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Have you recently taken an interest in the Punjab region of northwestern India and Eastern Pakistan and are now considering pursuing a degree in this field?  If so, you may want to consider enrolling in one of the many Master’s degree programs in Punjabi, a course of study now offered by a handful of universities throughout the world.  To help you become a bit more familiar with this program, below we have outlined a few of the specifics with regards to the course—its classes and content—along with some of the admission requirements for students who wish to seek the degree.
 
Master of Arts Degree in Punjabi
 
Punjabi is a language spoken by millions of people around the world, including roughly 30 million native speakers in India and nearly 80 million in Pakistan.  Beyond these two primary Punjabi-speaking regions, the language is also spoken by millions of people from places such as the United Kingdom, Canada, the Persian Gulf and even the United States, making it the 10th most widely spoken language in the world.  Students pursuing a Master’s degree in Punjabi will explore this historical language in quite some depth, including its origins and the many different dialects associated with it.  The program will additionally focus on the Punjab region, giving students an opportunity to learn about its people, culture, traditions and customs.
 
Course Content in the Master of Arts Degree in Punjabi
 
Punjabi Language
 
The first and primary focus of the M.A. degree program in Punjabi is the Punjabi language.
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mostly by the inhabitants of the Punjabi region, which, as we referred to earlier, includes northwestern India and eastern Pakistan.  Although not an official language in either of these two countries (Hindi and English are the official languages of India and Urdu and English are official in Pakistan), the language is recognized regionally in both countries.  In fact, Punjabi, which has origins dating back to the 9th century, is still the most widely spoken language in Pakistan.
 
The Punjabi language has a variety of regional dialects, spoken in the many sub-regions of greater Punjab.  The most popular of these, which is shared by both India and Pakistan and referred to as a “prestige dialect,” is Majhi, a textbook version of the language spoken primarily in the historical sub-region of Majha. For the Sikh people, who are prominent in India and Pakistan, the Punjabi language, and particularly the Majhi dialect, holds quite a bit of status, and is used in all of their ceremonies, both cultural and religious.
 
 
Among the many modern Indo-European languages, Punjabi is rather unique in that it is a “tonal language”, a type of language in which pitch is used as a part of speech, thus changing the meaning of a word.  An example of this from the English language is the word “present,” which can be used as either a verb or noun depending on the stress given to the first or second syllable.
 
Punjab Region
 
As mentioned above, the M.A. program in Punjabi will also focus on the Punjab region, of which the word “Punjabi” serves as its adjectival form. Punjab is a region in South Asia where five rivers flow: the Sutlej, Beas, Raavi, Chenab and Jehlum Rivers, and the word Punjabi can be used to describe anything related to this area, from the Punjabi people to Punjabi food.  Some of the courses in this portion of the degree will focus on topics such as:
 
  • The Punjabi people, an ethnic group hailing from and originating in the fertile region of Punjab.
  • Punjabi culture, including Punjabi customs, traditions, music and dance.
  • Punjabi cuisine
  • The main religions in the Punjab region
  • And much more…
 
To qualify for admission into the Master of Arts degree program in Punjabi, students must hold at least a Bachelor degree in the same or a relevant field.  Students are expected to complete the program in two years, although this time frame may vary depending on the availability of classes.  Most programs are supervised by the foreign language faculty, although in some universities the Department of Asian studies may also offer this degree.