Georgian Lessons Addendum #1: The Alphabet
This is what awaits you in Georgia.
One of the fascinating and unnerving things about visiting Georgia for the first time is trying to get a grasp of the alphabet, one of this old earth’s few distinct separate alphabets. There is a bit of Latin script and English in a few spots but generally one is confronted by a lot of hooks and squiggles that bear no relationship to anything else, as with the language itself. In this little addenda I thought I’d give you some of my observations of the signage around Tbilisi.
What awaits the traveler trying to decide what to do.
I thought this might be an announcement for a Georgian dance program. It was actually a call for Georgian dancers to join a new troupe.
After a while I started to make a little sense of the signs. I’m guessing that this was tailor for men’s traditional clothes.
Must be boots for the ladies.
Ah! NOT a pet store.
And where I could read the language it still wasn’t that clear. This was the name of the street I stayed on. I never could pronounce it. That seven consonant car crash in the middle didn’t help. And it gets worse when you realize that the ‘gh’ is pronounced like ‘ch’ in chanukah or Bach with a hard ‘g’ sound and the ‘r’ is heavily rolled. And the ‘v’ is more like a ‘w’.
This is a sort of Rosetta Stone, with the English, Russian and Georgian… except that the Georgian isn’t pronounced anything like doctor.
Finally some real English! Uh, but why is this pharmacy ‘copious’?
Well the first English line might sense if you’re from Alabama or Mississippi and the brakes don’t work.
Second hand what?
Word up! (This was actually an add for a local beer. But for a second I thought I was back in Harlem.)
I told you it’s the people you meat in Georgia.
Okay I’m utterly confused now. Any thoughts on what this might mean?
But don’t let the Georgian alphabet deter you. The Georgian people more than make up for any confusion you will feel. I would go back in a heartbeat!