Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

About the Georgian language


Hello my friends, my name is Julie and today
we’re travelling to the misty heights of the Caucasus mountains where the Georgian
language is spoken. So, Georgia, um, not that one, the country,
is located in the Caucasus mountain region on the border of Europe and Asia. The Georgians themselves proudly call their
country Sakartvelo meaning “the land of the kartvels”. This word actually gave the name to the whole
language family the Georgian language belongs to. Georgian is one of the 4 members of the Kartvelian
language family along with the Svan, the Megrelian both spoken in Georgia and the Laz spoken
in Turkey just across the border. From all of these languages Georgian is the
biggest spoken by almost 4 million people mostly in Georgia but also in some neighbouring
countries like Russia. Georgian is also the only language in the
family that has a written form. However when we try to zoom out and look for
the relatives of the Kartvelian language family we see that they are all alone in this big
world, surrounded by the enemies. Neighbouring Russia, Armenia and Iran speak
in Indoeuropean languages, to which the Georgian is not connected. Turkey and Azerbaijan speak in Turkic languages,
to which the Georgian is not connected. But if we look closer we can see that the
Caucasus region is sprinkled with an astonishing linguistic variety. These languages which are neither Indoeuropean,
nor Turkic are sometimes grouped into the Caucasian language group which includes the
Kartvelian languages. Even though this grouping represents the common
geographical situation of the languages while any genetic relations between them have not
been proven. It means that as for today the Kartvelian
languages are considered not related to any other known languages as their features are
quite unique. For example, the pronunciation. The Georgian language as many other languages
in the Caucasus region has a difficult relationship with the vowels having only 5 of them and
loves consonants. From these there are some familiar sounds
like s and p, but also some more exotic examples like q and ts’, which is different from
the ts, or tch’, which is different from the tch. What’s more, they love their consonants
so much that they don’t hesitate to have consonant clusters with more and more and
more consonants. But of course, as you might have noticed already,
the coolest feature of the Georgian language is its beautiful alphabet. It is absolutely unique to the Georgian language
and is one of the only 14 alphabetical systems existing in the world. Nobody knows for sure how it was created. For instance, the Armenians like to say that
it was Mesrop Mashtots, an Armenian scholar who also created the Armenian alphabet by
the way, who taught the Georgians how to write. To which the Georgians usually answer “Yeah,
could be… Or… It was created by our heroic and maybe mythical
king Pharnavaz in the 3rd century BC”. The most accepted version though is that the
alphabet was developed from either Aramaic or Greek alphabet. The earliest known examples of the Georgian
script already appear in the 5th century, as proven by the Bir el Qutt inscriptions
found in the Middle East. Another cool feature about the alphabet is
that it is phonetic. Meaning that it has 33 letters and there are
33 sounds in the Georgian language, each letter stands for one sound and you read as you write. So ingenious! Especially when you compare it to the madness
happening with the English reading and pronunciation. Add to that that the Georgian doesn’t have
uppercase or lowercase letters, neither it has difference between printed or handwritten
script and you might get an idea that the Georgian is not that complicated after all. Well, at least until you see the grammar. The Georgian uses the case system, meaning,
that depending on the function of the noun in the sentence it changes its ending. That means that the Georgian has a rather
free word order even though the verb prefers to stay at the end. Well, at least to make life a little bit easier
the Georgian doesn’t have any grammatical gender at all. Even to say he, she or it they use the same
word “is”. So the problem with gender inequality in languages
is resolved in Georgian once and for all. The Georgian verb requires some time to master
as it has four classes each having its set of rules of conjugation. There are three tenses, past present and future,
which can be perfect or imperfect, which can have conditional or subjunctive clauses… Hmm usual stuff. At least the counting system is easy. If you like math. Because the Georgian uses the vigesimal counting
system. What does it mean? So let’s see. One, two, three, alright in the beginning
everything looks fine, nothing very suspicious, ok twenty, twenty one, twenty nine, twenty
ten, twenty ten and one. Wait a minute. Forty three is 2 times twenty and three? And seventy five is 3 times twenty and ten
and 5? And I thought only the French could have come
up with such a counting system. Interestingly enough the Georgian nouns with
the numerals never go plural. Why? Because. So I have let’s say one cat, two cat, 108
and still cat. And by the way they have different words that
translate as to have, one for the living objects and the other one for the non-living objects. And in this case the car, the boat, the motorcycle
are considered to be 100% alive. By the way, do some of these words remind
you of something very familiar? Let’s look at the vocabulary. In Georgian when you mean dad you say “mama”
but some of the vocabulary can still be less confusing. The Georgian might be unique not-related-to-anyone-else
language but its vocabulary displays the history of foreign influences upon it. For example “bali” which means cherry
comes from the persian “balu” and “bairaxi” meaning flag comes from the turkish “bayrak”. Words of Russian descent appeared later. Some examples might include “velosipedi”,
“pliazhi” bringing to the Georgian language some new concepts. Finally, any modern word can be transformed
into a Georgian word either by taking the word as such if it ends with a vowel such
as metro for instance, “metro”, or by adding an “i” at the end if the word ends
with a consonant. Because all the Georgian nouns have to end
with a vowel, otherwise you will not be able to put it in different cases and the whole
system will collapse. So let’s see some examples. Internet becomes “interneti”, telephone
becomes “telephoni” and so on. You can do this with all of the international
words so now congratulations, you’ve just learned 3000 Georgian words! I find it always fascinating to see how the
language reflects the history of its people. Georgians live in the epicentre of a very
diverse region, on the borders of massive empires which ment constant wars. This situation finds its reflexion even in
today’s language, because when the Georgians say “Hello” – “gamardzhoba”,
it can be translated as “victory to you”. As we have already mentioned, the Georgians
are all alone in this big world surrounded by the enemies and in order to have a right
to exist they had to learn to come together and fight back. Which they had always succeeded to do as even
in the Soviet times Georgia was the only Soviet republic that had right to use their language
at the official level. So the Georgian people have definitely many
things to be proud of but you can always come to visit because as the saying goes “Stumari
ghvtisaa” – The guest is from the God. And I say to you all thank you so much for watching. Please consider to subscribe if you liked
the video because more is coming. There are just so many languages in the world
and they’re fascinating because as I always say language is the key to understand the
people who speak it. So learn languages, my friends.

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