• Overview of Punjabi Grammar


Postpositions are similar to prepositions in English. These link noun, pronoun, and phrases to other parts of the sentence. Some Punjabi postpositions are ਨੇ , ਨੂੰ nūṃ, ਉੱਤੇ uttē ‘over’, ਦਾ ‘of’, ਕੋਲੋਂ kōlōṃ ‘from’, ਨੇਡ਼ੇ nēḍaē ‘near’, ਲਾਗੇ lāgē ‘near’ etc. In Punjabi, postpositions follow the noun or pronoun unlike English, where these precede the noun or pronoun, and thus termed prepositions.

In Punjabi, the postpositions can be classified into two types:

Inflected postpositions

ਦਾ ‘of’ (marker of possessive case) postposition changes forms for gender – masculine and feminine, number – singular and plural, and case - direct, oblique, vocative, and ablative. In a sentence, it agrees with the following noun or noun phrase in terms of gender, number, and case. Therefore, this postposition more or less behaves like adjectives or other modifiers.

There are some other postpositions, which change forms like nouns, specifically for locative and ablative cases. These may directly follow a noun or a noun plus ਦੇ ‘of’(masculine-singular-oblique form of ਦਾ ‘of’ postposition) or ਤੋਂ tōṃ ‘from’. For locative case forms like ਪਿੱਛੇ picchē ‘behind’, ਉੱਤੇ uttē ‘over’ etc., it is ਦੇ , e.g. ਮੇਜ਼ ਦੇ ਉੱਤੇ ਇੱਕ ਕਿਤਾਬ ਪਈ ਸੀ mēz dē uttē ikk kitāb paī sī ‘A book was lying on the table’. For ablative case forms like ਪਿੱਛੋਂ picchōṃ, ਉੱਤੋਂ uttōṃ, it is ਤੋਂ tōṃ ‘from’, e.g. ਉਸ ਤੋਂ ਪਿੱਛੋਂ ਇੱਕ ਤਮਾਸ਼ਾ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ us tōṃ picchōṃ ikk tamāshā dikhāiā giā ‘After that, a show was staged’.

Uninflected postpositions

There are a large number of postpositions, which do not change forms at all. Three postpositions, ਨੇ (instrumental or agentive case marker), ਨੂੰ nūṃ (generally used with objects), and ਤੋਂ tōṃ ‘from’ always immediately follow the noun. ਨੇ and ਨੂੰ nūṃ lose their tone and become suffixes after certain pronouns, like ਮੈਨੂੰ mainūṃ, ਤੈਨੂੰ tainūṃ, ਉਹਨੂੰ uhnūṃ, ਉਹਨੇ uhnē, ਇਹਨੇ ihnē etc. ਤੋਂ tōṃ ‘from’ when following some pronouns becomes ਥੋਂ thōṃ and results in ablative case form of those pronouns, e.g. ਮੈਥੋਂ maithōṃ, ਤੈਥੋਂ taithōṃ etc.
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