The Gujarati script (? ? Guj?r?t? Lipi) is an abugida used to write the Gujarati and Kutchi languages. It is a variant of the Devanagari script differentiated by the loss of the characteristic horizontal line running above the letters and by a number of modifications to some characters.
Gujarati numerical digits are also different from their Devanagari counterparts.
Gujarati script is descended from Nagri script.
The Gujarati script was adapted from the Devanagari script to write the Gujarati language. Gujarati language and script developed in three distinct phases -- 10th to 15th century, 15th to 17th century and 17th to 19th century. The first phase is marked by use of Prakrit, Apabramsa and its variants such as Paisaci, Shauraseni, Magadhi and Maharashtri. In second phase, Old Gujarati script was in wide use. The earliest known document in the Old Gujarati script is a handwritten manuscript Adi Parva dating from 1591-92, and the script first appeared in print in a 1797 advertisement. The third phase is the use of script developed for ease and fast writing. The use of shirorekha (the topline as in Sanskrit) was abandoned. Until the 19th century it was used mainly for writing letters and keeping accounts, while the Devanagari script was used for literature and academic writings. It is also known as the ?ar?ph? (banker's), vi? (merchant's) or mah?jan? (trader's) script. This script became the basis of the modern script. Later the same script was adopted by writers of manuscripts. Jain community also promoted its use for copying religious texts by hired writers.
The Gujarati writing system is an abugida, in which each base consonantal character possesses an inherent vowel, that vowel being a [?]. For postconsonantal vowels other than a, the consonant is applied with diacritics, while for non-postconsonantal vowels (initial and post-vocalic positions), there are full-formed characters. With a being the most frequent vowel, this is a convenient system in the sense that it cuts down on the width of writing.
Following out of the aforementioned property, consonants lacking a proceeding vowel may condense into the proceeding consonant, forming compound or conjunct letters. The formation of these conjuncts follows a system of rules depending on the consonants involved.
In accordance with all the other Indic scripts, Gujarati is written from left to right, and is not case-sensitive.
Secondly and most importantly, being of Sanskrit-based Devanagari, Gujarati's script retains notations for the obsolete (short i, u vs. long ?, ?; r?, ru; ?, ?), and lacks notations for innovations (/e/ vs. /?/; /o/ vs. /?/; clear vs. murmured vowels).
Contemporary Gujarati uses European punctuation, such as the question mark, exclamation mark, comma, and full stop. Apostrophes are used for the rarely written clitic. Quotation marks are not as often used for direct quotes. The full stop replaced the traditional vertical bar, and the colon, mostly obsolete in its Sanskritic capacity (see below), follows the European usage.
The Zoroastrians of India, who represent one of the largest surviving Zoroastrian communities worldwide, would transcribe Avestan in Nagri script-based scripts as well as the Avestan alphabet. This is a relatively recent development first seen in the ca. 12th century texts of Neryosang Dhaval and other Parsi Sanskritist theologians of that era, and which are roughly contemporary with the oldest surviving manuscripts in Avestan script. Today, Avestan is most commonly typeset in Gujarati script (Gujarati being the traditional language of the Indian Zoroastrians). Some Avestan letters with no corresponding symbol are synthesized with additional diacritical marks, for example, the /z/ in zara?u?tra is written with /j/ + dot below.
Miller (2010) presented a theory that the indigenous scripts of Sumatra (Indonesia), Sulawesi (Indonesia) and the Philippines are descended from an early form of the Gujarati script. Historical records show that Gujaratis played a major role in the archipelago, where they were manufacturers and played a key role in introducing Islam. Tomé Pires reported a presence of a thousand Gujaratis in Malacca (Malaysia) prior to 1512.
Vowels (svara), in their conventional order, are historically grouped into "short" (hrasva) and "long" (d?rgha) classes, based on the "light" (laghu) and "heavy" (guru) syllables they create in traditional verse. The historical long vowels ? and ? are no longer distinctively long in pronunciation. Only in verse do syllables containing them assume the values required by meter.
|Independent||Diacritic||Diacritic with ?||Rom.||IPA||Name of diacritic|
|?||?||e, ?||ek m?tra|
|?||?||o, ?||k?no ek m?tra|
|?||?||au||k?no be m?tra|
? r, ? j and ? h form the irregular forms of r?, j? and h?.
Consonants (vyañjana) are grouped in accordance with the traditional, linguistically based Sanskrit scheme of arrangement, which considers the usage and position of the tongue during their pronunciation. In sequence, these categories are: velar, palatal, retroflex, dental, labial, sonorant and fricative. Among the first five groups, which contain the stops, the ordering starts with the unaspirated voiceless, then goes on through aspirated voiceless, unaspirated voiced, and aspirated voiced, ending with the Nasal stops.
|?||anusv?ra||Represents vowel nasality or the nasal stop homorganic with the following stop.|
|?||visarga||A silent, rarely used Sanskrit holdover originally representing [h]. Romanized as ?.|
|?||vir?ma||Strikes out a consonant's inherent a.|
|0||?||mu or shunya|
|1||?||ekado or ek|
|2||?||bagado or bay|
|3||?||tragado or tran|
|4||?||chogado or chaar|
|5||?||p?chado or paanch|
|6||?||chagado or chah|
|7||?||s?tado or s?t|
|8||?||hado or ?anth|
|9||?||navado or nav|
As mentioned, successive consonants lacking a vowel in between them may physically join together as a 'conjunct'. The government of these clusters ranges from widely to narrowly applicable rules, with special exceptions within. While standardized for the most part, there are certain variations in clustering, of which the Unicode used on this page is just one scheme. The rules:
The role and nature of Sanskrit must be taken into consideration to understand the occurrence of consonant clusters. The orthography of written Sanskrit was completely phonetic, and had a tradition of not separating words by spaces. Morphologically it was highly synthetic, and it had a great capacity to form large compound words. Thus clustering was highly frequent, and it is Sanskrit loanwords to the Gujarati language that are the grounds of most clusters. Gujarati, on the other hand, is more analytic, has phonetically smaller, simpler words, and has a script whose orthography is slightly imperfect (a-elision) and separates words by spaces. Thus evolved Gujarati words are less a cause for clusters. The same can be said of Gujarati's other longstanding source of words, Persian, which also provides phonetically smaller and simpler words.
An example attesting to this general theme is that of the series of d- clusters. These are essentially Sanskrit clusters, using the original Devanagari forms. There are no cluster forms for formations such as dta, dka, etc. because such formations weren't permitted in Sanskrit phonology anyway. They are permitted under Gujarati phonology, but are written unclustered ( padata "position", k?dko "leap"), with patterns such as a-elision at work instead.
Gujarati is romanized throughout Wikipedia in "standard orientalist" transcription as outlined in Masica (1991:xv). Being "primarily a system of transliteration from the Indian scripts, [and] based in turn upon Sanskrit" (cf. IAST), these are its salient features: subscript dots for retroflex consonants; macrons for etymologically, contrastively long vowels; h denoting aspirated stops. Tildes denote nasalized vowels and underlining denotes murmured vowels.
Vowels and consonants are outlined in the tables below. Hovering the mouse cursor over them will reveal the appropriate IPA symbol. Finally, there are three Wikipedia-specific additions: f is used interchangeably with ph, representing the widespread realization of /p?/ as [f]; â and ô for novel characters ? [æ] and ? [?]; ? for [?]'s where elision is uncertain. See Gujarati phonology for further clarification.
Gujarati script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 1991 with the release of version 1.0.
The Unicode block for Gujarati is U+0A80–U+0AFF:
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
Further details regarding how to use Unicode for creating Gujarati script can be found on Study Guides: How to use Unicode in creating Gujarati script.
The Indian Script Code for Information Interchange (ISCII) code-page identifier for Gujarati script is 57010.