Gujarati is a language of India, and is considered a part of the Indo-Aryan languages. It is spoken by about 45.7 million people, mainly in the Indian state of Gujarat, and by a number of other ethnic groups worldwide (Ethnologue).
Gujrati has many similarities to Hindi and Punjabi but has some differences too. It is an Indo-Aryan language which is related to Sanskrit, Prakrit and Apabhramsha, transitional dialects that evolved in India between the 6th-13th centuries.
It has a small vocabulary, but it is easy to learn and understand. It is also an excellent choice for learning Indian culture and history.
The syllabic Gujarati script, also known as the saraphi (banker’s), vaniasai (merchant’s) or mahajani (trader’s) script, is a phonetic alphabet that uses a variety of diacritical marks to indicate vowels and consonants. Vowels are often written with a mark that represents a single letter, while consonants are sometimes written as separate letters.
A syllable is generally stressed on the penultimate syllable in a word, but not always. The stress may fall on the first or last syllable, depending on its grammatical role. The /a/ sound is most often pronounced with an apical (short) sound, while the /t/ sound is usually pronounced with a retroflex (long) sound.
There are a large number of regional dialects in Gujarat, and some parts of the state are much different from others. These include Saurashtra and North Gujarat, and also parts of South Gujarat.
Some of these regions are famous for their cultural traditions, while others are less so. For example, the sathia painting style and rangoli art are popular in Saurashtra and North Gujarat. Tattooing is common among certain castes, especially in Saurashtra and North Gujarat.
The Hindu religion dominates Gujarati society, with about 90 percent of the population identifying as Hindu. The Vallabhacharya sect of Krishna worshipers is a particularly strong influence, and Dwarka, on the northern coast of Saurashtra, is an important pilgrimage site for them. Shiva is also a popular deity, and Somnath on the southern coast of Saurashtra is one of India’s seven sacred cities.
In addition to the Hindu faith, Gujaratis are also followers of Islam and Jains. Muslims make up about 8 percent of the state’s population, while Jains are comparatively small, but have played an important role in shaping Gujarati culture.
Gujaratis are also a largely vegetarian society, with many eating rice and other grain dishes and avoiding meat and fish. They also adhere to the principles of social justice and equality, and treat all humans with dignity and respect.
Despite this, it is important to remember that people are not necessarily equal. They have different cultural and economic backgrounds, as well as varying levels of education.
The division of labor is still very clear in Gujarati society. Most men are engaged in agricultural labor, and women are responsible for home and family duties.
Although women are not traditionally permitted to work outside the home, they have a growing role in industry and commerce, particularly in the manufacturing sector. In rural areas, artisans are involved in pottery and silver- and brass-ornament making, embroidery and handloom construction.