Row 1VowelsDiacriticsRow 2Row 3Row 4Row 5Row 6Row 7Row 8Conjuncts

Now that you have learnt the first five letters of the Gurmukhi script, it is time to turn attention to the vowels. Please recall that matras are used in Gurmukhi to represent vowels and that the letters ੳ, ਅ and ੲ are not consonants but are merely the matra carriers. Armed with this knowledge you can now proceed to learn the 10 matras.

Punjabi VowelsEdit

The following are the ten matras of Punjabi

ਅ ਆ ਇ ਈ ਉ ਊ ਏ ਐ ਓ ਔ

Here we have used letters ੳ, ਅ or ੲ only to demostrate how matras combine with other letters. In reality they can combine with any other letter as well. However when they combine with matra carriers they can individually combine with only the matras they have above. We now explain each of the above matras.

Gurmukhi Mukta Ani.gif

Mukta : Mukta literally means free and therefore, has no symbol. It is equivalent to a in above or e in dancer. Hence forth in this module mukta vowel will be denoted by /a/.

ਅ + ਸ = ਅਸ /as/ = us
Gurmukhi Kanna Ani.gif

Kanna : Kanna is equivalent to a in master or father. Hence forth in this module we will denote kanna vowel with /aa/.

ਸਾ /saa/ = saw
ਹਾ + ਉ = ਹਾਉ /hau/ = how
ਹਾ + ਉ + ਸ = ਹਾਉਸ /haaus/ = house
ਆ + ਇ = ਆਇ = eye
Vowels in Punjabi come in pairs, a short vowel and a long vowel. Here mukta and kanna form one such pair where mukta is the short vowel and kanna the long one. ਇ and ਈ; ਉ and ਊ; ਏ and ਐ; ਓ and ਔ are other pairs.

Gurmukhi Sihari Ani.gif

Sihari : Sihari is equivalent to i in pin or thin. Hence forth in this module we will denote sihari vowel with /i/.

ਹਿ + ਸ = ਹਿਸ = hiss
ਆ + ਇ + ਸ = ਆਇਸ /aais/ = ice
ਆ + ਇ = ਆਇ = eye
ਉ + ਏ + ਸਿ + ਸ = ਉਏਸਿਸ = oasis
Gurmukhi Bihari Ani.gif

Bihari : Bihari is equivalent to ea in teacher or ee in seek. We will denote bihari vowel with /ii/ in this module. See the following examples of use of bihari.

ਸੀ = see
ਈ = the letter 'e'

Gurmukhi Aunkarh Ani.gif

Aunkarh : Aunkarh is equivalent to u put or oo in book. We will denote aunkarh vowel with /u/ in this module. See the following examples of use of aunkarh in Punjabi words.

ਹਾ + ਉ + ਸ = ਹਾਉਸ /haaus/ = house
ਸਿ + ਉ = ਸਿਉ = sew
Gurmukhi Dulenkarh Ani.gif

Dulenkarh : Dulenkarh is equivalent to oo in hoot or boot. We will denote dulenkarh vowel with /oo/ in this module. See the following examples of use of dulenkarh in Punjabi words.

ਹੂ /hoo/ = who
ਸੂ = sue

Gurmukhi Laavan Ani.gif

Lanv : Lanv is equivalent to a as in hate or rate. We will denote lanv vowel with /e/ in this module.See the following examples of use of lanv.

ਏ + ਸ = ਏਸ = ace
ਹੇ = hey
Gurmukhi Dulaavan Ani.gif

Dulanvan : Dulanvan is equivalent to a in matter or hat. We will denote dulanvan vowel with /ae/ in this module. See the following examples of use of dulanvan.

ਅ + ਸੈ + ਸ = ਅਸੈਸ = assess
ਐ + ਸੇ = ਐਸੇ = essay

Gurmukhi Horha Ani.gif

Horha : Horha is equivalent to o sound as in English home. Horha vowel will be denoted with /o/ in this wikibook. See the following examples of use of horha in Punjabi words.

ਸੋ = sow
ਹੋ = hoe
NB : We have used ਹ in the animation diagram whereas we have ealier stated that horha is used with ੳ. The reason is simple. There is no space left above ੳ for placing horha and therefore whenever horha has to be used with ੳ the upper semi-circle is left open to denote horha matra. In all other cases horha is written as in animated diagram.
Gurmukhi Knaorha Ani.gif

Knaorha : Knourha is equivalent to o as in hot. Knaourha will be denoted with /ao/ in this wikibook. See the following examples of use of knaorha in Punjabi words.

ਸੌ + ਸ = ਸੌਸ = sauce

Each one of the matras can be attached with one and only one vowel carrier besides the consonants. Thus ੳ is used with aunkarh (ਉ), dulenkarh (ਊ) and horha (ਓ), ਅ is used with mukta (ਅ), kanna (ਆ), dolawan (ਐ), kanaurha (ਔ), and ੲ is used with sihari (ਇ), bihari (ਈ) and laan (ਏ)


1. Read these English words written in Gurmukhi.

  1. ਸੋ
  2. ਏਸ
  3. ਆਇ
  4. ਸੌਸ
  5. ਉਏਸਿਸ
  1. So/Sow
  2. Ace
  3. Eye
  4. Sauce
  5. Oasis

2. Write the above listed words in Gurmukhi and English alongside each.

3. Write these English words in Gurmukhi.

  1. He
  2. Sew
  3. Assess
  4. Cess
  5. Essay
  1. ਹੀ
  2. ਸਿ + ਉ = ਸਿਉ
  3. ਅ + ਸੈ + ਸ = ਅਸੈਸ
  4. ਸੈ + ਸ = ਸੈਸ
  5. ਐ + ਸੇ = ਐਸੇ


We have devoted this lesson to learning of the ten matras which represent the vowels. However we have still not touched the diacritics which form integral part of Gurmukhi script. We will learn the diacritics in the next lesson.

Last modified on 8 July 2012, at 07:12