Benefits of Learning Punjabi

Benefits of Learning Punjabi
Punjabi is a very rich and simple language.

Surrey, Vancouver, May 11, 2008
Balwant Sanghera

Children, youth and even some adults of Punjabi heritage often ask the question as to why they should learn Punjabi. It is a very valid question .As a matter of fact; parents of school-aged children need to be equipped with the answer when children ask them the same question. For nearly fifteen years, Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) has been addressing these kinds of questions. Here, briefly are some of the benefits of learning Punjabi.

First,Punjabi has become one of the major international languages. The United Nations has recognized 6,000 languages that are prevalent around the globe. Punjabi ranks tenth from top. It is estimated that there are approximately 150 million speakers of Punjabi spread all over the world in 150 countries. In Canada, it is the sixth most spoken language. It is expected to jump to the fourth spot after the 2011 census. Thus, it makes sense to learn a prominent language especially the one closely associated with ones heritage

Second, for the South Asian community in general and the Punjabi community in particular, Punjabi language is a great facilitator for inter-generation communication. A large number of Punjabi parents and grandparents aren’t very fluent in English.

Conversely, a fairly large number of Punjabi children and youth don’t have a good command of Punjabi. Thus the communication gap is natural. By learning Punjabi, the children and youth will be in a much better position to communicate with their parents, grandparents, relatives and extended family.

Third, the technological advances have turned the entire world into a global village. Countries like India and China are poised to become superpowers of the future. There are tremendous trade opportunities between Canada and India in general and Punjab in particular. Punjabi is the official working language of Punjab. Thus knowledge of Punjabi will certainly be a great asset for people interested in trade, business and travel opportunities there.

Four, in provinces like Ontario, Alberta and BC, there is a fairly large Punjabi speaking population.
This strong consumer base offers good job opportunities for people fluent in both English and Punjabi. It has been reported that in Surrey alone, there are close to 2,000 jobs in which Punjabi is considered to be an asset. Similarly, places like Abbotsford, Calgary, Edmonton, Brampton and Mississauga have great job opportunities for Punjabi speakers. Even some big corporations are on the lookout for employees with good knowledge of Punjabi.

Five, Sikhism’s holy scripture Shri Guru Granth Sahib is in the Gurmukhi/Punjabi script. To be able to read and understand Shri Guru Granth Sahib in the language it is written has its own unique benefit, charm, joy and pleasure.

Six, Punjabi literature is very rich. It is confined not only to Punjab or India but also all around the globe now. To read Punjabi novels, short stories, plays and poetry has its own unique charm. It is a great way to learn bout ones heritage through its own literature in Punjabi. This can be best accomplished by learning Punjabi .It opens up the doors not only to Punjabi culture but also to a treasure of knowledge and history.

Seven, learning a new language is always an asset.

As a matter of fact, it is great to learn as many languages as possible.

Eight, in BC, students are required to learn a second language from grades 5 to 8 which becomes optional from grades 9 to 12.For students of Punjabi heritage, it makes all the sense to learn Punjabi.

Finally, Punjabi is a very rich and simple language.
It is easy to learn. The benefits of learning it are too numerous to mention. Try it if you haven’t started already.
Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association

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