Georgia is located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It covers an area of approximately 26,900 square miles and has a population of about 3.7 million people with the ethnic Georgians forming about 86% of the population. Like the majority of the Caucasian people, Georgians do not fit in any of the main ethnic categories in Asia or Europe. Other ethnic groups in Georgia include Armenians, Assyrians, Azerbaijanis, Greeks, Russians, and Ukrainians among other tribes. There are approximately 14 languages spoken in Georgia with Georgian as the most popular language. Other common languages include English, Russian, Assyrian, Svan, and Urum among other languages.
Official Language Of Georgia
Georgian is the official and primary language of Georgia. It is spoken as a first language by over 86% of the population. It is a Kartvelian language whose spoken form has many dialects and written in its own writing system. Georgian is divided into East Georgian and West Georgian groups that are together related to other languages spoken in the country including Laz and Svan. Apart from Georgia, the Georgian language is also spoken in some parts of Azerbaijan and northeastern Turkey. Although it is part of Caucasian region, the Georgian language is slightly different from other languages outside the area.
The evolution of Georgian into a written language dates back to the period of the conversion of Georgian elite to Christians in the mid 4th century. It was constructed on an already well-established cultural infrastructure, assuming the convention and status of the Aramaic. As the new language of the national religion, Georgian replaced Aramaic. The Georgian language is one of the toughest languages to learn according to the US department of State’s languages. It lacks prepositions and does not differentiate between genders. There are a number of Georgian dialects, namely Imeretian, Kartlian, Adjaran, and Tush.
Minority Languages Spoken In Georgia
Azerbaijani language is spoken by 6.2% of the Georgian population. It is the primary language of the Azerbaijanis and the official language of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijanis is a Turkic language spoken mainly by the Azerbaijanis community in Georgia. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Azerbaijani has grown in popularity compared to the Russian language. The growth of the language is attributed to the increased number of Azerbaijanis immigrants and the negative perception about the Russian language due to political differences.
Russians have been the largest group of immigrants in Georgia, accounting for 51.6% of all immigrants. With the country receiving a high number of Russians, the Russian language has had a significant influence in the daily interactions in Georgia. It is spoken by 1.2% of the Georgian population as their first language. Russian is mainly spoken by the Russian immigrants and the older Georgian generation. During the Soviet Union era, the communists mainly used the Russian language, especially in the far flung areas of Georgia. The Russian language was used as the second language and sometimes as the primary language in some parts of the country. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian language has been marginalized.
Status Of The English Language In Georgia
The number of English speakers in Georgia has significantly increased in the last two decades due to the government’s interest in the language. The government’s objective is to ensure that every child knows English. Thus, English has been made a mandatory subject in schools. The government has hired teachers from English-speaking countries such as the US and Canada to assist the local English teachers and also instruct students. Georgia aims to make English an official language in a few years.