Kartvelian Languages
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Kartvelian Languages
Kartvelian
?
Geographic
distribution
Western Trans-Caucasus, Northeast Anatolia
Linguistic classificationOne of the world's primary language families
Proto-languageProto-Kartvelian
Subdivisions
ISO 639-5ccs
Glottologkart1248[1]
Kartvelian languages.svg

The Kartvelian languages (; Georgian: ? , romanized: kartveluri enebi; also known as Iberian[2] and formerly[3]South Caucasian[4]) are a language family indigenous to the South Caucasus and spoken primarily in Georgia, with large groups of native speakers in Russia, Iran, the United States, Europe, Israel,[5] and northeastern parts of Turkey.[6] There are approximately 5.2 million speakers of Kartvelian languages worldwide. The Kartvelian family is not known to be related to any other language family, making it one of the world's primary language families.[7] The first literary source in a Kartvelian language is the Old Georgian Bir el Qutt inscriptions, written in ancient Georgian Asomtavruli script at the once-existing Georgian monastery near Bethlehem,[8] which dates back to c. 430 AD.[9]

The Georgian script is the writing system used to write all Kartvelian languages, though the Laz language in Turkey is also written using a Latin script.

Social and cultural status

Georgian is the official language of Georgia (spoken by 90% of the population) 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. The old Georgian script seems to have been derived from the Greek script.[10]

Mingrelian has been written with the Georgian alphabet since 1864, especially in the period from 1930 to 1938, when the Mingrelians enjoyed some cultural autonomy, and after 1989.

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


Classification

The Kartvelian language family consists of four closely related languages:

  • Svan ( , lu?nu nin), with approximately 35,000-40,000 native speakers in Georgia, mainly in the northwestern mountainous region of Svaneti and the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia
  • Georgian-Zan (also called Karto-Zan)
    • Georgian (? , kartuli ena) with approximately 4 million native speakers, mainly in Georgia. There are Georgian-speaking communities in Russia, Turkey, Iran, Israel, and EU countries, but the current number and distribution of them are unknown.
      • Judaeo-Georgian (? , kivruli ena) with some 85,000 speakers, is the only Kartvelian Jewish dialect, its status being the subject of debate among scholars.[11]
    • Zan (also called Colchian)
      • Mingrelian ( ?, margaluri nina), with some 500,000 native speakers in 1989, mainly in the western regions of Georgia, namely Samegrelo and Abkhazia (at present in Gali district only). The number of Mingrelian speakers in Abkhazia was very strongly affected by the war with Georgia in the 1990s which resulted in the expulsion and flight of the ethnic Georgian population, the majority of which were Mingrelians. Nevertheless, Georgians in Abkhazia (mostly Mingrelians) make up 18% of the population, in Gali district 91.5%.[12] The Mingrelians displaced from Abkhazia are scattered elsewhere in the Georgian government territory, with dense clusters in Tbilisi and Zugdidi.
      • Laz ( ?, lazuri nena), with 22,000 native speakers in 1980, mostly in the Black Sea littoral area of northeast Turkey, and with some 2,000 in Adjara, Georgia.[]

Genealogical tree


The connection between these languages was first reported in linguistic literature by Johann Anton Güldenstädt in his 1773 classification of the languages of the Caucasus, and later proven by G. Rosen, Marie-Félicité Brosset, Franz Bopp and others during the 1840s. Zan is the branch that contains the Mingrelian and Laz languages.

On the basis of glottochronological analysis, Georgi Klimov dates the split of the Proto-Kartvelian into Svan and Proto-Karto-Zan to the 19th century BC,[13][14] and the further division into Georgian and Zan to the 8th century BC,[14] although with the reservation that such dating is very preliminary and substantial further study is required.[13]

Higher-level connections

No relationship with other languages, including the two North Caucasian language families, has been demonstrated so far.[10] Some linguists, such as Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze, 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 to it are not considered likely by other linguists.[15]

Certain grammatical similarities with Basque, especially in the case system, have often been pointed out. However, the hypothesis of a relationship, which also tends to link the Caucasian languages with other non-Indo-European and non-Semitic languages of the Near East of ancient times, is generally considered to lack conclusive evidence.[10] Any similarities to other linguistic phyla may be due to areal influences. Heavy borrowing in both directions (i.e. from North Caucasian to Kartvelian and vice versa) has been observed; therefore, it is likely that certain grammatical features have been influenced as well. If the Dené-Caucasian hypothesis, which attempts to link Basque, Burushaski, the North Caucasian families and other phyla, is correct, then the similarities to Basque may also be due to these influences, however indirect. Certain Kartvelian-Indo-European lexical links are revealed at the protolanguage level,[16] which are ascribed to the early contacts between Proto-Kartvelian and Proto-Indo-European populations.[17]

Comparative grammar

Regular correspondences

Vowels[18]
Proto-Kartv. Geo. Zan Svan
*? (*a)
[?]
a
[?]
o
[?]
a
[?]
*? (*e)
[?]
e
[?]
a
[?]
e
[?]
*? (*i)
[i]
i
[i]
i
[i]
i
[i]
*? (*o)
[?]
o
[?]
o
[?]
o
[?]
*? (*u)
[u]
u
[u]
u
[u]
u
[u]
Consonants[19]
Proto-Kartv. Geo. Zan Svan
Voiced
stops
*? (*b)
[b]
b
[b]
b
[b]
b
[b]
*? (*d)
[d]
d
[d]
d
[d]
d
[d]
*? (*g)
[?]
g
[?]
g
[?]
g / ?
[?] / [d]
Voiced
affricates
*? (*?)
[d?z]
?
[d?z]
?
[d?z]
? / z
[d?z] / [z]
* (*)
[]
?
[d]
? / ?
[d] / [?]
*? (*?)
[d]
?
[d]
?g / ?g
[d] / [d?z?]
?g / sg
[d] / [s?]
Voiced
fricatives
*? (*z)
[z]
z
[z]
z
[z]
z
[z]
* (*z?)
[?]
?
[?]
?
[?]
*? (*?)
[?]
?
[?]
?
[?]
?
[?]
* (*w)
[w]
v
[v]
v
[v]
w
[w]
Ejective
stops
*? (*?)
[p']
?
[p']
?
[p']
?
[p']
*? (*?)
[t']
?
[t']
?
[t']
?
[t']
*? (*?)
[k']
?
[k']
?
[k']
? / ?'
[k'] / [t']
*? (*q')
[q']
q'
[q']
q' / ? / ?
[q'] / [?] / [k']
q'
[q']
Ejective
affr.
*? (*?)
[t?s']
?
[t?s']
?
[t?s']
?
[t?s']
* (*)
[']
?'
[t']
?'
[t']
*?' (*?')
[t']
h
[h]
*? (*?')
[t']
?'
[t']
?'? /
[t'k'] / [t?s'k']
?'? /
[t'k'] / [?k']
Voiceless
stops
and affr.
*? (*p)
[p]
p
[p]
p
[p]
p
[p]
*? (*t)
[t]
t
[t]
t
[t]
t
[t]
*? (*c)
[t?s]
c
[t?s]
c
[t?s]
c
[t?s]
* (*c?)
[]
?
[t]
?
[t]
*? (*?)
[t]
?
[t]
?k
[tk]
?k / ?g
[tk] / []
*? (*k)
[k]
k
[k]
k
[k]
k / ?
[k] / [t]
*? (*q)
[q]
x
[x]
x
[x]
q
[q]
Voiceless
fricatives
*? (*x)
[x]
x
[x]
*? (*?)
[?]
?
[?]
?k / sk
[?k] / [sk]
?g / sg
[] / [s?]
*? (*s)
[s]
s
[s]
s
[s]
s
[s]
* (*s?)
[?]
?
[?]
?
[?]
* (*l?)
[?]
? l
[l]
Liquids *? (*l)
[l]
l
[l]
l
[l]
*? (*r)
[r]
r
[r]
r
[r]
r
[r]
Nasals *? (*m)
[m]
m
[m]
m
[m]
m
[m]
*? (*n)
[n]
n
[n]
n
[n]
n
[n]

Noun classification

The Kartvelian languages classify objects as intelligent ("who"-class) and unintelligent ("what"-class) beings. Grammatical gender does not exist.

Noun classification scheme
Concrete Abstract
Animate Inanimate
Human and "human-like" beings (e.g. God, deities, angels) Animals Inanimate physical entities Abstract objects
Intelligent Unintelligent
"who"-class "what"-class

Declension

Grammatical case markers
Case Singular Plural
Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan
Nominative -i -i/-e -i -i -ep-i -ep-e -eb-i -är
Ergative -k -k -ma -d -ep-k -epe-k -eb-ma -är-d
Dative -s -s -s -s -ep-s -epe-s -eb-s -är-s
Genitive -i? -i? -is -i? -ep-i? -epe-?(i) -eb-is -are-?
Lative -i?a -i?a N/A N/A -ep-i?a -epe-?a N/A N/A
Ablative -i?e -i?e N/A N/A -ep-i?e -epe-?e(n) N/A N/A
Instrumental -it -ite -it -?w -ep-it -epe-te(n) -eb-it -är-?w
Adverbial -o(t)/-t -ot -ad/-d -d -ep-o(t) N/A -eb-ad -är-d
Finalis -i?o(t) N/A -isad -i?d -ep-i?o(t) N/A -eb-isad -är-i?d
Vocative N/A N/A -o (/-v) N/A N/A N/A -eb-o N/A
Example adjective declension
Stem: ?ve?- (Min.), m?ve?- (Laz), ?vel- (Geo.), ?winel- (Svan) - "old"
Case Singular Plural
Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan
Nominative ?ve?-i m?ve?-i ?vel-i ?winel ?ve?-ep-i m?ve?-ep-e ?vel-eb-i ?winel-är
Ergative ?ve?-k m?ve?-i-k ?vel-ma ?winel-d ?ve?-ep-k m?ve?-epe-k ?vel-eb-ma ?winel-är-d
Dative ?ve?-s m?ve?-i-s ?vel-s ?winel-s ?ve?-ep-s m?ve?-i-epe-s ?vel-eb-s ?winel-är-s
Genitive ?ve?-i? m?ve?-i? ?vel-is ?winl-i? ?ve?-ep-i? m?ve?-epe-? ?vel-eb-is ?winel-är-i?
Lative ?ve?-i?a m?ve?-i?a N/A N/A ?ve?-ep-i?a m?ve?-epe-?a N/A N/A
Ablative ?ve?-i?e m?ve?-i?e N/A N/A ?ve?-ep-i?e m?ve?-epe-?e N/A N/A
Instrumental ?ve?-it m?ve?-ite ?vel-it ?winel-?w ?ve?-ep-it m?ve?-epe-te ?vel-eb-it ?winel-är-?w
Adverbial ?ve?-o m?ve?-ot ?vel-ad ?winel-d ?ve?-ep-o N/A ?vel-eb-ad ?winel-är-d
Finalis ?ve?-i?o N/A ?vel-isad ?winel-i?d ?ve?-ep-i?o N/A ?vel-eb-isad ?winel-är-i?d
Vocative N/A N/A ?vel-o N/A N/A N/A ?vel-eb-o N/A

Verb

Kartvelian verbs can indicate one, two, or three grammatical persons. A performer of an action is called the subject and affected persons are objects (direct or indirect). The person may be singular or plural. According to the number of persons, the verbs are classified as unipersonal, bipersonal or tripersonal.

  • Unipersonal verbs have only a subject and so are always intransitive.
  • Bipersonal verbs have a subject and one object, which can be direct or indirect. The verb is:
    • transitive when the object is direct;
    • intransitive if the object is indirect.
  • Tripersonal verbs have one subject and both direct and indirect objects and are ditransitive.
Verb personality table
Unipersonal Bipersonal Tripersonal
intransitive transitive intransitive ditransitive
Subject + + + +
Direct object + +
Indirect object + +

Subjects and objects are indicated with special affixes.

Personal markers
Subject set
Singular Plural
Old Geo. Mod. Geo. Ming./Laz Svan Old Geo. Mod. Geo. Ming./Laz Svan
S1 v- v- v- xw- v-...-t v-...-t v-...-t xw-...-(?)d (excl.)

l-...-(?)d (incl.)

S2 x/h- ?,(h/s)- ? x-/? x/h-...-t ?,(h/s)-...-t ?-...-t x/?-...-(?)d
S3 -s,-a/o,-n,-ed -s,-a/o -s,-u,-n (l)-...-s/(a) -an,-en,-es,-ed -en,-an,-es -an,-es (l)-...-x
Object set
O1 m- m- m- m- m- (excl.)

gv- (incl.)

gv- m-...-t,-an,-es n- (excl.)

gw- (incl.)

O2 g- g- g- ?- g- g-...-t g-...-t,-an,-es ?-...-x
O3 x/h,?- ?,s/h/?- ? ?,x- x/h,?- ?,s/h/?-...-t ?-...-t,-an,-es ?,x-...-x

By means of special markers Kartvelian verbs can indicate four kinds of action intentionality ("version"):

  • subjective--shows that the action is intended for oneself,
  • objective--the action is intended for another person,
  • objective-passive--the action is intended for another person and at the same time indicating the passiveness of subject,
  • neutral--neutral with respect to intention.
Version markers
Version Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan
Subjective -i- -i- -i- -i-
Objective -u- -u- -u- -o-
Objective-passive -a- -a- -e- -e-
Neutral -o-/-a- -o- -a- -a-

Examples from inherited lexicon

Cardinal Numbers
  Proto-Kartv.

form

Karto-Zan Svan
Proto-form Georgian Mingrelian Laz
1. one, 2. other *s?xwa
[?xw?]
*s?xwa
[?xw?]
sxva
[sxv?]
(other)
?xva
[?xva]
(other)
?kva / ?kva
[tkv?] / [?kv?]
(other, one more)
e-?xu
[?-?xu]
(one)
one n/a *erti
[?rti]
erti
[?rti]
arti
[?rti]
ar
[?r]
n/a
two *yori
[j?ri]
*yori
[j?ri]
ori
[?ri]
?iri / ri
[?iri] / [ri]
?ur / ?ur
[?ur] / [dur]
yori
[j?ri]
three *sami
[s?mi]
*sami
[s?mi]
sami
[s?mi]
sumi
[sumi]
sum
[sum]
semi
[s?mi]
four *o(s?)txo
[?(?)tx?]
*otxo
[?tx?]
otxi
[?txi]
otxi
[?txi]
otxo
[?tx?]
w-o?txw
[w-txw]
five *xu(s?)ti
[khu(?)ti]
*xuti
[xuti]
xuti
[xuti]
xuti
[xuti]
xut
[xut]
wo-xu?d
[w?-xu?d]
six *eks?wi
[?k?wi]
*eks?wi
[?k?wi]
ekvsi
[?kvsi]
am?vi
[?m?wi]
a?i
[i]
usgwa
[us?w?]
seven *?widi
[?widi]
*?widi
[?widi]
?vidi
[?vidi]
?kviti
[?kviti]
?kvit
[?kvit]
i-?gwid
[i-wid]
eight *arwa
[?rw?]
*arwa
[?rw?]
rva
[rv?]
ruo / bruo
[ru?] / [bru?]
ovro / orvo
[?vr?] / [?rv?]
ara
[?r?]
nine *ts?xara
[tx?r?]
*ts?xara
[tx?r?]
tsxra
[t?sxr?]
?xoro
[tx?r?]
?xoro
[tx?r?]
?xara
[tx?r?]
ten *a(s?)ti
[?(?)ti]
*ati
[?ti]
ati
[?ti]
viti
[viti]
vit
[vit]
e?d
[d]
twenty n/a *ots?i
[?ti]
otsi
[?t?si]
etsi
[?ti]
etsi
[?ti]
n/a
hundred *as?i
[i]
*as?i
[i]
asi
[?si]
o?i
[i]
o?i
[i]
a?-ir
[-ir]
Pronouns
Personal Pronouns
  Proto-Kartv. Georgian Mingrelian Laz Svan
I *me
[m?]
me
[m?]
ma
[m?]
ma(n)
[m?]
mi
[mi]
You (sg.) *sen
[s?n]
?en
[n]
si
[si]
si(n)
[si]
si
[si]
That *e-
[?-]
e-sa
[?-s?]
e-na
[?-n?]
(h)e-ya
[(h)?-j?]
e-?a
[?-d]
We *?wen
[tw?n]
?ven
[tv?n]
?ki(n) / ?k?(n)
[tki(n)] / [tk?(n)]
?kin / ?ku / ?ku
[tkin] / [tku] / [?ku]
näy

[næj]

You (pl.) *stkwen
[stkw?n]
tkven
[tkv?n]
tkva(n)
[tkv?(n)]
tkvan
[tkv?n]
sgäy
[s?æj]
Possessive Pronouns
  Proto-Kartv. Georgian Mingrelian Laz Svan
My *?(w)e-mi
[t(w)?-mi]
?e-mi
[t-mi]
?ki-mi
[tki-mi]
?ki-mi / ?ki-mi
[tki-mi] / [?ki-mi]
mi-?gu
[mi-u]
Your (sg.) *?(w)eni
[?(w)?ni]
?eni
[ni]
skani
[sk?ni]
skani
[sk?ni]
i-sgu
[i-s?u]
His/her/its *m-is?
[m-i?]
m-is-i
[m-is-i]
mu-?-i
[mu-?-i]
(h)e-mu-?-i
[(h)?-mu-?-i]
m-i?-a
[m-it-?]
Our *?weni
[tw?ni]
?veni
[tv?ni]
?kini / ?k?ni
[tkini] / [tk?ni]
?kini / ?kuni / ?kuni
[tkini] / [tkuni] / [?kuni]
gu-?gwey (excl.)
[?u-w?j]

ni-?gwey (incl.)
[ni-w?j]

Your (pl.) *stkweni
[stkw?ni]
tkveni
[tkv?ni]
tkvani
[tkv?ni]
tkvani
[tkv?ni]
i-sgwey
[i-s?w?j]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kartvelian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Caucasian languages Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ Bernard Laks, Origin and Evolution of Languages: Approaches, Models, Paradigms, Equinox, 2008, p. 46
  4. ^ Boeder (2002), p. 3
  5. ^ Languages of Israel
  6. ^ Ethnologue entry about the Kartvelian language family
  7. ^ Dalby (2002), p. 38
  8. ^ Lang (1966), p. 154
  9. ^ Hewitt (1995), p. 4.
  10. ^ a b c Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th edition (1986): Macropedia, "Languages of the World", see section titled "Caucasian languages".
  11. ^ Judeo-Georgian at Glottolog
  12. ^ Ethnic composition of the population of Abkhazia, January 1, 2016 (in Russian)
  13. ^ a b Klimov (1998b), p. 14
  14. ^ a b Klimov (1994), p. 91
  15. ^ Allan R. Bomhard, John C. Kerns. (1994) The Nostratic Macrofamily: A Study in Distant Linguistic Relationship.
  16. ^ Gamkrelidze & Ivanov (1995), pp. 774-776
  17. ^ Gamkrelidze & Ivanov (1995), p. 768
  18. ^ Fähnrich (2002), p. 5
  19. ^ Fähnrich (2002), p. 5-6

References

  • Boeder, W. (1979). Ergative syntax and morphology in language change: the South Caucasian languages. In: Plank, F. (ed.), Ergativity: towards a theory of grammatical relations. Orlando: Academic Press, pp. 435-480.
  • Boeder, W. (2002). Speech and thought representation in the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages. In: Güldemann, T., von Roncador, M. (eds.), Reported Discourse. A Meeting-Ground of Different Linguistic Domains. Typological Studies in Language, vol. 52. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, pp. 3-48.
  • Boeder, W. (2005). "The South Caucasian languages", Lingua, vol. 115, iss. 1-2 (Jan.-Feb.), pp. 5-89
  • Dalby, A. (2002). Language in Danger; The Loss of Linguistic Diversity and the Threat to Our Future. Columbia University Press.
  • Deeters, Gerhard (1930). Das kharthwelische Verbum: vergleichende Darstellung des Verbalbaus der südkaukasischen Sprachen. Leipzig: Markert und Petters.
  • Delshad, F. (2010). Georgica et Irano-Semitica (in German). Wiesbaden.
  • Fähnrich, H. (2002). Kartwelische Wortschatzstudien. Jena: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität.
  • Fähnrich, H. & Sardzhveladze, Z. (2000). Etymological Dictionary of the Kartvelian Languages (in Georgian). Tbilisi.
  • Gamkrelidze, Th. (1966) "A Typology of Common Kartvelian", Language, vol. 42, no. 1 (Jan.-Mar.), pp. 69-83
  • Gamkrelidze, Th. & Ivanov, V. (1995). Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and a Proto-Culture. 2 vols. Berlin / New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Harris, Alice C. (1985). Diachronic syntax: the Kartvelian case. Academic Press.
  • Hewitt, B.G. (1995). Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-90-272-3802-3.
  • Kajaia, O. (2001). Megrelian-Georgian dictionary (in Georgian). 1. Tbilisi.
  • Kartozia, G. (2005). The Laz language and its place in the system of Kartvelian languages (in Georgian). Tbilisi.
  • Klimov, G. (1964). Etymological Dictionary of the Kartvelian Languages (in Russian). Moscow.
  • Klimov, G. (1994). Einführung in die kaukasische Sprachwissenschaft. Hamburg: Buske.
  • Klimov, G. (1998). Etymological Dictionary of the Kartvelian Languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Klimov, G. (1998). Languages of the World: Caucasian languages (in Russian). Moscow: Academia.
  • Lang, D.M. (1966). The Georgians. New York: Praeger.
  • Ruhlen, M. (1987). A Guide to the World's Languages, Vol. 1: Classification. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Tuite, K. (1998). Kartvelian Morphosyntax. Number agreement and morphosyntactic orientation in the South Caucasian languages. (Studies in Caucasian Linguistics, 12). Munich: LINCOM Europa.

External links


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