ქართული ენის შესწავლის (Learning Georgian)

Today I had my first official Georgian lesson.

I learned that I will never, ever, ever be able to explain to anyone what I am doing in Georgia because I absolutely cannot pronounce the word for “teacher.”

მასწავლებელი

mastsavlebeli

It doesn’t necessarily look that easy, but it doesn’t necessarily look that difficult either.

It is.  I swear.

I can sound it out, slowly, one syllable at a time.  Kind of.  But put it all together?  Pronounce it at a normal, conversational speed?  Definitely not.

You try.

Say it three times fast.

Or just say it once.

Or please don’t… Because then I’ll feel worse about the fact that I can’t say it at all.

Here’s what happens:

  • First, the “s-t-s” throws me off.
  • Then, because I’m thrown off, I get the v-l-b-l sounds of “vlebeli” all out of order and get lost somewhere in the middle of the word.
  • In the end, I just start throwing in extra consonants, just for fun.  Or just because I’m confused, perhaps.  Either way, I make a complete mess of the word 🙂

My Georgian teacher is fantastic though.  Her name is Tako and she teaches English at a local private English school.  I was connected to her through the Peace Corps volunteers, several who are taking lessons with her as well.  My friend Betty (who arrived in Georgia around the same time as me) and I are taking lessons together once a week.

Even though I can’t pronounce “მასწავლებელი” (yet?), I do feel like the lesson was already helpful.  We reviewed the alphabet and then went over pretty basic and foundational stuff like “I am,” “you are,” “he/she/it is,” etc.  We also learned how to form basic sentences in order to have a simple conversation.  To have our conversation, in addition to the word for “teacher,” we also learned the words for “volunteer” and “director.”  Our conversation went something like this:

Betty: Hello.

Melanie: Hello.

Betty: Are you a direktori?

Melanie: No, I am not a direktori. … I am a ma-s-t-s-tstsavlbvevlvlebvkleleelbvii-beli. … And you?

I think I’m gonna get this! 🙂

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “ქართული ენის შესწავლის (Learning Georgian)

  1. Awwww you just have to acquire the sounds! But eventually your tongue will get into the groove of Georgian pronunciation. After all, it is a muscle like any other. WORK IT OUT! Say mastsavlebeli every time you think about it! lolol Ahhh … this sounds like a fun yet challenging life experience!

    Like

  2. I love this glance into the language! And the part about your pronunciation of ‘teacher’ cracks me up. Seriously, I canNOT figure out how to get my mouth to make some of these Russian and Ukrainian sounds! I am really envious of you having lessons, and that inspires me to see if I can do the same, since I am not spending nearly enough time on it to make any significant progress. Good for you! Any further posts about the language would be greatly enjoyed.

    Like

  3. Ahahahahah, I feel you. I’m learning Kazakh and Russian. Luckily there is little need to use the verb “to be” in Russian, so I dodged the first challenge. I’m using Memrise.com to learn and I’m finding it pretty useful (I’m even learning to type in Russian).
    Have you encountered anyone who is more or less discouraging you from learning Georgian? I’ve had friends question me learning Kazakh and that I should focus on Russian because it will “be more useful in the long run.” I’m living in a region that is 96% Kazakh and the woman who works in the school’s cafeteria constantly tells me to speak Kazakh when I try to order in Russian. So maybe more countries use Russian, but people here speak Kazakh. And I don’t need reasons to learn languages.

    Like

    1. Yes, I’ve experienced the exact same thing with learning Georgian vs. learning Russian! I’m thinking about taking Russian lessons while I’m here as well, because they’re right, it would be more useful in the long run and there are plenty of opportunities to use it. (I’ve also studied Slovak, so I feel like the learning curve would be significantly lower, and I may be able to communicate a lot more more quickly). However, I’m in Georgia, so I want to learn Georgian, and like you said, I don’t need a good reason to learn a language. 🙂 I was really surprised before leaving the US though at how many people asked me if I planned to learn Russian and how few asked about learning Georgian! What language family is Kazakh in? Good luck with both!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s