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Learn Punjabi Gurmukhi Alphabet, From Billie Grosse The Font-maker


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
This is the first of several web pages about learning Gurmukhi. There are a lot of pictures and interactive graphics on the page that do not copy well into the SPN forum software. So I have inserted links to the interactive images in the essay. Make sure to click on each one to get the full benefit of this interesting web site.


Unlike Roman characters, Gurmukhi is written below the line. The letters are structured so that they form neat, easily readable words. Gurmukhi is quite attractive to look at and has even been imitated in some ASCII display fonts but using Roman characters for people who cannot read Gurmukhi. Real Gurmukhi shapes have to be learned although there are some similarities between Gurmukhi and Roman script such as: 'B' and 'ਬ'; 'K' and 'ਕ'; 'W' and 'ਵ' - the latter having a sound that is cross between a 'W' and a 'V'. Once you start writing it, you will find it fairly easy.

See the ingenious pronunciation chart
Gurmukhi Alphabet - Introduction .:. Billie the cat

Or you can click on each letter and see the interactive page for that letter,


The Gurmukhi alphabet has 35 letters in it and whilst this might seem like a lot, it is not as daunting as it at first sounds.

On the right, you can see the links you will use to the 35 letters and some additional letters (only two of which you will encounter with any regularity). You can see that they are arranged in rows of five letters instead of a single line like we have with the Roman alphabet that we use to make up English words. There is a good reason for this.

and the interactive letter chart
Gurmukhi Alphabet - Introduction .:. Billie the cat

The first three letters in the first row are vowels. If you hover your mouse above the letters (without clicking it), you should - depending upon your browser - get a tool-tip that looks like the screen-grab on the left (this is a quick and easy reference to which letter you want). The first three letters represent the basic, short vowel sounds 'u', 'a' and 'e'.

Taking just the main 35 letters and looking at the rows, the first and last rows contain some special letters (as already mentioned) and oddments that at first don't seem to fit anywhere else. The five rows in the middle are organised quite cleverly and understanding what is going on here will help you learn them easier (it is easier than learning the alphabet used to write English).

You can access the letter pages by clicking on the letters in the menu at the top-right of the page.

Each letter page is laid out in the same way so that you can learn consistently.

They each display the letter's: name; shape; spelling; and sound. There is also an animation showing you how to draw the letter and a section describing what you need to do in order to make the sound, in terms of: tongue, soft palette and lips positions; and, whether it is aspirated and if you use your vocal chords.

Some letters have alternative ways of drawing them. When this is the case, an additional link opens on the right, next to the animated drawing.

See how a letter page works - Begin with "oordaa" :welcome:
Alphabet .:. ੳ .:. Billie the cat

Please check the next page in the series too.
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