Four years and three months in Georgia and my knowledge of the language is woeful. Last New Year’s day, I made a resolution to learn Georgian by this New Year’s Day. I don’t think this will be a resolution I can keep. I know quite a few Georgian words but stringing them together is a problem.
Georgian is so unlike the European languages I am familiar with. They have their own unique alphabet ა,ბ,გ,დ,ე etc… The 33 letters look to me rather like twisted paper clips. On the plus side it reads from left to right (unlike Hebrew, Arabic or Chinese).
My wife speaks English very well, so there is no motivation for me to learn Georgian to communicate with her. Since September we have been living with my mother-in-law, Zoya, who doesn’t speak English so this provides more motivation to learn.
I find learning the words difficult, they are often long and have no resemblance to words I’m familiar with. Even simple words like mother is დედა (deda) and father is მამა (mama). Hello is გამარჯობა (gamarjoba).
There are a number of letters, which to Georgians sound different like ტ and თ, but in English both are “t” the first is the “t” in Natalie, the second the “t” in “tbilisi”.
At the Christmas Expo I found a children’s book called “არრა!”
I have read this once to my granddaughter, Ana, without understanding everything I was reading, and my reading speed being frustratingly slow for both me and Ana.
Now I am determined to read it and learn the relevant vocabulary.
The story is a simple story of a naughty dog who thinks he is very good (დაან კარგი). He also thinks his name is “Nooo!” (არრა!), because that is what people constantly tell him.
Here he is dutifully tasting the chicken for his humans. We see on the right the speech bubble “არ-ა !!” (ar-a!! meaning no!!).
Wish me luck! (how do you say that in Georgian?)