Georgian script for English ჯორჯიჷნ სქრიფთ ჶორ იღგლიშ

Latin, Greek and Cyrillic are not the only alphabets in town. Far less known are the 2 unique alphabets of the Caucasus region which are used widely today: Armenian and Georgian. It’s a shame that they are far less known than the Big 3, because these alphabets have turned out to be remarkably suitable for adapting into English with only minor modifications. For instance, both Armenian and Georgian have dedicated letters for /ə/ and /oː/, and other spare letters can be easily used for writing /æ/.

Georgian has a distinctive rounded aesthetic that is very similar to the Myanmar (Burmese) script in many ways. One surprising coincidence is that both the Myanmar and Georgian letters for /t/ are identical: Myanmar တ – Georgian თ. (Convergent evolution perhaps?)

Adaptation process

Overall, it’s not too hard to adapt Georgian for the English language. Most letters have straightforward English equivalents: ფ = /p/, მ = /m/, შ = /ʃ/, /ɹ/ = რ, etc.

The main difference, of course, is that Georgian has ejectives (e.g. /p’/, /t’/), fricatives (e.g. /ɣ/) and affricates (e.g. /dz/) which don’t exist as distinct phonemes in English, while English has /f/, /ŋ/, /θ/, /ð/, /ə/ and /æ/ instead. Once again, it’s time to employ a bit of artistic license once more – I’ll take some of the Georgian phonemes which don’t exist as phonemes in English and re-purpose them accordingly:

  • ტ /tʼ/ -> /θ/ (both are unvoiced alveolar/dental sounds)
  • ძ /dz/ -> /ð/ (both are voiced alveolar/dental sounds)
  • ღ /ɣ/ -> /ŋ/ (both are velar sounds)
  • ჺ /ʕ/ -> /æ/ (looks like an upside down ა /a/)

Letters for writing minority languages and obsolete ones have also been used to write their equivalent English sounds.

  • ჶ /f/
  • ჲ /j/
  • ჷ /ə/
  • ჱ /eɪ/
  • ჵ /oː/ -> /oʊ/ (very similar vowel sounds)

Last but not least, I co-opted some Greek letters to use as de-facto numerals using the same schema as the Armenian adaptation, as they blend in well with the script and symbolises Georgia’s cultural ties with Greece – the Georgian letter order is closely based on the Greek letter order, for instance.

Digits 1 to 8 are the 1st-8th Greek letters:

  • α = 1
  • β = 2
  • γ = 3
  • δ = 4
  • ε = 5
  • ζ = 6
  • η = 7
  • θ = 8

For the 9th digit, the 9th Greek letter (iota, ι) has to be skipped since it looks too similar to the Armenian letter for /w/ (ւ), so 9 shall be the 10th Greek letter (kappa, κ) instead. For 0, I’ll settle on the omega (ω), the last letter of the Greek alphabet.

  • κ = 9
  • ω = 0

And without further ado, here’s a recap of all the letters.

Letters

Consonants

/p/ (port)/b/ (best)/f/ (fun)/v/ (van)/m/ (moon)
/t/ (test)/d/ (done)/θ/ (thank)/ð/ (the)/n/ (new)
/k/ (call)/g/ (get)/x/ (loch)./ŋ/ (sing)
/s/ (soon)/z/ (zoo)/ʃ/ (share)/ʒ/ (closure).
/tʃ/ (change)/dʒ/ (just)...
/w/ (way)/ɹ/ (run)/l/ (laugh)/j/ (yell)/h/ (house)

Vowels

/a/~/ʌ/ (sun)/æ/ (can)
/ɛ/ (head)/ə/~/ɜ/ (sure)
/ɪ/ (bid)/iː/ (bead)
/ɔ/ (pot)/ɔː/ ოო (bought)
/ʊ/ (pull)/uː/ ოუ (pool)

Diphthongs

/aɪ/ აი (high)/aʊ/ აუ (now)
/ɔɪ/ ოი (toy)/oʊ/ (dough)
/eɪ/ (day)/ɪə/ იუ (ear)
/ʊə/ უჷ (tour)/juː/ ჲუ (news)

Triphthongs

/aɪə/ აიჷ (higher)/aʊə/ აუჷ (tower)
/jʊə/ ჲუჷ (cure).

Numerals నిుమెరెల్స

1 α2 β3 γ4 δ5 ε
6 ζ7 η8 θ9 κ0 ω

Syllable structure

Georgian is a linear alphabet, just like Latin. Nothing more than that.

E.g. /stɹakt/ = სთრაქთ

Sample texts

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

ჲუნივჷრსჷლ დექლჷრჱშჷნ ოჶ ჰჲუმჷნ რაითს

ოლ ჰჲუმჷნ ბჲღს არ ბორნ ჶრჲ ჺნდ იქჳულ ინ დიგნითი ჺნდ რაითს. ძჱ არ ენდაუდ ჳიტ რჲზჷნ ჺნდ ქონშჷნს ჺნდ შუდ ჺქთ თოჳურდს ჳან ჷნაძჷრ ინ ჷ სფირით ოჶ ბრაძჷრჰუდ.

(ართიქჷლ α ოჶ ძი ჲუნივჷრსჷლ დექლჷრჱშჷნ ოჶ ჰჲუმჷნ რაითს)

Excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago

For comparison, you can view the original one here.

აი ჰჺდ ჷ სთრჱნჯ დრჲმ ძჺთ ნაით.

ინ ძჺთ დრჲმ, აი ჶაუნდ მაისელჶ ჷჳჱქჷნიღ, ლაიიღ ონ სოჶთ გრჲნ გრას, ინ ჷ ჶჺნთჷსი θ-ბით ჳურლდ სჷრაუნდჷდ ბაი ქომფჲუთჷრს. ძჷ ლუმინჷნს ოჶ ბლიღქიღ მჵდემს ჺნდ ჳორმ, ჩიჷრჶულ ჩიფთჲუნ მჲუზიქ ჶილდ ძი ერ. ოლძჵ ევრიტიღ ლუქდ ბლოქი ჺნდ სქჳერ, ით ბროოთ მი ბჺქ თუ ძჵზ დჱს. ოჶ ოლ ძჷ ქომფჲუთჷრს აი სოო, α ოჶ ძემ ჳუს ფლჱიღ მაი ჶჱვრჷთ სოღ! აი ჯამფ ჺნდ ლჲფ ინ ჯოი ჵვჷრ ძჷ საით. აი ძენ სოო მაი ჰაუს, ჺნდ აი სედ “ჰაი” თუ მაი ბესთ მჱთს, ჰუ ჳურ ჳჱთიღ აუთსაიდ. ჳი ჳოოქდ თუგეძჷრ, ჰჺვიღ ჷ ჩიჷრი ჩჺთ ჷბაუთ ძჷ ქომფჲუთჷრ გჱმ აი ჳუს ჳურქიღ ონ ჷრლიჷრ.

“სჵ ჳათს ძჺთ ქულ გჱმ გონა ბი ჷბაუთ, ჱ?” ჳან ოჶ ძემ ასქდ.
“იჶ ჲუ ლჷვდ მარიჵ, ჲულ ლჷვ ძის!” აი სედ.
“ოოსჷმ!!! ქჺნთ ჳჱთ თუ სი ით!” ინსაიდ მი ძჷ ჶაიჷრ თუ ქჲფ მი გჵიღ ბიქჱმ სთროღგჷრ.

ჳი ჳოოქდ ინთუ ჷ ვივიდ სანსეთ. აი რემინისდ ძჷ მემორის ოჶ ფასთ სამჷრს, ფლჱიღ რეთრჵ ვიდიჵ გჱმს ინ ძჷ ქულ შჱდ, ივჷნ ძჵ ძჷ სან აუთსაიდ ფჲქდ ჺთ δβ დიგრჲს ჺნდ მელთჷდ ევრიტიღ ელს.

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