|Region||Punjab and neighbouring regions|
|26 million (2017)|
|Perso-Arabic (Saraiki alphabet)|
|Regulated by||No official regulation|
The proportion of people with Saraiki as their mother tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census
Saraiki ( سرائیکی Sarā'īkī; also spelt Siraiki, or Seraiki) is an Indo-Aryan language of the Lahnda group, spoken by 26 million people primarily in the south-western half of the province of Punjab in Pakistan. It was previously known as Multani, after its main dialect.
Saraiki has partial mutual intelligibility with Standard Punjabi, and it shares with it a large portion of its vocabulary and morphology. At the same time in its phonology it is radically different (particularly in the lack of tones, the preservation of the voiced aspirates and the development of implosive consonants), and has important grammatical features in common with the Sindhi language spoken to the south.
The Saraiki language identity arose in the 1960s, encompassing more narrow local earlier identities (like Multani, Derawi or Riasati), and distinguishing itself from broader ones like that of Punjabi.
The present extent of the meaning of Sirāikī is a recent development, and the term most probably gained its currency during the nationalist movement of the 1960s. It has been in use for much longer in Sindh to refer to the speech of the immigrants from the north, principally Siraiki-speaking Baloch tribes who settled there between the 16th and the 19th centuries. In this context, the term can most plausibly be explained as originally having had the meaning "the language of the north", from the Sindhi word siro 'up-river, north'. This name can ambiguously refer to the northern dialects of Sindhi, but these are nowadays more commonly known as "Siroli" or "Sireli".
An alternative hypothesis is that Sarākī originated in the word sauvīrā, or Sauvira, an ancient kingdom which was also mentioned in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata.
Currently, the most common rendering of the name is Saraiki.[a] However, Seraiki and Siraiki have also been used in academia until recently. Precise spelling aside, the name was first adopted in the 1960s by regional social and political leaders.
Saraiki is primarily spoken in the south-western part of the province of Punjab, in an area that broadly coincides with the extent of the proposed Saraikistan province. To the west, it is set off from the Pashto- and Balochi-speaking areas by the Suleiman Range, while to the south-east the Thar desert divides it from the Marwari language. Its other boundaries are less well-defined: Punjabi is spoken to the east; Sindhi is found to the south, after the border with Sindh province; to the north, the southern edge of the Salt Range is the rough divide with the northern varieties of Lahnda.
Saraiki is the first language of 25.9 million people in Pakistan according to the 2017 census. The first national census of Pakistan to gather data on the prevalence of Saraiki was the census of 1981. In that year, the percentage of respondents nationwide reporting Saraiki as their native language was 9.83. In the census of 1998, it was 10.53% out of a national population of 132 million, for a figure of 13.9 million Saraiki speakers resident in Pakistan. Also according to the 1998 census, 12.8 million of those, or 92%, lived in the province of Punjab.
After Partition in 1947, Hindu and Sikh speakers of Saraiki migrated to India, where they are currently widely dispersed, though with more significant pockets in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. There is also a smaller group of Muslim pastoralists who migrated to India, specifically Andhra Pradesh, prior to Partition.
There are census figures available – for example, in the 2011 census, 29,000 people reported their language as "Bahawal Puri", and 62,000 as "Hindi Multani". However, these are not representative of the actual numbers, as the speakers will often refer to their language using narrower dialect or regional labels, or alternatively identify with the bigger language communities, like those of Punjabi, Hindi or Urdu. Therefore, the number of speakers in India remains unknown. There have been observations of Lahnda varieties "merging" into Punjabi (especially in Punjab and Delhi), as well as of outright shift to the dominant languages of Punjabi or Hindi. One pattern reported in the 1990s was for members of the younger generation to speak the respective "Lahnda" variety with their grandparents, while communicating within the peer group in Punjabi and speaking to their children in Hindi.
Saraiki's consonant inventory is similar to that of neighbouring Sindhi. It includes phonemically distinctive implosive consonants, which are unusual among the Indo-European languages. In Christopher Shackle's analysis, Saraiki distinguishes up to 48 consonants and 9 monophthong vowels.
The "centralised"[c] vowels /ɪ ʊ ə/ tend to be shorter than the "peripheral" vowels /i ɛ a o u/. The central vowel / is more open and back than the corresponding vowel in neighbouring varieties. Vowel nasalisation is distinctive: /'ʈuɾẽ/ 'may you go' vs. /'ʈuɾe/ 'may he go'. Before /ɦ/, the contrast between /a/ and /ə/ is neutralised. There is a high number of vowel sequences, some of which can be analysed as diphthongs.
Saraiki possesses a large inventory of consonants:
In its stop consonants, Saraiki has the typical for Indo-Aryan four-fold contrast between voiced and voiceless, and aspirated and unaspirated. In parallel to Sindhi it has additionally developed a set of implosives, so that for each place of articulation there are up to five contrasting stops, for example: voiceless /tʃala/ 'custom' ∼ aspirated /tʃʰala/ 'blister' ∼ implosive /ʄala/ 'cobweb' ∼ voiced /dʒala/ 'niche' ∼ voiced aspirate /dʒʰəɠ/ 'foam'.
There are five contrasting places of articulation for the stops: velar, palatal, retroflex, dental and bilabial. The dentals /t tʰ d dʰ/ are articulated with the blade of the tongue against the surface behind the teeth. The retroflex stops are post-alveolar, the articulator being the tip of the tongue or sometimes the underside. There is no dental implosive, partly due to the lesser retroflexion with which the retroflex implosive /ᶑ/ is pronounced. The palatal stops are here somewhat arbitrarily represented with [tʃ] and [dʒ].[e] In casual speech some of the stops, especially /k/, /g/ and /dʒ/, are frequently rendered as fricatives – respectively [x], [ɣ] and [z].
Of the nasals, only /n/ and /m/ are found at the start of a word, but in other phonetic environments there is a full set of contrasts in the place of articulation: /ŋ ɲ ɳ n m/. The retroflex ɳ is a realised as a true nasal only if adjacent to a retroflex stop, elsewhere it is a nasalised retroflex flap [ɽ̃]. The contrasts /ŋ/ ∼ /ŋɡ/, and /ɲ/ ∼ /ɲdʒ/ are weak; the single nasal is more common in southern varieties, and the nasal + stop cluster is prevalent in central dialects. Three nasals /ŋ n m/ have aspirated counterparts /ŋʰ nʰ mʰ/.
The realisation of the alveolar tap /ɾ/ varies with the phonetic environment. It is trilled if geminated to /ɾɾ/ and weakly trilled if preceded by /t/ or /d/. It contrasts with the retroflex flap /ɽ/ (/taɾ/ 'wire' ∼ /taɽ/ 'watching'), except in the variety spoken by Hindus. The fricatives /f v/ are labio-dental. The glottal fricative /ɦ/ is voiced and affects the voice quality of a preceding vowel.
There are no tones in Saraiki. All consonants except /h j ɳ ɽ/ can be geminated ("doubled"). Geminates occur only after stressed centralised vowels, and are phonetically realised much less markedly than in the rest of the Punjabi area.
A stressed syllable is distinguished primarily by its length: if the vowel is peripheral /i ɛ a o u/ then it is lengthened, and if it is a "centralised vowel" (/ɪ ʊ ə/) then the consonant following it is geminated. Stress normally falls on the first syllable of a word. The stress will, however, fall on the second syllable of a two-syllable word if the vowel in the first syllable is centralised, and the second syllable contains either a diphthong, or a peripheral vowel followed by a consonant, for example /dɪɾ'kʰan/ 'carpenter'. Three-syllable words are stressed on the second syllable if the first syllable contains a centralised vowel, and the second syllable has either a peripheral vowel, or a centralised vowel + geminate, for example /tʃʊ'həttəɾ/ 'seventy-four'. There are exceptions to these rules and they account for minimal pairs like /it'la/ 'informing' and /'itla/ 'so much'.
Unusually for South Asian languages, implosive consonants are found in Sindhi, possibly some Rajasthani dialects, and Saraiki, which has the following series: /ɓ ᶑ ʄ ɠ/.
The "palatal" /ʄ/ is denti-alveolar and laminal, articulated further forward than most other palatals.[f]
The "retroflex" /ᶑ/ is articulated with the tip or the underside of the tongue, further forward in the mouth than the plain retroflex stops. It has been described as post-alveolar, pre-palatal or pre-retroflex. Bahl (1936, p. 30) reports that this sound is unique in Indo-Aryan and that speakers of Multani take pride in its distinctiveness. The plain voiced /ɖ/ and the implosive /ᶑ/ are mostly in complementary distribution although there are a few minimal pairs, like /ɖakʈəɾ/ 'doctor' ∼ /ᶑak/ 'mail'. The retroflex implosive alternates with the plain voiced dental stop /d/ in the genitive postposition/suffix /da/, which takes the form of /ᶑa/ when combined with 1st or 2nd person pronouns: /meᶑa/ 'my', /teᶑa/ 'your'.
A dental implosive (/ɗ̪/) is found in the northeastern Jhangi dialect, which is characterised by a lack of phonemic contrast between implosives and plain stops, and a preference for implosives even in words where Saraiki has a plain stop. The dental implosive in Jhangi is articulated with the tongue completely covering the upper teeth. It is not present in Saraiki, although Bahl (1936, p. 29) contends that it should be reconstructed for the earlier language. Its absence has been attributed to structural factors: the forward articulation of /ʄ/ and the lesser retroflexion of /ᶑ/.
Aspirated (breathy voiced) implosives occur word-initially, where they contrast with aspirated plain stops: /ɓʰɛ(h)/ 'sit' ~ /bʰɛ/ 'fear'. The aspiration is not phonemic; it is phonetically realised on the whole syllable, and results from an underlying /h/ that follows the vowel, thus [ɓʰɛh] is phonemically /ɓɛh/.
The historical origin of the Saraiki implosives has been on the whole[g] the same as in Sindhi. Their source has generally been the older language's series of plain voiced stops, thus Sanskrit janayati > Saraiki ʄəɲən 'be born'. New plain voiced stops have in turn arisen out of certain consonants and consonant clusters (for example, yava > dʒao 'barley'), or have been introduced in loanwords from Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian or English (ɡərdən 'throat', bəs 'bus'). The following table illustrates some of the major developments:
|b-||ɓ||bahu > ɓəhʊ̃ 'many'|
|dv-||dvitiya- > ɓja 'another'|
|v-||vṛddhā > ɓuɖɖʱa 'old'|
|b||vaṇa- > bən 'forest'|
|v||vartman- > vaʈ 'path'|
|j||ʄ||jihvā > ʄɪbbʰ 'tongue'|
|jy-||jyeṣṭhā > ʄeʈʰ 'husband's elder brother'|
|-jy-||ʄʄ||rajyate > rəʄʄəɲ 'to satisfy'|
|-dy-||adya > əʄʄə 'today'|
|y-||dʒ||yadi > dʒe 'if'|
|ḍ-||ᶑ||Pk. gaḍḍaha- > gəᶑᶑũ 'donkey'|
|d-||duḥkha > ᶑʊkkʰə 'sorrow'|
|-rd-||ᶑᶑ||kūrdati > kʊᶑᶑəɲ 'to jump'|
|-dāt-||*kadātana > kəᶑᶑəɳ 'when'|
|-bdh-||ɖɖ||stabdha > ʈʰəɖɖa 'cold'|
|-ṇḍ-||ɳɖ||ḍaṇḍaka > ᶑəɳɖa 'stick'|
|g||ɠ||gāva- > ɠã 'cow'|
|gr-||grantha > ɠəɳɖʰ 'knot'|
|ɡ||grāma > ɡrã 'village'|
Within South Asia, implosives were first described for Sindhi by Stake in 1855. Later authors have noted their existence in Multani and have variously called them "recursives" or "injectives", while Grierson incorrectly treated them as "double consonants".
See also: Saraiki alphabet
|آ ا ب ٻ پ ت ٹ ث ج ڄ چ ح خ د ڈ ݙ ذ ر ڑ ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ڳ ل م ن (ں) ݨ و ہ ھ ی ے|
Extended Perso-Arabic script
In the province of Punjab, Saraiki is written using the Arabic-derived Urdu alphabet with the addition of seven diacritically modified letters to represent the implosives and the extra nasals.[i] In Sindh the Sindhi alphabet is used. The calligraphic styles used are Naskh and Nastaʿlīq.
Historically, traders or bookkeepers wrote in a script known as kiṛakkī or laṇḍā, although use of this script has been significantly reduced in recent times. Likewise, a script related to the Landa scripts family, known as Multani, was previously used to write Saraiki. A preliminary proposal to encode the Multani script in ISO/IEC 10646 was submitted in 2011. Saraiki Unicode has been approved in 2005. The Khojiki script has also been in use, whereas Devanagari and Gurmukhi are not employed anymore.[better source needed]
The Department of Saraiki, Islamia University, Bahawalpur was established in 1989 and the Department of Saraiki, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan was established in 2006. Saraiki is taught as a subject in schools and colleges at higher secondary, intermediate and degree level. The Allama Iqbal Open University at Islamabad, and the Al-Khair University at Bhimbir have Pakistani Linguistics Departments. They offer M.Phil. and Ph.D in Saraiki. The Associated Press of Pakistan has launched a Saraiki version of its site, as well.
Main article: Saraiki literature
See also: Saraiki culture
The language, partly codified during the British Raj, derived its emotional attraction from the poetry of the Sufi saint, Khawaja Ghulam Farid, who has become an identity symbol. His poems, known as Kafi are still famous.
The beloved's intense glances call for blood
The dark hair wildly flows The Kohl of the eyes is fiercely black
And slays the lovers with no excuse
My appearance in ruins, I sit and wait
While the beloved has settled in Malheer I feel the sting of the cruel dart
My heart the, abode of pain and grief A life of tears, I have led Farid— one of Khwaja Ghulam Farid's poems (translated)
Shakir Shujabadi (Kalam-e-Shakir, Khuda Janey, Shakir Diyan Ghazlan, Peelay Patr, Munafqan Tu Khuda Bachaway, and Shakir De Dohray are his famous books) is a very well recognized modern poet.
Ataullah Khan Esakhelvi and Shafaullah Rokhri are considered legends of Saraiki music and the most popular singers from the Saraiki belt.
See also: Television in Pakistan
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani had said southern Punjab is rich in cultural heritage which needs to be promoted for next generations. In a message on the launch of Saraiki channel by Pakistan Television (PTV) in Multan, he is reported to have said that the step would help promote the rich heritage of 'Saraiki Belt'.
|Waseb TV (وسیب ٹی وی)||Entertainment|
|Kook TV (کوک ٹی وی)||Entertainment|
|Rohi TV (روہی ٹی وی)||Entertainment|
|PTV MULTAN (پی ٹی وی ملتان)||Entertainment|
|PTV National (پی ٹی وی نیشنل)||Entertainment|
These are not dedicated Saraiki channels but most play programmes in Saraiki.
See also: Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation
|Radio Pakistan AM1035 Multan||Entertainment|
|Radio Pakistan AM1341 Bahawalpur||Entertainment|
|Radio Pakistan AM1400 Dera ismaeel khan||Entertainment|
|FM105 Saraiki Awaz Sadiq Abad||Entertainment|
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