Pop Touch to Punjabi
POP PUNJABI CULTURE
Punjabi culture, specially its dance and music is world famous for the pop touch it has to it. Punjabi language has something to do with it. What is it that makes Punjabi language and culture so robust, literally, and colorful
TONALITY OF PUNJABI LANGUAGE
The languages of north India and some of its neighbors are called Indics. This group of languages are a branch of Indo-Iranian and Indo-European groups of languages. None of the major Indics languages is a tonal language except Punjabi. We examine here the contribution of the tonality to the pop touch of Punjabi language and culture.
WHAT IS TONE
Tone is pitch or changes in pitch of the voice. Pitch and stress are used by almost all languages to express emotions etc. But that does not make a language tonal. So what is the essential characteristics of tonality of language? For a language to be tonal, the use of tone should be lexically significant. This means the use of tone in a word should change its meaning.
SOME PUNJABI EXAMPLES
Let us understand by taking an example. Here are three words ਕੋੜਾ, ਘੋੜਾ, ਕੋਹੜਾ. In the last of these the full ਹ sound is not spoken and is replaced with a tone. Similar is the case with ਘੋੜਾ. The sound ਘ actually is spoken as ਕ plus tone. So both these words are different from the first one. But how are the different among themselves? The difference lies in the nature of the tone. In the case of ਘੋੜਾ it is low tone while in the case of ਕੋਹੜਾ it is high tone.
MORE PUNJABI TONAL SOUNDS
The sounds, other than ਹ, which have tone as a component are ਘ, ਝ, ਢ, ਧ and ਭ. These letters provide the ਕ, ਚ, ਟ, ਤ, ਪ sounds followed by a low tone when they appear at the beginning of a word and ਗ, ਜ, ਡ, ਦ, ਬ sounds preceded by a high tone when they appear elsewhere in a word.
TONE AND POP TOUCH TO PUNJABI
If you are a non-native Punjabi speaker try speaking this word: ਢਿੱਡ. You are most likely to pronounce it like: ਟਿੱਡ. The reason is that your mother tongue is unlikely to be tonal and you will miss the tone that a native Punjabi speaker would speak. The tonal sounds are physically robust and take some extra effort on the part of the speaker. It is this robustness that imparts the pop touch to almost everything that is Punjabi.
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