Gujarati and Hindi are the official
languages of Gujarat. Gujarati is the mother
tongue of the majority of the population of the Gujarat. The number of
speakers of other languages is insignificant. The Gujarati script used
universally by the speakers of that tongue is very much akin to Devnagari
but unlike Devnagari, it is written without the line overhead. Hindi is
also widely used in Gujarat.
The Evolution Of Gujarati
Like other languages of the Indo-Aryan family, Gujarati is derived from Sanskrit through 'Prakrit' and 'Apabhramsha'. The Gujarati language that is widely used today evolved much later.
The language originally spoken in Gujarat and West Rajasthan was known as old western Rajasthani and then as Maru Gujar. 'Apabhramsha' or ancient Gujarati was spoken in this region between the 11th and the 14th century.
Old Gujarati then evolved after the establishment of the Sultanate of Gujarat in the 15th century. But it was in the 17th century that the foundations of modern Gujarat were laid. This was assiduously cultivated and ultimately developed into a powerful vehicle of expression by a number of writers, scholars and poets from Narsinh Mehta to Mahatma Gandhi.
Literary Contribution - Gujarat
The greatest contribution to Gujarati literature, however, comes from its folklore, the literature of people, its folk dances, Raas, Garbi, Garbha, Bhajan and Kirtan, which reveal their way of life, religion and deeds of bravery.
"Kachchhi" the next important language of the district is spoken slightly differently but written in Gujarati script.