Noun refers to the name of living being, place, thing, abstract idea etc. Typically, it can be anything that we call by name.

Formal definition:
A noun is a word used as the name of a person, place or thing. The word thing includes:
  • All objects that we can touch, hear, smell or taste
  • Something we can think of but can not perceive by senses

For example:

ਘੋੜੇ ghōṛe Horses
ਮੇਜ਼ mēz Table
ਅੰਬ amb Mango
ਕਲਮ kalam Pen
ਦਰਿਆ dariā River

These are all nouns. Similarly, ਮੁੰਡਾ, ਕਿਤਾਬ, ਕਾਰ, ਸਕੂਲ, ਘਰ etc. are all nouns.
Nouns can be of various semantic types like proper nouns, common nouns, countable nouns, collective nouns, abstract nouns etc. On the formal basis, punjabi nouns are classified into three classes.
  1. /-ਆ/ ending masculine nouns. For example:-

    ਮੁੰਡਾ muṇḍā Boy
    ਘੋੜਾ ghōṛā Horse
    ਕੋਠਾ kōṭhā Room

  2. /-ਈ/ Ending and other endings masculine nouns. For example:-

  3. ਆਦਮੀ ādmī Man
    ਘਰ ghar House
    ਹੱਥ hatth Hand

  4. /-ਈ/ Ending and other endings feminine nouns. For example:-

  5. ਕੁੜੀ kuṛī Girl
    ਰਾਤ rāt Night
    ਸੜਕ saṛak Road
Noun in these classes inflecting identically for the grammatical categories: number and case (direct and oblique).

Grammatical Categories.

Punjabi nouns have assigned gender and change forms for number and case grammatical categories.

Gender: Punjabi nouns have assigned gender and it can be either masculine or feminine, though some nouns (e.g. common nouns) can be used for both the genders (due to dialectical variations). Every Punjabi noun (animate or inanimate) must have a gender. This gender value is purely grammatical for inanimate objects.
Some words are used for feminine gender. For example:

ਕੰਧ kandh wall
ਕੁਰਸੀ kurasī chair
ਸੜਕ saṛak road
ਕਾਰ kār car
ਬੱਸ bass bus
ਦੁਕਾਨ dukān shop
ਰਾਤ rāt night

and some are used in masculine gender. For example:

ਮੇਜ਼ mēz table
ਟਰੱਕ ṭarakk truck
ਦਿਨ din day
ਪਹਾੜ pahād mountain
ਘਰ ghar house
ਪਾਣੀ pāṇī water
ਦੁੱਧ duddh milk

This assignment of gender to inanimate objects is arbitrary, though some patterns can be established but there will always be exceptions to those patterns.
One such pattern can be that nouns ending in /-ਆ/ are termed masculine and ending in /-ਈ/ are termed feminine, For example:

ਰੱਸਾ rassā rope ਰੱਸੀ rassī small rope, string
ਪਤੀਲਾ patīlā cooking pot ਪਤੀਲੀ patīlī small cooking pot

Other pattern based on the physical size can be that big objects are termed masculine and their smaller counterparts are termed feminine, For example:

ਪਹਾੜ pahāḍ mountain ਪਹਾੜੀ pahāḍī hill
ਗਲਾਸ galās tumbler ਗਲਾਸੀ galāsī small tumbler

But as can be seen, there are many exceptions to these patterns.


Punjabi nouns inflect for number and case grammatical categories.

Punjabi nouns are inflected for number grammatical category. There are two numbers- singular and plural. /-ਆ/ ending singular masculine nouns become /-ਏ/ ending in their plural forms. For example:-

ਮੁੰਡਾ muṇḍā Boy ਮੁੰਡੇ muṇḍē Boys
ਕੋਠਾ kōṭhā Room ਕੋਠੇ kōṭhē Rooms
ਘੋੜਾ ghōṛā Horse ਘੋੜੇ ghōṛē Horses

/-ਈ/ Ending and other endings singular feminine nouns become /-ਆਂ/ ending in their plural forms, For example:-

ਕੁੜੀ kuṛī Girl ਕੁੜੀਆਂ kuṛīāṃ Girls
ਸੜਕ saṛak Road ਸੜਕਾਂ saṛkāṃ Roads
ਰਾਤ rāt Night ਰਾਤਾਂ rātāṃ Nights

/-ਈ/ Ending and other endings masculine nouns remain unchanged in their Plural forms. For example:-

ਆਦਮੀ ādmī Man ਆਦਮੀ ādmī Men
ਘਰ ghar House ਘਰ ghar Houses
ਹੱਥ hatth Hand ਹੱਥ hatth Hands

Case: There are two cases – direct and oblique, which apply to almost all the nouns. In oblique case /-ਆ/ ending singular masculine nouns take /-ਏ/ ending forms and /-ਏ/ ending plural masculine nouns take /-ਇਆਂ/ ending forms. /-ਈ/ and other endings singular masculine nouns remain unchanged, but /-ਈ/ and other endings plural masculine nouns take /-ਆਂ/ ending forms in their oblique case. /-ਈ/ and consonant ending feminine singular nouns and their plural forms remain unchanged in their oblique case.
For example:-

ਮੁੰਡਾ muṇḍā Singular ਮੁੰਡੇ muṇḍē Singular
ਮੁੰਡੇ muṇḍē Plural ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ muṇḍiāṃ Plural
ਆਦਮੀ ādmī Singular ਆਦਮੀ ādmī Singular
ਆਦਮੀ ādmī Plural ਆਦਮੀਆਂ ādmīāṃ Plural
ਕੁੜੀ kuṛī Singular ਕੁੜੀ kuṛī Singular
ਕੁੜੀਆਂ kuṛīāṃ Plural ਕੁੜੀਆਂ kuṛīāṃ Plural

Other cases are realized using oblique case form combined with appropriate postpositions. This method of using postpositions in place of case inflected forms is widely followed in Punjabi and other Indic languages like Hindi, Urdu etc. There are some remnant case inflected forms of few Punjabi nouns. Some of these are provided below, but it should be noted that all these case forms can be realized using oblique form followed by the appropriate postposition.

The instrumental case is seen in the plural form of some nouns, like:

ਹੱਥੀਂ hatthīṃ with hands ਹੱਥਾਂ ਨਾਲ hatthāṃ nāl with hands

The ablative case is seen only in the singular form of some nouns, like:

ਕੋਠਿਓਂ kōṭhiōṃ from floor ਕੋਠੇ ਤੋਂ kōṭhē tōṃ from floor

The locative case is seen in both the singular and the plural form of nouns. One common noun ਘਰ has a singular locative form ਘਰੇ.

ਘਰੇ gharē in house ਘਰ ਵਿੱਚ ghar vich in house
ਘਰੇ gharē to house ਘਰ ਨੂੰ ghar nūn to house

and some place names ending in /-ਆ/ like ਪਟਿਆਲਾ has a locative form ਪਟਿਆਲੇ.

ਪਟਿਆਲੇ paṭiālē within Patiala ਪਟਿਆਲੇ ਵਿੱਚ paṭiālē vich within Patiala
ਪਟਿਆਲੇ paṭiālē to Patiala ਪਟਿਆਲੇ ਨੂੰ paṭiālē nūn to Patiala

Examples of plural locative forms are:

ਪਿੰਡੀਂ piṇḍīn in villages ਪਿੰਡਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ piṇḍān vich in villages
ਸ਼ਹਿਰੀਂ sahirīn in cities ਸ਼ਹਿਰਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ sahirān vich in cities

Vocative case is common with animate nouns only, though it can equally be used for inanimate nouns in specific contexts. It can be used in both singular and plural numbers.
A typical Punjabi noun can have average five-six different forms depending upon the values of number and case,
For example ਮੁੰਡਾ has five different forms:

ਮੁੰਡਾ muṇḍā singular-direct
ਮੁੰਡੇ muṇḍē singular-oblique, plural-direct
ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ muṇḍiāṃ plural-oblique
ਮੁੰਡਿਆ muṇḍiā singular-vocative
ਮੁੰਡਿਓ muṇḍiō plural-vocative