Punjabi: Significance of Ho or Hai at the end of a question.


New Member
English - British

I'm born in Britain but I speak (very bad) punjabi with my grandparents and although I can understand them very well I can't speak Punjabi very well. But when I hear my university friend speak Punjabi, the type of Punjabi he speaks sounds a lot more like a Hindi accent to my untrained ears and I can't understand much.

I've noticed he adds Ho or Hai to the end of questions when I've heard him speak Punjabi to his parents.

I.E. I would say Tussi kithe ja ri, Whereas he would say Tussi kithe je ri hai.


I would I say Tussi ki kara de, Whereas he would say Tussi ki kara rahe ho (I think that's it, very rough transliteration of what I think he said on the phone)

I don't know whether this is important or not but my grandparents are rural Jats from around Jalandhar, whereas he is a Khatri originally from Lahore and now his family live in Lucknow. What's the significance of the ho or hai? Is it different dialects, is one more colloquial than the other, or do my grandparents just speak a less grammatically correct form of Punjabi because they're less educated? (I think it's probably the last one)

P.S. Sorry if this is really obvious or makes no sense, like I said earlier I really have very little grammatical understanding of Punjabi.

P.P.S. total side note but how do you say thank you in Punjabi? I've been told it's dhanvaad but apart from that I've never heard it being used by Punjabis, maybe I just have a rude family.

Thanks or Dhanvaad ;)
  • marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    I can speak a good deal of Punjabi although I am not a native speaker or have any Punjabi speakers who belong to my family, still I'll try to answer some points as I might not be, for the reasons mentioned above, able to address all of them.

    Based on your transcription (and I agree it is rough but it is quite clear, I've seen confusing transliterations and this one isn't confusing), it will be what I'll write in Roman,

    tussiN kitthe jaa rii (rahii, raiN, ra'e? for you to choose!)
    tusiiN kitthe jaa rae ho.

    tussiiN kii karde>
    tusii kii kar rahe (ra'e?) ho

    ^ Is it correct? Anyone suggestions?

    I think it has to do with the Majhi Standard dialect of Punjabi in the case of your friend, while your family speaks another dialect.

    However, in Majhi (i.e. Standard Punjabi) ho and hae is pronounced generally with the h's dropped.
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