Georgian (ქართული kartuli) is a Kartvelian language spoken by about 4 million people, primarily in Georgia but also by indigenous communities in northern Turkey and Azerbaijan, and the diaspora, such as in Russia, Turkey, Iran, Europe, and North America. It is a highly standardized language, with established literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century.[1]

There are at least 18 dialects of the language. Standard Georgian is largely based on the prestige Kartlian dialect.[2] It has over centuries wiped out significant regional linguistic differences within Georgia, particularly through the centralized educational system and the mass media. Dialects still retain their unique features in terms of phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary, but they are virtually entirely intelligible with each other.[3] The three other Kartvelian languagesMingrelian, Svan and Laz—are sisters to Georgian, but are unintelligible to speakers of Standard Georgian or other Georgian dialects.

Some of the basic variations among the Georgian dialects include:


The Georgian dialects are classified according to their geographic distribution, reflecting a traditional ethnographic subdivision of the Georgian people. Beyond the Western and Eastern categories, some scholars have also suggested a Southern group. These can be further subdivided into five main dialect groups as proposed by Gigineishvili, Topuria, and K'avtaradze (1961):[4]

Northwest dialects

Southwest dialects

Central dialects

The Central dialects, sometimes considered part of the Eastern group, are spoken in central and southern Georgia, and provide the basis for Standard Georgian language.

Northeast dialects

This group is spoken by the mountaineers in northeast Georgia.

Eastern dialects

Two of these dialects, Ingiloan and Fereidanian, are spoken outside Georgia, the former by the indigenous Georgians in northwest Azerbaijan, and the latter by the descendants of the 17th-19th century Georgian deportees and migrants in Iran.

Other dialects


  1. ^ Amiran Lomtadze (Institute of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tbilisi, Georgia) and Manana Tabidze (Chikobava Institute of Linguistics, Georgian Academy of Sciences). "Some problems of the functioning of the Georgian language in Georgia, p. 31" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2007-03-27. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Georgian Dialects Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, The ARMAZI project. Retrieved on March 28, 2007
  3. ^ Manana Kock Kobaidze (2004-02-11) From the history of Standard Georgian Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Kevin Tuite (1987). "The geography of Georgian q'e" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-03-27. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Price, Glanville (2000), Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-22039-9
  6. ^ Roʹi, Yaacov; Beker, Avi (1991), Jewish Culture and Identity in the Soviet Union, NYU Press, ISBN 0-8147-7432-6
  7. ^ Grenoble, Lenore A. (2003), Language Policy in the Soviet Union, Springer, ISBN 1-4020-1298-5