Gujarati (/ɡʊdʒəˈrɑːti/; ગુજરાતી gujarātī [ɡudʒəˈɾɑːt̪i]) is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat. It is part of the greater Indo-European language family. Gujarati is descended from Old Gujarati (circa 1100–1500 AD). In India, it is the official language in the state of Gujarat, as well as an official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. As of 2001, Gujarati is the 7th most widely spoken language in India by number of native speakers, spoken by 4.48% of the Indian population which amounts to 46.09 million speakers in India. It is the 26th most widely spoken language in the world by number of native speakers.
The Gujarati language is more than 700 years old and is spoken by more than 55 million people worldwide. Gujarati is spoken in many countries outside India, including United States, United Kingdom, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, South Africa, Canada, Australia, China, Bahrain, Singapore, Tanzania, and Zambia. Gujarati was the mother tongue of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
"Gujarati" in Gujarati script
Daman and Diu
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
|49 million (2007)|
Gujarati alphabet (Brahmic)|
Official language in
Daman and Diu (India)
Dadra and Nagar Haveli (India)
Distribution of native Gujarati speakers in India
Gujarati (also sometimes spelled Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, Guujaratee, "Gujarati", Gujrathi, and Gujerathi) is a modern IA (Indo-Aryan) language evolved from Sanskrit. The traditional practice is to differentiate the IA languages on the basis of three historical stages:
Another view postulates successive family tree splits, in which Gujarati is assumed to have separated from other IA languages in four stages:
The principal changes from Sanskrit are the following:
Gujarati is then customarily divided into the following three historical stages:
A major phonological change was the deletion of final ə, such that the modern language has consonant-final words. Grammatically, a new plural marker of -o developed. In literature, the third quarter of the 19th century saw a series of milestones for Gujarati, which previously had had verse as its dominant mode of literary composition.
Of the approximately 46 million speakers of Gujarati in 1997, roughly 45.5 million resided in India, 150,000 in Uganda, 50,000 in Tanzania, 50,000 in Kenya and roughly 100,000 in Karachi, Pakistan, excluding several hundreds of thousands of Memonis who do not self-identify as Gujarati, but hail from a region within the state of Gujarat. However, Gujarati community leaders in Pakistan claim that there are 3 million Gujarati speakers in Karachi. There is a certain amount of Mauritian population and a large amount of Réunion Island people who are from Gujarati descent among which some of them still speak Gujarati.
A considerable Gujarati-speaking population exists in North America, most particularly in the New York City Metropolitan Area and in the Greater Toronto Area, which have over 100,000 speakers and over 75,000 speakers, respectively, but also throughout the major metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada. According to the 2011 census, Gujarati is the seventeenth most spoken language in the Greater Toronto Area, and the fourth most spoken South Asian language after Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi and Tamil.
The UK has over 200,000 speakers, many of them situated in the London area, especially in North West London, but also in Birmingham, Manchester, and in Leicester, Coventry, Bradford and the former mill towns within Lancashire. A portion of these numbers consists of East African Gujaratis who, under increasing discrimination and policies of Africanisation in their newly independent resident countries (especially Uganda, where Idi Amin expelled 50,000 Asians), were left with uncertain futures and citizenships. Most, with British passports, settled in the UK. Gujarati is offered as a GCSE subject for students in the UK.
Gujarati parents in the diaspora are not comfortable with the possibility of their language not surviving them. In a study, 80% of Malayali parents felt that "Children would be better off with English", compared to 36% of Kannada parents and only 19% of Gujarati parents.
Besides being spoken by the Gujarati people, non-Gujarati residents of and migrants to the state of Gujarat also count as speakers, among them the Kutchis (as a literary language), the Parsis (adopted as a mother tongue), and Hindu Sindhi refugees from Pakistan. A distribution of the geographical area can be found in 'Linguistic Survey of India' by George A. Grierson.
Gujarati is one of the twenty-two official languages and fourteen regional languages of India. It is officially recognized in the state of Gujarat, India and the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
According to British historian and philologist William Tisdall, who was an early scholar of Gujarati grammar, three major varieties of Gujarati exist: a standard 'Hindu' dialect, a 'Parsi' dialect and a 'Muslim' dialect.
However, Gujarati has undergone contemporary reclassification with respect to the widespread regional differences in vocabulary and phrasing; notwithstanding the number of poorly attested dialects and regional variations in naming.
Kharwa, Kakari and Tarimuki (Ghisadi) are also often cited as additional varieties of Gujarati.
Kutchi is often referred to as a dialect of Gujarati, but most linguists consider it closer to Sindhi. In addition, a mixture between Sindhi, Gujarati, and Kutchi called Memoni is related to Gujarati, albeit distantly.
Furthermore, words used by the native languages of areas where the Gujarati people have become a diaspora community, such as East Africa (Swahili), have become loanwords in local dialects of Gujarati.
Similar to other Nāgarī writing systems, the Gujarati script is an abugida. It is used to write the Gujarati and Kutchi languages. It is a variant of Devanāgarī script differentiated by the loss of the characteristic horizontal line running above the letters and by a small number of modifications in the remaining characters.
These are the three general categories of words in modern Indo-Aryan: tatsam, tadbhav, and loanwords.
તદ્ભવ tadbhava, "of the nature of that". Gujarati is a modern Indo-Aryan language descended from Sanskrit (old Indo-Aryan), and this category pertains exactly to that: words of Sanskritic origin that have demonstratively undergone change over the ages, ending up characteristic of modern Indo-Aryan languages specifically as well as in general. Thus the "that" in "of the nature of that" refers to Sanskrit. They tend to be non-technical, everyday, crucial words; part of the spoken vernacular. Below is a table of a few Gujarati tadbhav words and their Old Indo-Aryan sources:
|falls, slips||khasati||khasvũ||to move|||
|causes to move||arpayati||āpvũ||to give|||
|attains to, obtains||prāpnoti||pāmvũ|||
|equal, alike, level||sama||samũ||right, sound|||
તત્સમ tatsama, "same as that". While Sanskrit eventually stopped being spoken vernacularly, in that it changed into Middle Indo-Aryan, it was nonetheless standardized and retained as a literary and liturgical language for long after. This category consists of these borrowed words of (more or less) pure Sanskrit character. They serve to enrich Gujarati and modern Indo-Aryan in its formal, technical, and religious vocabulary. They are recognizable by their Sanskrit inflections and markings; they are thus often treated as a separate grammatical category unto themselves.
Many old tatsam words have changed their meanings or have had their meanings adopted for modern times. પ્રસારણ prasāraṇ means "spreading", but now it is used for "broadcasting". In addition to this are neologisms, often being calques. An example is telephone, which is Greek for "far talk", translated as દુરભાષ durbhāṣ. Though most people just use ફોન phon and thus neo-Sanskrit has varying degrees of acceptance.
So, while having unique tadbhav sets, modern IA languages have a common, higher tatsam pool. Also, tatsams and their derived tadbhavs can also co-exist in a language; sometimes of no consequence and at other times with differences in meaning:
|karma||Work — Dharmic religious concept of works or deeds whose divine consequences are experienced in this life or the next.||kām||work [without any religious connotations].|
|kṣetra||Field — Abstract sense, such as a field of knowledge or activity; khāngī kṣetra → private sector. Physical sense, but of higher or special importance; raṇǎkṣetra → battlefield.||khetar||field [in agricultural sense].|
What remains are words of foreign origin (videśī), as well as words of local origin that cannot be pegged as belonging to any of the three prior categories (deśaj). The former consists mainly of Persian, Arabic, and English, with trace elements of Portuguese and Turkish. While the phenomenon of English loanwords is relatively new, Perso-Arabic has a longer history behind it. Both English and Perso-Arabic influences are quite nationwide phenomena, in a way paralleling tatsam as a common vocabulary set or bank. What's more is how, beyond a transposition into general Indo-Aryan, the Perso-Arabic set has also been assimilated in a manner characteristic and relevant to the specific Indo-Aryan language it is being used in, bringing to mind tadbhav.
India was ruled for many a century by Persian-speaking Muslims, amongst the most notable being the Turko-Afghan Delhi Sultanate, and the Turco-Mongol Mughal dynasty. As a consequence Indian languages were changed greatly, with the large scale entry of Persian and its many Arabic loans into the Gujarati lexicon. One fundamental adoption was Persian's conjunction "that", ke. Also, while tatsam or Sanskrit is etymologically continuous to Gujarati, it is essentially of a differing grammar (or language), and that in comparison while Perso-Arabic is etymologically foreign, it has been in certain instances and to varying degrees grammatically indigenized. Owing to centuries of situation and the end of Persian education and power, (1) Perso-Arabic loans are quite unlikely to be thought of or known as loans, and (2) more importantly, these loans have often been Gujarati-ized. dāvo – claim, fāydo – benefit, natījo – result, and hamlo – attack, all carry Gujarati's masculine gender marker, o. khānũ – compartment, has the neuter ũ. Aside from easy slotting with the auxiliary karvũ, a few words have made a complete transition of verbification: kabūlvũ – to admit (fault), kharīdvũ – to buy, kharǎcvũ – to spend (money), gujarvũ – to pass. The last three are definite part and parcel.
Below is a table displaying a number of these loans. Currently some of the etymologies are being referenced to an Urdu dictionary so that Gujarati's singular masculine o corresponds to Urdu ā, neuter ũ groups into ā as Urdu has no neuter gender, and Urdu's Persian z is not upheld in Gujarati and corresponds to j or jh. In contrast to modern Persian, the pronunciation of these loans into Gujarati and other Indo-Aryan languages, as well as that of Indian-recited Persian, seems to be in line with Persian spoken in Afghanistan and Central Asia, perhaps 500 years ago.
|fāydo||gain, advantage, benefit||A||||khānũ||compartment||P||||kharīdī||purchase(s), shopping||P||||tājũ||fresh||P|||
|humlo||attack||A||||makān||house, building||A||||śardī||common cold||P||||judũ||different, separate||P|||
With the end of Perso-Arabic inflow, English became the current foreign source of new vocabulary. English had and continues to have a considerable influence over Indian languages. Loanwords include new innovations and concepts, first introduced directly through British colonialism, and then streaming in on the basis of continued English language dominance in the post-colonial period. Besides the category of new ideas is the category of English words that already have Gujarati counterparts which end up replaced or existed alongside with. The major driving force behind this latter category has to be the continuing role of English in modern India as a language of education, prestige, and mobility. In this way, Indian speech can be sprinkled with English words and expressions, even switches to whole sentences. See Hinglish, Code-switching.
In matters of sound, English alveolar consonants map as retroflexes rather than dentals. Two new characters were created in Gujarati to represent English /æ/'s and /ɔ/'s. Levels of Gujarati-ization in sound vary. Some words don't go far beyond this basic transpositional rule, and sound much like their English source, while others differ in ways, one of those ways being the carrying of dentals. See Indian English.
As English loanwards are a relatively new phenomenon, they adhere to English grammar, as tatsam words adhere to Sanskrit. Though that isn't to say that the most basic changes have been underway: many English words are pluralized with Gujarati o over English "s". Also, with Gujarati having three genders, genderless English words must take one. Though often inexplicable, gender assignment may follow the same basis as it is expressed in Gujarati: vowel type, and the nature of word meaning.
|bâṅk||bank||phon||phone||ṭebal||table||bas||bus||rabbar||rubber (eraser)||dôkṭar||doctor (physician)||rasīd||receipt|
|train station||sāykal||(bi)cycle||rum||room||āis krīm||ice cream|
|aṅkal1||uncle||āṇṭī1||auntie||pākīṭ||wallet||kavar||envelope||noṭ||banknote||skūl||school||ṭyuśan||tuition||esī||AC (air conditioning)|
|ticket||sleṭ||slate||hoṭal||hotel||pārṭī||political party||ṭren||train||kalekṭar||district collector||reḍīyo||radio|
The smaller foothold the Portuguese had in wider India had linguistic effects. Gujarati took up a number of words, while elsewhere the influence was great enough to the extent that creole languages came to be (see Portuguese India, Portuguese-based creole languages in India and Sri Lanka). Comparatively, the impact of Portuguese has been greater on coastal languages and their loans tend to be closer to the Portuguese originals. The source dialect of these loans imparts an earlier pronunciation of ch as an affricate instead of the current standard of [ʃ].
|sābu||soap||sabão (from Arabic sābun)|
|pādrī||father (in Catholicism)||padre|
|aṅgrej(ī)||English (not specifically the language)||inglês|
Gujarati is a head-final, or left-branching language. Adjectives precede nouns, direct objects come before verbs, and there are postpositions. The word order of Gujarati is SOV, and there are three genders and two numbers. There are no definite or indefinite articles. A verb is expressed with its verbal root followed by suffixes marking aspect and agreement in what is called a main form, with a possible proceeding auxiliary form derived from to be, marking tense and mood, and also showing agreement. Causatives (up to double) and passives have morphological basis'.
|khajūr-ī-∅-n-ā̃||chaṭiy-ā̃-n-ī||ek||jhū̃pṛ-ī-∅-mā̃||tā.||14 4 1930thī||tā.||4 5 1930||sudhī|
|palmdate–FEM–SG–GEN–NEUT.OBL||bark–NEUT.PL.OBL–GEN–FEM.OBL||one||hut–FEM–SG–in||date||14 4 1930–from||date||until|
Translation (provided at location) —
Gujarati is at least 700 years old and is spoken by more than 55 million people worldwide.
Gujaratis form the second largest of the British South Asian speech communities, with important settlements in Leicester and Coventry in the Midlands, in the northern textile towns and in Greater London.
Of the non-Ugandan languages, Hindi and Gujarati are commonly spoken among members of the Asian Hindu community that migrated to Uganda during the early part of the 20th century.
English is spoken as a first language by most Indian South Africans, although a minority of the Indian South African population, especially the elders, still speak some Indian languages. These languages include Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Punjabi, and Gujarati.
Indo‑Iranian languages include Persian, mainly spoken in Iran, with 177,000 persons, along with various languages of the Indian subcontinent, including Punjabi (460,000)—the top immigrant language reported in Canada—as well as Urdu (194,000), and Hindi and Gujarati, each with just over 100,000 persons.
Addressing the community in Gujarati
Gandhi's seminal work, 'Hind Swaraj' ('Indian Home Role'), appeared in the columns of Indian Opinion in 1909. Originally written in his mother tongue, Gujarati, it was translated into English by Gandhi and published as Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Role in 1910.
In Pakistan, the majority of Gujarati-speaking communities are in Karachi including Dawoodi Bohras, Ismaili Khojas, Memons, Kathiawaris, Katchhis, Parsis (Zoroastrians) and Hindus, said Gul Hasan Kalmati, a researcher who authored “Karachi, Sindh Jee Marvi”, a book discussing the city and its indigenous communities. Although there are no official statistics available, community leaders claim that there are three million Gujarati-speakers in Karachi – roughly around 15 percent of the city’s entire population.