Gujarati

The language

Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 46 million people. Gujarati is one of the 22 official languages and 14 regional languages of India. It is primarily spoken in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. However it is also spoken by Gujarati immigrant communities around the world.

The dialects

Standard Gujarati comprises the varieties spoken in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat. Among the major Gujarati dialects are: Surati, Kathiyawadi, Kharwa, Khakari, Tarimukhi, and East African Gujarati. Northern Gujarati dialects are influenced by Arabic and Persian due to more than five centuries of Islamic rule, while the southern dialects have more loanwords from Hindi, English, and Portuguese, the result of centuries of trade with European countries. East African Gujarati has many borrowings from local languages, particularly Swahili.

The script

The Gujarat script was adapted from the Devanagari script to write the Gujarati language. Unlike Devanagari, the Gujarati script does not have a line at the top of the letters. It is a syllabic alphabet meaning that each character represents a consonant with an inherent vowel sound.

Translation

When translating from Gujarati to English, the word count remains roughly the same.

Gujarati culture

Gujarat is known for its rich culture and history, bringing together many religions, in particular, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Buddhism. It is a leading industrial state in India, with the highest number of operating airports in the country. Gujarat is also known for producing many famous personalities including; Mahatma Ghandi, the leader of India’s non-violent independence movement and the Father of India; Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan; and Freddie Mercury, the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. The fourteenth prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, was born in Gujarat. When it comes to food, the majority of Gujaratis are vegetarian. A Gujarati thali is a metal tray which is used to serve portions of rice, vegetarian curries such as dhal (lentils), and chappatis. Desserts are often milk-based; a popular dessert is Srikhand, which is made with curds and spiced with saffron, cardamom, nuts, and fruit.