Making Sense of Georgian Numbers

So what is new with Georgian?

user posted imageI got a basic handle on Georgian numbers. I heard from several people “oh, they’re soooo hard, they don’t make any sense”!  It takes forever to learn Georgian numbers…


They are based on groups of (or base) 20 – sort of similar to French eg:

20 =ოცი = otsi  = ( twenty )
40 = ორმოცი = ormotsi = ( 2 twenty)
60 = სამოცი = samotsi   =  ( 3 twenty )
80 = ოთხმოცი = otkhmotsi  = (4 twenty )

SO, to form the numbers between 21 and 99  you just use : 20, 40, 60, or 80, drop the final i, add da ( which means  and) and the number from 1 to 19; e.g.:

21 = ოცდაერთი = otsdaerti = (20 + 1)
30 = ოცდაათი otsdaati = (20 + 10)
38 = ოცდათვრამეტი = otsdatvrameti = (20 + 18)
47 = ორმოცდაშვიდი = ormotsdašvidi = (2 x 20 + 7)
99 = ოთხმოცდაცხრამეტი = otkhmotsdatskhrameti = (4 x 20 + 19)

100 = ასი = asi  (hundred)
1000 = ათასი = at-asi ( ten – hundred) etc. etc.
:and that’s it!  Sorry people, not that hard.

I have almost finished the Peace Corps booklet. I am on Unit 10 but it only goes up to 11. (feel free to insert your own Spinal Tap joke here)  Unit 10 is the “food” unit and I am having a really hard time listening to it without becoming ravenously hungry. Georgian food sounds delicious!  მშია = mshia = I’m hungry.

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The big news is that on the Video #8 at exactly 1:02 … Keti SMILES!! (she even almost laughs!) … for about 3 seconds. I replayed it about 5 times to make sure I was seeing it right.

It is incredible how many times I have to play the Georgian phrases over before they “click”. Yeah, that’s right; Georgian is hard. OK, got it, must keep moving on!

I have also moved on to Unit 1 of Kiziria’s Beginners Georgian. It is not nearly as intimidating as it was a few weeks ago. I do think the Peace Corps Introduction is a great way to “get one’s feet wet” with Georgian.   I would highly recommend the Peace Corps course to anyone starting out with Georgian. I’d say I know, perhaps 50-75 Georgian words now; up from zero two weeks ago.

Even though I am comfortable with the alphabet, it is still taking me a long time to read full sentences. I can really empathize with my 5 year old son who is learning to read. I feel like we are on about the same level (with my Georgian reading – I feel fairly comfortable reading English).

Moving forward this week, on to Kiziria Unit  2 where I learn how to have a Georgian phone conversation.  I imagine this will be a very, very brief conversation with my 100 word vocabulary…


Reflections upon my 1st week of Georgian study…

I have gotten one week of Georgian study under my belt.  It is pretty clear this language is not going to be a walk in the park (…not that I expected it to be after all!).  Take for example that in Georgian, the word for father is mama, the word for mother is deda and the word for boy is bitchi!

These first few weeks are arguably my favorite part with language learning.  I just love learning how different languages are extracted from random sounds and assembled in such a way that they mean something to people.  I am fascinated how Japanese can do it a certain way which is totally different from Italian which is completely different from Georgian!  Yet for each of those groups, the sounds and sentences have lucid meaning.  I can already tell that Georgian is remarkably different in its grammar and syntax than any other language I have studied; I can see how linguists get so excited over it!

I found a great course that teaches “Survival Georgian”.  It is put out by the Peace Corps and is completely free. ( I just love free knowledge!)  You can find it here for yourself if you are interested :

So, I have really just scratched the surface of the very basics of this alien language.  I am through Lesson 5 which means I have mastered such necessities as:

Where are you from? – saidan xarT?

What is your name? – ra gqviaT? / ra gqvia?

My name is…  – …mqvia  (sounds like “mivqueeah”)

Nice to meet you –  sasiamovnoa

and the most important phrase in any language …

Excuse me, where is the toilet/restroom?  –   Bodhishi, sad aris tualeti?

Of course, I can also now say “I am a Peace Corps Volunteer” effortlessly… which does me no good as I’m fairly sure I won’t ever be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Georgia in this lifetime. Oh well.

The lessons are fun because there are also VIDEO lessons that come with the pack. These lessons are led by a Georgian instructor named Keti.

Keti is VERY intense.    Keti does not smile.    Keti looks like she could (and would)  kick the living crap out of me even though I probably outweigh her by 100 pounds.  Keti WILL teach you Georgian … or else!   Despite my being somewhat intimidated by my virtual instructor, video lessons with Keti are quite entertaining.  In a sense I feel like I am transported back to the Cold-War era and am receiving some sort of secret CIA assignment.

”  Say  ‘I am a Peace Corps Volunteer’.”  “SAY IT!!!  …  I will break you ……”

Nevertheless, in the next week or two, I hope to finish the “Peace Corps Survival Georgian” Course.   After that I’ll go back to Book2 and start on the Beginner’s Georgian course.  At that point I may actually have enough under my belt to start finding actual people to speak Georgian with!
I may have to start with these guys!