Month: March 2014

A Problem with the French Language (for English Speakers)

In French there is a verb “tutoyer” this means to use the familiar form of you. Many languages  have different forms of you, German, I am told, has nine different forms of you but English just has one you (in the past there were thees and thous), today the same you is employed for addressing a child, for addressing a president or for addressing several people. The same word you can be subject or object. I am thus not sure when I can address a French “friend” as “tu” instead of “vous“so I ask:

Me: Est ce qu’on peut se tutoyer?

(Can we use the familiar form of you? i.e. tu/toi)

French “friend”: Oui, si vous voulez.

(Yes, if you wish. But uses the polite form vous to me so I’m still unsure whether I should proceed with addressing him/her as “tu” or “vous“).

Sacré Bleu! :/





Some problems using the Georgian Language


lemons in the market

lemons in the market


I find when I go to the market and attempt to speak in Georgian, my interlocutors reply in Russian 😦


Me: რა ღირს?                      (How much? in Georgian)

Seller: шестьдесят               (sixty in Russian)

Me: სამოცი?                        (sixty in Georgian)

(hands over 1 lari, gets forty tetri back and goods)

Me: დიდი მადლობა           (thank you in Georgian)

Seller: спасибо                    (thank you in Russian)

Is my Georgian pronunciation so bad?

Do they think because I’m not Georgian I will automatically understand Russian (I don’t)?



Georgian Lesson 2

Four and a half years I have lived in Georgia. Georgian is very different from the European languages I know (French, Spanish, German or English).  I lived in France for six years and after two years I was reasonably fluent in the language. I thought Georgian would be similarly acquired but that isn’t the case. It will require some effort on my part and I am lazy.

Georgian lesson 2 : დალევა / სმა

Georgian lesson 2 : დალევა / სმა

I’ve been reading a few children’s books in Georgian, and translating them with the help of Khato (my lovely Georgian wife), a small Georgian English dictionary and Google Translate.

I asked Khato for lessons and marked 5 hours in the week when we could meet for lessons. The first lesson was on Tuesday 18 March, it took place in the kitchen and included phrases like:

ხათო თლის კარტოფილს    Khato peels potatoes

ხათო რეცხავს კარტოფილს  Khato washes potatoes

ხათო ჭრის კარტოფილს  Khato cuts potatoes

ხათო წვავს კარტოფილს  Khato fries potatoes

Talking with Charlie, a teaching colleague at the French school on Wednesday, I asked him for some suggestions for learning Georgian. He is an American who has been in Georgia for a much shorter time than me but gets by in Georgian.

He told me he’d take a verb and write it down in the various cases.  He also said it was better to use Georgian characters from the outset than using Georgian transcribed with Roman letters.

So for my next lesson that’s what I did.

I took the verb სმა or  დალევა (if someone Georgian can tell me the difference between the two I’d be grateful) meaning drink and got Khato to show me how it conjugated.


მე სვამ            I drink                                                   ჩვენ სვამთ   we drink

me vsvam                                                                            chven vsvamt

შენ სვამ           you drink                                             თქვენ სვამთ   you drink

shen svam                                                                          tkven svamt

ის სვამს           he/she drinks                                      ისინი სვამენ   they drink

is svams                                                                               isini svamen


მე დალიე           I drank                                                  ჩვენ დალიე   we drank

me davlie                                                                             chven davliet

შენ  დალიე          you drank                                      თქვენ დალიე   you drank

shen dalie                                                                            tkven daliet

მას დალი            he/she drank                                  მათ დალიე   they drank

mas dalia                                                                          mat dalies



მე დალე            I will drink                                     ჩვენ დალევ   we will drink

me davlev                                                                            chven davlevt

შენ დალე          you drink                                     თქვენ დალე   you will  drink

shen dalev                                                                          tkven dalevt

ის და          he/she will drink                      ისინი დალეენ   they will drink

is dalevs                                                                              isini daleven

As you might see from the transcription, Georgian has unusual combinations of letters to an English ear. ვსვამ! (vsvam)

მე ვსვამ ჩაის (me vsvam chais) I drink tea or I am drinking tea

We also looked at words for the family brother-in-law is the same as son-in-law (სიძე) .

Two recent factors will help my Georgian, I hope.

In September. I moved to Varketili (Var ketili means I am kind in Georgian), my mother- in -law, Zoia, moved in, she speaks very little English, so if we are to communicate, I need to learn Georgian. Also my hours at the French school have been greatly reduced this year, which is good for my Georgian. Before when I was thinking in “foreign” I was thinking in French, now I use Georgian more in daily life than French.

The longest journey starts with a single step.

I need to get motivated and learn Georgian….