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Georgian scripts

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Georgian scripts

Georgian
damts'erloba "script" in Mkhedruli
Type
Languages Kartvelian languages
Time period
430[1] – present
Parent systems
modeled on Greek
  • Georgian
ISO 15924 Geor, 240 – Georgian (Mkhedruli)
Geok, 241 – Khutsuri (Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri)
Direction Left-to-right
Unicode alias
Georgian
  • U+10A0–U+10A5F Georgian
  • U+2D00–U+2D2F Georgian Supplement

The Georgian scripts are the three Kartvelian languages.[2]

The scripts originally had 38 diacritics for its many vowels.[2][4]

Georgian scripts hold the national status of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.[5]

Contents

  • Preview 1
  • Origins 2
  • Asomtavruli 3
    • Form of Asomtavruli letters 3.1
    • Asomtavruli illumination 3.2
    • Handwriting of Asomtavruli 3.3
  • Nuskhuri 4
    • Form of Nuskhuri letters 4.1
    • Handwriting of Nuskhuri 4.2
  • Use of Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri today 5
  • Mkhedruli 6
    • Form of Mkhedruli letters 6.1
    • Modern Georgian alphabet 6.2
    • Letters removed from the Georgian alphabet 6.3
    • Letters added to other alphabets 6.4
    • Handwriting of Mkhedruli 6.5
      • Variation 6.5.1
      • Similar letters 6.5.2
  • Ligatures, abbreviations and calligraphy 7
  • Type faces 8
  • Punctuation 9
  • Summary 10
  • Use for other non-Kartvelian languages 11
  • Computing 12
    • Unicode 12.1
      • Blocks 12.1.1
    • Keyboard layouts 12.2
  • Gallery 13
    • Gallery of Asomtavruli 13.1
    • Gallery of Nuskhuri 13.2
    • Gallery of Mkhedruli 13.3
  • References 14
  • Bibliography 15
  • External links 16

Preview

The three Georgian scripts: Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri, and Mkhedruli.

Origins

Georgian Bir El Qutt inscriptions, 430 AD.
Georgian Bolnisi inscriptions, 494 AD.

The origins of the Georgian script are to this date poorly known, and no full agreement exists among Georgian and foreign scholars as to its date of creation, who designed the script and the main influences on that process.

The first version of the script attested is Asomtavruli; the other scripts were formed in the following centuries. Most scholars link the creation of the Georgian alphabet to the process of Christianisation of a core Georgian-speaking territory, that is, Kakheti, in the 1980s, to the 1st or 2nd century has not been universally accepted.[10]

A point of contention among scholars is the role played by

  • Georgian alphabet animation on Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. Gives the sound of each letter, illustrates several fonts, and shows the stroke order of each letter.
  • Live video of writing the letters on YouTube. Speaks the name of each letter, with some words that contain it, while writing them on ruled paper.
  • Lasha Kintsurashvili and Levan Chaganava, submissions to the 2014 International Exhibition of Calligraphy
  • Reference grammar of Georgian by Howard Aronson (SEELRC, Duke University)
  • Georgian transliteration + Georgian virtual keyboard
  • Unicode Code Chart (10A0–10FF) for Georgian scripts PDF (105 KB)
  • Transliteration of Georgian PDF (105 KB)

External links

  • Aronson, Howard I. (1990), Georgian: a reading grammar (second ed.), Columbus, OH: Slavica 
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Chikovani, Vakhtang (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255–264,  
  • Javakhishvili, I. Georgian palaeography Tbilisi, 1949
  • Barnaveli, T. Inscriptions of Ateni Sioni Tbilisi, 1977
  • Pataridze, R. Georgian Asomtavruli Tbilisi, 1980
  • Machavariani, E. Georgian manuscripts Tbilisi, 2011
  • Gamkrelidze, T. Writing system and the old Georgian script Tbilisi, 1989
  • Kilanawa, B. Georgian script in the writing systems Tbilisi, 1990
  • Hewitt, B.G. (1995). Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-90-272-3802-3.
  • Mchedlidze, T. The restored Georgian alphabet, Fulda, Germany, 2013

Bibliography

  1. ^ Oldest found Georgian inscription so far. Exact date of introduction is unclear.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Unicode Standard, V. 6.3. U10A0, p. 3
  3. ^ Machavariani, p. 329
  4. ^ Standard Languages and Multilingualism in European History, Matthias Hüning, Ulrike Vogl, Olivier Moliner, John Benjamins Publishing, 2012, p.299
  5. ^ ქართული ანბანის სამი სახეობის ცოცხალ კულტურას არამატერიალური კულტურული მემკვიდრეობის ძეგლის სტატუსი მიენიჭა Government of Georgia
  6. ^ B. G. Hewitt (1995). Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 4.  
  7. ^ Hewitt, p. 4
  8. ^ Barbara A. West. Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. p. 230.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f Seibt, Werner. "The Creation of the Caucasian Alphabets as Phenomenon of Cultural History". 
  10. ^ Stephen H. Rapp. Studies in medieval Georgian historiography: early texts and Eurasian contexts. Peeters Publishers, 2003. ISBN 90-429-1318-5. p. 19.
  11. ^ Koryun's Life of Mashtots
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^ Georgian: ივ. ჯავახიშვილი, ქართული პალეოგრაფია, გვ. 205-208, 240-245
  15. ^ Robert W. Thomson. Rewriting Caucasian history: the medieval Armenian adaptation of the Georgian Chronicles : the original Georgian texts and the Armenian adaptation. Clarendon Press, Oxford. p. xxii-xxiii.  
  16. ^ Stephen H. Rapp. Studies in medieval Georgian historiography: early texts and Eurasian contexts. Peeters Publishers, 2003. ISBN 90-429-1318-5. P. 450. "There is also the claim advanced by Koriwn in his saintly biography of Mashtoc' (Mesrop) that the Georgian script had been invented at the direction of Mashtoc'. Yet it is within the realm of possibility that this tradition, repeated by many later Armenian historians, may not have been part of the original fifth-century text at all but added after 607. Significantly, all of the extant MSS containing The Life of Mashtoc* were copied centuries after the split. Consequently, scribal manipulation reflecting post-schism (especially anti-Georgian) attitudes potentially contaminates all MSS copied after that time. It is therefore conceivable, though not yet proven, that valuable information about Georgia transmitted by pre-schism Armenian texts was excised by later, post-schism individuals."
  17. ^ a b Stephen H. Rapp Jr (2010). "Georgian Christianity". In Ken Parry. The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity. John Wiley & Sons. p. 139.  
  18. ^ Greppin, John A.C.: Some comments on the origin of the Georgian alphabet. — Bazmavep 139, 1981, 449-456
  19. ^ a b Nino Kemertelidze (1999). "The Origin of Kartuli (Georgian) Writing (Alphabet)". In David Cram, Andrew R. Linn, Elke Nowak. History of Linguistics 1996: Volume 1: Traditions in Linguistics Worldwide. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 228–.  
  20. ^ Mzekala Shanidze (2000). "Greek influence in Georgian linguistics". In Sylvain Auroux; et al. History of the Language Sciences / Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaften / Histoire des sciences du langage. 1. Teilband. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 444–.  
  21. ^ Harald Haarmann (2012). "Ethnic Conflict and standardisation in the Caucasus". In Matthias Hüning, Ulrike Vogl, Olivier Moliner. Standard Languages and Multilingualism in European History. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 299.  
  22. ^ Peter T. Daniels, The World's Writing Systems, p. 367
  23. ^ Machavariani, p. 177
  24. ^ ქსე, ტ. 7, თბ., 1984, გვ. 651-652
  25. ^ შანიძე ა., ქართული საბჭოთა ენციკლოპედია, ტ. 2, გვ. 454-455, თბ., 1977 წელი
  26. ^ კ. დანელია, ზ. სარჯველაძე, ქართული პალეოგრაფია, თბილისი, 1997, გვ. 218-219
  27. ^ ე. მაჭავარიანი, მწიგნობრობაჲ ქართული, თბილისი, 1989
  28. ^ პ. ინგოროყვა, „შოთა რუსთაველი“, „მნათობი“, 1966, № 3, გვ. 116
  29. ^ Machavariani, pp. 121-122
  30. ^ რ. პატარიძე, ქართული ასომთავრული, თბილისი, 1980, გვ. 151, 260-261
  31. ^ ივ. ჯავახიშვილი, ქართული დამწერლობათა-მცოდნეობა ანუ პალეოგრაფია, თბილისი, 1949, 185-187
  32. ^ ე. მაჭავარიანი, ქართული ანბანი, თბილისი, 1977, გვ. 5-6
  33. ^ ელენე მაჭავარიანი, ენციკლოპედია „ქართული ენა“, თბილისი, 2008, გვ. 403-404
  34. ^ ვ. სილოგავა, ენციკლოპედია „ქართული ენა“, თბილისი, 2008, გვ. 269-271
  35. ^ ივ. ჯავახიშვილი, ქართული დამწერლობათა-მცოდნეობა ანუ პალეოგრაფია, თბილისი, 1949, 124-126
  36. ^ Machavariani, p. 120
  37. ^ Machavariani, p. 129
  38. ^ ივ. ჯავახიშვილი, ქართული დამწერლობათა-მცოდნეობა ანუ პალეოგრაფია, თბილისი, 1949, 127-128
  39. ^ Mchedlidze, p. 105
  40. ^ a b კ. დანელია, ზ. სარჯველაძე, ქართული პალეოგრაფია, თბილისი, 1997, გვ. 219
  41. ^ B. George Hewitt, 1995, Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar, p. 4
  42. ^ გ. აბრამიშვილი, ატენის სიონის უცნობი წარწერები, "მაცნე" (ისტ. და არქეოლოგ. სერია), 1976, №2, გვ. 170
  43. ^ კ. დანელია, ზ. სარჯველაძე, ქართული პალეოგრაფია, თბილისი, 1997, გვ. 218
  44. ^ ე. მაჭავარიანი, ქართული ანბანი, თბილისი, 1977
  45. ^ Mchedlidze, p. 107
  46. ^ About Georgian calligraphy Lasha Kintsurashvili
  47. ^ Gillam, Richard Unicode Demystified: A Practical Programmer's Guide to the Encoding Standard p.252
  48. ^ Julie D. Allen Unicode standard, version 5.0 p.249
  49. ^ (Georgian) ილია მეორე ერს ქართული ენის დაცვისკენ კიდევ ერთხელ მოუწოდებს საქინფორმ.გე
  50. ^ Writing Systems of the World, Akira Nakanishi, p. 22
  51. ^ Georgica: A Journal of Georgian and Caucasian Studies, Issues 4-5, William Edward David Allen, A. Gugushvili, S. Austin and Sons, Limited, 1937, p. 324
  52. ^ ატენის სიონის უცნობი წარწერები, აბრამიშვილი, გვ. 170-1
  53. ^ The Languages of the World, Kenneth Katzner, p. 118
  54. ^ Chambers's encyclopaedia: a dictionary of universal knowledge, Volume 5, Chambers, David Patrick, William Geddie, W. & R. Chambers, Limited, 1901, page 165
  55. ^ T. Putkaradze, History of Georgian language, Development of the Georgian writing system, paragraph II, 2.1.5. 2006
  56. ^ მაჭავარიანი, თბილისი, 1977
  57. ^ The World's Writing Systems, Peter T. Daniels, The Georgian Alphabet, p. 367
  58. ^ Akaki Shanidze, The Basics of the Georgian language grammar, Tbilisi, 1973/1980, p. 18
  59. ^ a b c d e Otar Jishkariani, Praise of the Alphabet, 1986, Tbilisi, p. 1
  60. ^ Aronson, pp. 21-25
  61. ^ Stefano Paolini, Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, Rome, 1629
  62. ^ Mchedlidze, p. 110
  63. ^ Ingorokva, Pavle ქართული დამწერლობის ძეგლები ანტიკური ხანისა (The monuments of ancient Georgian script)
  64. ^  
  65. ^ შანიძე, 2003
  66. ^ Fake vs True Italics
  67. ^ Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia, V. 8, p. 231, Tbilisi, 1984
  68. ^ Unicode Demystified: A Practical Programmer's Guide to the Encoding Standard, Richard Gillam, p. 252
  69. ^ Aronson (1990), pp. 30–31.
  70. ^ a b ჳ and უ have the same numeric value (400)
  71. ^ The Politics of Ethnic Separatism in Russia and Georgia, Julie A. George, p. 104
  72. ^ The Abkhazians: A Handbook, George Hewitt, p. 171
  73. ^ Язык, история и культура вайнахов, И. Ю Алироев p.85, Чех-Инг. изд.-полигр. об-ние "Книга", 1990
  74. ^ Чеченский язык, И. Ю. Алироев, p.24, Академия, 1999
  75. ^ Грузинско-дагестанские языковые контакты, Маджид Шарипович Халилов p.29, Наука, 2004
  76. ^ История аварцев, М. Г Магомедов p.150, Дагестанский гос. университет, 2005
  77. ^ Enwall, Joakim (2010), "Turkish texts in Georgian script: Sociolinguistic and ethno-linguistic aspects", in Boeschoten, Hendrik; Rentzsch, Julian (eds.), Turcology in Mainz, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 3-447-06113-8, pp. 144–145
  78. ^ Hendrik Boeschoten, Julian Rentzsch (2010) Turcology in Mainz, p. 137
  79. ^ Enwall, Joakim (2010), "Turkish texts in Georgian script: Sociolinguistic and ethno-linguistic aspects", in Boeschoten, Hendrik; Rentzsch, Julian (eds.), Turcology in Mainz, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 3-447-06113-8, pp. 137–138
  80. ^ უნიკოდში ქართულის ასახვის ისტორია (History of the Georgian Unicode) Georgian Unicode fonts by BPG-InfoTech
  81. ^ Font Contributors Acknowledgements Unicode

References

Gallery of Mkhedruli

Gallery of Nuskhuri

Gallery of Asomtavruli

Gallery of Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli scripts.

Gallery

 Control key Win key  Alt key Space bar  AltGr key Win key Menu key  Control key  
 
 Shift key
 ↑
 Shift key
 ↑
 Caps lock Enter key 
 Tab key )
(
 
 1
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?
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§
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%
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:
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.
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;
 9
,
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/
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Below is the standard Georgian-language keyboard layout, the traditional layout of manual typewriters.

Keyboard layouts

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
[2][1]
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+2D0x
U+2D1x
U+2D2x
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 8.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
[2][1]
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+10Ax
U+10Bx
U+10Cx
U+10Dx
U+10Ex
U+10Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 8.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

The Unicode block for Georgian is U+10A0–U+10FF. Mkhedruli (modern Georgian) occupies the U+10D0–U+10FF range and Asomtavruli occupies the U+10A0–U+10CF range. The Unicode block for Georgian Supplement is U+2D00–U+2D2F and it encodes Nuskhuri.[2]

Blocks

The first Georgian script was added to the Irakli Garibashvili)

Unicode

The Georgian letter (ghani) is often used as a love or heart symbol online.

Computing


Old Avar crosses with Avar inscriptions in Asomtavruli script.
Ossetian text written in Mkhedruli script, from a book on Ossetian folklore published in South Ossetia in 1940. The non-Georgian letters ჶ f and ჷ ə can be seen.

Use for other non-Kartvelian languages

Letters Unicode
(mkhedruli)
Name IPA Transcriptions Numeric
value
asomtavruli nuskhuri mkhedruli National ISO 9984 BGN Laz
U+10D0 ani /ɑ/, Svan /a, æ/ A a A a A a A a 1
U+10D1 bani /b/ B b B b B b B b 2
U+10D2 gani /ɡ/ G g G g G g G g 3
U+10D3 doni /d/ D d D d D d D d 4
U+10D4 eni /ɛ/ E e E e E e E e 5
U+10D5 vini /v/ V v V v V v V v 6
U+10D6 zeni /z/ Z z Z z Z z Z z 7
U+10F1 he //, Svan /eː/ Ē ē Ey ey 8
U+10D7 tani /t⁽ʰ⁾/ T t T' t' T' t' T t 9
U+10D8 ini /i/ I i I i I i I i 10
U+10D9 k'ani // K' k' K k K k Ǩ ǩ 20
U+10DA lasi /l/ L l L l L l L l 30
U+10DB mani /m/ M m M m M m M m 40
U+10DC nari /n/ N n N n N n N n 50
U+10F2 hie /je/, Mingrelian, Laz, & Svan /j/ Y y J j Y y 60
U+10DD oni /ɔ/, Svan /ɔ, œ/ O o O o O o O o 70
U+10DE p'ari // P' p' P p P p Ṗ ṗ 80
U+10DF zhani /ʒ/ Zh zh Ž ž Zh zh J j 90
U+10E0 rae /r/ R r R r R r R r 100
U+10E1 sani /s/ S s S s S s S s 200
U+10E2 t'ari // T' t' T t T t Ť ť 300
U+10F3 vie /uɪ/, Svan /w/ W w 400[70]
U+10E3 uni /u/, Svan /u, y/ U u U u U u U u 400[70]
U+10F7 yn, schva Mingrelian & Svan /ə/
U+10E4 pari /p⁽ʰ⁾/ P p P' p' P' p' P p 500
U+10E5 kani /k⁽ʰ⁾/ K k K' k' K' k' K k 600
U+10E6 ghani /ɣ/ Gh gh Ḡ ḡ Gh gh Ğ ğ 700
U+10E7 q'ari // Q' q' Q q Q q Q q 800
U+10F8 elif Mingrelian & Svan /ʔ/
U+10E8 shini /ʃ/ Sh sh Š š Sh sh Ş ş 900
U+10E9 chini /tʃ⁽ʰ⁾/ Ch ch Č' č' Ch' ch' Ç ç 1000
U+10EA tsani /ts⁽ʰ⁾/ Ts ts C' c' Ts' ts' Ts ts 2000
U+10EB dzili /dz/ Dz dz J j Dz dz Ž ž 3000
U+10EC ts'ili /tsʼ/ Ts' ts' C c Ts ts Ts’ ts’ 4000
U+10ED ch'ari /tʃʼ/ Ch' ch' Č č Ch ch Ç̌ ç̌ 5000
U+10EE khani /x/ Kh kh X x Kh kh X x 6000
U+10F4 qari, hari /q⁽ʰ⁾/, Svan /q⁽ʰ⁾/ H̠ ẖ q' 7000
U+10EF jani // J j J̌ ǰ J j C c 8000
U+10F0 hae /h/ H h H h H h H h 9000
U+10F5 hoe // Ō ō 10000
U+10F6 fi Laz /f/ F f F f

This table lists the three scripts in parallel columns, including the letters that are now obsolete in all alphabets (shown with a blue background), obsolete in Georgian but still used in other alphabets (green background), or additional letters in languages other than Georgian (pink background). The "national" transliteration is the system used by the Georgian government, whereas "Laz" is the Latin Laz alphabet used in Turkey. The table also shows the traditional numeric values of the letters.[69]

The Georgian letter is on the WorldHeritage logo.
Batumi.

Summary

Signature of King Alexander II of Kakheti, with the divider
ჴლმწიფე ჻ ალექსანდრე
"The sovereign Alexander"

In Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri punctuation, various combinations of dots were used as Latin script.[68]

Punctuation

Georgian scripts come in only a single type face, though word processors can apply automatic ("fake")[66] oblique and bold formatting to Georgian text. Traditionally, Asomtavruli was used for chapter or section titles, where Latin script might use bold or italic type.

Type faces


Mkhedruli calligraphy of Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze and King Archil of Imereti

A Mkhedruli ligature of და (da) "and"

Mkhedruli, in the 11th to 17th centuries also came to employ digraphs to the point that they were obligatory, requiring adhesion to a complex system.[65]


A Nuskhuri abbreviation of იესუ ქრისტე (iesu kriste) "Jesus Christ"

A Nuskhuri abbreviation of რომელი (romeli) "which"

Nuskhuri, like Asomtavruli is also often highly stylized. Writers readily formed ligatures and abbreviations for nomina sacra, including diacritics called karagma, which resemble titla. Because writing materials such as vellum were scarce and therefore precious, abbreviating was a practical measure widespread in manuscripts and hagiography by the 11th century.[64]


A ligature of the Asomtavruli letters Ⴃ Ⴀ (და, da) "and"

A ligature of the Asomtavruli initials of King Vakhtang I of Iberia, Ⴂ Ⴌ (გნ, GN)

Asomtavruli is often highly stylized and writers readily formed ligatures, intertwined letters, and placed letters within letters.[63]

Ligatures, abbreviations and calligraphy

  • For (vini) and (k'ani), the critical difference is whether the top is a full arc or a (more-or-less) vertical line.
  • For (vini) and (gani), it is whether the bottom is an open curve or closed (a loop). The same is true of (uni) and (shini); in handwriting, the tops may look the same. Similarly (sani) and (khani).
  • For (k'ani) and (p'ari), the crucial difference is whether the letter is written below or above x-height, and whether it's written top-down or bottom-up.
  • (dzili) is written with a vertical top.

Several letters are similar and may be confused at first, especially in handwriting.

Similar letters

(he) may be written without the loop, like a conflation of ს and ჰ.

(ch'ari) may be written without the hook at the top, and often with a completely straight vertical line.

(ts'ili) is generally written with a round bowl at the bottom, .

(t'ari) often has a small circle with a tail hanging into the bowl, rather than two small circles as in print, or as an O with a straight vertical line intersecting the top. It may also be rotated a bit clockwise, with the small circles further to the right and not as close to the top.

(rae) is frequently written with one arc, , like a Latin h.

Rarely, (oni) is written as a right angle, .

(lasi) is frequently written with a single arc, . Even when all three are written, they're generally not all the same size, as they are in print, but rather riding on one wide arc like two dimples in it.

, , and (k'ani, tsani, dzili) are generally written with straight, vertical lines at the top, so that for example (tsani) resembles a U with a dimple in the right side.

(doni) is frequently written with a simple loop at top, .

(gani) may be written like (vini) with a closed loop at the bottom.

There is individual and stylistic variation in many of the letters. For example, the top circle of (zeni) and the top stroke of (rae) may go in the other direction than shown in the chart (that is, counter-clockwise starting at 3 o'clock, and upwards – see the external-link section for videos of people writing). Other common variants:

Mkhedruli police car.
Stylistic variation of letters რ and ლ on a street name sign for Rustaveli Avenue, showing variations in the name Rustaveli, with უსთავეის resembling hუსთავეის.

Variation

  • Only four letters are x-height, with neither ascenders nor descenders: ა, თ, ი, ო.
  • Thirteen have ascenders, like b or d in English: ბ, ზ, მ, ნ, პ, რ, ს, შ, ჩ, ძ, წ, ხ, ჰ
  • An equal number have descenders, like p or q in English: გ, დ, ე, ვ, კ, ლ, ჟ, ტ, უ, ფ, ღ, ყ, ც
  • Three letters have both ascenders and descenders, like þ in Old English: ქ, ჭ, and (in handwriting) ჯ. წ has both ascender and descender in print, and sometimes in handwriting.

, , and (zeni, oni, khani) are almost always written without the small tick at the end, while the handwritten form of (jani) often uses a vertical line, (sometimes with a taller ascender, or with a diagonal cross bar); even when it's written at a diagonal, the cross-bar is generally shorter than in print.

The following table shows the stroke order and direction of each Mkhedruli letter:[60][61][62]

Handwriting of Mkhedruli

  • (fi "phi") is used in Laz and formerly in Ossetian and Abkhazian.[2] It derives from the Greek letter Φ (phi).
  • (shva "schwa"), also called yn, is used for the schwa sound in Svan and Mingrelian, and formerly in Ossetian and Abkhazian.[2]
  • (elifi "alif") is used in for the glottal stop in Svan and Mingrelian.[2] It is a reversed (q'ari).
  • (turned gani) was once used for [ɢ] in evangelical literature in Dagestanian languages.[2]
  • (aini "ain") is occasionally used for [ʕ] in Bats.[2] It derives from the Arabic letter (‘ain).

fi

shva

elifi

turned gani

aini

Mkhedruli has been adapted to languages besides Georgian. Some of these alphabets retained letters obsolete in Georgian, while others required additional letters:

Letters added to other alphabets

All but ჵ (hoe) continue to be used in the Svan alphabet; ჲ (hie) is used in the Mingrelian and Laz alphabets as well, for the y-sound /j/. Several others were used for Abkhaz and Ossetian in the short time they were written in Mkhedruli script.

  • (he), sometimes called "ei"[58] or "e-merve" ("eighth e"),[59] was equivalent to ეჲ ey, as in ქრისტჱ ~ ქრისტეჲ krist'ey 'Christ'.
  • (hie), also called iota,[59] appeared instead of ი (ini) after a vowel, but came to have the same pronunciation as ი (ini) and was replaced by it. Thus ქრისტჱ ~ ქრისტეჲ krist'ey "Christ" is now written ქრისტეი krist'ei.
  • (vie)[59] came to be pronounced the same as ვი vi and was replaced by that sequence, as in სხჳსი > სხვისი skhvisi "others'".
  • (qari, hari)[59] came to be pronounced the same as ხ (khani), and was replaced by it. e.g. ჴლმწიფე became ხელმწიფე "sovereign".
  • (hoe)[59] was used for the interjection hoi! and is now spelled ჰოი.

he

hie

vie

qari

hoe

[57] The

Letters removed from the Georgian alphabet


ani

bani

gani

doni

eni

vini

zeni

tani

ini

k'ani

lasi

mani

nari

oni

p'ari

zhani

rae

sani

t'ari

uni

pari

kani

ghani

q'ari

shini

chini

tsani

dzili

ts'ili

ch'ari

khani

jani

hae

The modern Georgian alphabet consists of 33 letters:

Modern Georgian alphabet

Tamar of Georgia in Mkhedruli, 1187 AD.

Example of one of the oldest Mkhedruli-written texts found in the royal charter of King Bagrat IV of Georgia, 11th century.

"Gurgen : King : of Kings : great-grandfather : of mine : Bagrat Curopalates"

Mkhedruli inscriptions of the 10th and 11th centuries are characterized in rounding of angular shapes of Nuskhuri letters and making the complete outlines in all of its letters. Mkhedruli letters are written in the four-linear system, similar to Nuskhuri. Mkhedruli becomes more round and free in writing. It breaks the strict frame of the previous two alphabets, Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri. Mkhedruli letters begin to get coupled and more free calligraphy develops.[56]

Form of Mkhedruli letters

Mkhedruli became more and more dominant over the two other scripts, though Khutsuri (Nuskhuri with Asomtavruli) was used until the 19th century. Since the 19th century, with the establishment and development of the printed Georgian fonts, Mkhedruli became universal writing Georgian outside the Church.[55]

Like the two other scripts, Mkhedruli is purely royal charters, historical documents, manuscripts and inscriptions.[52] Mkhedruli was used for non-religious purposes only and represented the "civil", "royal" and "secular" script.[53][54]

Mkhedruli (cavalry" or "military", derives from mkhedari (მხედარი) meaning "horseman", "knight", "warrior"[50] and "cavalier".[51]

Royal charter of King Bagrat IV of Georgia in Mkhedruli, 11th century.
Royal charter of Queen Tamar of Georgia in Mkhedruli, 12th century.
Royal charter of King Vakhtang VI of Kartli in Mkhedruli, 1712 AD.

Mkhedruli

[49] Asomtavruli is used intensively in

Use of Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri today

The following table shows the stroke order and direction of each Nuskhuri letter:[45]

Handwriting of Nuskhuri

Note: Without proper font support, you may see question marks, boxes or other symbols instead of Nuskhuri letters.
Nuskhuri letters

ani

bani

gani

doni

eni

vini

zeni

he

tani

ini

k'ani

lasi

mani

nari

hie

oni

p'ari

zhani

rae

sani

t'ari

vie
ⴍⴣ ⴓ
uni

pari

kani

ghani

q'ari

shini

chini

tsani

dzili

ts'ili

ch'ari

khani

qari

jani

hae

hoe

Asomtavruli letters ო (oni) and ჳ (vie). A ligature of these letters produced a new letter in Nuskhuri, უ uni.

Nuskhuri letters vary in height, with ascenders and descenders, and are slanted to the right. Letters have an angular shape, with a noticeable tendency to simplify the shapes they had in Asomtavruli. This enabled faster writing of manuscripts.[44]

Form of Nuskhuri letters

Nuskhuri first appeared in the 9th century as a graphic variant of Asomtavruli.[41] The oldest inscription is found in the Ateni Sioni Church and dates to 835 AD.[42] The oldest surviving Nuskhuri manuscripts date to 864 AD.[43] Nuskhuri becomes dominant over Asomtavruli from the 10th century.[40]

[40].hagiography"), and it was principally used in cleric (ხუცესი) "khutsesi, "clerical", from ხუცური (Nuskhuri

Nuskhuri of Mikael Modrekili, 10th century.

Nuskhuri

The following table shows the stroke order and direction of each Asomtavruli letter:[39]

Handwriting of Asomtavruli


The title of Gospel of Matthew in Asomtavruli "Curly" decorative form.

The "Curly" decorative form of Asomtavruli is also used where the letters are wattled or intermingled on each other, or the smaller letters are written inside other letters. It was mostly used for the headlines of the manuscripts or the books, although there are compete inscriptions which were written in the Asomtavruli "Curly" form only.[38]

Asomtavruli letter დ (doni) is often written with decoration effects of fish and birds.[37]

Importance was attached also to the colour of the ink itself.[36]

From the 11th-century "limb-flowery", "limb-arrowy" and "limb-spotty" decorative forms of Asomtavruli are developed. The first two are found in 11th- and 12th-century monuments, whereas the third one is used until the 18th century.[34][35]


Decorative Asomtavruli capital letters, მ (m), ნ (n) and თ (t), 12–13th century.

[33] In Nuskhuri manuscripts, Asomtavruli are used for titles and

Asomtavruli illumination

Note: Some fonts show "capitalized" (tall) variants of Mkhedruli letters rather than Asomtavruli.
Asomtavruli letters

ani

bani

gani

doni

eni

vini

zeni

he

tani

ini

k'ani

lasi

mani

nari

hie

oni

p'ari

zhani

rae

sani

t'ari

vie
ႭჃ

uni

pari

kani

ghani

q'ari

shini

chini

tsani

dzili

ts'ili

ch'ari

khani

qari

jani

hae

hoe

From the 7th century, the forms of some letters began to change. The equal height of the letters was abandoned, with letters acquiring ascenders and descenders.[31][32]


Coins of Queen George IV of Georgia minted using Asomtavruli script, 1200–1210 AD.

In most Asomtavruli letters, straight lines are horizontal or vertical and meet at right angles. The only letter with X,[30] though these letters do not have that function in Phoenician, Greek, or Latin.

In early Asomtavruli, the letters are of equal height. Georgian historian and philologist Pavle Ingorokva believes that the direction of Asomtavruli, like that of Greek, was initially boustrophedon, though the direction of the earliest surviving texts is from left to the right.[28]

Form of Asomtavruli letters

[27] Although, some manuscripts written completely in Asomtavruli can be found until the 11th century.[26] From the 9th century, Nuskhuri script starting becoming dominant, and the role of Asomtavruli was reduced. However,

The oldest Asomtavruli inscriptions found so far date from the 5th century[23] and are Bir El Qutt[24] and the Bolnisi inscriptions.[25]

[22] (Asomtavruli

Manuscript in Asomtavruli, 10th century.

Asomtavruli

[21] Another controversy regards the main influences at play in the Georgian alphabet, as scholars have debated whether it was inspired more by the

[19] assigns a much earlier, pre-Christian origin to the Georgian alphabet, and names King [9] (ca. 800),Lives of the Kings of Kartli A competing Georgian tradition, first attested in medieval chronicles such as the

[18][17]:4[9]

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