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Shahmukhi script

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Title: Shahmukhi script  
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Subject: Gurmukhī alphabet, Punjab region, Punjab, Pakistan, Retroflex nasal, West Punjab, Persian alphabet, List of Wikipedias, Arabic script, Urdu keyboard, South Asia
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Shahmukhi script

Not to be confused with Gurmuki, the Punjabi script used in India and other countries.

Type Abjad
Languages Punjabi
Parent systems
ISO 15924 ,
Unicode alias
Unicode range

U+0600 to U+06FF
U+0750 to U+077F
U+FB50 to U+FDFF

U+FE70 to U+FEFF
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Shahmukhi (شاہ مکھی, meaning literally "from the King's mouth") is a variant of the Perso-Arabic script used to write the Punjabi language. It is one of the two scripts used for Punjabi, the other being Gurmukhi. The alternative term, Nastaʿlīq, is a portmanteau word of naskh of Arabic and ta'aliq, (an ancient style of the Persian alphabet used in Iran). Both of the scripts of Iranian and Arabic roots were amalgamated and invented by Ameer Ali Tabrezi in Tabrez to be used as the standard characters to write the Persian language.

The Shahmukhi script was first used by the Sufi poets of the Punjab; it became the conventional writing style for the Muslim populace of the Pakistani province of Punjab following the Partition of India, while the largely Sikh province of Punjab, India adopted the Gurmukhi script is to record the Punjabi language. The text of Nasta'aliq is written in the right to left direction and from right page to left page; but Gurmukhi is written from left to right. Below is the comparative demonstration of the both scripts.

  • The Gurumukhi sounds ñ (ਞ), ng (ਙ), ṇ (ਣ), nh (ੰ/ં) are all written with :ں : nun ghunna (nun without dot). In initial and medial positions, the dot is retained.
  • ے (Bari ye) is only found in the final position, when writing the sounds e (ਏ) or æ (ਐ), and in initial and medial positions, it takes the form of ی.
  • There are three signs used when indicating a short vowel: َ (ਅ), ُ (ਉ), ِ (ਇ): a, u, i.

Examples: قَلَم (ਕ਼ਲਮ) qalam-pen گھُپ (ਘੁਪ) ghup-dense لِحاظ (ਲਿਹਾਜ਼) lihāż-consideration

  • at the beginning of a word, short vowels are written as follows: اَ, اُ, اِ
  • Long vowels are expressed with ا, ی, ے and و as follows:

Initial- آ (ਆ): ā اَے (ਏ ਐ): e, æ اُو (ਊ): ū اِی (ਈ): ī اَو (ਔ ਓ): au, o Medial-َﺎ َﻴ ُﻮ ِﻴ َﻮ Final- َﺎ َﮯ ُﻮ ِﯽ َﻮ

  • Consonants are doubled with ّ (ੱ) ex: ﷲ (ਅੱਲਾਹ): Allāh كَچَّا (ਕੱਚਾ): Kachchā: unripe

Additional Letters

There are a few additional letters that are occasionally used. This unicode is approved in 2006.[1] They are:

ﭓ bbe -ਬ

ﭲ jje -ਜ

ڋ ḍḍe -ਡ

ڰ ggaf -ਗ

ڻ rnoonh -ਣ


In Punjabi there are many Arabic and Persian loanwords. There are some sounds in these words which were not previously found in South Asian languages before the influence of Arabic and Persian, and these are therefore represented by introducing dots beneath specific Gurumukhi characters. Since the Gurmukhi alphabet is phonetic, any loanwords which contained pre-existing sounds were more easily transliterated without the need for characters modified with subscript dots beneath.

ﺫ – ਜ਼

ﺹ – ਸ

ﺽ – ਜ਼

ﻁ – ਤ

ﻅ – ਜ਼

ﻍ – ਗ਼

ﺡ – ਹ

ﺙ – ਥ

گ – ਗ

چ – ਚ

پ – ਪ

ژ – ਜ਼

ﺥ – ਖ਼

ﺯ – ਜ਼

ﻑ – ਫ਼

ﻕ – ਕ਼

ﻉ – this is often transliterated in many ways due to its changing sound in various Arabic/Persian words.


External links

  • Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi Transliteration System: A Corpus based Approach
  • The Western Panjabi Alphabet
  • Learn Shahmukhi
  • Likhari in Shahmukhi
  • Kalam-e-Baba Nanak
  • Punjabi and Punjab
  • E-Book on Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi
  • PDF on Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi

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