Georgian Language: Reasons why it is so difficult for me to learn #2. Peculiarities of the verb “have”

  • Some of the most frequent and necessary word forms are not only irregular but also highly counterintuitive, which means you have to learn them early along with the more straightforward parts of the grammar.  For example, the verb ‘to have’ seems like it should be very basic, but you need to know that it takes a dative case subject that agrees with what look like object prefixes, a nominative case object that agree with subject suffixes, and you also need to know whether the possessee is animate or inanimate, because there are two entirely different verbs for ‘have’ that depend on that fact.  Also, these two verbs use different irregular stems in every tense, so they require a lot of memorization.

მყავს I have (animate object). მე მყავს ერთი და. I have a brother.

but

მაქვს  I have (inanimate object) მე მაქვს ერთი სახლი. I have a house.

and transport is an exception…

მანქანა მყავს… I have a car

Thomas Wier (Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Free University of Tbilisi) remarked on the Georgian language: “The language itself has features that few languages around the world have. Compounding the problem is the fact that the context in which you learn the language (the resources available, and the attitude Georgians take towards foreigners speaking their language), means that foreigners have an uphill struggle even if the language itself were not unusual,”

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