Georgian 101

Georgian has a rich word-derivation system. By using a root, and adding some definite prefixes and suffixes, one can derive many nouns and adjectives from the root. For example, from the root - Kart -, the following words can be derived: Kartveli (a Georgian person), Kartuli (the Georgian language) and Sakartvelo (Georgia).

Most Georgian surnames end in - dze ("son") (Western Georgia), - shvili ("child") (Eastern Georgia), - ia (Western Georgia, Samegrelo), - ani (Western Georgia, Svaneti), - uri (Eastern Georgia), etc. At least two personalities with Georgian surnames are known abroad: Eduard Shevardnadze and Joseph Stalin, whose birth name was Dzhugashvili .

Georgian has a vigesimal number system, based on the counting system of 20, like Basque or Old French. In order to express a number greater than 20 and less than 100, first the number of 20s in the number is stated and the remaining number is added. For example, 93 is expressed as ოთხმოცდაცამეტი - otkh-m-ots-da-tsamet'i (lit. four-times-twenty-and-thirteen).

Word Formations

Georgian has a word derivation system, which allows the derivation of nouns from verb roots both with prefixes and suffixes. For example:

  • From the root - ts'er - ("write"), the words ts'erili ("letter") and mts'erali ("writer") are derived.
  • From the root - tsa - ("give"), the word gadatsema ("broadcast") is derived.
  • From the root - tsda - ("try"), the word gamotsda ("exam") is derived.
  • From the root - gav - ("resemble"), the words msgavsi ("similar") and msgavseba ("similarity") are derived.
  • From the root - šen - ("build"), the word šenoba ("building") is derived.
  • From the root - tskh - ("bake"), the word namtskhvari ("cake") is derived.
  • From the root - tsiv - ("cold"), the word matsivari ("refrigerator") is derived.
  • From the root - pr - ("fly"), the words tvitmprinavi ("plane") and aprena ("take-off") are derived.

It is also possible to derive verbs from nouns:

  • From the noun - omi - ("war"), the verb omob ("wage war") is derived.
  • From the noun - sadili - ("lunch"), the verb sadilob ("eat lunch") is derived.
  • From the noun - sauzme ("breakfast"), the verb ts'asauzmeba ("eat a little breakfast") is derived; the preverb ts'a - in Georgian could add the meaning " VERB ing a little ."
  • From the noun - sakhli - ("home"), the verb gadasakhleba (the infinite form of the verb "to relocate, to move") is derived.

Likewise, verbs can be derived from adjectives:

  • From the adjective - ts'iteli - ("red"), the verb gats'itleba (the infinite form of both "to blush" and "to make one blush") is derived. This kind of derivation can be done with many adjectives in Georgian. Other examples can be:
  • From the adjective - brma ("blind"), the verbs dabrmaveba (the infinite form of both "to become blind" and "to blind someone") are derived.
  • From the adjective - lamazi - ("beautiful"), the verb galamazeba (the infinite form of the verb "to become beautiful") is derived.

Words That Begin With Multiple Consonants

In Georgian many nouns and adjectives begin with two or more contiguous consonants.

  • Some linguists assert that almost half of the words in Georgian begin with double consonants. This is because most syllables in the language begin with certain two consonants. Some examples of words that begin with double consonants are:
    • წყალი, ( ts'q'ali ), "water"
    • სწორი, ( sts'ori ), "correct"
    • რძე , ( rdze ), "milk"
    • თმა, ( tma ), "hair"
    • მთა, ( mta ), "mountain"
    • ცხენი, ( tskheni ), "horse"
  • There are also many words that begin with three contiguous consonants:
    • თქვენ, ( tkven ), "you (plural)"
    • მწვანე, ( mts'vane ), "green"
    • ცხვირი, ( tskhviri ), "nose"
    • ტკბილი, ( t'k'bili ), "sweet"
    • მტკივნეული, ( mt'k' ivneuli ), "painful"
    • ჩრდილოეთი, ( črdiloeti ), "north"
  • There also a few words in Georgian that begin with four contiguous consonants. Examples are:
    • მკვლელი, ( mk'vleli ), "murderer"
    • მკვდარი, ( mk'vdari ), "dead"
    • მთვრალი, ( mtvrali ), "drunk"
    • მწკრივი; ( mts'k'rivi ), "row"
  • There can also be some extreme cases in Georgian. For example, the following word begins with six contiguous consonants:
    • მწვრთნელი, ( mts'vrtneli ), "trainer"
  • And the following words begin with eight consonants:
    • გვფრცქვნი ( gvprtskvni ), "you peel us"
    • გვბრდღვნი ( gvbrdgvni ), "you tear us"

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