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Encyclopedia > South Caucasian languages

The South Caucasian languages (also known as Kartvelian) are spoken primarily in Georgia, with smaller groups of speakers in Turkey, Iran, and Russia.

Contents

Classification

  • Georgian languages
    • Georgian (kartuli in Georgian), with 4.1 million native speakers. Of these, there are 3.9 million in Georgia, and about 50,000 each in Turkey and Iran.
    • Gruzinic (also called Judæo-Georgian; kivruli in Georgian and Gruzinic, gruzinit in Russian), with about 80,000 speakers, of whom 60,000 are in Israel, and 20,000 in Georgia. May be considered a dialect of Georgian.
  • Zan languages
    • Megrelian or Mingrelian (margaluri in Megrelian, megruli in Georgian), with some 500 000 native speakers as of 1989, mainly in the Samegrelo (Mingrelia) region of Western Georgia and (at the time) in the Gali district of eastern Abkhazia. Many Mingrelian refugees from Abkhazia now live in Tbilisi and elsewhere in Georgia.
    • Laz (lazuri in Laz and Georgian, also chanuri in Georgian), with 33,000 native speakers as of 1980, mostly in the Black Sea littoral area of Northeast Turkey, and with some 2,000 in Adjara, Georgia.
  • Svan language (lushnu in Svan, svanuri in Georgian), with approximately 15,000 native speakers in the north-western mountainous region of Svaneti, Georgia.

With the exception of Georgian and Gruzinic, these languages are not mutually intelligible. However, they are clearly related, and Laz and Megrelian are frequently considered a single language, called "Zan". The connection between all these languages was first reported in linguistic literature by J. Güldenstädt in the 18th century, and later proven by G. Rosen, M. Brosset, F. Bopp and others during the 1840's. They are believed to have split off from a single proto-Kartvelian language, possibly spoken in the region of present-day Georgia and Northern Turkey in the 3rd-2nd millenniums BC. Gruzinic (also known as Kivruli and Judæo-Georgian) is the traditional language spoken by the Georgian Jews, the ancient Jewish community of the Caucasus nation of Georgia. ... The Zan language or Zanuri is a conventional term used by some linguists to describe the unity of Mingrelian and Laz, which are the only two mutually intelligible South Caucasian or Kartvelian languages sometimes considered as the two distinct dialects of Zan. ... Megrelian or Mingrelian (მარგალური ნინა, Margaluri nina, in Megrelian; მეგრული ენა, Megruli ena, in Georgian) is a language spoken in northwest Georgia. ... Samegrelo (Mingrelia) is a historic province in the western part of the republic of Georgia, formerly also known as Odishi. ... Gali district is largely in the UN security zone Gali district is a district of the internationally unrecognised Republic of Abkhazia, de jure part of Georgia. ... Capital Sokhumi Official languages Abkhaz, Georgian Government  -  Chairman, Cabinet of Ministers  -  Chairman, Supreme Council Temur Mzhavia Autonomous republic of Georgia  -  Georgian independence Declared Recognised 9 April 1991 25 December 1991  Currency Georgian lari (GEL) Anthem Aiaaira Capital Sukhumi Official languages Abkhaz, Russian1 Government  -  President Sergei Bagapsh  -  Prime Minister Alexander Ankvab... Location of Tbilisi in Georgia Coordinates: , Country Georgia Established c. ... The Laz language (lazuri, ლაზური or lazuri nena, ლაზური ნენა in Laz; ლაზური, lazuri, or ჭანური, chanuri, in Georgian) is spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea. ... For other uses, see Black Sea (disambiguation). ... A littoral is the region near the shoreline of a body of fresh or salt water. ... Official language Georgian Capital Batumi ISO code GE.AJ Head of the Government Levan Varshalomidze Area  - Total  - % water 2,900 km² n/a Population  - Total (1989)  - Density 392,432 135. ... The Svan language (ლუშნუ ნინ, lushnu nin in Svan; სვანური ენა, svanuri ena in Georgian) is a language spoken in Northwest Georgia. ... Svaneti (სვანეთი. Also known as Svanetia or Svania in Russian and Western languages) is a historic province in Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. ... Johann Anton Güldenstädt (April 26, 1745 - March 23, 1781) was a German naturalist and explorer. ... Marie-Félicité Brosset Professor Marie-Félicité Brosset (January 24, 1802 – September 22, 1880) was a French orientalist who specialized in Georgian and Armenian studies. ... Franz Bopp (September 14, 1791 - October 23, 1867) was a German linguist known for extensive comparative work on Indo-European languages. ...


Based on the degree of change, some linguists (including A. Chikobava, G. Klimov, T. Gamkrelidze, and G. Machavariani) conjecture that the earliest split, which separated Svan from the other languages, occurred in the second millennium BC or earlier; while Megrelian and Laz were separated from Georgian roughly a thousand years later, and split from each other roughly 500 years ago. Glottochronology refers to methods in historical linguistics used to estimate the time at which languages diverged, based on the assumption that the basic (core) vocabulary of a language changes at a constant average rate. ... Arnold Chikobava (March 14, 1898-November 5, 1985) was a Georgian linguist, philologist and public benefactor, one of founders and Academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences (GAS), founder of the scientific school of the Ibarian-Caucasian linguistics, Meritorious Scientific Worker of Georgia, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor. ... Tamaz (Thomas) V. Gamkrelidze (born October 23, 1929) is a distinguished Georgian linguist, orientalist and public benefactor, Academician (since 1974) and President (since February, 2005) of the Georgian Academy of Sciences (GAS), Director of the Tsereteli Institute of Oriental Studies of GAS (since 1973), Dr.Sci. ... The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. ...


Gruzinic is sometimes regarded as a variant of Georgian, modified by the inclusion of large numbers of Hebrew and Aramaic loanwords. Its divergence from Georgian is comparatively recent. “Hebrew” redirects here. ... Aramaic is a group of Semitic languages with a 3,000-year history. ... A loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ...


Higher-level connections

No relationship with other languages, not even with the North Caucasian families, has been demonstrated so far. Some linguists have proposed that the Kartvelian family is part of a much larger Nostratic language family, but both the concept of a Nostratic family and Georgian's relation thereto are in doubt. North Caucasian languages is a blanket term for two language phyla spoken chiefly in the north Caucasus and Turkey: the Northwest Caucasian (Pontic, Abkhaz-Adyghe, Circassian) family and the Northeast Caucasian (East Caucasian, Caspian, Nakh-Dagestanian) family; the latter including the former North-central Caucasian (Nakh) family. ... The Nostratic languages are a proposed language superfamily to which some linguists believe a large number of language families from Europe, Asia, and Africa possibly belong. ...


Certain grammatical similarities with Basque, especially in the case system, have often been pointed out. However, most linguists dismiss those resemblances as very limited and superficial, more likely to be random coincidences than inherited traits from a common ancestral language. Basque (native name: euskara) is the language spoken by the Basque people who inhabit the Pyrenees in North-Central Spain and the adjoining region of South-Western France. ... In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns and adjectives to indicate such features as number (typically singular vs. ...


Any similarities to other linguistic phyla may well be due to areal influences. Heavy borrowing in either direction (i.e. North Caucasian to South Caucasian and vice versa) has been observed, thus it is quite probable that certain grammatical features have been influenced as well. If the Dene-Caucasian hypothesis, which attempts to link Basque, Burushaski, North Caucasian and other phyla, is right, then the above mentioned similarities to Basque may also be due these influences, however indirect. The Dene-Caucasian (or Sino-Caucasian) language family is a conjectural macrofamily containing the Sino-Tibetan, North Caucasian, Yeniseian, Basque and Na-Dene languages. ... Basque (native name: euskara) is the language spoken by the Basque people who inhabit the Pyrenees in North-Central Spain and the adjoining region of South-Western France. ... Burushaski (Other names are Burushaski, Brushas, Brushias) is a language isolate spoken by some 50,000_60,000 people in the Hunza, Nagir, Yasin, and some parts of Gilgit valleys in northern Pakistan. ... North Caucasian languages is a blanket term for two language phyla spoken chiefly in the north Caucasus and Turkey: the Northwest Caucasian (Pontic, Abkhaz-Adyghe, Circassian) family and the Northeast Caucasian (East Caucasian, Caspian, Nakh-Dagestanian) family; the latter including the former North-central Caucasian (Nakh) family. ...


It is well known today that the Proto-Kartvelian vocabulary was also influenced by Indo-European languages to some extent. The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many spoken in the Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau (Southwest Asia), and Central Asia. ...


Social and cultural status

Georgian is the official language of the republic of Georgia (spoken by 90% of the population of this country), and the main language for literary and business use for all Kartvelian speakers in Georgia. It is written with an original and distinctive alphabet, and the oldest surviving literary text dates from the 5th century AD. Europe in 450 The 5th century is the period from 401 to 500 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ...


Mingrelian has been written (with the Georgian alphabet) since 1864, especially in the period from 1930 to 1938, when the Megrelians enjoyed some cultural autonomy, and after 1989. The term minority rights embodies two separate concepts: first, normal individual rights as applied to members of racial, ethnic, class, religious or sexual minorities, and second, collective rights accorded to minority groups. ...


The Laz language was written chiefly between 1927 and 1937, and now again in Turkey, with Latin alphabets. Laz however is disappearing as its speakers are integrating into mainstream Turkish society.


Gruzinic was the language of the ancient community of the Georgian Jews. It is often written using the Hebrew alphabet. The Gruzim are Jews from the nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...


External links

  • Lazuri Nena - The Language of the Laz by Silvia Kutscher.
  • The Arnold Chikobava Institute of Linguistics, Georgian Academy of Sciences
  • Arthur Holmer, The Iberian-Caucasian Connection in a Typological Perspective
  • Atlas of the Caucasian Language, Kartvelian family.
  • Map. Caucasian languages.

  Results from FactBites:
 
South Caucasian languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (743 words)
The South Caucasian or Kartvelian languages are spoken primarily in Georgia, with smaller groups of speakers in Turkey, Iran, and Russia.
Svan language (lushnu in Svan, svanuri in Georgian), with approximately 15,000 native speakers in the north-western mountainous region of Georgia.
Georgian is the official language of the republic of Georgia (spoken by 90% of the population of this country), and the main language for literary and business use for all Kartvelian speakers in Georgia.
Languages of the Caucasus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (938 words)
The languages of the Caucasus are a large and extremely varied array of languages spoken by more than ten million people in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Comparisons have been made to all the three language families, Northeast Caucasian, Northwest Caucasian and Kartvelian, the most elaborate being the Dene-Caucasian hypothesis of John D. Bengtson's, yet the suggested evidence, though tempting, is considered as yet undecisive by many linguist, and the question of Basque's distant relatives thus remains open.
It has been speculated that the South Caucasian languages may be related to the extinct Iberian language, spoken until the 1st century BC in the Iberian peninsula (which is known as "Western Iberia" in the Caucasus, to distinguish it from the Caucasian Iberia).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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