Georgian alphabet

From Academic Kids

The Georgian alphabet is the script currently used to write the Georgian language and occasionally other languages of the Caucasus.

The modern alphabet has thirty-three letters. Originally it had more, but some letters (lavender cells in the tables below) have become obsolete. Template:Alphabet


The Georgian script makes no distinction between upper and lower case. However, certain modern writers have experimented with using Asomtavruli letters (see below) as capitals.

Asomtavruli (Capital) Letters

Missing image
Georgian Alphabets

Georgian Alphabets: I-Asomtavruli, II-Nuskha-khutsuri, III-Mkhedruli

History of the alphabet

The oldest form of the Georgian script, the Asomtavruli ("capital") alphabet, was invented in 412 BC by Georgian priests of the cult of Matra (Persian Mithra). The Asomtavruli alphabet was reformed in 284 BC by king Parnavaz I of Iberia. It is still mistakenly attributed by many to Saint Mesrop Mashtots, who invented the Armenian alphabet. While the alphabet shows a great deal of Persian influence, the left-to-right writing direction and the order of the letters show that ideas were also taken from the Greek alphabet.

The Asomtavruli alphabet is known also as Mrgvlovani ("rounded"). Examples of it are still preserved in monumental inscriptions, such as those of the Georgian church in Bethlehem (near Jerusalem, 430) and the church of Bolnisi Sioni near Tbilisi (4th-5th centuries). Older, pre-Christian Asomtavruli inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD were found in Armaztsikhe (near Mtskheta) and Nekresi (in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia), in 1940 and 19952003 by the scientific expeditions of Simon Janashia (1900-1947) and Levan Chilashvili [1] ( The inscriptions from Armaztsikhe were investigated by Pavle Ingorokva.

The Nuskhuri ("minuscule") or Kutkhovani ("squared") script first appeared in the 9th century. Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri, collectively known as Khutsuri (ხუცური, or "church script"), were used together to write religious manuscripts, with the Asomtavruli serving as capital letters.

The modern alphabet, called Mkhedruli (მხედრული, "secular" or "military writing"), first appeared in the 11th century. It was used for non-religious purposes up until the 18th century, when it completely replaced Khutsuri. Georgian linguists claim that the orthography is phonemic.

The information regarding the extreme antiquity of the Georgian alphabet contained in this article is, to say the least, contentious. Most western scholars attribute the first extant example of Georgian script to be that of the Georgian church in Bethlehem dating from the 430 AD and not a millennium older.

External link

de:Georgisches Alphabet eo:kartvela alfabeto ja:グルジア文字 ka:ქართული ანბანი os:Гуырдзиаг алфавит pt:Alfabeto georgiano zh:格魯吉亞字母表


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