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Gujarati language

Gujarati language

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ગુજરાતી Gujarātī
Spoken in: India, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan, USA, UK, Australia, Fiji, Canada
Total speakers: 46 million 
Ranking: 22
Language family: Indo-European
   Western Indo-Aryan
Writing system: Gujarati script 
Official status
Official language of: Gujarat (India)
Regulated by: Language Academy
Language codes
ISO 639-1: gu
ISO 639-2: guj
ISO/FDIS 639-3: guj 
This page contains Indic text. Without rendering support you may see irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. More...

Gujarātī is an Indo-Aryan language, part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is one of the 22 official languages and 14 regional languages of India, and one of the minority languages of neighboring Pakistan. 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. Gujarati is the chief language of India's Gujarat state, as well as 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. A considerable population of Gujarati speakers exists in North America and the United Kingdom as well. 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".


[edit] History

The history of the language can be traced back to 12th century CE. A formal grammar of the precursor of this language was written by Jain monk and eminent scholar Hemachandra-charya in the reign of Rajput king Siddharaj Jayasinh of Anhilwara (Patan). This was referred to as an Apabhransa grammar, signifying a "corrupted" form of the formal languages of the time, Sanskrit and Ardhamagadhi Prakrit. The earliest literature in the language survives in oral tradition and can be traced to the Krishna devotee and great egalitarian Narsinh Mehta. The story of Narsinh Mehta himself was composed in the 17th century as a long narrative ballad by Premananda, accorded the title mahakavi or "great poet" by modern historians of the language. Other than this, a large number of poets flourished during what is now characterised as the bhakti ("devotional") movement in Hinduism, a movement of the masses to liberate the religion from entrenched priesthood.

Premananda was a vyakhyan-kar, or traveling storyteller, who narrated his subject in song and then perhaps elaborated on the lines in prose. His style was so fluent that his long poems, running into hundreds of lines, were nonetheless memorised by the people and are still sung today. In this sense, the oral tradition of the much more ancient Vedas was clearly continuing in India till late. Premananda's famous poetic stories deal with epic themes couched in stories of mythical kings, and the Puranas. He also wrote a drama based on Narasinh Mehta's life capturing his simplicity and his disregard for worldly divisions of caste and class.

Modern exploration into Gujarat and its language is credited to British administrator Alexander Kinloch Forbes. During the nineteenth century he explored much of the previous thousand years of the history of the land and compiled a large number of manuscripts. Farbas Gujarati Sabha, the learned body devoted to the Gujarati language, is named after him, with headquarters in Mumbai.

[edit] Geographic distribution

[edit] Official status

Gujarati is officially recognized in the state of Gujarat, India.

[edit] Dialects

As with most languages, Gujarati comes in numerous regional dialects that differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and/or grammar. Some dialects have many Arabic and Persian borrowings, while others, such as the southern dialects, take more from Portuguese and English, while others take more from Hindi.

Selected dialects of Gujarati are listed below along with subdivisions.

  • Standard Gujarati
    • Saurashtra Standard
    • Nagari
    • Bombay Gujarati
    • Patnuli
    • Ahmedabad city
  • Gamadia
    • Gramya
    • Surati
    • Anawla
    • Brathela
    • Eastern Broach Gujarati
    • Charotari
    • Patidari
    • Vadodari
    • Patani
  • Persian-influenced Gujarati
  • Kathiyawadi
    • Jhalawadi
    • Sorathi
    • Holadi
    • Gohilwadi
    • Bhavnagari
    • Mer
  • Kharwa
  • Khakari
  • Tarimukhi
    • Ghisadi
  • East African Gujarati

[edit] Closely related languages

Kutchi, also known as Khojki, is often referred to as a dialect of Gujarati, but most linguists consider it closer to Sindhi. There are many regional dialects within the language of gujarati. For instance people from Mahesana district speak much differently than Ahmedabadis.

[edit] Grammar

Gujarati grammar is very much like that of its Indo-Aryan cousin languages such as Punjabi, Nepali, Hindi, Bengali, and Marathi.

Gujarati possesses no definite or indefinite articles. The word "one" (એક ek) can sometimes be used for 'a'. Gujarati does have demonstratives, proximal and distal. An unusual feature of Gujarati, as compared to other Indo-European languages, is that it displays the inclusive and exclusive we feature, that is common to the Dravidian languages.

This section will overview the grammar of standard Gujarati. It will be written in Gujarati script, along with according romanizations.

[edit] Word Order

The word order of Gujarati is SOV. Though since Gujarati has more of an agglutinative character, there is considerable flexibility in word order, such that SVO can be used for stylistic or complex constructions, and OVS for short replies. OSV is also acceptable for a set of "passive-type" verbs. Personal pronouns can also be omitted in conversational speech and instead inferred from context as well as through unique verbal conjugations that render the pronouns redundant.

However to say that Gujarati's word order is SOV compared to English's SVO does not relay enough information. A better summation would be that like English, Gujarati starts with S, but all that follows is reversed. Thus with an order of A verbs and B objects the English formation of (S)(V1...VA)(O1...OB) would be (S)(OB...O1)(VA...V1) in Gujarati.

SVO → SOVHe is a teacherએ શિક્ષક છે e śikṣak cheHe (a) teacher is
SV1V2 → SV2V1We were runningઆપણે દોડતા હાતા āpṇe doḍtā hatāWe running were
SV1V2O1O2 → SO2O1V2V1They're phoning meતેઓ મને ફોન કેરે છે teo mane fon kere cheThey me phone doing are
SV1V2V3O1O2 → SO2O1V3V2V1I shall be going to give a letter to herહું એને કાગળ આપવા જતો હઈશ huṃ ene kāgaḷ āpvā jato haīś I to her (a) letter to give going shall be

[edit] Gender and number

Gujarati has three genders and two numbers possessed by its nouns. They are masculine (પુલ્લિંગ pulliṃg), neuter (નપુંસકલિંગ napuṃsakliṃg), feminine (સ્ત્રીલિંગ strīliṃg), singular (એકવચન ekvacan), and plural (બહુવચન bahuvacan).

As such, with three genders and two numbers, there are five gender markers and two number markers in Gujarati. Gender and number markers may find themselves on the ends of nouns, and gender (but not number) markers may find themselves on the end of adjectives, verbs, adverbs, possessives, and pronouns that agree with those nouns.

Number markers
∅ Singular
o Plural
Gender markers
i Feminine
o Masculine singular
ઉં uṃ Neuter singular
ā Masculine plural
આં āṃ Neuter plural

Non-nouns that have a gender marker, made for agreeing with the noun, are called 'variable'. They are marked by default as neuter singular, ઉં, when there is nothing there for them to agree with. Non-nouns without gender markers, ending in consonants, are called 'invariable'.

Honourables are plural. Honourable and plural feminine animates take આં āṃ instead of ઈ i.

[edit] Nouns

[edit] Common Nouns

Common nouns come in the form of Noun Stem + (Gender marker) + (Number marker) + Case Marker.

Dealing with gender and number markers first, in the case markerless nominative case, we can say that nouns can have...

  • Both GM and NM: સંદેશો, સંદેશાઓ (message, messages)
  • Only the NM: આંખો (eyes)
  • Only the GM: વીજળી (electricity)
  • Neither: ઘાસ (grass), પાણી (water)

Since masculine and neuter already have distinct gender markers for the plural form, the pluralizing ઓ is often dropped in the direct case.

No other words can have a gender marker except for common nouns.

Case Markers
∅ Nominative
ને Accusative / Dative (1)
એ Ergative, Locative, Accusative / Dative (2)
નું Genitive

Out of the direct case, when being appended with a marker, the noun takes the oblique form, which is made by using the plural form of the gender marker.

[edit] Becoming a Noun

Certain non-noun words can become nouns if isolated. In the French language, for example, vieux is an adjective for old. However, when not attached to a noun, it becomes a noun itself, old one. The similar follows in Gujarati.

For example, possessive determiners can become pronouns if left alone.

મારી ચોપડી છે mārī copḍī che / It's my book
ચોપડી મારી છે copḍī mārī che / The book is mine

[edit] Pronouns

[edit] Personal
Case Marker First Person Second Person Third Person
Singular Plural Singular + Informal Plural / Formal Proximal Distal
Inclusive Exclusive Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative હું huṃઆપણે āpṇeઅમે ameતું tuṃતમે tameāતે teતેઓ teo
Accusative / Dative (1) ને neમને maneઆપણને āpṇneઅમને amneતને taneતમને tamneઆને āneઆમને āmneતેને teneતેઓને teone, તેમને temne
Accusative / Dative (2) eમારે māreઆપણે āpṇeઅમારે amāreતારે tāreતમારે tamāreઆણે āṇeઆમણે āmṇeતેણે teṇeતેઓએ teoe, તેમણે temṇe
Ergative મેં meṃઅમે ameતેં teṃતમે tame
Genitive નું nuṃમારું māruṃઆપણું āpṇuṃઅમારું amāruṃતારું tāruṃતમારું tamāruṃઆનું ānuṃઆમનું āmnuṃતેનું tenuṃતેઓનું teonuṃ, તેમનું temnuṃ

The third person (last three columns) works differently than in English and must be explained. Both આ and તે are demonstrative pronouns, meaning this/these (proximal) and that/those (distal). Therefore, આ ગાડીઓ is these cars and તે બિલાડી is that cat, and so on. When આ and તે are not put before specific nouns, they become this/these one(s) and that/those one(s). In this way they can move from being demonstrative pronouns to being personal pronouns. "That one" or "this one" may be used for He/She/It and "these ones" and "those ones" for They. One does not have the ability to specify gender like in English, but unlike in English one does have the ability to specify whether the referred to He is a proximal ("this") or a distal ("that") He. Most of the time, the He/She/It's we use in English are distal, so grammars generally just stick the label of He/She/It to તે, rather than go through this lengthy explanation. And finally, when used as a personal pronoun, તે can get the pluralizing ઓ as a number marker to make "they", which is the only instance where a word that isn't a common noun gets a number marker.

Further things to note for personal pronouns:

  • For boxes with two entries, the underline denotes the more frequently used.
  • તેઓ is almost never spoken. Instead, it's તે લોકો (lit. those people).
  • As there are no આઓ, તમેઓ, and આપઓ, લોકો can added to specify plurality.
  • The ત્ in તે, તેમ-, and the other (correlative) pronouns that start with it is mostly dropped in speech, for એ, એ લોકો, એમનું, એટલું, etc.
  • હ્ is also dropped in હું for ઉં.
  • આપ is borrowed from Hindi and is much more formal in Gujarati than in its original Hindi. It is very rarely used.
  • Accusative/Dative (1) is the primary form; (2) is a special form used for specific circumstances: expressing want, need, possession, obligation, and intention.
  • Though Accusative/Dative (2)'s third person forms match those of Ergative, modern usage tends to match Accusative/Dative (1)'s.
[edit] Interrogative
Nominative Genitive
Gujarati English Gujarati
Variable શું śuṃWhatશેનું śenuṃ
કયું kayuṃWhichકયાંનું kayāṃnuṃ
કેવું kevuṃWhat kind
કેટલું keṭluṃHow muchકેટલાંનું keṭlāṃnuṃ
કેવડું kevḍuṃHow big
Invariable ક્યાં kyāṃWhereક્યાંનું kyāṃnuṃ
કોણ koṇWhoકોનું konuṃ
ક્યારે kyāreWhenક્યારનું kyārnuṃ

In speech, શું is most often not variable. The underlined genitive forms deviate from their nominative.

How and Why

These two are not so clear-cut. From a more archaic and grammatically consistent point of view, these are the words for how and why:

  • કેમ | How ("કેમ છો?" means "How are you?", and its relative-correlative of જેમ...તેમ is suited for "how")
  • શા માટે | Why (lit. for what, "pourquoi")

However this is the general modern usage:

  • કેવી રીતે / કયી રીતે | How (lit. in what kind of way / in which way)
  • કેમ | Why

So basically, don't use કેમ as 'how', except in certain rare phrasings.

[edit] Relative-Correlative
Interrogative Relative Correlative
Gujarati English Gujarati English Gujarati English
શું śuṃWhatજે jeWhatતે teThat
કયું kayuṃWhich
કેવું kevuṃWhat kindજેવું jevuṃAs (noun)તેવું tevuṃ
કેટલું keṭluṃHow muchજેટલું jeṭluṃAs muchતેટલું teṭluṃThat much
કેવડું kevḍuṃHow bigજેવડું jevḍuṃAs bigતેવડું tevḍuṃThat big
ક્યાં kyāṃWhereજ્યાં jyāṃWhereત્યાં tyāṃThere
કોણ koṇWhoje, જેઓ jeoWhoતે te, તેઓ teoHe/She/It/They
ક્યારે kyāreWhenજ્યારે jyāreWhenત્યારે tyāreThen
કેમ kemHowજેમ jemAs (verb)તેમ tem

[edit] Verbs

[edit] Infinitive

The formation of the infinitive is: Root + વું. Remember, the ઉં is the variable gender marker, shown right now in default neuter form. If the verb is paired with a direct noun, it will agree with it. Otherwise, if it is alone, or paired to an adjective, it will remain neuter.

કરવું To do
ગાવું To sing
ખાવું To eat
કહેવું To say, to tell
ફોન કરવો To phone
વાત કરવી To talk

[edit] Participles

Root +

  • Present: તું
  • Past: એલું
  • Conjunctive: ઈને

The conjunctive is the form, "Having (past participle)". Also, where in English two verbs are separated by an "and", the conjunctive form is frequently used Gujarati. "Go upstairs and sleep!" → "Having gone upstairs, sleep!"

[edit] Passive

There are three ways of expressing the passive voice. Verbal agreement is with the direct object.

Root Modification

A transitive verb's passive counterpart is made by modifying the root as such:

  • If there is an આ ā vowel, it becomes અ a.
  • If ending in a vowel, હ ha or વ va is suffixed.
  • Final suffix of આ ā.

"To come in" suffix

A passive counterpart can be equally made by suffixing માં આવવું maṃ āvvuṃ to the infinitive. The infinitive is of course obliqued.


A third way is simply to use the active, 3rd person, and just omit the subject. This would be like English's generalized "They... ", or "One... ", but even slightly more so.

Tense Active Verb Passive
English Gujarati Active Passive Gujarati English
Gujarati English Root Modification "To come in" suffix English Root Modification "To come in" suffix
PresentHe's doing (the) work / He does (the) workએ કામ કરે છે e kām kare cheકરવું karvuṃTo doકરાવું karāvuṃકરવામાં આવવું karvāmaṃ āvvuṃTo be doneએનાથી કામ કરાય છે enāthī kām karāy cheએનાથી કામ કરવામાં આવે છે enāthī kām karvāmaṃ āve che(The) work is being done by him / (The) work is done by him

The post-position થી thī marks the agent ("by"). The major meaning is underlined.

[edit] Causatives

The distinction between intransitive and transitive is very important in Gujarati. It effects two things: first being is verb form, discussed here; the second, subject case and verb agreement, discussed in the section on Past Tense.

Take these three English verbs: "to tear", "to spoil", and "to crack". Here are some phrases using those three:

  • "The paper is tearing... ", "Did you tear the paper?... "
  • "Make sure the food doesn't spoil... ", "You're really spoiling him... "
  • "I noticed that the glass has cracked... ", "I think I cracked it yesterday... "

However, these three English verbs represent six Gujarati verbs. For each pair of phrases for a single verb, the first phrase is the intransitive usage, and the second the transitive. Oftentimes, a single English verb can cover for both intransitive and transitive usage, but not the case in Gujarati: the intransitive and transitive have a different verb for each.

Intransitive Transitive
Phrase Verb Phrase Verb
English Gujarati English English Gujarati English
The paper is tearingકાગળ ફાટે છે kāgaḷ fāṭe cheફાટવું fāṭvuṃTo tear → to be tornDid you tear the paper?તેં કાગળને ફાડયું? teṃ kāgaḷne fāḍyuṃ?ફાડવું fāḍvuṃTo tear → to cause to be torn
Make sure the food doesn't spoilજોઈજો કે ખાવાનું ન બગડે joījo ke khāvānuṃ na bagḍeબગડવું bagaḍvuṃTo spoil → to be spoiledYou're really spoiling himતમે એને ખરેખર બગાડો છો tame ene kharekhar bagāḍo choબગાડવું bagāḍvuṃTo spoil → to cause to be spoiled
I noticed that the glass has crackedમારાં ધ્યાનમાં આવ્યું કે કાચ ફૂટયો છે mārāṃ dhyānmāṃ āvyuṃ ke kāc fūṭyo cheફૂટવું fūṭvuṃTo crack → to be crackedI think I cracked it yesterdayમને લાગે છે કે મેં ગઈ કાલે ફોડયો mane lāge che ke meṃ gaī kāle foḍyoફોડવું foḍvuṃTo crack → to cause to be cracked

As at a basic level, "to cause to... " is being added to transitivize these verbs, they are also called causatives. An English example: the intransitive "to fall"'s causative would be the transitive "to cause to fell", or conveniently, "to fell". That's one example where the verb is modified, like in Gujarati, instead of using auxiliaries. Also, to note, the definitive "to cause to... " is a rare phraseology, often in spoken English amounting to either nothing at all (as the examples above show) or "to get to (root)" or "to get to be (past participle)"..

Furthermore, that causative can be causativized again, for a double causative ("to cause to cause... "). Also, many transitive verbs are not causatives - an intransitive counterpart does not exist. Conversely, a few intransitive verbs don't transitivize.

Intransitive Transitive
To openખૂલવુંખોલવું
To dieમરવુંમારવું
To tearફાટવુંફાડવું
To crackફૂટવુંફોડવું
To improveસુધરવુંસુધારવું
To fallપડવુંપાડવું
To spoilબગડવુંબગાડવું
To descendઊતરવુંઊતારવું
To breakતૂટવુંતોડવું

[edit] Compounds


The so-called "distinct" category of compound verb formation is when verbs are simply in conjunction, retaining their distinct meanings. Here are some English examples: "I like acting", "He's coming to eat", "They started to speak Gujarati". With these we can make the observation that English verbs are strung together in two ways: using the "to" and the "ing". "To" can be placed before the root of the second verb (infinitive), or "ing" appended on (present participle). They also have different meanings; the usage of "to" links the subject to the verb, while "ing" posits the verb as a general concept. To be shown below are the Gujarati equivalents of "to" and "ing": the declensions made when verbs are put together.


This category has to do with instances where verbs are in conjunction and do not retain their distinct meanings. This is an important feature of modern Indo-Aryan languages and is not found in English. Oftentimes, instead of a verb being used by itself, a second verb from a set of common auxiliaries can be added to colour or nuance the meaning of the verb it has been added to. Again, this added verb does not to act as a new, second, stand-alone verb, but instead an auxiliary or helper verb. Also, the meaning of the auxiliary itself often does not seem to have a logical connection with the way in which it colours and nuances.

  • જવું To go
  • આવ્વું To come
  • લેવું To take
  • દેવું To give
  • કાઢવું To remove
  • નાખવું To throw
  • આપ્વું To give

[edit] Tenses and Conjugation

The general scheme of Gujarati verb conjugation involves the verbal root appended with tense marking information, further appended with some sort of a person marker.

Verbs agree with subjects, and the subjects are in nominative case, except for in the transitive past tense, where verbs agree with objects and the subjects are in ergative case.

[edit] Present

હોવું hovuṃ, To be

હોવું hovuṃ should be dealt with first, due to its importance. In English, "to be" can in simple tenses be just like any other verb; in continuous tenses it becomes unique as an auxiliary verb. Gujarati follows the latter to an even higher degree by having હોવું hovuṃ as an auxiliary in almost every verb form, even when it wouldn't mean anything in English. As it would in the English continuous, and more so overall in Gujarati, the હોવું hovuṃ auxiliary has an important role as a tense marking particle.

હોવું hovuṃ has three roots: છ્ ch, હ ha, and હો ho. છ્ ch and હ ha are auxiliary forms, while હો ho is a non-auxiliary form. છ્ ch is for the present, હ ha for the past and future, and હો ho is used for conditional statements and general statements. Here is the conjugation table for the present tense of "to be":

Firstહું છું huṃ chuṃ / I amઆપણે, અમે છીએ āpṇe, ame chīe / We are
Secondતું છે tuṃ che / You areતમે છો tame cho / You are
Thirdતે છે te che / He-She-It is તેઓ છે teo che / They are
Non-હોવું hovuṃ verbs, and continuous vs simple

With all other verbs, they are added, with હોવું hovuṃ acting as the auxiliary. The verb comes before હોવું hovuṃ, in between the subject and હોવું hovuṃ. Its root takes the same vowel suffix as its auxiliary છ્ root. Here is the conjugation table for the present tense of ઘસવું ghasvuṃ, "to scrub":

Firstહું ઘસું છું huṃ ghasuṃ chuṃઆપણે, અમે ઘસીએ છીએ āpṇe, ame ghasīe chīe
Secondતું ઘસે છે tuṃ ghase cheતમે ઘસો છો tame ghaso cho
Thirdતે ઘસે છે te ghase cheતેઓ ઘસે છે teo ghase che

While the header says the ambiguous "Present (Tense)", one may infer that what is being referred to above is specifically the continuous present tense, as "to be" is the auxiliary, just as it is in the English continuous present tense. This is not the case. હું ઘસું છું huṃ ghasuṃ chuṃ can mean "I am scrubbing" or "I scrub", depending on the context. This is one present tense, covering both continuous and simple present (though in other grammatical situations, the distinction between continuous and simple can be cleanly made). However, this present tense is nonetheless more skewed towards the continuous ("I am scrubbing"), and for ease, now and later, it is best to go with that logical inference, that literal analysis, and make the reduction that this present tense is the continuous present tense, and that the છ્- ch- forms are "am/is/are" and the ઘસ્- ghas- forms are "scrubbing". The formation of present tense general statements (partly involving હોવું's હો root) will be elucidated later.

Gujarati English
Major Minor
તેઓ ઘસે છે teo ghase cheThey are scrubbingThey scrub

There are two words in Gujarati that are equivalent to English's "not". They are ન na and નહિ nahi. When ન na is used, it comes before the negated verb; નહિ nahi comes after. In some cases either can be used (future tense) and in others only one (imperfect tense, present tense). The present tense requires નહિ nahi. On top of that, whenever a છ્- ch- is followed by નહિ nahi, they combine to make an invariable નથી nathī. They are often separated back for emphasis.

If નથી nathī is not alone and is an auxiliary to a non-હોવું hovuṃ verb, then the root of that verb is appended with તું tuṃ. Remember, ઉં uṃ is a variable gender marker. Gender marker vowel suffixes are different from the less logical vowel suffixes shown for the affirmative present tense so far (ઉં uṃ/એ e/ઈએ īe/ઓ o). Refer to the gender section for the appropriate appended vowel endings.

[edit] Subjunctive

The subjunctive is the affirmative present tense without the છ્- ch- auxiliary, negateable by either ન na or નહિ nahi.

It is a broad form with many functions, used essentially when expressing something less than firm fact. The specific grammatical forms it manifests for different situations:

  • Conditional sentence, If clause: Simple Present Tense
  • Conditional sentence, Then clause: Conditional Tense
  • Interrogative mood: Adds, major- "should" / minor- "can"
  • Indicative mood: Generalized statement, Conditional Tense, "weakened" Future Tense

[edit] Past

હોવું hovuṃ, the હ ha root

If છ્- ch- is the present root for હોવું hovuṃ and accounts for "am/is/are", then હ ha is its past counterpart accounting for "was/were". હ ha is suffixed with તું tuṃ.

[edit] Imperfect

The imperfect is made by the root taking તું tuṃ, with હતું hatuṃ as auxiliary.

Gujarati English
Major Minor
તું નાચતી હતી tuṃ nāctī hatīYou (f) were dancingYou (f) danced (as in, You used to dance)

This tense is negated by placing ન na in front of હતું hatuṃ. In speech, the હ ha sound is almost always neglected.

Written Speech
અમે રમતા હતા ame ramtā hatāઅમે રમતાતા ame ramtātā
મને ગમતું ન હતું mane gamtuṃ na hatuṃમને ગમતું નતું mane gamtuṃ natuṃ

With this, there may be some ambiguity between the feminine નતી natī and the present tense's નથી nathī. This may be resolved by replacing the spoken નતું natuṃ with નહોતું nahotuṃ, as some speakers do.

[edit] Perfect

The perfective is made by adding the gender-variable યું yuṃ onto the root; though minus the ય્ y in feminine. The auxiliary હોવું hovuṃ with its many forms acts as tense marker.

Also, here the distinction between transitive and intransitive comes into play:

Tense (Active) Subject Case Verb Agreement
Transitive Perfective ErgativeDirect Object
All Else NominativeSubject

[edit] Future

[edit] Simple

These are the suffixes to the verbal root to form the simple future tense:

Firstઈશ īśઈશું īśuṃ
Secondશો śo
Thirdશે śe

There is no હોવું hovuṃ auxiliary. The sentence can be negated by placing ન na before the verb or નહિ nahi after.

[edit] More on "To be"

હોવું hovuṃ was introduced as the word for "to be". However, there are actually two verbs dealing with two connotions of meaning in "to be". હોવું hovuṃ deals with the state of being, while થવું thavuṃ deals with the act of being. In this way, થવું thavuṃ also means "to happen".

In situations where "become" would be equally valid in place of "be", થવું thavuṃ is to be used. In these two Gujarati sentences, which mean both "I will be a writer"...

  • હું લેખક થઈશ huṃ lekhak thaīś
  • હું લેખક હઈશ huṃ lekhak haīś

... the first can stand alone, relating to the future movement from non-writer, to writer. The second cannot stand alone, and is used in reference: "At age _____, I will be a writer". Again, હોવું hovuṃ "to be" concerns state, while થવું thavuṃ "to be" concerns act.

[edit] Continuous

હોવું hovuṃ is the ubiquitous tense-marking auxiliary, and just as છ્- ch- marks present, હ- ha- marks future.

  • તે વાંચે છે te vāṃce che / She is reading → તે વાંચતી હશે te vāṃctī haśe / She will be reading
[edit] "Must"

The future of હોવું hovuṃ has a second meaning. It creates the word "must", as in probability or likeliness; not compulsion. So તે વાંચતી હશે te vāṃtī haśe could either mean "She will be reading" or "She must be reading", depending on context.

[edit] Mood

[edit] Imperative

The imperative in Gujarati is similar to English, where the subject is dropped, but sometimes left on for emphasis. Word order is OV. There are three levels of time(?), corresponding to three levels of politeness. Added to the verbal root:

તું tuṃતમે tame
Near Futureજે jeજો jo
Distant Futureઈશ īś ?શો śo ?

[edit] Interrogative

Interrogative pronouns find themselves after the subject: S(i)OV. For Yes-No questions, which lack an interrogative pronoun, "What" (શું śuṃ) may be placed before the subject to designate it a question, though this is not done to the extent that it is in Gujarati's cousin language of Hindi.

The word order is not changed, nor is there an insertion of a "do"-type word; both are redundant. Similarly redundant, but used in Gujarati, are rising intonation and question mark punctuation. Gujarati makes a complete distinction between interrogative-relative pronoun counterparts. Relatives start with જ્ j and and interrogatives start with ક્ k (except for શું śuṃ). None of these four things are needed when there is a word being used that could only ever be used in the context of a question.

Though, a Yes-No question without "What" (શું śuṃ) at beginning would need rising intonation in speech and a question mark on paper to mark it as a question.

[edit] Conditional

The words for If and Then are જો jo and તો to. Where in English the If is mandatory, with the Then optional, in Gujarati it is the જો jo that is optional and the તો to that is mandatory.

Furthermore, in both clauses, these changes are made:

  • હોવું hovuṃ છ્- ch- forms become હો- ho- forms
  • હતું hatuṃ becomes હોત hot

[edit] Miscellaneous

[edit] Quoting Speech

Referring to someone else's speech may be done in two ways:

1. "... He said, 'I... '"
2. "... He said that he... "

In Gujarati, number 1 is the common form. Gujaratis often will say it in its original language too, making it even more of a "direct quote".

[edit] Vocabulary

[edit] Common Words and Phrases

Gujarati English Notes
કેમ છો?How are you?
તમે ગુજરાતી બોલો છો?Do you speak Gujarati?
તમારું નામ શું છે?What is your name?
મારું નામ ______ છેMy name is ______
હં, હા, હાંજીYesIn increasing formality
ના, નાજીNoIn increasing formality
આવજોByelit. Come
શું થયું?What happened?
કેટલાં વાગ્યા?What time is it?lit. How many did it strike?
સંભાળજોTake care
મારું માથું ન ખાDon't bother melit. Do not eat my head

[edit] Loanwords

Modern Gujarati includes vocabulary from Arabic and Persian due to the more than five centuries of Islamic rule, as well as the influence of Zoroastrian Persian immigrants known as Parsis. The influence of English and Portuguese is also notable in modern spoken Gujarati due to the legacy of European colonisation.

[edit] English

  • બૅન્ક Bank
  • ફોન Phone
  • બસ Bus
  • ટેબલ Table
  • સ્ટેશન Station

[edit] Writing system

Gujarati is written using the Gujarati script, an abugida (alphasyllabary) very similar to Devanagari (the script used for Sanskrit, Marathi and Hindi), but without the characteristic horizontal line (matra) running across the top of the letters. There are also some other minor differences between the two scripts.

Gujarati and closely related languages, including Kutchi, are also written in the Arabic or Persian scripts. This is traditionally done by many in Gujarat's Kutch district.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Wikibooks has more about this subject:

[edit] Dictionaries and linguistic resources

[edit] Other

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br:Goudjarateg ca:Gujarati da:Gujarati de:Gujarati es:Idioma guyaratí fa:زبان گجراتی fr:Gujarâtî gu:ગુજરાતી ભાષા ko:구자라트어 hi:गुजराती भाषा id:Bahasa Gujarati it:Lingua gujarati he:גוג'ראטית ka:გუჯარათული ენა nl:Gujarati ja:グジャラート語 nn:Gujarati pl:Język gudźarati pt:Gujarati ru:Гуджарати simple:Gujarati sr:Гуџарати језик fi:Gudžarati sv:Gujarati ta:குஜராத்தி th:ภาษาคุชราต

Gujarati language

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