The Names of Georgia, Part 2

That’s right, I’ve written another post on the TLG blog called “The Names of Georgia.” But it’s not the same thing. This time it’s about Georgian first names. Get it? The names “of Georgia”? Here’s an except:

Doesn’t Vakhtang sound like a funny name for a little boy? It seems me – and several Georgians have agreed with me here – that native Georgian names, like Vakhtang, Gvantsa, Nugzar, and Emzar, tend to sound like names for old people. The situation is exactly the same in English: Greek and Hebrew names like Katherine and John sound young, but native English names like Alfred, Edith, Edmund, and Mildred sound very, very old.

Fascinating stuff, right? I bet that really makes you want to read the whole thing.

For readers who don’t know, my full first name is Nicholas, and I mostly go by the shortened form Nick. That English name, with its short i sound, is extremely difficult to say for many people around the world. This includes Georgians, who are unable to say or even hear the short i. They always say it with a long e, so that it rhymes with “peek.” I find this intolerable, and so here I go by Niko. This name, I have discovered, is almost always identified with the painter Niko Pirosmani.

niko pirosmani

He is also known as Pirosmanashvili. I have no idea why.

Sometimes I am called Nika, the more common Georgian version of Nick, or Nikala, a diminutive form. Both of these sound to me like girl names, but whatever.


Some people, instead of calling by my preferred Niko, call me a name that sounds like Neekee, which comes from mispronouncing my English name in the Georgian manner and then adding to the result the Georgian nominative case ending. This Georgianization process is stupid because there is already a Georgian form of my name.


More Exotic Fruits

It’s been over a month since my last post. This is due mainly to laziness, but partly to limited internet access. The latter in turn is due partly the power being out in my village like every other day, and partly to host sister having had a baby. The baby has to stay warm, of course, and that means they stay in the only room in the house with a stove, and that room also has the internet cable. New posts are coming, I swear, but until then, here’s an update on one of my earliest posts.

Exotic Fruits

Remember when I used to do boring posts like this? Well today I’ve got two more fruits for you, and these ones are more obscure than the previous ones.

The first is called zghmartli (ზღმარტლი) in Georgian. They’re a bit like small pears. The ones I had were pretty tough. That’s because they go through two ripening processes: first they ripen as normal fruits do, then they go through something bletting, which is similar to rotting. Apparently you’re supposed to eat them after they blet, but I ate them fresh off the tree. It wasn’t bad, but they’re so small and gritty that it wasn’t worth the effort.

medlar mespilus zgmartli

Bletted and unbletted medlars

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