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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...



Mohandās Karamchand Gāndhī
(Oct. 2. 1869 – Jan. 30. 1948),
a.k.a. Mahatma (“Great Soul”) Gandhi
and Bapu (“Father” in Gujarati),
the world’s most famous and most
beloved native speaker of Gujarati

Language information: Gujarati (also know as Gujerati) is the primary language of the Gujarati people as well as the primary and official language of India’s Gujarat State, the country’s most industrialized region, also in the union territories Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (both of which are wedged between Gujarat and Maharashtra) and in adjacent areas of neighboring Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. One of India’s official languages, it is also used in neighboring Pakistan (mostly in Sindh Province), furthermore as a minority language in more distant urban centers of both India and Pakistan, foremost among these being the enormous metropolis Mumbai (Bombay) just south of Gujarat in Maharashtra State. Gujarati is used in numerous other countries as well, such as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Fiji, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, New Zealand, Oman, Réunion, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Altogether, the number of Gujarati speakers worldwide is currently approaching 50 million.
      There are the following Gujarati dialect groups:
      · East African Gujarati
      · Gamadia
      · Kathiyawadi
      · Kharwa
      · Khakari
      · Persianized Gujarati
      · Standard Gujarati (including the Mumbai variety)
      · Tarimukhi
ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!      Gujarati has been influenced by numerous languages, most importantly by Sanskrit, Persian, Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi, Portuguese and English. Being an Indo-Aryan language, it is closely related to Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Rajasthani, Panjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Nepali and others, most closely to Sindhi and Kutchi (Khochki).
      Originating from Persian immigrants, India’s Pars (Zoroastrian) communities and their descendants elsewhere have adopted Gujarati as their primary language, using amongst themselves subvarieties with particularly strong Persian influences. There are also Jain and Christian minorities that use Gujarati as their first language. The most significant religions among Gujarati speakers are Hinduism and Islam, followers of the former being in the clear majority.
      Gujarati is written by means of the Gujarati script, also amongst Muslims. This script is closely related to the Devanagari script (used for Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, etc.), the Gurmukhi script (used for Panjabi), the Bengali script and other Indo-Aryan scripts whose origin can be traced back to the Old Aramaic script. However, the Gujarati script lacks the horizontal top line that is characteristic of other such scripts. As in the case of Bengali, vowel length distinctions are still indicated orthographically although few or none these distinctions are phonemically preserved in modern varieties. However, these orthographic distinctions are significant when the Gujarati script is used to write Sanskrit, which is common in Gujarati-speaking communities.

Most languages of the Indian subcontinent have a dental and
a retroflex consonant series where European languages have
only one. Most Germanic and Slavonic languages have only
an alveolar series for t, d, n, r and l, most Romance and
Celtic languages only a dental one.

               Like closely related languages, Gujarati has two noteworthy phonological features: aspiration of both voiceless and voiced plosives and, probably owing to an ancient Munda or Dravidian substrate, a retroflex series of consonants. Furthermore, it has two contrastive series of consonants where European languages have only one. It has a dental series (in which the tip of the tongue touches the front teeth) and a retroflex series (in which the tip of the tongue is bend back or upward to touch an area behind the alveolar ridge). They lack a corresponding alveolar series, which is the default in Germanic languages. In rendering loanwords and names from English and other Germanic languages, speakers of Gujarati and related languages thus must choose dental or retroflex substitution. Interestingly, they tend to choose the retroflex series since it sounds more closely related to them. This is why retroflexion is a striking characteristic of South Asian “accents” in English.
      Among India’s and Pakistan’s best-known public figures there are numerous native Gujarati speakers, such as India’s former prime minister Morarji Desai (Feb. 29, 1896 – April 10, 1995), India’s social and political leader Sardar Patel (31 Oct. 1875 – 15 Dec. 1950), Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah (25 Dec. 1876 – 11 Sept. 1948), and India’s and the world’s famed political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi (Oct. 2. 1869 – Jan. 30. 1948).
* India’s official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Maithili, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. (Underlined names are those of Indo-Aryan and thus Indo-European languages.)

Genealogy: Indo-European > Indo-Iranian > Indo-Aryan > Central

Historical Lowlands language contacts: English

    Click to open the translation: [Click] Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

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