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  Wikipedia: Georgian language

Wikipedia: Georgian language
Georgian language
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Georgian is the official language of the Republic of Georgia. It is spoken by about 3.5 million, or seventy percent of the total population of Georgia and by about 3 million abroad (Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, etc.). It is a Iberian-Caucasian lahguage.

Georgian (or Kartvelian) is a member of the Iberian-Caucasian language family. Majority of scholars posit a close relationship with the other indigenous languages of the Caucasus. Some scholars have tried to link it to Basque [1]. It is the most widely spoken of these languages, and the only one with a long-standing literary tradition.

The Georgians call themselves Kartveli eri (Georgian people), their land Sakartvelo, and their language Kartuli. The language contains some formidable consonant clusters, as may be seen in words like gvprtskvni ("You peel us") and mtsvrtneli ("trainer"). Most Georgian surnames end in -dze ("son"), -shvili ("child"), -ia (Mingrelian/Megrelian surnames), -ani (surnames of Svans), -uri (surnames of Khevsurs).


Invention of Georgian alphabet is usually attributed to the King of Iberia Farnavaz I (3rd century BC). Oldest form of Georgian alphabet Asomtavruli was invented in 284 BC.

The original alphabet is known as Asomtavruli ("capital") or Mrgvlovani ("rounded"), examples of which are still preserved in monumental inscriptions, such as those of the Georgian church in Bethlehem (near Jerusalem, 430) and church of Bolnisi Sioni near Tbilisi (4th-5th centuries). Older, pre-Christian Georgian (Asomtavruli) inscriptions dating from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD were found in Armaztsikhe (near Mtskheta) and Nekresi (in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia), in 1940 and 1995-2003 by the scientific expeditions of Academician Simon Janashia (1900-1947) and Academician Levan Chilashvili [1]. The inscriptions from Armaztsikhe were investigated by famous Georgian historian Pavle Ingorokva.

The Nuskhuri ("minuscule") or Kutkhovani ("squared") script first appeared in the 9th Century. Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri, collectively known as Khutsuri (ხუცური) or church script, were used together to write religious manuscripts, with the Asomtavruli serving as capital letters.

The present alphabet, called Mkhedruli (მხედრული, "secular [or, military] writing"), which appeared in the 11th century, was used for non-religious purposes up until the 18th century, when it completely replaced Khutsuri. The modern alphabet has thirty-three letters (some of the original letters having become obsolete), without distinction between upper and lower case (though modern "capital" versions of the letters have been invented). Georgian linguists claim that it is a phonemic orthography.


Georgian makes no distinction between upper and lower cases:




Stopp/b/[p']t/d/[t'] k/g/[k'][q']¹'
Fricativevs/zS/Zx/[Y] h
Affricate [ts]/[dz]/[ts']c/j/[c']   
Liquid l, r [l>]²  
¹/q'/ has neither non-ejective nor voiced counterparts
²/l>/ is a velarized /l/



See also: Georgian in Iran

External links and references

  • Table copied from pgdudda's website.
  • online Georgian Grammar.
  • Online Georgian Games.
  • Omniglot pictures
  • Pavle Ingorokva. Georgian inscriptions of antique.- Bulletin of ENIMK, vol. X, Tbilisi, 1941, pp. 411-427 (in Georgian)
  • Zaza Aleksidze. Epistoleta Tsigni, Tbilisi, 1968, 150 pp (in Georgian)
  • Korneli Danelia, Zurab Sarjveladze. Questions of Georgian Paleography, Tbilisi, 1997, 150 pp (in Georgian, English summary)
  • Elene Machavariani. The graphical basis of the Georgian Alphabet, Tbilisi, 1982, 107 pp (in Georgian, French summary)
  • Ivane Javakhishvili. Georgian Paleography, Tbilisi, 1949, 500 pp (in Georgian)
  • Ramaz Pataridze. The Georgian Asomtavruli, Tbilisi, 1980, 600 pp (in Georgian)
  • "Great discovery" (about the expedition of Academician Levan Chilashvili).- Newspaper "Kviris Palitra", Tbilisi, April 21-27, 2003 (in Georgian)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona