About:Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus. Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad. It is the literary language for all regional subgroups of the Georgian ethnos, including those who speak other Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages: Svans, Mingrelians, and the Lazs. Judaeo-Georgian is spoken by an additional 20,000 in Georgia and 65,000 elsewhere (primarily 60,000 in Israel). Georgian shares a common ancestral language with Svan and Mingrelian/Laz, and is believed to have become distinct from all of its relatives in the first millennium BC. Based on the degree of change, linguists (e.g. Klimov, T. Gamkrelidze, G. Machavariani) conjecture that the earliest split occurred in the second millennium BC or earlier, separating Svan from the other languages. Megrelian and Laz diverged from Georgian roughly a thousand years later. The earliest allusion to spoken Georgian may be a passage of the Roman grammarian Marcus Cornelius Fronto in the 2nd century AD: Fronto imagines the Iberians addressing the emperor Marcus Aurelius in their incomprehensible tongue.
Also Called:Common Kartvelian, Georgian, Gruzin, Gruzinski, Kartuli