Well, I have officially been learning Georgian for six days now. Let me tell you, it is a very difficult language. Being from Texas, the first foreign language I ever studied was Spanish, in part because my high school had a limited foreign languages department, and because I had been taking Spanish classes since middle school. At my undergraduate university I decided to study Russian which proved to be a challenging but also beautiful language.
Georgian, however, is a whole different type of challenge, because it is part of its own language family with no relation to either Russian, Spanish, or English. That being said, a couple of the fun facts, listed below, will make Spanish and Russian speakers chuckle. Here are some of the interesting aspects I’ve learned so far about Georgian;
- Georgian language has no genders; everything is either “it” or “they/them”
- Georgian has no capitalization
- Georgian letters are written on a kind of music scale rather than all on one line
- The Georgian word “es” means “this”
- The Georgian word “da” means “sister” and “and”; meaning is understood through context clues
- Georgian script, thankfully, is read left to right
- Georgian has loan words from Arabic, Farsi/Persian, Russian, Turkish due to its history under those empires and the Soviet Union
While I don’t know enough Georgian to have a conversation, I’ve realized words like “hello”, “goodbye”, and “thank you” go a long way. Even though it is obvious I can’t speak much Georgian, I’ve found that Georgians always seem happy whenever I greet them or thank them in Georgian, and then we switch to English or Russian for the rest of the conversation. I think it is a subtle way of showing respect, and trying to show you are a good “guest” in their country. However, I am definitely looking forward to the moment when I can ask for (and understand) directions in Georgian.
Nakhvamdis (good bye) until the next blog!
By: Lucia Winkeler
Term: Summer 2019