Georgian is a South Caucasian or Kartvelian language. It is spoken mainly in Georgia, where it is the official language. In 2016 there were about 3.4 million speakers of Georgian in Georgian. There are Georgian speakers in a number of other countries, including the Russian Federation (171,000), Turkey (151,000), Iran (64,100) and Azerbaijan (30,000).
Georgian is thought to share a common ancestral language with the other South Caucasian languages. It started to develop as a separate language during the 1st millenium BC in an area that became the Kingdom of Iberia (c. 302 BC - 580 AD). It was first referred to in writing in the 2nd century AD by the Roman grammarian, Marcus Cornelius Fronto, in a letter to the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
The Georgian language first appeared in writing in about 430 AD in an inscription in a church in Palestine in an alphabet known as Asomtavruli. Before then the main written language used in Georgia was a form of Aramaic known as Armazuli (არმაზული დამწერლობა). Two other alphabets have been used to write Georgian: Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli, which is the alphabet currently used.
The top row of letters on each line is in the Asomtavruli alphabet, the second row is in the Nuskhuri alphabet, and third row is in the Mkhedruli alphabet.
q'vela adamiani ibadeba tavisupali da tanasts'ori tavisi ghirsebita da uplebebit. mat gaachniat goneba da sindisi da ertmanetis mimart unda iktseodnen da-dzmobis sulisk'vetebit.
/qʼvela adamiani ibadeba tʰavisupʰali da tʰanast͡sʼori tʰavisi ɣirsebitʰa da upʰlebebitʰ matʰ gaat͡ʃniatʰ goneba da sindisi da ertʰmanetʰis mimartʰ unda ikʰt͡seodnen da-d͡zmobis suliskvetʰebitʰ/
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Georgian language courses
Georgian - a reading grammar (PDF)
Georgian transliteration and spell checkers
Online Georgian news and radio
Page last modified: 15.02.22
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