Gujarati Language

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gujarati Language


the language of the Gujarati people. Gujarati, Rajasthani, and Punjabi constitute the western group of the modern Indie languages of the Indo-European family. The Gujarati language is spoken by approximately 26 million people (1970, estimate) in the state of Gujarat and neighboring regions of the state of Maharashtra.

In Gujarati there are the following dialects: northern, or Ahmadabad; western, or Kathiawar; and southern, or Surat. Words are formed by means of suffixation, prefixation, and compounding. Phonetically, Gujarati is characterized by the absence of palatalization before front vowels and the sonant [y]. Gujarati has three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), two numbers (singular and plural), and six cases (direct, possessive, objective, instrumental, ablative, and locative). The verb is marked for the categories of person, number, gender, tense, mood (indicative, imperative, suppositional subjunctive, subjunctive, or conditional), and voice (active or passive and formed from transitive or intransitive verbs). The subject occurs at the beginning of the sentence and the predicate at the end. Gujarati vocabulary contains numerous borrowings from Sanskrit, as well as some words of Persian and Arabic origin. Loanwords from European languages have come into Gujarati through English. The alphabet is related to Devanagari (Indic script).


Savel’eva, L. V. Iazyk gudzharati. Moscow, 1965.
Grierson, G. A. Linguistic Survey of India, vol. 9, part 2. Calcutta, 1908.
Mehta, Bh. N., and Bh. Bh. Mehta. The Modern Gujarati-English Dictionary, vols. 1–2.Baroda, 1925.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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