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Gujarati: from land of dandya dance

Brief Description

The traditional practice is to differentiate the IA languages on the basis of three historical stages: (1) Old IA (Vedic and Classical Sanskrit), (2) Middle IA (various Prakrits and Apabhramshas), and (3) New IA (modern languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, etc.). Another view can be presented in terms of successive family, tree splits. According to this view, Gujarati is assumed to have separated from other IA languages in three stages: (1) IA languages split into Northern, Eastern, and Central divisions based on the innovate characteristics such as stops becoming voiced in the Northern and dental retroflex sibilants merging with the palatal in the Eastern; (2) Central, in Gujarati/Rajasthani, Western Hindi, and Punjabi/Lahanda/Sindhi, on the basis of innovation of auxiliary verbs and postpositions in Gujarati/Rajasthani; and (3) Gujarati/Rajasthani into Gujarati and Rajasthani through development of such characteristics as auxiliary ch- and the possessive marker -n- during the 15th century (Dave 1948, Pandit 1966).

Regions where spoken

Gujarati is spoken by over 46 million people around the world with sizeable populations of expatriate Gujarati-speakers found all over East Africa and North America. Gujarati is recognized as one of the languages of India and is the official language of the state of Gujarat, home to the famed salt marshes of the Rann of Kutch. As well as of the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It is also the language of the large Gujarati community in Mumbai, India.

There are about 46 million speakers of Gujarati worldwide, making it the 23rd most spoken language in the world. Of these, roughly 45.5 million reside in India, 150 000 in Uganda, 250 000 in Tanzania, 50 000 in Kenya and roughly 100 000 in Pakistan. A considerable population of Gujarati speakers exists in North America and the United Kingdom as well.

Development & Spread

Gujarati is a modern Indo-Aryan language evolved from Sanskrit. A formal set of grammarian principles of the precursor of this language was written by eminent Jain monk and scholar Hemachandra Acharya in the reign of the Rajput king, Siddharaj Jayasinh of Anhilwara. This treatise formed the foundation of Apabrahmsa grammar, forming a language from the combination of corrupted form of languages like Sanskrit and Ardhamagadhi

Gujarati, in contrast with most other Indian languages, is considered to be a relatively young language, with its origins traced back to around the 12th century AD.

Gujarati was the first language of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the "father of India", Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the "father of Pakistan" and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the "iron man of India".


The Gujarati script has writing systems and it is strictly speaking an abugida rather than an alphabet, is used to write the Gujarati and Kutchi languages. It is differentiated by the loss of the characteristic horizontal line running above the letters and by a small number of modifications in the remaining characters.

Important Writers or Works

Jain, Shalibhadrasuri, Narsingh Mehta, Raje, Raghunathdas, Pritam, Ratno and Muktananda, Kalapi, Kant, Nanalal and Balavantrai Thakor

Other details

There are a variety of popular fonts used in Gujarati typing; Unicode, Shruti, True Type fonts etc.

Source : www.gujaratindia.com , www.bhashaindia.com , www.opentopia.com

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