UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Punjabi in the (Late) Vernacular Millennium Murphy, Anne


This exploratory essay considers in preliminary terms some of the registers of vernacular literary production in Punjab, and to suggest what the writing of a history of Punjabi language literary production might look like with a broader view to both vernacular and cosmopolitan literary production in the region. Punjabi’s emergence must be understood in dynamic relation to the presence of Sadhukarrī, Braj, and emergent Hindustani in the region, as well as the formative presence of Persian. The multiplicity of its articulation points largely outside of the conventional centres associated with vernacular literary production—the court and the formal religious institution—provide Punjabi with a distinctive location, although it simultaneously maintained enduring and important ties to such centres. It is suggested that this may account for some of the particular valences of Punjabi language use; more work is required, however, to fully characterize this, and to explicate fully the interconnection between Punjabi cultural production and that in other languages.

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