Natia Amaghlobeli (Tbilisi)Morphological aspects of Georgian electronic language

In the given work we discuss some linguistic aspects of Georgian electronic language. In the first part of the article we examine morphological characteristics of words with English root, used in Georgian electronic language. Ex:


"Shutting down"

"Sending a message"

Most of these words are entered in Georgian and create grammatical forms under Georgian morphologic rules. Most frequent grammatical categories of such Georgian created words are verb and noun, rarely can also be found adjective.

Morphologic analysis shows that new method of words’ creation, based in English vocabulary and Georgian morphology, is arising. Though most of such words have Georgian translations the creolized forms are more popular and qualify as specific terms more easily.

Second part of the article is about Georgian sms language. This type of language is frequently used in English, French and other European languages. It is based on abbreviation of words with the view of economy of time and space. This “neography” (J. Anis) is frequent both in sms and internet communication. The study we have conducted shows that 25 % of French short messages are written in sms language while only 2 % of Georgian messages contain some abbreviated forms.

At the next step we tried to explain reasons of such results. We singled out main forms of abbreviation used in French corpus: phonetic style, syllabograms, logograms, acronyms, clipping and consonant skeleton. The last three forms can be found in Georgian electronic language, for ex:

რხ = როგორ ხარ?
(rx=rogor xar?)
(How are you?)

გენა = გენაცვალე
(gena =genacvale)

Consonant skeleton.
მგრ = მაგარი

Logograms are rarely used and have very a unnatural and uncommon character.





Other two forms of abbreviation don’t exist in Georgian language. We can underline three main features that prevent Georgian from the development of sms language:

  1. Inflectional morphology and existence of marks of declination, by reason of which usage of logograms is difficult.
  2. Phonetic principle of Georgian orthography – the given phoneme is represented with a single letter.
  3. In Georgian alphabet phonemes have the same nouns as corresponding sounds, that didn’t allow creating syllabograms.

We can conclude that because of type of morphology and phonetic orthography abbreviated forms are not so frequent in Georgian electronic language as in French, English or other European languages.


Shukia Apridonidze (Tbilisi)On Some Criteria for Transitivity of Verbs in Georgian Compared to Some Caucasian and Indo-European Languages

1. The main and, in fact, universal criterium for transitivity of verbs, as necessary and sufficient condition, is the presence of the nearest, i.e. direct object (in semantic terms –  patient).

However, the behaviour of this actant is different not only in languages of different families, but even inside of these families, and it depends on their grammatical – morphosyntactic – structure, e.g. in languages with less- or non-developed declination system; for example, subject and object in English are differentiated by word-order (subject is followed by object), whereas in languages with well-developed case system these actants are expressed morphologically, by certain cases.

2. Besides, in some languages the correlation between the cases of the actants is stable (e.g. in Indo-European languages), and in others – lable (e.g. in Georgian, and, partially, in Adyghe, and in some other North-Caucasian languages as well): In languages with accusative, (in Russian, German, French...) this form is chosen only by direct object, whereas the nominative in most Indo-European languages is used for expressing of only subject. Such syntactic dependence is observed in several North-Caucasian languages, and among them in Adyghe, where one can see this in intransitive verbs, but in transitive verbs subject stands in ergative, and direct object – in nominative. In Kartvelian languages, including Georgian, such correlation between the cases of these actants is preserved in spite of changes of verbal TMA (tense-mood-aspect) forms (see Chikobava, Rogava, G. Topuria, Sukhishvili...).

3. Adjectives in Georgian expressing indefinite number (bevri “many/ much; cot’a “few, little”, ramdeni “how many/much”, amdeni / imdeni “this /that amount”), combined especially with monopersonal verbs, function in a sentence as adverbs. However, in such syntagmas these words behave not like adverbs, i.e. as unchanged words, but as direct (“the nearest”) object: they change according to cases, as nouns whose cases are triggered by transitive verbs: with verbal forms of the I Series direct object stands in dative, whereas the same verbs being in the II and the III series, require nominative from nouns. Cf.: bevr-s (Dat.) icini-s “(“[s]he  laughs much!), and: bevr-i (Nom.) icin-a (“[s]he laughed much”).

4. The next step is studying of North-Caucasian languages (Adyghe among them), from the viewpoint of possible influence of aspectually marked forms on the syntax.


Winfried Boeder (University of Oldenburg)Anaphora in Svan texts

In many respects, Svan anaphora is very similar to what may be called the Georgian Standard. For instance, it has “zero anaphora” (1) and reflexive (2) and non-reflexive (non-anaphoric) (3) “tavi”-constructions:

(1) ešxu ma:re sga loxcvi:rax murq’vamte, ma:d ämqed ka murq’vamxänka (BZ 1,8)
‘one man, they say, [they] left in the tower. [He] didn’t wnat to come out of the tower’
(2) ečkas txum čvak’va:ne c’elxänu:n (Xr 19)
‘then he will throw himself [lit. (his) head] down from his donkey’
(3) γertem mac’ve:nas švidebd isgvej txvim (BZ 47,3)
‘may God let me see you [lit. your head] [living] in peace’

However, the Svan pronominal system is somewhat different from Georgian: in addition to the deictic proximity opposition between ala ‘this’ and eǯa ‘that’, it has a non-deictic anaphoric pronoun ǯa (Lower Bal dialect: ǯi), which is a “short form” of its deictic counterpart e-ǯa ‘that’. One of its uses is in “semi-indirect-speech” which is specific to Svan. I will not discuss this use in detail (but see Boeder 2002):

(4) eǯi eser ǯi li (BK 99,37)
‘[he said:] that am I [lit. that quotative he is]’
(5) xekv miča xaxvem: “ǯa rokv xola ma:re...” (BZ 378,8–9)
‘his wife said to him: “You bad man... [lit. he.Nom quotative bad man.Nom]’

The other difference is the use of ǯa in, roughly speaking, focusing constructions, which Svan shares with Megrelian and Laz (mu-) and (possibly) Adyghe (yež):

(6) ameču arda ǯa gar i igvända (BZ 369,9–109)
‘then she was all alone [lit. only she] and wept’
(7) anqäd atxe ägite, di:na lardate adgene, ǯa sga ačäd korte i laxvbas ägis esxi:d (BZ 253,2–4)
‘he came home now, the girl he accommodated in a lodge; he himself went into the house and met his brothers at home’
(8) änma:rä:n txumšv ǯa (BZ 100,26)
‘[at home, the king’s son was waiting for the messengers he had sent, but they had been killed, and nobody returned home. Now] he prepared for it himself [lit. head.Instr himself.Nom; = hé by himsélf]’

(Cp. Megrelian mideeʔonә do cas kimik'axunuu do mukə sua kimik’aaporə ‘it took him away and put him into heaven, and [this creature] itself covered him with his wing’ (Q’. 39,4); Laz ia oxoiš doloxe kanaškves do mutepe igzales (Asatiani 87,6-7) ‘him they left inside the house and they themselves went away’ apud Ezugbaia 1999)

In my paper I will concentrate on this latter use which is related to concepts like topicality and viewpoint. In the literature, it is discussed under different headings such as “intensifier”, “emphatic” and “reflexive” use.


Boeder, Winfried 2002: “Speech and thought representation in the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages”, in: Tom Güldemann – Manfred von Roncador (edd.) 2002: Reported Discourse. A meeting ground of different linguistic domains (= Typological Studies in Language 52). Amsterdam - Philadelphia: Benjamins, pp. 3–48

Boeder, Winfried 2003d: “Anapher im Swanischen”, in: W. Boeder (ed.): Kaukasische Sprachprobleme (= Caucasica Oldenburgensia 1). Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg, pp. 75–94

Boeder, Winfried 2004a: “The South Caucasian languages”, Lingua 115 (2005),1–2: 5–89

Ezugbaia, Lali 1999: “munepi, mutepe pormebisatvis Zanurši”, Arnold Čikobavas Sak’itxavebi 10: 20–22

König, Ekkehard – Peter Siemund 2000: “Intensifiers and reflexives: a typological perspective”, in: Zygmunt Frajzyngier – Traci S. Curl (edd.): Reflexives. Forms and functions (= Typological Studies in Language 40). Amsterdam – Philadelphia: Benjamins, pp. 41–74

Lyutikova, Ekaterina 1997: “Refleksivy i ėmfaza”, Voprosy jazykoznanija 1997,6: 49–74

Testelets, Yakov G. – S. Ju. Toldova 1998: “Refleksivnye mestoimenija v dagestanskix jazykax i tipologija refleksiva”, Voprosy jazykoznanija 1998,4: 35–57


Ketevany Gadiliya (Institute for Bible translation, Moscow)On some features of imperative in modern Georgian

I. The presentation is devoted to the truncated imperative in Modern Georgian and issues the challenge to describe, classify and present some rules of formation the imperative forms like a-mo – come up [to me], ča-mo – come down [to me], ga-mo – come out [to me], še-mo – come in, c̣a-mo – come along with me, gad-mo – come across something [to me], mome – give me, da-ǯe – sit down, da-c̣e – lay down, ga-c̣e – stop, hold on, a-de – get up, še-xe – look at it, da-xe – look down at it, dahḳa – hit, moiṭa – give me, c̣amoiq̣a – take someone [to me], daič̣i – hold it, daic̣i – move aside, dauḳa – play and etc.

The forms of truncated imperative attract the minimal attention of linguists. Some brief notes are found in [2, 196; 3, 197; 4, 439]

II. From the one hand, the Georgian imperative is quite abundant, on the other hand, Modern Georgian (MO) does not dispose its own grammatical means for expression of the imperative mood and uses the “borrowed” verbal forms. A brief description allows us to demonstrate a more or less full picture of transformation and current status of imperative in Georgian. In Old Georgian (OG) imperative mood has got its own screeve. The grammatical meaning of imperative is expressed via opposition of imperative form and the aorist. The form of 2nd person imperative is marked by Ø marker. It distinguishes imperative from aorist which is manifested by 2nd person object marker -h-, -s-.

Imperative Aorist
da-male – hide [it] da-h-male – you hid [it]
(še)-č̣a-me – eat [it] (še)-s-č̣a-me – you ate [it]

Modern Georgian literary language does not dispose the formal means to convey the 2nd imperative and uses the indicative form of aorist screeve: aašene! (imperative) – build! and aašene (aorist) – you built it! Only the verb ved- has preserved the special form of imperative: modi – come [here], c̣adi – go away! (cm. the aorist of ved-: mo-x-vedi – you came, c̣axvedi – you went away). Old Georgian 3rd person imperative is conveyed by special imperative marker -in/-n: moved-in! – Let him/her come!, c̣ar-vedin! – Let him/her you go!, iq̇avn – Let him/her be! Modern Georgian 3rd person imperative uses form of conjuctive (optative) screeve: c̣aiɣos – let him/her take away [it], utxras – let him/her say, aašenos - let him/her build [it]. The 1st person (plural inclusive) screeve uses the future conjunctive screeve: c̣avide-t! – Let us go!, avašeno-t! – Let us build!

III. The peculiarities of the truncate imperative in Georgian:

  1. The truncated imperative has got only 2nd person singular forms.
  2. The forms of truncated and full forms of imperative basically coexist in parallel to each other daǯe / daǯe-ki, dac̣e / dac̣e-ki, amo / amo-di.
  3. The truncated imperative is formed only in combination with the preverbs. For example: daǯe but not ǯe, dac̣e but not c̣e. The exception is the form še(s)deksdek.
  4. Truncated imperative forms are semantically restricted. Mainly these are the verbs of vision (look at, up, down, aside and etc), movement (come in, along, go away and etc.) as well as the verbs like put on, put into, lay down, lie, stop, hold on and etc.
  5. The number of truncated/reduced segments is restricted: -de (šexe-de < šexe, moica-de < moica), -di (amo-di < amo), -vi(c̣amq̇e-vi < c̣amq̇e, gamq̇e-vi < gamq̇e), – ne (gaata-ne < gaata), -ki (dac̣e-ki < dac̣e), - e(moc̣i-e < moc̣i, gaic̣i-e < gaic̣i).
  6. The verb ved- – to walk produces peculiar forms of truncated imperative in combination with the complex preverbs. Reduction of morphem di generates the meaingfull bear complex preverbs : amo-di < amo, čamo-di < čamo, gamodi<gamo, šemo-di < šemo, c̣amo-di < c̣amo, gadmo-di < gadmo.
  7. The truncated imperative is mainly used in singular in oral colloquial speech and represents the set verbs of high frequency.
  8. The collected data allows me to suggest some preliminary rules of truncation: 1. the truncation seems to be allowed in the verbs consisted of one or at least two syllables. 2. the truncated segment ending can be only vowels -e, -i, a.

IV. The data of truncated form of imperative in Georgian deserves more sufficient attention than it has been revealed so far. The section III does not reflect the rest of important forms like interjection dae as well as an abundant data of Georgian dialects.


Shanidze, Akaki. Basis of Grammar of Georgian language. Morphology. Tbilisi, 1953 (in Georgian).

Vogt, Hans. Grammaire de la langue géorgienne. Oslo, 1971.

Hewitt, George. Georgian: A Learner's Grammar. 2nd ed. L.:Routledge. 1996.

Aronson, Howard. Georgian: A Reading Grammar. Corrected Version. Bloomington:Slavica. 1990.


Alice C. Harris (SUNY Stony Brook, UMass Amherst)Affixes and Clitics in Georgian

Šaniʒe (1953/1973) argued that -gan, -(a)mde, -ši, and -ze (but not -tan) have become cases, on the grounds that the case markers which each one formerly governed have disappeared. For example, Old Georgian (from the fifth century) has (1).

(1) c’q’al-sa šina water-DAT in ‘in the water’

Loss of a from -sa juxtaposed s with š, and the former was lost, giving modern c'q'al-ši ‘in the water’, with šina also simplified to ši. (Georgian orthography requires writing polysyllabic postpositions as separate words, but monosyllabic ones with the noun.)  Most linguists wouldreject Šaniʒe’s argument on the grounds that loss of the case marker s here is a simple phonological change, and phonological changes alone do not change the grammatical category of either the target or the trigger. Čikobava (1961) argued against Šaniʒe’s analysis on the grounds that (a) there cannot be two cases called locative (surely an irrelevant argument), and (b) the case marker governed by the postposition must occur on every conjoined noun in the complement of the postposition, except the last, as in (2).

(2) saxl-s(a) da baγ-ši (example from Tschenkéli 1958:36) house-DAT and garden-in ‘in the house and garden’

(3 *saxl da baγ-ši

Čikobava’s argument is based on acceptance of Šaniʒe’s assumption that government of a specific case form is a valid criterion for distinguishing a case from a postposition; Čikobava takes the position that the phonological change is not significant in determining whether the element in question governs the dative case.

As observed above, none of the criteria proposed by Šaniʒe and Čikobava would be accepted by linguists today. Zwicky and Pullum (1983) provide six criteria that have become classic for distinguishing between clitics and affixes.  (It is assumed here that cases are affixes, while adpositions are clitics.) On the other hand, recent research finds exceptions to many of Zwicky and Pullum’s criteria; that is, some items in some languages have most of the characteristics of clitics, but are like affixes in one respect, or vice versa (e.g. Harris 2002, Bickel 2009). This paper characterizes Georgian -še, -ze, -(a)mde, -gan, -dan, and -tan on the basis of modern universal criteria that are intended to distinguish clitics from affixes, including those of Zwicky and Pullum (1983).


Bickel, Balthasar. 2009. Affixes and clitics: Towards a multivariate typology.  Unpublished paper presented at the conference “Morphology of the World’s Languages”, Leipzig, June 2009.

Čikobava, Arnold. 1961. Tandebulian brunvata sak’itxisatvis kartulši [On the question of adpositional cases in Georgian]. Kartuli enis st’rukt’uris sak’itxebi. II:197–208.

Harris, Alice C. 2002. Endoclitics and the origins of Udi morphosyntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Šaniʒe, Ak’ak’i. 1973 [1953]. Kartuli enis gramat’ik’is sapuʒvlebi. [Fundamentals of the grammar of the Georgian language.]  Tbilisi: Universit’et’i.

Tschenkéli, Kita. 1958. Einführung in die georgische Sprache, Band 1. Zürich: Amirani.

Zwicky, Arnold M., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. 1983. Cliticization vs. Inflection: English n’t. Language 59:502–513.


Manana Kobaidze (Malmö University)Towards the morphological and syntactical classification of the Georgian verbs

According to the morphological structure, four main classes of Georgian verbs have been identified (Shanidze 1980, Harris 1981). By another classification, three basic morphological patterns of the Georgian verbs are distinguishable: active pattern, passive pattern, and a model based on either active or passive pattern, but marked by auxiliary verbs (Jorbenadze 1991). Besides, three main syntactic patterns of Georgian verbs have been described in various terms by Shanidze 1980, Chikobava 1950, Aronson 1982, Harris 1981, Tuite 1987, Melikishvili 2001.

The present paper aims at a formal classification of Georgian verbs by combining the morphological and syntactic classification.

The following symbols are used in the present paper:

  • Syntactic pattern A – nominative marked subject in all three series
  • Syntactic pattern B – case alternating subject (nominative/ergative/dative)
  • Syntactic pattern C – dative marked subject in all three series (inversive subject)

One and the same morphological type may have either direct (A or B) or indirect (C) syntactic patterns; for instance, morphological type 1 may be presented as syntactic B (is axvelebs/man daaxvela) or C (mas axvelebs/mas daaxvela), morphological type 2 may be presented as syntactic A (is elodeba/is daeloda) or C (mas ejavreba/mas sheejavra), etc. Thus, in order to describe a Georgian verb, both morphological and syntactic parameters should be indicated. Instead of unifying all inversive verbs in one large class, they can be marked as syntactically similar and morphologically different verbs. Along with the terms subject,indirect object and direct object, the usage of the terms inversive object (INV.O), object marked by the v-series markers, and inversive subject (INV.S), subject marked by the m-series markers, seems to be necessary in order to adequately describe the morphological inventory of Georgian verb, especially in database annotation.

I. The morphological model of dynamic verbs (types 1-4 in the table below) is formed without auxiliary verbs, mostly by means of thematic markers. It comprises transitives, dynamic intransitives (eb-i verbs), and labile transitives.

II. The morphological model of stative verbs (types 5-9 in the table below) is formed with auxiliary verbs,-var and –xar. It consists of one small group of labile transitives and various groups of stative intransitives (medio-passives and stative passives).

Dynamic intransitive verbs (type 2) have a marker of intransitivity: the suffix –ipreceded by thematic markers (-eb-i,-ob-i, –op-i). It is not excluded that the marker of reflexivity, the prefix -i- (Shanidze 1980, Jorbenadze 1983, Matchavariani 1980, Amiridze 2006) and the  marker of intransitivity in dynamic intransitives, the suffix -i, had shared origin.

Dynamic transitives (type 1) and dynamic labile transitives (types 3 and 4) share two main features: absence of auxiliary verbs in the present screeve and absence of the suffix –i after the thematic markers. However, within this frame, transitives and labile transitives differ from one another in their morphological models of the stems. Dynamic transitives and labile transitives have only one common model: ø — -av (e.g. vcocav - labile transitive – vrecxav transitive). It is noteworthy that the thematic marker -av is attested in the stative verbs too (Tuite 2005).

The case alternating object attested in labile transitives  (type 3, 4, and 5) differs from the case alternating object of transitives  in person marking: dative marked 3rd person direct object of transitive verbs triggers a prefix on the verb in Old Georgian and in certain Georgian dialects (e.g  s-tlis), whereas the dative marked 3rd person object of labile transitive verbs (e.g. ø-t’iris) is not marked on the verb in Old Georgian and in those dialects where the person marking of dative marked direct objects is preserved (Comp.: ø-tamashobs/i-tamasha; but:s-tlis/ga-tal-a…).

This type of object attested in labile transitives could be called a pseudo direct object. This fact indicates one more function of the dative case.

When the clause contains a case alternating subject, the latter occupies the place of a subject regardless the degree of animacy of other arguments (is sicivem aak’ank’ala; comp.: massicivisgan aak’ank’ala/mas aak’ank’ala). Type B verbs form their inversive counterparts by omitting the subject, although the change that occurs is not a simple omission of the ergative marked subject; a former direct object takes a dative case, the case of an inversive subject:

Direct pattern (B) Indirect pattern (C)
mas sicive ak’ank’alebs mas ak’ank’alebs
issicivem aak’ank’ala masaak’ank’ala

the 3rd series screeves must be formed by omission of the subject (Beridze 2008): damic’er-i-an  mat me is  damic’erian me is damic’eria me is

Thus, in the 3rd series of dynamic transitives a former indirect object occupies the place of a subject, the impersonal subject is omitted, and the direct object remains a direct object.

Stative verbs are marked by the auxiliary verbs–var/-xar in the first and second persons of the v-series present tense. They may be labile transitives (type 5, vc’uxvar) and intransitives (types 6-9). Relative forms of stative verbs are almost always inversive (vuq’varvar, vdzulvar…), however, exceptions are also found (vgavar, vjobivar…).

Morphologically dynamic verbs can acquire the function of stative verbs. In that case, they lack the perfective aspect and, consequently, some screeves. e.g. when the dynamic transitive c’ers expresses the function of a stative verb, it does not have telic forms as dac’ers, dac’era, dauc’eria… Dynamic labile transitives (cxovrobs, tamashobs…) can also be used in the sense of stative verbs. In that case, they will not have telic forms as icxovra, itamasha… (comp.: man gushin k’argad itamasha ch’adrak’i  – is adre ch’adrak’s k’argad tamashobda). In some dialects auxiliary verbs may also appear in these types (cek’vav-xar, icini-xar).

Dynamic intransitives when they are semantically stative (velaparakebi, vetamashebi)  undergo inversion in series 3: (Present) velap’arak’ebi – (future) velap’arak’ebi, (Perfect) milap’arak’ia, whereas when they are dynamic, they do not undergo inversion (velap’arak’ebidavelap’arak’ebidavlap’arak’ebivar Tschenkeli 1960, 74, Tuite 1987).

  Direct Syntactic pattern Indirect Syntactic pattern
Dynamic Transitive 1 v  —— VC/-i B3 C (DO→INV.S; S→ø)
Intransitive 2 v —— eb-i A C (IO→INV.S; S→INV.O)
Labiletrans. 3 v-ø  —— VC B2
Labiletrans. 4 v-ø —— i B2 C
Stative Labiletrans. 5 v ——var B2 C
Intransitive 6 v —— var/-s A C
7 v —— var/-s A C
8 v —— var/-ia A C
9 v —— (-i)-var/-a/-ia A C


Amiridze, Nino, 2006, Reflexivization Strategies in Georgian, Utrecht: LOT Dissertation Series

Aronson,Howard, 2005, Georgian Grammar, Slavica, University of Chicago

Beridze 2008: beriʒe, marine, kartuli p'erpekt'is taviseburebisatvis, iberiul-k'avk'asiuri enatmecniereba, II saertašoriso simpoziumi, Tbilisi, sax. un. gamomcemloba

Chikobava 1950:čikobava, arnold, kartuli enis zogadi daxasiateba, kartuli enis ganmartebiti leksik'oni, t. I

Harris, Alice C. 1981, Georgian Syntax: A Study in Relational Grammar. Cambridge University Press

Jorbenadze 1983: jorbenaʒe, besarion, zmnis xmovanprepiqsuli c'armoeba kartulši, Tbilisi, saxelmc'ipo universitetis gamomcemloba

Jorbenadze, Besarion, 1991:The Kartvelian Languages and Dialects, Tbilisi, Mecniereba

Matchavariani 1980: mač'avariani, maia, kcevis k'at'egoriis sak'itxisatvis, ike, t. 22, Tbilisi, mecniereba

Melikishvili 2001: melikišvili, damana, kartuli zmnis ughlebis sistema, Tbilisi

Shanidze 1980: šaniʒe, ak'ak'i, kartuli enis gramatikis sapuʒvlebi, Tbilisi, saxelmwifo universitetis gamomcemloba

Tschenkeli Kita, 1960–74: Georgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch, Zürich, Amirani

Tuite, Kevin 1987, Indirect transitives in Georgian. Proceedings of the Berkeley Ling. Society 3, 296–309

Tuite, Kevin 2005: tuiti, kevin, kartuli seriis mark'erebi, iveria XII–XIII, kartul-evrop'uli instituti, parizi, 98–126


Yasuhiro Kojima (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)The position of rom in subordinate clauses in Georgian

In Modern Georgian, the conjunction rom forms various types of subordinate clauses, such as relative clauses and complement clauses. As for the position, rom may occur clause-initially or clause-internally. In the latter case, it appears somewhere before the predicate verb. It has so far been discussed that the position of rom, to a certain extent, correlates with the types of subordinate clauses as well as the relative order between the subordinate and main clauses. Generally speaking, when the subordinate clause precedes the main clause, rom tends to occur clause-internally, whereas when the subordinate clause follows the main clause, rom is likely to appear clause-initially (Boeder 2001; 2005: 69).

In the present paper, the position of rom is argued to be pragmatically conditioned. When the subordinate content is asserted, rom appears clause-initially. Clause-internal rom signals that the given content represents background information. When the predicate verb is in the indicative mood, subordinate clauses having clause-internal rom present presupposition. (For the ideas of assertion and presupposition, see Lambrecht 1994: 52.)

In (1) and (2), for example, rom must appear clause-initially, as the subordinate content is taken to be assertion.

(1) mgonia, [ rom dato mova / *dato rom mova ]. “I think that Dato will come.”

(2) imedia, [ rom dato mova / *dato rom mova ]. “I hope that Dato will come.”

In (3), on the other hand, rom can take either position.

(3) (a) datom mitxra, rom mağazia dak’et’ilia.

(b) datom mitxra, mağazia rom dak’et’ilia.

“Dato told me that the shop is closed.”

(3a) and (3b), however, may have different interpretation. (3b) entails that the shop is actually closed, while (1a) does not. (The speaker may continue as “… but the shop is in fact open” after (3a), but not after (3b).)

Clause-internal rom indicates that the subordinate content represents background information. Unless the predicate verb is in the subjunctive mood, signaling that the given content is not true, subordinate clauses having clause-internal rom present what is presupposed to be true at the moment of the utterance. Such subordinate clauses are known to be used as a relative clause, as in (4), or a temporal clause, as in (5) (cf. Harris 1994).

(4) is bič’i, [ ninom rom naxa / *rom ninom naxa ], st’udent’ia.

“The boy Nino saw is a student.”

(5) is bič’i ak ijda, [ nino rom movida / ? rom nino movida ].

“The boy was sitting here when Nino came.”

How obligatory rom is put clause-internally may vary according to the function that the subordinate clause fulfills.

Clauses having clause-internal rom can also be employed to express a reason for the speech act, as in (6), or may occur even independently to present presupposition, as in (7). 

(6) gacivdi, xširad rom axveleb?

“Do you have a cold? [I ask you] Since you frequently cough.”

(7) A: t’ort’i minda vč’amo. “I want to have a cake.”

B: šen rom diet’aze xar? “You are on a diet, aren’t you?”

To my knowledge, such uses of clauses led by rom have been neglected in the literature. I consider that they can only be explained from pragmatic viewpoint.

The correlation between the position of rom and the relative order between the main and subordinate clauses is also considered to reflect pragmatic properties. When a subordinate clause precedes the main clause, its content is usually topical and hence presupposed.


Boeder, Winfried (2001) Protasis und Apodosis in den Kartvelsprachen. Varlam Topuria – 100, 31–45. Tbilisi: Tbilisi University Press.

Boeder, Winfried (2005) The South Caucasian languages. Lingua 115: 5–89.

Harris, Alice C. (1994) On the history of relative clauses in Georgian. In Howard I. Aronson (ed.), Non-slavic languages of the USSR: papers from the fourth conference, 130–142. Slavica Publishers.

Lambrecht, Knud (1994) Informational Structure and Sentence Form: Topic, focus and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Silvia Kutscher (University of Cologne)The expression of spatial relations in Laz (Ardeşen variety)

Caucasian languages are well known for their sophisticated systems of spatial expressions in both the nominal and the verbal domain: North East Caucasian languages display rather large systems of locational cases, whereas in North West and South Caucasian languages spatial information is often additionally encoded on verbs through a comparatively large number of preverbs with topological and/or deictic functions. Within the group of South Caucasian languages, the largest inventories of spatial preverbs can be found in Mingrelian and Laz. Accordingly, for Laz a preverb system with more than 40 members has been reported (Holisky 1991). Furthermore, at least one dialectal variant of Laz, the one spoken in and around the city of Ardeşen, has typologically interesting data not only with respect to the preverb system but also with respect to spatial case markers.

Basically, in Ardeşen-Laz the information concerning the spatial configuration of a Figure and a Ground is coded almost exclusively in the verbal domain, via preverbs and the verbal root. There are no adpositions (cf. (1)) and only one case form, the Motative, to indicate spatial relations, cf. (2).

In stative spatial relations, the ground is not marked by adpositions or cases, the spatial relation is coded exclusively in the verbal domain. (Note that in other varieties of Laz a Dative case marker is used to mark the Ground-NP).

(1) şişe masa ce-dgun
  bottle table on-stand:3s:PRS
  'The bottle is (lit.: is standing) on the table.'

In dynamic spatial expressions, theGround is marked with a case marker -şa 'Motative'. Interestingly, this marker is used to mark the Goal-NP in a directional expression (2a) as well as the Source-NP in an ablative expression, cf. (2b). (In other Laz dialects there are two separate cases for directional (-şa/-şe) and ablative (-şen)).

(2) a. bere oxori-şa am-ulun
    child house-MOT into-go:3SG.PRS
    'The child goes inside the house.'
  b. bere oxori-şa gam-ulun
    child house-MOT out-go:3SG.PRS
    'The child goes out of the house.'

As the examples in (1) and (2) show, Ardeşen-Laz hence has a typologically rather exceptional case marker for the Ground-NP which shows an idiosyncrasy of a directional and an ablative case (-şa 'Motative'), while the Ground in stative spatial configurations is marked differently (zero-marker). This kind of idiosyncrasy has never been reported before in the typological literature (cf. Stolz 1992, Creissels 2006) and is not found in other languages of the Kartvelian family.

In my talk, I will discuss the morphosyntactic and semantic characteristics of spatial expressions in Ardeşen-Laz, focusing on the typologically particularities concerning the case marking and the relation between the semantics of the preverbs and the presence/absence of spatial markers in the nominal domain as illustrated in the examples above.


Creissels, Denis 2006. Encoding the distinction between location, source, and destination: A typological study. In: Hickmann, Maya & Stéphane Robert (eds.), Space in Languages: Linguistic Systems and Cognitive Categories. Amsterdam: Benjamins. (Typological Studies in Language 66), 19–28.

Holisky, Dee Ann 1991. “Laz.” In: Harris, Alice C. (ed.). The Indigenous Languages of the Caucasus. vol.1: The Kartvelian Languages. (Anatolian and Caucasian Studies). Delmar/New York: Caravan, 395–472.

Stolz, Thomas 1992. Lokalkasussysteme. Aspekte einer strukturellen Dynamik. Wilhelmsfeld: Egert (Pro Lingua 13).


René Lacroix (Université de Lyon 2)The origin of Set II cross-referencing suffixes in the Kartvelian languages

The Kartvelian languages have two sets of cross-referencing affixes. In Laz as in the sister languages, Set I (glossed “I”) cross-references the transitive subject (ǯoɣoepek in ex.1) and the intransitive subject (mk’yapu in ex.2), while Set II (glossed “II”) cross-references the direct object (ma in ex.1). Set II is also used to crossreference indirect objects.

(1) ǯoǯo-epe-k ma o-m-čk’om-es.
  dog-PL-ERG 1SG PV-II1-eat-AOR.I3PL
  ‘The dogs ate me.’ (own field data)
(2) Mk’yapu xrock-u-n. jackal die-THS-I3SG
  ‘The jackal is dying.’ (Žɣent’i 1938: text 38)

Both Set I and Set II involve prefixes and suffixes. The Set I affixes of Laz are given in the following chart (phonologically conditioned allomorphs are not shown):

  prefixes stem suffixes
1sg b    
3sg     -s, -n, -u
1pl b   -t
2pl     -t
3pl     -an, -nan, -es, -n

In 3rd person singular and plural, the choice between the different allomorphs is conditioned by the inflectional class to which the verb belongs and by tense.

In non-inverted constructions, Laz has the following Set II affixes (again, without phonologically conditioned allomorphs):

  prefixes stem suffixes
1sg m    
2sg g    
1pl m   -t -an, -nan, -es, -n
2pl g   -t -an, -nan, -es, -n

Set II suffixes can be analyzed as plural markers. The choice between -t,-an,-nan,-es and -n depends on person combinations in the verb. As shown in the following table, if Set I is 1st or 2nd person, the Set II suffix is -t; if Set I is 3rd person, the Set II suffix is -an,-nan,-es or -n (depending on verb class and tense).

    Set II examples
Set I   1pl 2pl  
1   g-S-t g-ʒir-om-t ‘I see youpl ’
2 m-S-t   m-ʒir-om-t ‘you see us’
3 m-S-an/nan/es/n g-S-an/nan/es/n g-ʒir-om-an ‘he sees youpl ’

In (3), for instance, the porte-manteau morpheme -es indicates simultaneously aorist tense, Set I 3rd person (cross-referencing kčinik) and Set II plurality (‘for us’).

(3) Kčini-k mu k’ai gyar-epe m-i-xen-es-doren. old_woman-ERG what good food-PL II1-APPL-make-AOR.I3.IIPL-EVD ‘What a good meal the old woman has made for us!’ (Žɣent’i 1938: text 42)

As can be seen, the same suffixes (-an/nan/es/n) are used to encode 3rd person plural in Set I and 1st/2nd person plurality in Set II.

In Proto-Kartvelian, Set II consisted of prefixes only (Tuite 1998: 89). In my talk, I will present a diachronic scenario which accounts for the development of Set II suffixes not only in Laz, but also in Mingrelian, Svan and West Georgian dialects. Independent evidence from root allomorphy phenomena in Ač’arian verbs (West Georgian) will be adduced.


AOR aorist SG singular
APPL applicative THS thematic suffix
ERG ergative I Set I
EVD evidential II Set II
PL PV plural preverb 1 3 1st person 3rd person
S stem    


Tuite, K. 1998. Kartvelian Morphosyntax: Number agreement and morphosyntactic orientation in South Caucasian Languages. Studies in Caucasian Linguistics, vol. 12. München: LINCOM Europa.

Žɣent’i, Sergi. 1938. Č’anuri t’ekst’ebi (arkabuli k’ilok’avi). Tbilisi: SSRK’ Mecnierebata Ak’ademiis Pilialis Gamomcemloba.


Maia Lomia (Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University)Rusudan Gersamia (Ilia Chavchavadze State University)On a Hypotactic Construction in Megrelian

Vernacular narrative is a phenomenon which had emerged before a script. Yet the beginning of the recording of texts based on spontaneous speech date from a later period. Folk narratives were orally passed from generation to generation. The style of fairy tales, legends and folk tales would be selected so as to make these stories easily remembered by their authors and story-tellers. It is known that narratives containing simple sentences are difficult to remember. Such a style of narration differs from a spoken language. The need of making a text easily memorable on one hand and of emphasizing the most meaningful, highlighted member, on the other, has led to the emergence of specific hypotaxic constructions in vernacular narratives in general and in Megrelian, in particular. Megrelian is distinguished by the abundance of such structures.

The paper deals with two kinds of hypotaxic constructions. Their specificity is defined by the inclusion of verb syntagmas of similar composition in a main or a subordinate clause. The syntagmas are as follows:

re-n=o / r-d-u=o `Is he/she?’ /`Was he/she?’

be-PRS.S.3.SG=QPTC   /   be-IMP-PST.S.3.SG=QPTC

va=re-n=o / va=r-d-u=o  ‘isn’t he/she/wasn’t he/she?’

Neg.PTC=be-PRS.S.3.SG= QPTC   /   Neg.PTC=be-IMP-PST.S.3.SG=QPTC

These verb syntagmas are pronounced in a specific tone due to -o interrogatory suffix with the intonational stress falling on the penultimate syllable. Syntagmas falling within the interest of the present paper can be evidenced in hypotaxic constructions marked by any member-conjunction and -ni ‘that’ and -da ‘if’ conjunction-enclitics. I. Kipshidze referred to them as ‘sentences incorporated into sentences’.

For example:

mareno tkva č’ita nabadis mi’identəni? (Dan.-Tsan.,14419). Is it me you are going to buy a red felt cloak? atesrduo, mnat’rendini? (Gud.,16427). Is this what I yearned for? xenc’ipek  vareno  varia  kuc’uasəni,  teli  kalakis mosp’ens  gveršap’i (Dan.-Tsan.,24228). `If it is the king himself who refuses the dragon, the dragon will destroy the entire city’. mut  varduo komic’ini, irpeli  martali   ̕oÆpe (Khub.,185). Whatever you told me proved right.

These verb syntagmas convey the meaning of repeated questioning through positive (reno/rduo) and negative forms (vareno /varduo) and introduce semantically additional information with respect to the member they follow. An informative member is commonly placed at the beginning of a sentence. The location of an activated member of the sentence at the beginning is a widely spread typological strategy of marking information, though other means of actualization can also be witnessed in different languages. It is our opinion that it is this function that verb syntagmas have since their withdrawal from a sentence does not affect the overall meaning; the function of such verb segments is to highlight the member preceding them, which, among other means, is achieved through a specific intonation, an important tool for creating additional information in vernacular narratives.


Gud. Kartuli khalkhuri sitkviereba, megruli poezia(Georgian Vernacular Narrative, Megrelian Poetry), vol. 1, edited by T. Gudava, Tbilisi, 1975. PRS Present
Dan., Tsan. Kartuli khalkhuri sitkviereba, megruli tekstebi (Georgian Vernacular Narrative, Megrelian Texts), vol. 2, edited by K. Danelia and A. Tsanava, Tbilisi, 1991 S Subject
Khub. M. Khubua, Megruli tekstebi (Megrelian Texts), Tbilisi, 1937. SG Singular
IMP Imperfect QPTC Question Particle
Neg.PTC   Negative Particle    


Th. Gamkrelidze, Tseris anbanuri sistema da dzveli kartuli damtserloba, anbanuri tseris tipologia da tsarmomavloba (Alphabetic  Writing  and  the  Old  Georgian  Script.  A Typology  and  Provenance of  Alphabetic Writing  Systems), Tbilisi, 1989

V. Topuria, Rtuli kvetskobili tsinadadebis martivit shenatsvlebisatvis kartulshi, kartuli enisa da literaturis stsavlebis sakitkhebi skolashi (On the Replacement of Subordinate Compound Sentences with Simple Sentences in Georgian; Issues of Teaching the Georgian Language and Literature at Schools), collected works X-XI, Tbilisi, 1960

M. Ivanishcili, informatsiis strukturireba da sitkvata rigi kartvelur enebshi, inpormatsiis strukturirebis dziritadi modelebi kartvelur enebshi (Structuring Information and Rows of Words in Kartvelian Lnaguages (Conference programme and theses), Tbilisi, 2009

M. Lomia, Erti tipis hipotaksuri konstruktsia megrulshi (One Type of Hypotaxic Construction in Megrelian), Saenatmetsniero dziebani, vol. 5, Tbilisi, 1996

I. Kipshidze, Grammatika Mingreljskogo (Iverskogo) yazyka s khrestomatiej i slovaryom (Megrelian (Iberian) Grammar with a Chrestomathy and Dictionary, St Petersburg, 1914


Tamar Makharoblidze (Tbilisi State University)The Functions of Georgian Preverbs

According the traditional kartvelian linguistics preverbs in Georgian have four functions. We expose the six functions for Georgian preverbs:

  1. Showing the direction of a verbal act
  2. Showing the orientation in the verbs
  3. Producing the full forms of so called “aspect” /or perfecting the forms
  4. Producing the new rows of conjugation
  5. Changing the meaning of the word
  6. Changing the verbal personality

The coexistence of these functions is very frequent. This is the first time when the sixth function (preverbs can change the verbal personality) is exposed. It’s very natural that the verbal argument which appears or disappears by adding or changing the preverbs is the indirect object with the meaning of a local verbal person.

Increasing the verbal personality by changing the preverbs:

daarghvia man –S, is-Od. or gaarghvia –S, is-Od.  compare with  shemoarghvia man –S, is-Od. mas-Od.

aashena man –S, is-Od   compare with    moashena man –S, is-Od. mas-Od or daashena man –S, is-Od. mas-Od.

davts’ere / ag’vts’ere / amovts’ere / gadavts’ere  me-S, is-Od  compare with  movts’ere / mivts’ere  me-S, is-Oind.,  mas-Od.

gavtekhe me-S, is/isini-Od. compare with  movtekhe me-S, is-Oind.  mas-Od.

shevakhvie me-S, is-Od. s compare with  shemovakhvie /davaxvie me-S, is-Oind.,  mas-Od.

Increasing the verbal personality by adding the preverbs:

v’tiri me-S  compare with  davt’iri me-S, mas-Oind.

vy’viri me-S compare with   davy’viri me-S, mas-Oind.

Some preverbs are increasing the verbal personality (shemo-, mo-), while some others are reducing it (ga-da-). We offer you the specific preverbal index for Georgian verbs and a new classification for preverbs as well.  

There are the maximum 17 forms of preverb’s oppositions. But of course not every verb can accept all these theoretically possible forms. Our classification begins from the minimal number of forms and grows up to the maximum number for the opposition forms.

Preverbs in Georgian are considered as the flexional affixes, while their five functions (among the above mentioned six functions) are derivational. Preverbs are very active word-producing affixes in the verbal system with the impressive influence on the poly-personal verbal semantics.   


Asatiani R, Preverbs in Zan. Tbilisi. 1952 (in Georgian)

Belkania L. About the functions of Preverbs in Megrelian. Tbilisi. 2006 (in Georgian)

Veshapidze I., Relations of preverbs, postpositions and adverbs. TSU. Tbilisi. 1965 (in Georgian)

Veshapidze I., Preverbs in old Georgian. Tbilisi. 1967 (in Georgian)

Makahroblidze T., Linguistic Letters I. Tbilisi. 2009 (in Georgian)

Makahroblidze T., A Short Grammar of Georgian. LINCOM. 2009

Martirosov A., Consistence of preverbs and their first functions in old Georgian. Iberian Caucasian Linguistics, Tbilisi. 1953 (in Georgian) 

Uturgaidze T., About the grammar categories and their relations in Georgian verb. Tbilisi. 2002 (in Georgian)  

Kobalava B., Concerning the meaning of gv- preverb in Megrelian. Enatmecnierebis sakitkhebi, Tbilisi. 2002. (in Georgian)

Shanidze A., Basics of the Georgian Grammar. Tbilisi. 1973 (in Georgian)


Natia Putkaradze (Tbilisi State University)Reflexives in Megrelian Speech in Relation to the Evidence of Standard Georgian

According to the classification of A. Shanidze, reflexives of the literary Georgian language are: middle-active (itkmeba, imğeris), passives with the prefix i- (imaleba) and passives with the suffix -d (tetrdeba). In Arn. Chikobava’s view, reflexives are voiceless static and intransitive dynamic verbs, and according to D.Melikishvili’s classification – autoactives of I and II diathesis (verbs of the structure i-R-(th)-Ø, i-R-(th)-i).

At this stage of study I share the view that the prefix i- in autoactives of I and II diathesis is “the organic prefix denoting a reflexive, which in the full construction of the active acquires the meaning of the subject version” [Melikishvili, 2001: 85].

It is noted in the specialist literature that verb forms with the prefix i- found in other Kartvelian sub-systems (Megrelian-Laz, Svan, etc.) do not differ qualitatively from literary Georgian (cf., e.g., Svan: i-cwnǟl “is laughing”, i-hwdi ”is being sold”…). However, some peculiarities are observable. The aim of the present paper is comparative analysis of reflexives of the standard language and Megrelian. In the analysis of Megrelian verb forms I have used the material offered in Megrelian-Georgian Dictionary by Otar Kajaia (vol. I, II, III, Tb., 2001), which I have complemented with the forms recorded during my practical work in Samegrelo in 2006-2007. 

The action of the active subject of verbs with the suffix -d of the literary language is directed to itself (Melikishvili, 2001). Hence, it is logical to consider them as reflexives. Interestingly enough, the majority of reflexives of this type in Megrelian (as well as Svan) are represented with the pattern having i-; e.g., i-abragebu “becomes a brigand”, i-adamianebu “becomes human”, i-amxanagebu “makes friends (with)”, i-aktiurebu “becomes active”... It should be noted that formation with -d is also found occasionally in Megrelian: čitondu “becomes red”, ʔvitondu “becomes yellow”, škurondu “becomes afraid”… In parallel with the formation with the suffix -d, the same verbs may occur with the i- prefix formation: ičitarebu “becomes red”, iʔvitarebu “becomes yellow”, etc. [Danelia, 2006: 139].

It should be noted here, that formation with -d suffix isn’t found in Svan: The  equivalents of the verbs with -d suffix are the verbs of three general structures in Svan: Ø-R-i (bečkw-n-i “is bursting”, perni “is flying” i-R-i (i-kerĵ-i-ħ - “makes related”, i-bg-i “is fastening”) and i-R-ǟl (i-zg-ǟl “is settling”, i-mket-ǟl-x “are making friends (with)”) [Bikashvili, MA work, 2009]. So, Megrelian (as well as Svan) follows ancient Literary Georgian, hence, Megrelian verbs formed with -d suffix are secondary and are caused by the influence of the Literary Georgian (as for Svan Sub­system, it is not characterized with this kind of formation at all). 

In Megrelian reflexives two main structures are identifiable: for reflexives of the first diathesis – i/Ø-R-(Th.s.)-Ø (i-var-an-s “is refusing”, i-rg-un-s “is mourning”, i-bir-s “is singing”, kankal-an-s//rakval-an-s “is trembling”…), for reflexives of the second diathesis – i/Ø-R-(Th.s)-u (i-bant-u “is tied in a bow”, i-gor-ap-u “is swearing”, i-a(n)tas-eb-u “increases thousandfold”, ibu “becomes warm”, i-sirist-eb-u “becomes damp”…). 

The paradigms of the verbs under study grouped by me do not coincide according to the thematic markers with the corresponding literary Georgian ones, which is secondary and is caused by the unification of the thematic markers characteristic of Kartvalian non-standard sub-systems; e.g., patterns of the literary language R-ob (bud-ob-s), i-R-eb-(izapxul-eb-s, ik-eb-s), i-R-i (icin-i-s) are found in Megrelian with a single i-R-an structure: cf. “bud-ob-s” i-budur-an-s, “izapxul-eb-s” –i-zap/rxul-an-s, “ik-eb-s” i-ckv-an-s, “icin-i-s” i-ǯic-an-s…


Stavros Skopeteas (Potsdam University)Caroline Féry (Potsdam University)Prosodic Phrasing and Syntactic Structure in Georgian

This talk examines the interaction between constituent structure and prosodic structure in Georgian. First, we present evidence that units at the prosodic level, i.e., prosodic phrases, are determined by the constituent structure. We then address the question how information structure is reflected on the utterance: our Georgian data does not support the view that prosodic events are associated with information structural concepts in a 1:1 fashion, for instance there is no evidence for particular pitch accents that encode focus (as it is generally argued for intonational languages, see Jackendoff 1972, Truckenbrodt 1995 among others). Our account is based on the idea that the relation between focus and prosody is mediated through syntax, which is supported by evidence that focus structure favours particular options of prosodic phrasing that are projected by syntactic constituents.

The empirical basis of this talk is a production experiment on the prosodic realization of different word orders in the context of several question contexts (8 Georgian native speakers; 104 utterances per speaker; recordings made in Berlin, December 2007). The most important empirical findings are summarized in the following:

  1. There is an asymmetry between the orders that most frequently occur in discourse, SOV and SVO. The V-final order is either rendered in a single prosodic phrase, (SOV)P, or reveals a prosodic structure that separates the subject from the predicate, (S)P(OV)P. The SVO order is more frequently phrased as (SV)P(O)P (which would generally be an unusual phrasing option for a V-medial language). This asymmetry reflects a difference in the constituent structure and supports the view that the V-final order is the canonical order of Georgian.
  2. Phrasing is rendered tonally by a pitch contour, rising or falling, rarely more complex, and prosodic phrases are clearly delimited by boundary tones in Georgian, in line with previous observations on Georgian intonation (see Vicenik, Jun and Lofstedt, to appear; Skopeteas, Féry, and Asatiani 2009). The high tones in a sequence of prosodic phrases are in a downstep relationship. 
  3. Focus is not reflected through pitch accents in our data, but it influences prosodic phrasing. By means of the type of evidence introduced in (a) (boundary tones, breaks, downstep domains), we show that prosodic phrases reflect the partition of the utterance in a focus domain and an out-of-focus domain. The delimitation of these domains by prosodic means overwrites the preferences for phrasing that is determined by the constituent structure alone, i.e., the preferences in (a).
  4. As it is already observed in previous literature on Georgian (see Harris 1981 among others) focus constituents are preferably realized in the immediately preverbal position. Our prosodic data shows that preverbal placement of the focused constituent is realized with an unmarked prosodic pattern. In contrast to this option, the sentence-final occurrence of focused constituents is frequently associated with a particularly low and flat tonal contour, often accompanied with creaky phonation.


Harris, A., 1981, Georgian Syntax: A Study in Relational Grammar. CUP, Cambridge

Jackendoff, R. 1972, Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar. Cambridge MA: MIT

Jun, S.-A., Vicenik, C., and Lofstedt, I. 2008, Intonational Phonology of Georgian. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 106, 41–57

Skopeteas, S., Féry, C., Asatiani, R., 2009, Word order and intonation in Georgian. Lingua 119, 102–127

Truckenbrodt, H. 1995, Phonological Phrases: Their Relation to Syntax, Focus and Prominence. Ph.D dissertation, MIT.


Kevin Tuite (Université de Montréal)The Kartvelian Suffixal Intransitive

Georgian reference grammars and pedagogical manuals typically describe three formally-distinct manifestations of the passive voice in the verb: prefixal intransitives (marked by the preradical vowels i-/e-), suffixal intransitives (suffix -d attached to the stem), and so-called “unmarked” (unishno) or root intransitives. Of these, prefixal and root intransitives are attested in the other Kartvelian languages, whereas the suffixal intransitive is comparatively marginal in Laz-Mingrelian and seemingly absent in Svan. Numerous scholars have looked at the distribution and possible cognates of the suffixal intransitive, but no consensus has been reached and problematic issues remain.

In my talk I will attempt to trace the history of the d-passive formant, using comparative data from Laz and Mingrelian as well as morphological archaisms within Georgian. A possible link between the passive suffix and phonologically-similar stem formants occuring in ablauting verbs, first proposed many decades ago by Marr and Topuria, will be examined from the standpoint of its semantic plausibility. Also to be discussed are the Old Georgian passive suffix -(e)n-, which was in complementary distribution with the suffix -d; the relation between the suffixal intransitive and the semantically-comparable root intransitive; and evidence for related morphemes in Svan, the outlying member of the Kartvelian family.


Baramidze, Leli. 1976. vnebiti gvaris zmnata ac’mq’os daboloebisatvis dzvel kartulši (On the present endings of passive verbs in Old Georgian). dzveli kartuli enis k’atedris šromebi 19: 79–95.

Danelia, K’orneli. 1976. vnebiti gvaris c’armoebisatvis k’olxurši. (On the formation of the passive voice in Colchian [Zan]). dzveli kartuli enis k’atedris šromebi 19: 163–174.

Deeters, Gerhard. 1930. Das kharthwelische Verbum: vergleichende Darstellung des Verbalbaus der südkaukasischen Sprachen. Leipzig: Markert und Petters.

Ertelishvili, P. 1960. -d/-n (-en) vnebitobis supiksta genezisis sak’itxisatvis (On the origin of the passive suffixes -d/-n (-en)). Tbilisis saxelmc’ipo universit’et’is šromebi (Proceedings of Tbilisi State University), 93: 77–91.

Imnaishvili, Ivane. 1968. vnebiti gvaris zmnata taviseburebani dzvel kartulši. (Characteristics of passive-voice verbs in Old Georgian). dzveli kartuli enis k’atedris šromebi 11: 27–54.

Jorbenadze, Bessarion. 1975. zmnis gvaris pormata c’armoebisa da punckiis sak’itxebi kartulši (On the derivation and functions of verbal voice in Georgian). Tbilisi University Press.

Mach’avariani, Givi. 1973. vnebitis supiksuri t’ip’is genezisis sak’itxi kartvelur enebši (On the origin of the suffixal passive in the Kartvelian languages). Macne, enisa da lit’erat’uris seria 1: 107–121.

Mach’avariani, Givi. 2002. kartvelur enata šedarebiti gramat’ik’a (Comparative grammar of the Kartvelian languages). Tbilisi: Tbilisis universitetis gamomcemloba.

Marr, N. Ja. 1925. Grammatika drevneliteraturnogo gruzinskogo jazyka. Leningrad: Materialy po jafetičeskomy jazykoznaniju, XII.

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