The Georgian alphabet

The Georgian alphabet is unique in the world: it is used only to write Georgian (and, occasionally, some minority languages of Georgia). To be precise, there are three Georgian alphabets: asomtavruli (ასომთავრული), nuskhuri (ნუსხური) and mkhedruli (მხედრული). The script used today (and on this website) is mkhedruli, which dates back to the 10th century; you will see the other two only in religious inscriptions and many Georgians cannot read them.

Georgian is written from left to right, its alphabet is made of 33 letters, it has no upper or lower case, and uses punctuations marks you already know. Georgian has many difficulties, but spelling is not one of them: each letter represents one sound and conversely.

There are several romanization systems for Georgian. The national system, used on this website, is used by the Georgian government, for instance in passports and road signs, although apostrophes are commonly ignored and some letters are inconsistently romanized on road signs. There are also several scientific systems that use special symbols to represent all Georgian sounds; one of them (ISO 9984) is given in the table below. In addition, there are several unofficial systems used by Georgian people when they do not have access to a Georgian keyboard.

Letter Name National system ISO 9984 IPA
ani a a /ɑ/
bani b b /b/
gani g g /ɡ/
doni d d /d/
eni e e /ɛ/
vini v v /v/
zeni z z /z/
tani t t’ /tʰ/
ini i i /i/
k’ani k’ k /k’/
lasi l l /l/
mani m m /m/
nari n n /n/
oni o o /ɔ/
p’ari p’ p /p’/
zhani zh ž /ʒ/
rae r r /r/
sani s s /s/
t’ari t’ t /t’/
uni u u /u/
pari p p’ /pʰ/
kani k k’ /kʰ/
ghani gh /ɣ/
q’ari q’ q /q’/
shini sh š /ʃ/
chini ch č’ /t͡ʃʰ/
tsani ts c’ /t͡sʰ/
dzili dz j /d͡z/
ts’ili ts’ c /t͡s’/
ch’ari ch’ č /t͡ʃ’/
khani kh x /x/
jani j ǰ /d͡ʒ/
hae h h /h/