The word Punjabi has been derived from the word Panj-āb, introduced by Turko-Persian speakers, Persian for "Five Waters", referring to the five major eastern tributaries of the Indus River. Panj is cognate with Sanskrit पञ्च (pañca) and Greek πέντε (pénte) "five", and "āb" is cognate with Sanskrit अप् (áp) and with the Av- of Avon. The historical Punjab region, now divided between India and Pakistan, is defined physiographically by the Indus River and these five tributaries. One of the five, the Beas River, is a tributary of another, the Sutlej.
, district Jehlum, Punjab, Pakistan a hilltop associated with many Nath jogis (considered among compilers of earlier Punjabi works)
Punjabi developed from Sanskrit through Prakrit languages and later Apabhraṃśa (Sanskrit: अपभ्रंश; corruption or corrupted speech) From 600 BC Sanskrit gave birth to many regional languages in different parts of India. All these languages are called Prakrit (Sanskrit: प्राकृत prākṛta) collectively. Shauraseni Prakrit was one of these Prakrit languages, which was spoken in north and north-western India and Punjabi and western dialects of Hindi developed from this Prakrit. Later in northern India Shauraseni Prakrit gave rise to Shauraseni Aparbhsha, a descendent of Prakrit. Punjabi emerged as an Apabhramsha, a degenerated form of Prakrit, in the 7th century A.D. and became stable by the 10th century. By the 10th century, many Nath poets were associated with earlier Punjabi works.
Arabic and Persian influence on Punjabi
Arabic and Persian influence in the historical Punjab region began with the late first millennium Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent. The Persian language was introduced in the subcontinent a few centuries later by various Turko-Persian dynasties. Many Persian and Arabic words were incorporated in Punjabi. It is noteworthy that the Hindustani language is divided into Hindi, with more Sanskritisation, and Urdu, with more Persianisation, but in Punjabi both Sanskrit and Persian words are used with a liberal approach to language. Later, it was influenced by Portuguese and English, though these influences have been minor in comparison to Persian and Arabic. However, in India, English words in the official language are more widespread than Hindi.