Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by approximately 46 million people worldwide, according to the language report Ethnologue. Most people who speak Gujarati live in Indian States such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. However, there are also significant Gujarati-speaking communities in Bangladesh, Kenya and the United Kingdom. Gujarati is written with a special script that has evolved from the Devanagari script used to write other Indian language such as Hindi. It is important to master this alphabet if you want to be able to read and write in Gujarati.
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Obtain a chart of the Gujarati alphabet. This can be downloaded from the language website Omniglot (see Resources). Print out the chart and pin it in a prominent place in your home where you will see it on a daily basis. Look at the chart as often as possible to familiarise yourself with the shapes of the letters and the general style of the Gujarati alphabet.
Learn the pronunciation of the letters. Websites such as Ukindia and e-Gujarati provide free online resources that will help you master the pronunciation of the different symbols. Listen to the audio tracks on these websites and practice repeating the sounds. Record your own pronunciation and play it back to yourself, comparing your efforts to native speakers on the Internet. Identify the sounds that are particularly difficult for you and concentrate your efforts on those.
Draw out the letters of the Gujarati alphabet. Focus on learning one letter at a time. Draw out each letter on a piece of paper many times until you are able to reproduce exactly the shapes of the model letters on your alphabet chart. Set aside a specific time each day to practice drawing Gujarati letters so you get into a pattern of learning. Commence each session by reviewing the letters you learnt the day before. Relearn if necessary.
Practice what you have learnt by writing short phrases in Gujarati. Actively using the language will reinforce your knowledge of the alphabet. At this stage, it is not important whether the sentences make sense or are written in grammatical Gujarati. Read the sentences you construct aloud to yourself for a further opportunity to practice pronunciation.
Tips and warnings
- Ask a friend to review your attempts at writing Gujarati letters and see whether they can identify the characters they correspond to on the model alphabet chart. If they are unable to work out which letter you have drawn, this is hint to practice writing that letter more.
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