Compiled by the UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems
Version 4.0, March 2016


The United Nations recommended system was approved in 1972 (II/11) and amended in 1977 (III/12), based on a report prepared by D. N. Sharma. The tables and their corrections were published in volume II of the conference reports1,2.

There is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products.

Punjabi (Panjābī) in India uses an alphasyllabic script (Gurmukhi) whereby each character represents a syllable rather than one sound. Vowels and diphthongs are marked in two ways: as independent characters (used syllable-initially) and in an abbreviated form, to denote vowels after consonants. The romanization table is unambiguous. The system is mostly reversible but there exist some ambiguities in the romanization of vowels (independent vs. abbreviated characters) and consonants (combinations with subscript consonants vs. character sequences).


I. Base characters

1 (u)A
2 aA
3 (i)A
4 sB
5 h
6 ka
7 khaB
8 gaB
9 gha
10 ṅa
11 cha
12 chha
13 jaB
14 jha
15 ña
16 ṭa
17 ṭha
18 ḍa
19 ḍha
20 ṇa
21 ta
22 tha
23 da
24 dha
25 na
26 pa
27 phaB
28 ba
29 bha
30 ma
31 ya
32 ra
33 la
34 va
35 ṙa

II. Abbreviated vowel characters and other symbols (ਕ stands for any consonant character)

1 a
2 ਕਾ ā
3 ਕਿ i
4 ਕੀ ī
5 ਕੁ u
6 ਕੂ ū
7 ਕੇ e
8 ਕੈ ai
9 ਕੋ o
10 ਕੌ au
11 ਕੰ A
12 ਕਂ B
13 (C)

III. Subscript consonant characters (ਮ stands for any base character)

1 ਮ੍ਹ -h
2 ਮ੍ਵ -v
3 ਮ੍ਰ -r
4 ਮ੍ਯ -y

Note. Absence of the inherent vowel (-a) is not marked in the spelling in any way except for the combinations with subscript characters and those which are doubled by ੱ (adhaka).

Other systems of romanization

For differences between the UN system and the ISO transliteration standard ISO 15919: 2001 see the section on the romanization of Hindi.


  1. Second United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. London, 10–31 May 1972. Vol. II. Technical papers. United Nations. New York 1974, pp. 136–138.
  2. Third United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Athens, 17 August – 7 September 1977. Vol. II, Technical papers, pp. 393 etc.