Gujarati is part of the greater Indo-European language family. It has evolved from Sanskrit and is an Indo-Aryan language.

It is the official language for the state of Gujarat on the west coast of India and some other territories and regions such as Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Gujarati is also spoken in many countries including: Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, Fiji, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Gujarati has manydialects, the major ones are: Standard Gujarati which isspoken in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, Surati, Kathiyawadi, Kharua, Khakari, Tarimukhi and East African Gujarati.

Since there are many dialects, many loan words have been used from other languages. The northern Gujarati dialects have many loan words from Arabic and Persian. The southern Gujarati dialects have borrowed words from Hindi, English and Portuguese. East African Gujarati has borrowed words from the local languages there, especially Swahili.

Written Gujarati has been adapted from the Devanagari script, but without the line at the top. The first known Gujarati script is a manuscript which is dating back to the sixteenth century. Up until the nineteenth century the Gujarati script was mainly used for writing letters and keeping accounts, whereas the Devanagari script was used for literary and academic texts.

The Gujarati script is occasionally known as the saraphi (bankers), vanasai (merchant) or the mahajani (traders) script.

Gujarati is written left to right, and there aren’t any capital letters. If writing on lined paper, the letters hang on the line rather than sitting on top of the line. The vowels can be written as independent letters or by using a variety of diacritical marks, which may be written above, below, before or after the consonant. The contemporary form of Gujarati uses European punctuation such as question marks, exclamation marks, comma and full stops.

Below are some Gujarati phrases:
Kemcho…………………….Hello
Haa…………………………Yes
Naa…………………………No
Aabhar………………………Thank-you
Aawjo……………………………..Goodbye

In the UK, due to globalisation, a lot of English words are being used by the Gujarati community and the Gujarati alternatives are often forgotten. For example, many medical terms such as kidneys, liver, heart, high blood pressure, diabetes. Sometimes patients don’t understand the Gujarati alternatives to those words and when interpreting in the medical field, our interpreters at thebigword have to adapt according to the circumstances. Some patients don’t understand a single word of English, in which case our interpreters adapt themselves accordingly.