Gujarati, also known as Guajarati, is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. Its closest relatives are Hindi and Punjabi.
Like other Indo-Aryan languages, Gujarati is derived from Sanskrit through Prakrit, a large group of ancient Indic languages, and Apabhramsha, transitional dialects spoken in India between the 6th-13th centuries AD.
The first grammar of a precursor of Gujarati was written in the 12th century. The first literary records of Gujarati were mostly religious verses dating back to the 17th century. The language was later cultivated by writers, scholars, and poets from Narasimha Mehta to Mahatma Gandhi.
Gujarati is one of the 22 official languages and 14 regional languages of India, and one of the minority languages of neighbouring Pakistan. It is the medium of everyday communication in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is used in education, government, business and the media. The language is widely spoken In expatriate Gujarati communities in the UK and the U.S. These communities have Gujarati newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs.
Gujarati script is a descendant of the Brahmi script. Like all Brahmi-derived scripts, it is a syllabic writing system in which each character represents a consonant accompanied by an inherent vowel. The Gujarati script is very similar to Devanagari but without the line at the top of the letters. The earliest known document in the Gujarati script is a manuscript dating from the late 16th century.