Besides “gmadlobt” (thank you), the Georgian words I’ve said the most often are “oo mareelo” (without salt). Like most people in the world, Georgians like to put lots of salt in, and on, their food. Unfortunately, my inner ear doesn’t like salt. So, those two little words have come in handy. I had hoped to be able to have short conversations by now in Georgian. As evidenced by the lack of mutual understanding between the cab driver and me last night, I clearly can't. We did make it back to the hotel last night though.
Languages around the world are broken up into different families. English is an Indo-European Germanic language. That basically means it is related to some other languages. Its origins are the same, even if they don’t sound alike to us. However, Georgian has no other language in its family. It is ancient and very unique. It doesn’t share a script with any other language either. Below is a picture of the alphabet and some words. Try speaking it for yourself. Here are some basic phrases.
Please: Tu sheidzleba
Thank you: Gmadlobt
Oo Mareelo - without salt
Stop here!: Gaacheret!
Stephen Blan teaches US History at Fort Worth Country Day in Fort Worth, TX and is a 2015 Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow.