Fourth row of Gurmukhi - the Retroflexes


This chapter will be devoted to the fourth row (ਟ ਵਰਗ ) of Gurmukhi consisting of five letters called the Retroflexes. They are so called because of the manner of articulation by touching the roof of the mouth by a curled up tongue with a flap.

The Gurmukhi retroflexes are

These are called ਟ - tainka, ਠ - thutha, ਡ - dudda, ਢ - dhuda and ਣ -nhanha. They are pronounced as ਟ - /t/, ਠ - /th/, ਡ - /d/, ਢ - /dh/ and ਣ - /nh/. Each of these letters is explained below.

The twenty-first letter of Gurmukhi is equivalent to English /t/. Transcription of tank and test shall demonstrate its use.
ਟੈਂ + ਕ = ਟੈਂਕ = tank
ਟੈ + ਸ + ਟ = ਟੈਸਟ = test
The twenty-second letter is not spoken in English. Nevertheless there are words in some Asian languages which are familiar to and are spoken by speakers of English language and which illustrate the use of this sound. For example the word thug will be written in Gurmukhi as under
ਠੱ + ਗ = ਠੱਗ = thug
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. The first part (we will come back to the other part later) Kath of Kathmandu will be written in Gurmukhi as
ਕ + ਠ = ਕਠ = Kath
ਠ is an aspirated form of /t/. This implies that its sound is produced the same way as /t/ but by simultaneously exhaling much breath. So speaking /t/ continuously and expelling much breath from the mouth will correctly produce this sound.
ਡ is equivalent to English /d/. The words desk and date will demonstrate its use.
ਡੈ + ਸ + ਕ = ਡੈਸਕ = desk
ਡੇ + ਟ = ਡੇਟ = date
ਢ sound is produced by combining ਟ sound with a tone in the initial position of a word and with a tone and ਡ sound elsewhere. This is how the word Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, will be transcribed in Gurmukhi
ਢਾ + ਕਾ = ਢਾਕਾ = Dhaka
The last letter ਣ of this row is not spoken in English. It is similar to /n/ except that instead of tongue touching the teeth, it touches the roof of the mouth with a flap. To produce the sound ਣ /nh/ continue to repeat /n/ and simultaneously touch the roof of the mouth with a flap. Haryana, a state of India, will be written as
ਹ + ਰਿ + ਆ + ਣਾ = ਹਰਿਆਣਾ /Hariaanhaa/ = Haryana
No Punjabi word starts with this letter.



1. Use Practice module to write the letters of the fourth row many times in your note book as you did earlier. You can click one of the letters below to go to relevant page of the practice module.

2. Read these English words written in Gurmukhi

  1. ਟੈਸਟ
  2. ਏਇਟ
  3. ਕਾਇਟ
  4. ਕਠਮੰਡੂ
  5. ਗੈਸਟ
  1. Test
  2. Eight
  3. Kite
  4. Kathmandu
  5. Guest

3. Write the following words in Gurmukhi and English.

  1. ਡਾਇਜੈਸਟ
  2. ਢਾਕਾ
  3. ਡੈਡਿਕੇਇਟ
  4. ਡਿਸਾਇਡ
  5. ਠੱਗ
  1. ਡਾਇਜੈਸਟ - Digest
  2. ਢਾਕਾ - Dhaka
  3. ਡੈਡਿਕੇਇਟ - Dedicate
  4. ਡਿਸਾਇਡ - Decide
  5. ਠੱਗ - Thug

4. Write these English words in Gurmukhi

  1. Seed
  2. Toast
  3. Stick
  4. Daddy
  5. Cheat
  6. Diet
  7. Dictate
  8. Toad
  9. Dust
  10. Sudan
  1. ਸੀ + ਡ = ਸੀਡ
  2. ਟੋ + ਸ + ਟ = ਟੋਸਟ
  3. ਸ + ਟਿ + ਕ = ਸਟਿਕ
  4. ਡੈ + ਡੀ = ਡੈਡੀ
  5. ਚੀ + ਟ = ਚੀਟ
  6. ਡਾ + ਇ + ਟ = ਡਾਇਟ
  7. ਡਿ + ਕ + ਟੇ + ਟ = ਡਿਕਟੇਟ
  8. ਟੋ + ਡ = ਟੋਡ
  9. ਡੱ + ਸ + ਟ = ਡੱਸਟ
  10. ਸੂ + ਡਾ + ਨ = ਸੂਡਾਨ



In this lesson we have learnt the five letters of the fourth row of Gurmukhi script. We found that ਠ thutha, ਢ dhudda and ਣ nahnha sounds are not spoken in English but we found a way to produce these sounds by relating them to other similar sounds. We also found that letter ਣ never occupies the initial position in any Punjabi word.