I know, I am lazy and not gifted at learning new languages but six years in Georgia, I should have made better progress, some of the blame might be apportioned to the difficulty of the language. I intend this to be the first of a few posts of observations as to why Georgian is so difficult to learn unless you are a child in Georgia.
I can see only two reasons for wanting to learn Georgian:
1. You want to live there for a long time.
2. You want the challenge of learning a REALLY difficult language (Hungarian, Polish or Cantonese Chinese might have a similar level of difficulty).
Outside Georgia, there isn’t much need for Georgian. I’m planning to stay here for a long while more, maybe for the rest of my life, so I have to get to grips with this tongue twisting tongue.
#1 Exorbitant consonant clusters, both quantitatively and qualitatively are more complex in Georgian than almost any other language, making simple articulation of the language difficult for non-Georgians.
English is not completely devoid of consonant clusters consider “tchb”, looks foreign or certainly not English but we say it without thinking in “matchbox”, “sks” in asks causes some native English speakers problems.
Georgian takes consonant clusters to another level. The Georgian alphabet has 5 vowels like the English alphabet but 28 consonants.
The capital Tbilisi თბილისი, puts a T in front of a b, something never seen in English at the beginning of a word, Mtskheta ( მცხეთა), a former capital is even worse.
Thanks is “gmadloba”… გმადლობა.
“მწვრთნელი ” meaning trainer contains one of the most formidable examples of consonant clusters, the first six letters მწვრთ are all consonants, which would be transliterated into English as seven consonants in succession… “mtsvrtneli.”
The vowels in Georgian are ა ე ი ო უ (equivalent to a, e, i, o and u).
Here is a bilingual text of Little Red Riding Hood…I’d place the tortoise in front of the Georgian text and the hare before the English text.
I’ll say “nakhvamdis” for now.