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georgian

Last updated 2021-08-20 15:46:45

Nouns

Pronouns

Personal

1st person and 2nd person pronouns do not decline, except when they are possessive pronouns. That is, they are always 1SG:მე, 2SG:შენ, 1PL:ჩვენ, 2PL:თქვენ.

The 3rd person pronouns, however, do decline when not in NOM.

Number NOM DAT ERG GEN INST ADV
3SG ის (ი)მას (ი)მან (ი)მის (ი)მით (ი)მად
3PL ისინი (ი)მათ (ი)მათ (ი)მათ (ი)მათ (ი)მათ

The optional prefix ი- on the 3SG and 3PL pronouns often just means someone far away from the speaker. In educated or formal speech it more specifically implies someone who is a stranger to the speaker. By reflection, in colloquial speech, one may hear ა- as the prefix, to imply someone who is close at hand.

Possessive

Possessive pronouns decline in some, but not all cases.

Number NOM DAT ERG GEN INST ADV VOC
1SG ჩემი ჩემს ჩემმა ჩემი ჩემი ჩემს ჩემო
2SG შენი შენს შენმა შენი შენი შენს
3SG მისი მის მისმა მისი მისმი მის
1PL ჩვენი ჩვენს ჩვენმა ჩვენი ჩენი ჩვენს ჩვენო
2PL თქვენი თქვენს თქვენმა თქვენი თქვენი თქვენს
3PL მათი მათს მათმა მათი მათი მათი

VOC forms for 2nd person and 3rd person are rare or non-existant in regular speech. Anything's possible in poetry though.

Demonstrative

  near far
sg ეს ის
pl ესინი ისინი

ეგ is used when the object in question is in possession by the person being spoken to. Ex. ეგ წიგნი:that book implies the book is owned by the person being spoken to.

In non-NOM situations, ეს becomes ამ and ის becomes იმ. For example, ეს ქალი → ამ ქალს ⧸ this woman (NOM) → this (DAT) woman.

Interrogative and Relative

Relative pronouns are formed by affixing -ც to interrogative pronouns.

Interrogative Relative English
რა რაც what/whatever
როდის როდისაც, როცა when/whenever
სად სადაც where/wherever
როგორ როგორც how/however
ვინ ვინც who/whoever
რამდენი რამდენიც how many/how many ever

Relative pronouns form relative clauses that are often formed with "who" or "which" in English. For example, from Kurtsikidze, pg 97, კაცი, რომელიც ზის, ჩემი მასწავლებელია ⧸ The man, that is sitting, is my teacher. Here, რომელიც:that, which sets off the relative clause "that is sitting". Another example reflects how these can be used to form more complex noun phrases, რა ჰქვია რაღაც, რაშიც არის ალუბლები ⧸ What is called the thing in which there are cherries? (a კალათა:basket!). These types of structures are particularly useful for learner who are practicing circumlocution when they don't know a word.

More formally, relative pronouns, in particular რაც, most often refer to an indefinite antecedant. For example, რაც ვიცი, გეტყვი ⧸ That which I know, I will tell youVogt §1.67 or მე იქ 6 წელია რაც ვმუშაობ ⧸ It has been 6 years that I have been working here. In these cases, it often works better to translate რაც as "that (which)".

When suffixed with -მე, the interrogative pronouns function as the prefix some- in English. Thus, ვინმე:someone, სადმე:somewhere, etc.

  1. ა: რა აკიღოთ? ბ: რაც შენ გინდა.
    A: What shall we have? B: Whatever you like.
  2. როგორც შენ დარეკე, (მე ...)
    When you called, (I ...)
  3. როგორც გინდა
    As you wish
  4. სადმე წავალთ?
    Are we going somewhere?
  5. არ ვკითხულობს როგორც იწერება.
    It is not read as it is written.

Prefixes

Prefixes are mostly used with verbs to indicate direction, but may appear elsewhere, especially if derived from verbs which contain them. In many cases, their meaning is not obvious (or perhaps, never had a directional component at all). See the list of preverbs here for more information.

Suffixes

In many cases, the final in the NOM are removed, ex. გაკვეთილი:lessonგაკვეთილები:lessons.

functions as the 3sg copula (and colloquially, as 3pl copula), meaning that "is" in a simple sentence like "She is a girl", "is" is attached to the noun. Using this example, rather than ის არის გოგო (არის:is.3sg.PRS), instead one can say ის გოგოა. When attached to an adjective, it is equivalent to "it is", ex. კარგია:it is good. For the words ეს, ის, აქ, იქ, არ, სად, and ვინ, two აs at the end are used.Kurtsikidze, p19
"the euphonic ა", it is attached to some words, such as არ:negative marker, in front of one syllable words. For example, არა ვარ ⧸ I am not.
ად (ADV)
adverbializer. Drop the final if exists and add ად, otherwise, keep the final vowel and add . This form is used for languages as well, ქართულად:in Georgian. For example, კარგი:goodკარგად:well.
ებ
plural. If the word ends in ა or ი, the final vowel is dropped, otherwise it is preserved. Plural forms always end in -ი in NOM, as in the following examples. For example, გაკვეთილი:lessonგაკვეთილები:lessons and სამუშაო:workplaceსამუშაოები:workplaces
თან
near to, next to, together with (when used with ერთად:together), "chez".Vogt §1.98 When used with a possessive pronoun, such as ჩემი:mine, it indicates towards the location one is at. For example, სახლი ძალიან ცივია! მე მძინავს ჩემ ძაღლთან ერთად. ⧸ The house is cold! I am sleeping (together) with my dog. or ჩემთან მოდის. ⧸ (S/he) is coming to me (e.g. my house, chez moi).
თან ახლოს
near/close to a thing, when near to a person, use "გან ახლოს"
თვის (GEN)
for, around/about, by. This is mutually exclusive with object markings on verbs (ex. -უ-). Can be used with POSS pronouns. For example, ჩემთვის:for me. When used with time phrases, it indicates "by TIME", ex. კვირისთვის:by Sunday.
დან (INST)
from (a location, for a direct use გან). For example, გერმანია:Germanyგერმანიიდან:from Germany. Note the double იი from the removal of the final -ა and the -ი from the INST case.
მდე (ADV)
up to, till, until, before doing X. The დ from ADV is dropped. Often used when driving to a place that you won't go into, such as when dropping off people (e.g. სადგურამდა:to the station). Commonly heard with time phrases, for example, 8 საათიდან 5 საათამდე ⧸ From 8 until 5.
ზე
on, about. Traditionally regarded as a DAT suffix, in modern Georgian, it is unmarked.Kurtsikidze 84 is dropped before ზე. For example,მაგიდაზე:on the table and პირველი საათზე:at 1 o'clock. When used with a verb of motion, it indicates the purpose of the motion. For example, პურზე მივდივარ ⧸ I'm going to get bread.
ში
to, in, into. Traditionally regarded as a DAT suffix, in modern Georgian, it is unmarked.Kurtsikidze 84 is dropped before ში. For example, მანქანა:carმანქანაში:in a/the car and ოფისი:officeოფისში:to/in the office.
კენ (GEN)
towards. For example, შინისაკენ გაემართა ⧸ He hurried homeward.
too, also. Can only be attached to pronouns. It is also makes a question word into a relative pronoun. For example, მეც:me too.Vogt §2.198
ჯერ
frequency, number of times.
წინ
in front, ago.
უკან
behind.
შუა (DAT)
between.
გან (GEN)
from how many parts, from (a direction/something, when from a location, use -დან).
გან შორს (GEN)
far (away) from.
გან ახლოს (GEN)
near/close to a person, when close to a thing use "-თან ახლოს".
ვე
the sameVogt §2.199, see also the section on cardinal numbers, below.
ნი (root)
collective groups. Used with numbers, thus ორნი:group of two, სამნი:group of three. When used with a noun to further specify what it is a group of, both the number and the noun are suffixed with ნი (სამნი დანი:three sisters). You may also see the forms ბევრნი:a lot (from ბეფრი) and ცოტანი:few (from ცოტა).Kurtsikidze, p73
ავით (DAT)
like, or resembling. მისავით ჭკვიანი ხარ ⧸ You're smart like him/her.
ოდე
approximate number, such as ორიოდე:approximately two. Compare -ვე, which implies exactly that number.
  1. ორი დღის დროში
    in two days
  2. ფიგურაზე ვსაუბრობთ.
    We're talking about the statue.
  3. რამდენი კაცისგან შეედგება შენი ჯგუფი?
    How many people does your group consist of?
    -გან indicating "from how many parts/people"

Word Formation

-იანი
"...-y". For example, მზემზიანი ⧸ sun → sunny. Often equivalent to the "noun with noun" phrasing in English, such as ქარაქიანი პური:bread with butter (lit. buttery bread).
მე...ე/მე...ური
occupations, ბაღიმებაღე ⧸ garden → gardener
მოყვარული
fan of, ex. კინომოყვარული:film fan
მო...ო
-ish, ex. მოთეთრო:whitish
-ნარი
grove of, group of plants, ფიჭვიფიჭვარი ⧸ pine tree → grove of pine trees
ნა...ევი/არი/ალი
the remains of something, ნგრევანანგრევი ⧸ ruining → a ruin
-ობა/ება
abstract nouns, თავისუფალითავისუფლება ⧸ sun → sunny
სა...ო/სა...ე
creates nouns out of other nouns, most often with an additional -ე or -ო suffix. Generally has the meaning of "the place for the thing" For example, ფული:moneyსაფულე:wallet or კაცი:manსაკაცე:stretcher.Vogt §3.29
სი...ე
abstract nouns, ნამდვილისინამდვილე ⧸ real → reality
უ...ო
without, "...-less". For example, ღრუბელიუღრუბლო ⧸ cloud → cloudless.
უ...ესი
the most X. For example, ყვალეზე ლამაზი:the most beautiful is equivalent to ულამაზესი.

Grammatical Cases

If the noun ends in an in NOM, then it is dropped when forming all other cases. If the noun ends in or , the final vowel is dropped in GEN and DAT. If the noun ends or , the final vowel remains for all cases.

NOM (ი/∅)
the nominative case is the default dictionary form. Depending on the verb, it can mark either the subject or object of the clause. If the subject is in NOM, the object will be in DAT.Kurtsikidze 27
GEN (ი)ს
the genitive case, used with certain prepositions or grammar structures. Nouns ending in ი, ა, or ე lose the ending vowel and add ის. All other endings add just ს. Some nouns are exceptions, such as კაფე:café, which is კაფეს in GEN. One can generally distinguish between GEN and DAT because GEN will always have a vowel before the .

Syncope, or the loss of word-internal vowels, can occur in GEN. In particular, when the NOM stem ends in [აეო][ლმნრ], ex. არ or ელ, then the vowel before the ending will be lost. For example, მეგობარი → მეგობრის.

DAT, ACC, POSS
the dative/accusative/possesive case, usually used to indicate the object of a transitive verb. When the subject is DAT, then the object is NOM. In old or dialetical speech (such as in folktales), DAT may be realized as -სა.
ERG მ(ა)
the ergative case, this is used with some verbs in the AOR case and only appears as the subject of a clause. If the subject is ERG, then the object is NOM. Nouns ending in ი drop the ი and decline with მა. All other vowel endings end with მ. Kurtsikidze refers to this as the narrative case.
INST ით or თი
the instrumental case, used to mark a noun that is used to do a verb (ex. I rode the bus-, because the bus is the "instrument" used to ride) or by what something is done (გეგმით:according to the plan). When used with time expressions, it indicates length of time, for example ლონდონში ერთი წლით მოვდივარ ⧸ I am going to London for a year. It is also used with cardinal directions (north, south etc.) to indicate location, such as "in the north". Nouns ending in ი, ა, or ე lose the ending vowel and add ით. All other endings add თი (მეტროთი:by metro). INST can also experience syncope – see the note under GEN.
ADV (ა)დ
the adverbial case, often fixed phrases, it is the equivalent of "as an X". For example, "As a student-, I dislike homework".
VOC (ო/ვ)
the vocative case, it's uncommon now, used to call to a person, or poetically, to a noun ("oh spring-!). The final -ო/ვ is optional. Words like ბატონო:sir or ქალბატონო:ma'am function as vocative forms.

Verbs

There is so much to write about, so I made a separate website. Please see zmnebi.com (ზმნები:verbs) for more information.

Participles

Future Participles

Future participles are often created with სა-{word}-ელი and indicate an action to be done. For example, სწავლება:learningსასწავლი:to be learned

Past Passive Participles

Formed most often by adding -ული to a verbal noun. -ილი, მ...არი, მ-ალი may also be used with some verbal nouns. Thus წაღება:takingწაღებული:taken. This can be negated with -უ, such as დაწერილი:written and დაუწერელი:not written. Note that the ending may change to -ელი.

Past passive participles are commonly used with აქვს:has to ask questions in the past. For example, წაკითხული გაქვს? ⧸ Have you read it?. This equivalent to the evidential tense.

Expressing Purpose

Purpose can be expressed with the a future participle, most commonly with the future participle in the adverbial case. The future participle is formed by prefixing the root with სა- and the adverbial case is formed with -ად. Using მოგზიურობა:to travel, we get სამოგზიუროდ:for the purpose of traveling. -დ is used here because the root ends in a vowel.

In many cases, and expecially when in the adverbial case, the word can be thought of like the English infinitive.Harris, 155

Occasionally, სა- may occur after the first syllable, such as დალევი:to drinkდასალევად. დასალევად implies drinking alcohol (much as saying "We're going drinking" in English implies the same).

Question Words

ვინ
who
რა
what. When combined with adjective with -ა, it means "how X!" as in "how cute!".Kiziria, 49 რა is often suffixed, such as რაში:in what.
რა ღირს
how much
როგორ
how
როდის
when
რიტომ
why
სად
where, derivative საიდან:whence, from where. Both derive from the same სა- interogative pronomial stem. See Klimov 161-162.
სადაური
from where, often when asking from country of origin
რამდენ
how many
რამდენჯარ
how many times (see +ჯარ in the suffixes)
რა ღირს
how much
რომელი
which
როგორი
what kind
ვისი
whose
რამდენი ხნით
(for) how long
  1. როგორა ხარ?
    How are you?
  2. ვინ არის ეს?
    Who is this?
  3. რა საინტერესოა!
    How interesting!
  4. რომელი საათია?
    What time is it?
    note the 3sg suffix
  5. რომელ საათზე?
    At what time?
  6. რაში ექსპერტი?
    In what are you an expert?
    i.e. what are you good at?

Postpositions

განმავლობაში
during, in the course of.
გარეშე (GEN)
without, outside of.
დასაწყისში (GEN)
beginning of.
მერე (GEN)
after.
მიერ (GEN)
by (in the sense of the actor in a passive sentence; used infrequently).
სავსე (INST)
full of.
შემდეგ (GEN)
after.
შორის
among, between.
წინ (GEN)
before, in front of.
გამო (GEN)
due to, because of.
  1. რა განსხვავებაა X-ის და Y-ის შორის?
    What is the difference between X and Y?

Numbers

See also the Wikipedia page.
Note that if a quantity is used with a noun, the noun does not decline for the plural. That is ორი კიცი:two men, not ორი კიცები.

Cardinal Numbers

0 — ნული
1 — ერთი
2 — ორი
3 — სამი
4 — ოთხი
5 — ხუთი
6 — ექვსი
7 — შვიდი
8 — რვა
9 — ცხრა
10 — ათი
20 — ოცი

Teens are formed by + 1-9 - + მეტი, ex. 11 → + ერთ + მეტითერთმეტი. Some initial consonants merge with the initial თ, such as + .

11 — თერთმეტი
12 — თორმეტი
13 — ცამეტი
14 — თოთხმეტი
15 — თხუთმეტი
16 — თექვსმეტი
17 — ჩვიდმეტი
18 — თვრამეტი
19 — ცხრამეტი

Anything over 20 is base 20, using 2/3/4 x 20 as the basis. Thus, base - + და + 1-19.

20 — ოცი
21 — ოცდაერთი
40 — ორმოცი
47 — ორმოცდაშვიდი
60 — სამოცი
80 — ოთხმოცი

Cardinal numbers can be emphasized with the suffix -ვე to mean "all X", that is ორივე:all two (of them).Vogt §1.77

Halves are formed with ნახევარი:half and the number, minus -ი. If greater than 1.5, then the amount is unconnected to the noun, ex. სამ-ნახევარი ხაჭაპური:3.5 khachapuris. Otherwise, ნახევარი is simply attached to the noun, ex. ლარ-ნახევარი:1.5 lari.

Ordinal Numbers

1st - პირველი

2-19: მე + # - + . Ex. 13th:მეცამეტე.

20+: base + ordinal version of 1-19 (1 reverts back to ერთი for these numbers). Ex. 21st:ოცდამეერთე.

Fractions and Decimals

Fractions are formed by adding -დი to ordinal numbers. Ex. 1/4th:მეოთხედი. 1/2 is more commonly ნახევარი.

Decimals can be said in both a colloquial and formal way. Colloquial, the form is {whole number} მთელი {decimal number}, where both numbers before and after the decimal are said normally. Thus, 8.3 is რვა მთელი სამი.

Formally, though, numbers after the decimal are said with the fractional version of the 10s place. The main fractions used are:

A few example:

Time

Time Vocabulary

The Georgian week starts on Monday.

Seasons are:

To say "in" a season, summer and fall use -ზე, while winter and spring use -ში.

Months are:

Dates are given in the form "day-month-year". Thus, 25 აპრილი ორი ათას ცხრამეტი:25 April 2019. Note the dropped -ი in ათასი. A response to "what date is it?" will end in the GEN for the year (thus ..., ცხრამეტის).

Time Expressions

General time expressions (in the morning, in the evening, on Monday, etc.) are marked with the DAT or INST, thus morning:დილაin the morning:დილას. For example, დილას არის მზე. ⧸ It is sunny in the morning. When used to describe relative time (ex. AM or PM), the expression is in GEN. For example, დილის ცხრა საათია ⧸ It is 9am.

When discussing a specific day, such as March 3rd, the expression is in DAT. For example, სამ მარტს ⧸ March, 3rd. Notice the final -ი is dropped in სამი, as it is an -ი adjective in the dative case. See also minutes 31-59 described below.

Expressions such as "2 days ago" or "in 3 years" are expressed with წინ:prior and შემდეგ:next, respectively. The time expression is in GEN. For example, საუსტად ორი წლის წინ ⧸ Exactly two years ago or ერთი თვეს შემდეგ ⧸ In one month.Taranov, 32

Full hours are simply with the cardinal number plus is # hours:საათია. The exception is 1 o'clock is "1st hour", პირველი საათია. Thus, 2 o'clock:ორი საათია. In spoken Georgian, the 12-hour clock is used, whereas written Georgian uses a 24-hour clock.

Minutes within hours can be expressed literally as "1 hour + 15 minutes", but that sounds unnatural. Instead, minutes should be given relative to the hour that owns them – in Georgia, the "owning" hour is the hour that has yet to pass on the clock. So a time like 1:35, all of those 35 minutes below to 2, since 2 has not yet been hit on the clock.

This ownership is expressed in two different ways, depending on if it's before or after the 30 minute mark.

1-29
hour's (GEN +ს) + #, so 1:24 would be "2's 24 minutes", thus ორის ოცდაოთხი
30
hour's (GEN +ს) + half:ნახევარი, ex. 1:30 = 2's half = ორის ნახევარი
31-59
hour (DAT -ი +ს) + lacks + #, so 1:50 would be "2 lacks 10 minutes", thus ორს აკლია ათი. The 3rd person form lacks:აკლია takes the dative case for its subject, hence the dropping that does not occur with the possessive used for 1-29.

Being "at" a time also differs between 0-30 and 31-59.

0
drop -ი in the hour and add +ზე to the hour, at 3:00:სამ საათზე
1-30
add +ზე to the minutes, at 1:30:ორის ნახევარზე
31-59
add რომ after the hour, at 1:50:ორს რომ აკლია ათი

Situations

Useful Phrases

მე მქვია... – I am called...
ქართული იცი? – Do you know Georgian?
ცოტა ვიცი – I know a little
გაიმეორეთ – Please say again
ვერ გავიგე – I don't understand it
როგორ არის ქართულად "x"? – What is X in Georgian?
"x" ქართულად არის "y" – X in Georgian is Y
მე ვსწავლობ ქართულ ენას – I am learning Georgian

Restaurants

ინებეთ - "here you are"
თუ შეიძლება - "if I/we may", used at the end of a sentence to politely order something. When placed at the beginning of a sentence, drop "თუ"
გეტეყვა - polite request form, a little archaic
მოგვთან - bring to us
არაფრის – you're welcome
რას შემოგვთავაზები?
რით შემიძლია გემსახუროთ? - how may I serve you? (pol. to a customer)
DAT გაგვიმარჯოს! - format of a toast, ex. მეგობრებს გაგვიმარჯოს! Cheers to our friends!

Sentence Structures

Simultaneous Action (როცა or თან...თან)

To indicate simultaneous action, ex. "I was at class, when Wes was on vacation", one uses როცა to stand in for the when/while part of the English sentence. Both clauses of the sentence should be in the same tense.

Alternatively, the two actions can both be preceded by თან.

  1. მე წავალ საქართველოში, როცა ვისშავლი ქართულს.
    I will go to Georgia, while I am learning Georgian.
  2. თან მღერის თან ცეკვავს.
    She is dancing and singing (at the same time).

Conditional Sentences (თუ, რომ)

For sentences expressing, "X will happen, if Y", one uses თუ:if. For example, მოვდივარ, თუ გინდა:I'm coming, if you want. If the condition occurs if the past, such as "if X had happened, I would Y", then use რომ.

Expressing Desire (მინდა)

When expressing what one wants to do, both verbs – to want and the desired action – are conjugated. Thus, ...იმიტომ, რომ მინდა ვჯამო... ⧸ ...because I wanted to eat....

Options (თუ/ან, ან...ან, არც...არც, ხან...ხან)

There are two words for or in Georgian: თუ and ან. They function in a similar manner to 还是 and 或者 in Chinese, that is თუ is used in questions and ან is used in statements.

Comparative or contrastive options are expressed with duplication:

either X or Y
ან X ან Y
neither X norY
არც X არც Y
sometimes X sometimes Y
ხან X ხან Y
  1. მიდიხარ ოფისში თუ ბიბლიოთეკში?
    Are you going to the office or to the library?
  2. მას ჰყავს ერთი ან ორი და, მაგრამ მე ზუსტად არ ვიცი.
    He has one or two sisters, but I don't know exactly.

Reported Speech (-ო,-მეთქი)

Reported speech is always given in the tense/mode as if the person who is being quoted is actually saying the phrase.

There are two common ways of indicating this:

  1. -მეთქი (including the dash) for 1st person.
  2. -ო marker is attached to the verb, often at the end of the sentence, for anyone but 1st person.
  1. გუშინ დამირეკა და მთხოვა თუ შეგიძლია ბაზარში გამიყვანეო.
    Yesterday she called and asked "if it is possible for you to take me to the bazaar?"
    where me refers to the individual doing the asking.
  2. თვალიც დავხუჭე, ვითომ მძინავს-მეთქი.
    My eyes were shut, as if I said, "I'm sleeping."

Sometimes this, sometimes that (ხან..., ხან...)

When two things happen, but not necessarily at the same time (sometimes I ride my bike, sometimes I take the bus), use ხან before each "thing" that is being done.

(Not) as X, as you (როგორც...ისე / -ვით)

This structure can be used to express both positive and negative comparisons. If the first clause is negated (არ ვარ, for instance), then it will be "Not as X as whoever", whereas if it is a positive clause, then the comparison is "As X as whoever". Generally speaking, X-ვით is more common that როგორც X ისე.

  1. მაგრამ არ ვარ ისე დაკავებული როგორც შენ ხარ.
    But I am not as busy as you are.
  2. იმ გაზაფუხლზე ნამდვილი ძმებივით ვიყავით.
    That summer we were like true brothers.
  3. იმ გაზაფუხლზე როგორც ნამდვილი ძმები ისე ვიყავით.
    That summer we were like true brothers.
    Less common than the above version of the sentence.

The Versatile კი

კი performs 3 functionsKiziria 128:

  1. It is a neutral form of saying yes.
  2. "This/that one". When a noun has already been stated, კი can refer back to the same noun later in the sentence. For example, ეს ჩემი ლექსიკონია, ეს კი შენი ⧸ This is my dictionary, that one is yours.
  3. "However". When two clauses of a sentence contrast, კი serves as a contrastive marker. For example, გუშინ კარგი ამინდი იყო, დღეს კი წვიმს ⧸ Yesterday was good weather, today, however, it's raining.

Impersonal Sentences

Use 3pl, for example, ეს ხიდი ათი წლის წინ დაიწყეს ⧸ This bridge was built 10 years ago.

Infinitives vs. Verbal Nouns

Georgian does not have an infinitve in the sense that many languages have it. That is there is no "to go", but rather the "base" form is often the verbal noun, thus "going". It can therefore be confusing how to structure sentences that would normally use the infintive in other languages.

It is X to Y

The "It is X" clause is marked with -ა and the "to Y" clause is a verbal noun. For example, ზამთარში ძნელია საწოლიდან ადგომა ⧸ It is difficult to get up from the bed in winter. Or, more literally, "Getting up from bed in the winter is difficult".

It is X as it is Y

The first clause is often in the present tense and the second clause is often a vebal noun. For example, კითხულობთ როგორც იწერება
It is read as it is written
. Note that the first clause "it is read" is actually in 2PL.PRS.

Relative Clauses (რომელიც, სადაც, etc.)

Relative clauses are clauses such as "who was playing the guitar" in the larger sentence "The man who was playing the guitar was my father". That is, another sentence inside of a sentence, which describes some aspect of the larger sentence.

These types of clauses can be a bit tricky in Georgian because the clause marker, such as რომელიც:which, must be declined. For example, in our example sentence, since "man" would be in the ergative case (since it is in the past), so must რომელიც. Not every case, however, is represented: both genitive and vocative declensions are rare, if not totally unused.

One way to help create more complex sentences with relative clauses is to think of two sentences and then use a clause marker to join them. Using our prior example, it might look like this:

  1. The man was my father.
  2. The man was playing the guitar.

"The man" is the overlap between the two sentences, so we can modify "the man" in sentence 2 with the content of sentence 1. Thus, "The man, who was my father (1), was playing the guitar (2)". The same strategy applies to Georgian sentences.

Here is an example from ვანო და ნიკო by ერლომ ახვლედიანი:

  1. ველზე იყო ლამაზი ქალი. In the field was a beautiful woman.
  2. ლამაზი ქალი კრეფდა ყვავილებს და მღეროდა... A beautiful woman was picking flowers and singing...

ლამაზი ქალი:beautiful woman is the overlapping phrase and is in NOM in both sentences, so we can use რომელიც without declining it to get ველზე იყო ლამაზი ქალი, რომელიც კრეფდა ყვავილებს და მღეროდა... "In the field there was a beautiful woman, who was picking flowers and singing...".

Here are some example declensions and sentences for რომელიც:which (GEN and VOC not given).

Case Word Example
NOM რომელიც ადამიანი რომელიც წერილს წერს ჩემი ძმაა.
The person who is writing the letter is my brother.
ERG რომელმაც ადამიანმა რომელმაც წერილი დაწერა ჩემი ძმა იყო.
The person who wrote the letter was my brother.
DAT რომელსაც 10 წიგნი, რომელსაც ცნობილი ადამიანები გვირჩევენ.
10 books which famous people recommend to us.
INST რომლითაც მე მივდივარ ავტობუსით რომლითაც გზა არის უფრო დიდი.
I am taking the bus, by which the road is larger.
ADV რომლადაც ჩემს ძაღლს ჰყავს პატრონი, რომლადაც ყოფნა რთულია.
I have dog which is hard to be an owner of.

See below for an alternative form of relative clauses using რომ.

The Many Uses of რომ

რომ can appear in a variety of situations, which can be summarized under 5 different uses:

  1. that – this introduces another clause and is always preceded by a comma. In most cases, რომ can be omitted and the meaning won't change. მე ვფიქრობ, რომ ... ⧸ I think that....
  2. if – when used with a subjunctive tense (PRSSBJV, FUTSBJV, or PSTSBJV) the meaning is will be "if". რომ დახატავდე, მეც დავხატავდი ⧸ If you draw, I will also draw.Kurtsikidze, p133
  3. when – as with "if", რომ precedes the verb of the clause and no comma is used. In many cases, there is no clear distinction between "when" and "if" in the translation to English. საქართველოში რომ ჩავედი... ⧸ When I went to Georgian....
  4. relative clause marker – relative clauses can also be marked with რომ. However rather than following the strategy listed above, instead, one writes the clausal part sentence as if it were not a relative clause and inserts რომ in front of the verb. სტუდენტი, ქართული რომ ისწავლა, საქართველოში წავიდა ⧸ The student who studied Georgian went to Georgia rather than სტუდენტი, რომელიაც ქართული ისწავლა, საქართველოში წავიდა.Kurtsikidze, p192
  5. likes doing something – similar to the relative clause marker above, instead of leaving the second verb in a serial verb construction as a verbal noun, რომ may be placed in front of the 2nd verb, which is then declined as normal. მომწონს, სათამაშობეს რომ ვაკეთებ ⧸ I like making toys.Kurtsikidze, p193

Adjectives

Adjectives generally precede the noun in Georgian (დიდი ტყე:a big tree). As might be expected for a language with a case system, adjectives in Georgian decline, both when standalone (following normal case rules) and when paired with a noun.

When paired with a noun, adjectives can be divided between those ending in -ი and those not (also known as consonant-final and vowel-final adjectivesKurtsikidze 53). Those ending in -ი will decline like a noun in ERG and VOC cases, and will drop -ი in DAT and ADV. See, for example, examples of "at a time" below, where the final ი in the time is dropped. All other adjective types will not decline when paired with a noun.

National Adjectives

Comparison

The comparitive degree (e.g. more/less) is expressed with უფრო and the superlative (e.g. most/least) is expressed with ყველაზე. For example, ცხელი → უფრო ცხელი → ყველაზე ცხელი ⧸ warm → warmer → warmest. Than, in the sense of "heavier than Bob", is ვიდრე. ის უფრო მძიმეა, ვიდრე გიორგი ⧸ He is heavier than Giorgi. Make sure to include -ა at the end of the first clause, preceding ვიდრე.

Comparisons can also be done with the suffix -ზე, in the form of {noun1} {noun2}-ზე adjective/phrase. For example, შენ ჩემზე კარგად ლაპარაკობ ინგლისურად ⧸ You are better at speaking English than I am.

When wanting to describe something as "as X as Y", the suffix -(ა)ვით is used. The item that is the Y in "as X as Y" is marked with -(ა)ვით. For example, in ამ საჭმელს დედასავით კარგად ვერავინ ამზადებს ⧸ No one is able to make this food as well as my mom, "as my mom" is marked with -(ა)ვით.

The sentence order can change, such as in არ არის საქართველოსავით ძველი:(it) is not as old as Georgia, as long as the adjective/adverb being used in the comparison follows the word marked with -(ა)ვით.

Miscellaneous

Dialect Note

In a Gori accent, many individuals drop the final , in არის:is, as well as adding to words such as სად:where.

Tbilisi often has various colloquialisms not found elsewhere, as it is the largest urban area in Georgia. Some examples:

Bibliography