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Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat and spoken predominantly by the Gujarati people. Gujarati is part of the greater Indo-European language family. Gujarati is descended from Old Gujarati (circa 1100–1500 AD).
In India, it is the official language in the state of Gujarat, as well as an official language in the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. As of 2011, Gujarati is the 6th most widely spoken language in India by number of native speakers, spoken by 55.5 million speakers which amounts to about 4.5% of the total Indian population. It is the 26th most widely spoken language in the world by number of native speakers as of 2007.
The Gujarati language is more than 700 years old and is spoken by more than 55 million people worldwide. Outside of Gujarat, Gujarati is spoken in many other parts of South Asia by Gujarati migrants, especially in Bombay and Pakistan (mainly in Karachi).
Gujarati is also widely spoken in many countries outside South Asia by the Gujarati diaspora. In North America, Gujarati is one of the fastest growing and most widely spoken Indian languages in the United States and Canada.
In Europe, Gujaratis form the second largest of the British South Asian speech communities, and Gujarati is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the U.K.’s capital London.Gujarati is also spoken in Southeast Africa, particularly in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and South Africa. Elsewhere, Gujarati is spoken to a lesser extent in China (particularly Hong Kong), Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and Middle Eastern countries such as Bahrain.
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Of the approximately 46 million speakers of Gujarati in 1997, roughly 45.5 million resided in India, 150,000 in Uganda, 50,000 in Tanzania, 50,000 in Kenya and roughly 100,000 in Karachi, Pakistan, excluding several hundreds of thousands of Memonis who do not self-identify as Gujarati, but hail from a region within the state of Gujarat.
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However, Gujarati community leaders in Pakistan claim that there are 3 million Gujarati speakers in Karachi. Elsewhere in Pakistan, Gujarati is also spoken in Lower Punjab.Pakistani Gujarati is probably a dialect of Gamadia.
There is a certain amount of Mauritian population and a large amount of Réunion Island people who are from Gujarati descent among which some of them still speak Gujarati.A considerable Gujarati-speaking population exists in North America, most particularly in the New York City Metropolitan Area and in the Greater Toronto Area, which have over 100,000 speakers and over 75,000 speakers, respectively, but also throughout the major metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada.
According to the 2011 census, Gujarati is the seventeenth most spoken language in the Greater Toronto Area, and the fourth most-spoken South Asian language after Hindustani, Punjabi and Tamil.
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The UK has over 200,000 speakers, many of them situated in the London area, especially in North West London, but also in Birmingham, Manchester, and in Leicester, Coventry, Bradford and the former mill towns within Lancashire.
A portion of these numbers consists of East African Gujaratis who, under increasing discrimination and policies of Africanisation in their newly independent resident countries (especially Uganda, where Idi Amin expelled 50,000 Asians), were left with uncertain futures and citizenships. Most, with British passports, settled in the UK. Gujarati is offered as a GCSE subject for students in the UK.
Gujarati parents in the diaspora are not comfortable with the possibility of their language not surviving them.In a study, 80% of Malayali parents felt that “Children would be better off with English”, compared to 36% of Kannada parents and only 19% of Gujarati parents.
A distribution of the geographical area can be found in ‘Linguistic Survey of India’ by George A. Grierson.