History of Georgia Georgian shares an ancestral language with Mingrelian/Laz and Svan. Georgian as separate from the other Kartvelian languages would have emerged in the 1st millennium BC in the area known later as the Kingdom of Iberia. The earliest allusion to spoken Georgian may be a passage of the Roman grammarian Marcus Cornelius Fronto in the 2nd century: Fronto imagines the Iberians addressing the emperor Marcus Aurelius in their “incomprehensible tongue”. The evolution of Georgian into a written language was a consequence of the conversion of the Georgian elite to Christianity in the mid-4th century. The new literary language was constructed on an already well-established cultural infrastructure, appropriating the functions, conventions, and status of Aramaic, the literary language of pagan Georgia, and the new national religion. The first Georgian texts are inscriptions and palimpsests dating to the 5th century. Georgian has a rich literary tradition. The oldest surviving literary work in Georgian is the 5th century Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik (წამებაჲ წმიდისა შუშანიკისი დედოფლისაჲ) by Iakob Tsurtaveli. In the 11th century, Old Georgian gives rise to Middle Georgian, the literary language of the medieval kingdom of Georgia. The Georgian national epic, Shota Rustaveli’s The Knight in the Panther’s Skin (ვეფხისტყაოსანი), dates from the 12th century. In 1629, Alphabetum Ibericum sive Georgianum cum Oratione and Dittionario giorgiano e italiano were the first two books printed in the Georgian language using movable type in Rome supported by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples of the Catholic Church for their evangelical movement in Georgian kingdoms. This marked the beginning of the modern Georgian language.
Georgian (ქართული ენა, translit. kartuli ena, pronounced [kʰɑrtʰuli ɛnɑ]) is a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians. It is the official language of Georgia. Georgian is written in its own writing system, the Georgian script. Georgian is the literary language for all regional subgroups of Georgians, including those who speak other Kartvelian languages: Svans, Mingrelians and the Laz.
Classification Georgian is the most prevalent of the Kartvelian languages, a family that also includes Svan and Megrelian (chiefly spoken in Northwest Georgia) and Laz (chiefly spoken along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, from Melyat, Rize, to the Georgian frontier). Dialects Main article: Georgian dialects Dialects of Georgian are from Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, Guria, Adjara, Imerkhevi (in Turkey), Kartli, Kakheti, Saingilo (in Azerbaijan), Tusheti, Khevsureti, Khevi, Pshavi, Fereydan (in Iran), Mtiuleti and Meskheti.