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Gurū Granth Sāhib - Its Language and Grammar

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This textbook gives an overview of the languages of the Gurū Granth Sāhib, the Gurmukhī script, its pronunciation and grammar. Since, grammar serves as an important tool for the production of meaningful interpretations of Gurbāṇī, this textbook, along with the Gurbāṇī language course offered by the Sikh Research Institute, seeks to introduce a basic approach for accessing the linguistics of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. 

The Gurū Granth Sāhib plays a crucial role in the life of a Sikh. Every Sikh yearns to engage with it at some level and benefit from its overarching Divine wisdom. While there are any works available to engage the Pañjābī-speaking audience, there is a void in the English language for such a resource. This textbook is intended for use by an English-speaking audience, especially the diasporic communities, treating Gurbāṇī as a foreign language. The lessons are appropriate for beginners to intermediate-level learners, who wish to develop a better understanding of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. By the end, readers should find it helpful in interpreting Gurbāṇī independently to enhance their understanding of Gurmat (Gurū’s wisdom).

What our reviewers have to say about the book

Since its establishment as the centerpiece of Sikh life in 1604, the Guru Granth Sahib has contributed immensely to the self-definition of the Sikhs as a community. Even though the message enshrined in the scripture enjoys an unimpeachable authority over now a global community of practitioners, a serious textual study of its contents remains in a terrible state of neglect. A handful of scholars in the modern period began the work of illuminating the existence of a fascinating grammar, which can be helpful in taking the primary step toward understanding the Sikh discursive tradition. The present work is a much-needed attempt to articulate this grammar in English. It deserves to be on the bookshelf of every individual interested in the study of the Sikh scripture."

– Harpreet Singh, Harvard University

Understanding Gurbani grammar is an important step towards comprehending the intricacies of the Guru’s message in the Guru Granth Sahib. As a Gurbani teacher, I have always wanted a Gurbani grammar book in English that was comprehensive and easy to understand. I am glad that we finally have a very good resource in understanding the linguistics and grammar of the Guru Granth Sahib. So if anybody is interested in knowing the difference between ਨਾਨਕ, ਨਾਨਕਿ, and ਨਾਨਕ, or is intrigued by Guru Arjan Sahib’s use of the words   ਸਿਮਰਨ, ਸਿਮਰਨਿ, ਸਿਮਰਨੁ, ਸਿਮਰਉ, ਸਿਮਰਤ ਸਿਮਰਹਿ, or ਸਿਮਰਹੁ, then this book is a must read."

– Surinder Singh, Sikh School of Los Angeles

This textbook gives an overview of the languages of the Gurū Granth Sāhib, the Gurmukhī script, its pronunciation and grammar. Since, grammar serves as an important tool for the production of meaningful interpretations of Gurbāṇī, this textbook, along with the Gurbāṇī language course offered by the Sikh Research Institute, seeks to introduce a basic approach for accessing the linguistics of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. 

The Gurū Granth Sāhib plays a crucial role in the life of a Sikh. Every Sikh yearns to engage with it at some level and benefit from its overarching Divine wisdom. While there are any works available to engage the Pañjābī-speaking audience, there is a void in the English language for such a resource. This textbook is intended for use by an English-speaking audience, especially the diasporic communities, treating Gurbāṇī as a foreign language. The lessons are appropriate for beginners to intermediate-level learners, who wish to develop a better understanding of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. By the end, readers should find it helpful in interpreting Gurbāṇī independently to enhance their understanding of Gurmat (Gurū’s wisdom).

What our reviewers have to say about the book

Since its establishment as the centerpiece of Sikh life in 1604, the Guru Granth Sahib has contributed immensely to the self-definition of the Sikhs as a community. Even though the message enshrined in the scripture enjoys an unimpeachable authority over now a global community of practitioners, a serious textual study of its contents remains in a terrible state of neglect. A handful of scholars in the modern period began the work of illuminating the existence of a fascinating grammar, which can be helpful in taking the primary step toward understanding the Sikh discursive tradition. The present work is a much-needed attempt to articulate this grammar in English. It deserves to be on the bookshelf of every individual interested in the study of the Sikh scripture."

– Harpreet Singh, Harvard University

Understanding Gurbani grammar is an important step towards comprehending the intricacies of the Guru’s message in the Guru Granth Sahib. As a Gurbani teacher, I have always wanted a Gurbani grammar book in English that was comprehensive and easy to understand. I am glad that we finally have a very good resource in understanding the linguistics and grammar of the Guru Granth Sahib. So if anybody is interested in knowing the difference between ਨਾਨਕ, ਨਾਨਕਿ, and ਨਾਨਕ, or is intrigued by Guru Arjan Sahib’s use of the words   ਸਿਮਰਨ, ਸਿਮਰਨਿ, ਸਿਮਰਨੁ, ਸਿਮਰਉ, ਸਿਮਰਤ ਸਿਮਰਹਿ, or ਸਿਮਰਹੁ, then this book is a must read."

– Surinder Singh, Sikh School of Los Angeles

Created By

Harinder Singh

Senior Fellow, Research & Policy

Senior Fellow, Research & Policy

Harinder Singh is the Senior Fellow at the Sikh Research Institute. He holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University, an MS in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas, and an MPhil from Punjab University in the linguistics of the Guru Granth Sahib. 

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Jaswant Singh

Director, Gurbani Research

Director, Gurbani Research

Jaswant Singh is a scholar of Sikh Studies. His immense love for Gurbani propels him to read, reflect, research, and share Gurbani’s wisdom and understanding with the wider community. 

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Researcher

Surender Pal Singh is a Senior Research Associate at the Sikh Research Institute. He holds a Master’s degree in Religious Studies and English. 

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