Georgian Languages (trust me, it’s fascinating!)

2015-04-03 18.59.23 I’m back! I spent a week and a half in Georgia (the country, not the state), travelling from its capital Tbilisi to Ureki and Batumi. If I were an organized person I would have had some blog posts scheduled, but sadly (and as you have probably realized by now) I’m not. I hope you missed me ;).

I tried to find some nice book stores to write about, but somehow I didn’t come across any. To be fair, this might have something to do with my inability to read Georgian signposts. My friends and I did come across some cute bookstalls near Freedom Square in Tbilisi. We didn’t buy anything, though, because the Georgian script looks something like this: Damts'erloba.svg
This is the word damts’erloba which means ‘script’. It looks amazing, doesn’t it? In fact, there are three different scripts in Georgian; Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli (this last script is used as a standard).

2015-04-02 15.23.51
Nothing is cooler than graffiti in another script. (Click to enlarge)

Each of these scripts are equivalent (their letters portray the same sounds) but they look distinctly different. The Wikipedia page on this is very elaborate. Note: these scripts count as three different scripts, but together they form one alphabet. One of the 14 different alphabets in the world.

Georgia does not only have three scripts, it also holds three languages (not corresponding with the scripts) and seventeen dialects. Though these dialects are not recognized as individual languages, they can be more different than, for example, Dutch and German. In the old days, inhabitants of adjacent villages were sometimes unable to speak with each other because their dialects were so dissimilar. The language we call ‘Georgian’ is the language of literature and taught in schools.

The Georgian language is also the language with the most consonants. The maximum amount of adjacent consonants in one word is eight. Imagine pronouncing that! (The man who told us about this could pronounce it. ‘Easy’, he smiled. I think he enjoyed our shock.) All nouns start with the same letter and end in a vowel, mainly ‘i’.

Interesting, isn’t it? I, for one, loved my time in Georgia and am glad to have learned more about this country. I shall leave you with a picture of one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, the Trinity Church in Tbilisi.

2015-04-02 16.15.58 Disclaimer: I hope everything I wrote down here is correct, but I can make no guarantees. The man who explained this all to us spoke limited English for what is, as you can see, quite a difficult topic. If you spot any errors, please leave a comment below, I would love to learn from you :).

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3 thoughts on “Georgian Languages (trust me, it’s fascinating!)

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