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Dr. Tamar Makharoblidze a short Grammar of Georgian Introduction Georgian


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Dr. Tamar Makharoblidze

A Short Grammar of Georgian

1. Introduction

Georgian (ქართული ენა, kartuli ena) is the official language of Georgia. Georgian is the primary language of about 3.9 million people in Georgia itself (83 percent of the population), and of another 500,000 abroad (chiefly in Turkey, Iran, Russia, USA and Europe). It is the literary language for all ethnographic groups of Georgian people, especially those who speak other South Caucasian languages (or Kartvelian languages): Svans, Mingrelians, and Lazs. Gruzinic, or "Kivruli," sometimes considered a separate Jewish language, is spoken by an additional 20,000 in Georgia and 65,000 elsewhere (primarily 60,000 in Israel).

The Georgian language belongs to the South Caucasian family, which also includes Svan, Megrelian - spoken in Northwest Georgia and Laz spoken along the Black Sea coast of Turkey. The separation of the Kartvelian languages took part in the second millennium BC or earlier. Dialects of Georgian include Imeretian, Racha-Lechkhumian, Gurian, Adjaran, Imerkhevian (in Turkey), Kartlian, Kakhetian, Ingilo (in Azerbaijan), Tush, Khevsur, Mokhevian, Pshavian, Fereydan dialect in Iran in Fereydunshahr and Mtiuletian, Meskhetian.

Georgia has a rich literary tradition. The oldest surviving literary text in Georgian is the "Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik" (Tsamebay tsmindisa Shushanikisi, dedoplisa) by Iakob Tsurtaveli, from the 5th century AD. The Georgian national epic, "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" (Vepkhistqaosani), by Shota Rustaveli, dates from the 12th century.
A. Georgian is an agglutinative language. That means that each grammatical category has its own markers. There could be a row of affixes in a word.

B. Georgian verb is poly-personal. It exposes subject and both objects –direct and indirect. Every verbal person (argument) can be marked in the verb.

C. Georgian is a post-positional language. Ad-positions are placed after the nouns and not before – as it is in English for example.

D. Georgian has a subject-verb-object primary sentence structure. But the word order is not as strict as in some other languages (such as English). Not all word orders are acceptable, but subject-object-verb is also possible.

E. There are no articles in Georgian.
2. Writing system (ABC)

Georgian has been written in a variety of scripts over its history. These alphabets are called asomtavruli (Capitals), Nuskhuri (Small letters) and Mkhedruli. According to Leonti Mroveli (the 11th century) the first Georgian alphabet was created by the first King of Caucasian Iberia (also called Kartli), Pharnavaz in the 3rd century BC. However, the first examples of that alphabet, or its modified version, date from the 4th-5th centuries CE. During the centuries the alphabet was modernized.



Modern Georgian alphabet – Mkhedruli has 33 letters. The number of sound is equal to the number of letters: We read as we write. There are 33 letters for 33 sounds. That's why Georgian alphabet is considered one of the best among 14.

Direction of writing is left to right and Georgian has no capital letters.

Georgian Alphabet

Letters

Unicode

Name

National

ISO 9984

BGN

IPA



U+10D0

an

A a

A a

А а

/ɑ/



U+10D1

ban

B b

B b

B b

/b/



U+10D2

gan

G g

G g

G g

/ɡ/



U+10D3

don

D d

D d

D d

/d/



U+10D4

en

E e

E e

E e

/ɛ/



U+10D5

vin

V v

V v

V v

/v/



U+10D6

zen

Z z

Z z

Z z

/z/



U+10D7

t'an

T t

T' t'

T' t'

/tʰ/



U+10D8

in

I i

I i

I i

/i/



U+10D9

kan

K' k'

K k

K k

/k’/



U+10DA

las

L l

L l

L l

/l/



U+10DB

man

M m

M m

M m

/m/



U+10DC

nar

N n

N n

N n

/n/



U+10DD

on

O o

O o

O o

/ɔ/



U+10DE

par

P' p'

P p

P p

/p’/



U+10DF

žan

Zh zh

Ž ž

Zh zh

/ʒ/



U+10E0

rae

R r

R r

R r

/r/



U+10E1

san

S s

S s

S s

/s/



U+10E2

tar

T' t'

T' t'

T t

/t’/



U+10E3

un

U u

U u

U u

/u/



U+10E4

p'ar

P p

P' p'

P' p'

/pʰ/



U+10E5

kan

K k

K' k'

K' k'

/kʰ/



U+10E6

ḡan

Gh gh

Ḡ ḡ

Gh gh

/ɣ/



U+10E7

qar

Q' q'

Q q

Q q

/q’/



U+10E8

šin

Sh sh

Š š

Sh sh

/ʃ/



U+10E9

č'in

Ch ch

Č' č'

Ch' ch'

/tʃ/



U+10EA

c'an

Ts ts

C' c'

Ts' ts'

/ts/



U+10EB

jil

Dz dz

J j

Dz dz

/dz/



U+10EC

cil

Ts' ts'

C c

Ts ts

/ts’/



U+10ED

čar

Ch' ch'

Č č

Ch ch

/tʃ’/



U+10EE

xan

Kh kh

X x

Kh kh

/x/



U+10EF

ǰan

J j

J ǰ

J j

/dʒ/



U+10F0

hae

H h

H h

H h

/h/

Bellow we use National transliteration for Georgian words.

The oldest surviving examples of the contemporary Georgian script mkhedruli (military riders) date from the 11-12th centuries. The script was developed from the earlier Georgian alphabet - khutsuri ('ecclesiastical') script.




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