The Kartvelian languages
: ქართველური ენები
, Kartveluri enebi
, also known as Iberian
and formerly South Caucasian
) are a language family indigenous to the Caucasus
and spoken primarily in Georgia
, with large groups of native speakers in Russia
, the United States
, the European Union
and northeastern parts of Turkey
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
The first literary source in a Kartvelian language is the Georgian language inscriptions of Bir el Qutt
, written in ancient Georgian Asomtavruli
script at the Georgian monastery near Bethlehem
which dates back to c. 430 AD.
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.
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 only Caucasian language with an ancient literary traditionGeorgian script seems to have been derived from Aramaic, with Greek influences.
. The old
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.
The Kartvelian language family consists of four closely related languages:
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.
This page was last edited on 17 June 2018, at 03:17 (UTC)
under CC BY-SA license.