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Native toGeorgia, Israel, Russia, Belgium, United States
Native speakers
60,000 (2015–2018)[1]
Georgian script
Hebrew script
Language codes
ISO 639-3jge

Judaeo-Georgian (Georgian: ყივრული ენა; also known as Qivruli and Gruzinic) is the traditional Georgian dialect spoken by the Georgian Jews, the ancient Jewish community of the South Caucasus nation of Georgia.[2]


Georgian-speaking Jews maintain one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.[3] The most popular theory on the origins of Georgian Jewry is that the first Jews in Georgia arrived 2600 years ago after escaping Babylonian captivity.[2]

Relationship to other languages

Judaeo-Georgian is the only Kartvelian Jewish dialect. Its status as a distinct language from the Georgian language is the subject of some debate.

With the exception of a significant number of Hebrew loanwords, the language is reportedly largely mutually intelligible with Georgian.


In the beginning of the late 19th century, there were large Jewish communities across Georgia, including Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Tskhinvali in South Ossetia.[3] Small Jewish communities existed across almost every part of Georgia with a synagogue in nearly all villages and cities. The religious leaders of these were referred to as rabini or xaxami, the Georgia term for 'rabbi' and 'wise', respectively.[3]

Judaeo-Georgian has approximately 85,000 speakers. These include 20,000 speakers in Georgia (1995 est.), and about 59,800 speakers in Israel (2000 est.). The language has approximately 4,000 speakers in New York and undetermined numbers in other communities in the United States, Russia, Belgium, and Canada.


Judaeo-Georgian is, like many Jewish languages spoken there, on the decline in Israel. Its status in Georgia itself is unchanged, except by the rapid decline in the size of the language community, due to emigration beginning in the 1970s, which has seen the departure of some 80% of the community. Authoritative studies of its continued use by other expatriate communities of Georgian Jews have not been conducted.

Sample text

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood
עוואלה הדהמיהני יבהדאבה תהוויסוּפֿהלי דה תהנהסצוֹרי תהוויסי גֿירסאביתה דה וּפֿלאבאבית. מהת מינישצאבוּלי הכּוות גּוֹנאבה דה סינדיסי דה ארתמהנאתיס מימהרת וּנדה יכּסתאוֹדנאן דזמוֹביס סוּליסקוואתאבית
Latin transliteration
Qvela adamiani ibadeba tavisupali da tanasc̣ori tavisi ɣirsebita da uplebebit. Mat minič̣ebuli akvt goneba da sindisi da ertmanetis mimart unda ikceodnenʒmobis sulisḳvetebit
Georgian transliteration
ყველა ადამიანი იბადება თავისუფალი და თანასწორი თავისი ღირსებითა და უფლებებით. მათ მინიჭებული აქვთ გონება და სინდისი და ერთმანეთის მიმართ უნდა იქცეოდნენ ძმობის სულისკვეთებით


  1. ^ Judaeo-Georgian at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b "Judeo-Georgian". Jewish Languages. Retrieved 2024-01-19.
  3. ^ a b c Lomtadze, Tamari; Enoch, Reuven (2019-06-19). "Judeo-Georgian Language as an Identity Marker of Georgian Jews (The Jews Living in Georgia)". Journal of Jewish Languages. 7 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1163/22134638-07011146. ISSN 2213-4387.