ nārãgīā̃ ‘Mohan's oranges’
ਚੰਗੀਆਂ ਨਾਰੰਗੀਆਂ čãgīā̃ nārãgīā̃ ‘a good oranges’


Before postpositions, some nouns have a distinctive form.
Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਮੁੰਡਾ mũḍā ‘the boy’
ਮੁੰਡੇ ਦਾ ਦੋਸਤ mũḍe dā dost ‘the boy's friend’
ਮੁੰਡੇ mũḍe ‘boys’
ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਦੋਸਤ mũḍiā̃ dā dost ‘the boys’ friend’

These special forms are traditionally referred to as being in the oblique case. It is convenient to label all forms occuring in this position, even when they are not visibly different from the nominative.
12.8 On this basis, most nouns are described as having four important forms. Actually no more than three of these are ever visibly different. All feminine nouns follow one pattern. Masculine nouns follow two, one for all masculine nouns ending in /ā/ in the singular nominative, and one for all others. The following are typical examples :
masculine I
masculine II
Transcription Gurmukhi Transcription Gurmukhi Transcription
nominative singular ਮੁੰਡਾ mũḍā ਧੋਬੀ tòbī ਕੁੜੀ kuṛī
oblique singular ਮੁੰਡੇ mũḍe ਧੋਬੀ tòbī ਕੁੜੀ kuṛī
nominative plural ਮੁੰਡੇ mũḍe ਧੋਬੀ tòbī ਕੁੜੀਆਂ kuṛīā̃
oblique plural ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ mũḍiā̃ ਧੋਬੀਆਂ tòbīā̃ ਕੁੜੀਆਂ kuṛīā̃

If you will go over the material you have learned you will find examples of singulars and plurals, nominatives and oblique, and all three types of nouns. Seeing or hearing them in use will often tell you which group any noun belongs to.


Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਰਾਮ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਿਆ। rām pĩḍ giā. Ram went to the village.
ਸੀਤਾ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਈ। sītā pĩḍ gaī. Sita went to the village.
ਮੁੰਡੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਏ। mũḍe pĩḍ gae. The boys went to the village.
ਕੁੜੀਆਂ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਈਆਂ। kuṛīā̃ pĩḍ gaīā̃. The girls went to the village.

Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਅਸੀਸ ਦਿੱਤੀ। gurū jī ne asīs dittī. The Guru gave blessings.
ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਕੰਮ ਕੀਤਾ। lokā̃ ne kãm kītā. The people worked.
ਮਰਦਾਨੇ ਨੇ ਸਵਾਲ ਕੀਤਾ। mardāne ne sawāl kītā. Mardana asked a question.
ਮਰਦਾਨੇ ਨੇ ਗਲ ਕੀਤੀ। mardāne ne gal kītī. Mardana said.
ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ ਨੇ ਆਦਰ ਕੀਤਾ। mũḍiā̃ ne ādar kītā. The boys treated them with respect.
ਕੁੜੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਨਿਰਾਦਰ ਕੀਤਾ। kuṛīā̃ ne nirādar kītā. The girls treated them with disrespect.

Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਪਿੰਡ ਦਿਆਂ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਆਦਰ ਕੀਤਾ। pĩḍ diā̃ lokā̃ ne ādar kītā. The village people were respectful.
ਪਿੰਡ ਦੀਆਂ ਕੁੜੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਕੰਮ ਕੀਤਾ। pĩḍ dīā̃ kuṛīā̃ ne kãm kītā. The village girls worked.
ਮੋਹਣ ਦੇ ਦੋਸਤ ਨੇ ਉੱਤਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ। móṇ de dost ne uttar dittā. Mohan's friend said.
ਮੋਹਣ ਦਿਆਂ ਦੋਸਤਾਂ ਨੇ ਕੰਮ ਕੀਤਾ। móṇ diā̃ dostā̃ ne kãm kītā. Mohan's friends worked.

Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਮੋਹਣ ਦਾ ਘਰ ਪਿੰਡ ਵਿਚ ਏ। móṇ dā kàr pĩḍ wič e. Mohan's house is in the village.
ਰਾਮ ਦੇ ਦੋਸਤ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ ਨੇ। rām de dost šέr wič ne. Ram's friends are in the city.
ਮਿਰਜ਼ੇ ਦੀਆਂ ਚੀਜ਼ਾਂ ਘਰ ਵਿਚ ਨੇ। mirze dīā̃ čīzā̃ kàr wič ne. Mirza's things are in the house.
ਓਹਦਾ ਸਾਈਕਲ ਕਾਲਿਜ ਵਿਚ ਏ। ódā sāīkel kālij wič e. His cycle is in the college.

Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਓਹ ਕੁੜੀ ਨਾਲ਼ ਸੀ। ó kuṛī nāḷ sī. She was with the girl.
ਓਹ ਮੇਰੇ ਨਾਲ਼ ਸੀ। ó mere nāḷ sī. He was with me.
ਓਹ ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ ਨਾਲ਼ ਬੈਠਾ ਸੀ। ó mũḍiā̃ nāḷ bɛṭhā sī. He was sitting with the boys.
ਓਹ ਕੁੜੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ਼ ਬੈਠੀ ਸੀ। ó kuṛīā̃ nāḷ bɛṭhī sī. She was sitting with the girls.

Gurmukhi Transcription Translation
ਜਾਹਨ ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਤੋਂ ਏ। jā́n amrīkā tõ e. John is from America.
ਓਹ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਤੋਂ ਆਇਆ। ó dillī tõ āiā. He came from Delhi.
ਮੁੰਡੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਤੋਂ ਆਏ। mũḍe pãjāb tõ āe. The boys came from Punjab.
ਓਹ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਤੋਂ ਆਏ। ó pākistān tõ āe. They came from Pakistan.


The verb /kar/ ‘do’ with its present tense /kardā e/ and the past /kītā/ occurs very frequently in phrases with a noun, e.g. /kãm/ ‘work’. These phrases often have idiomatic meanings and should be thought of as units.