The Georgian Alphabet and the Arabic Alphabet

The Arabic alphabet is a script used as the basis for the writing systems of many languages, including Arabic, Persian, and, up until the 1920s, Turkish. Given that peoples speaking these languages have conquered various parts of Georgia many times, it’s somewhat surprising that the Arabic alphabet has never been used systematically to write the Georgian language. I would have thought that at least the Muslim Adjarans would have written Georgian in Arabic letters, but as far as I can tell, this has never been widely done.

So I considered this problem: how would I write Georgian using the Arabic alphabet? Here’s what I came up with:

georgian arabic alphabet transliteration

 The first thing to note is that “Arabic alphabet” is a misnomer*: this is actually the Persian alphabet, which features four characters not found in the original Arabic alphabet. These are circled on the diagram. The Persian alphabet is the most basic extension of the Arabic, and the alphabets of languages like Urdu are typically based on Persian rather than directly on Arabic. I’m using it here both for historical accuracy (most Georgians would have been exposed to the Persian alphabet) and because the missing letters are crucial, especially گ  پ p g.**

The Arabic letters in the diagram are color-coded as follows:

  • Black letters are straightforward transliterations.
  • Light green letters ambiguously represent two different Georgian consonants, namely ejective and aspirated consonants. For example, ک is used for both of the sounds კ and ქ. I don’t know how this can be fixed. Certainly the Arabic script doesn’t need any more dots floating around.
    • The t sounds, however, are not subject to this problem. Shown in dark green on the diagram, ტ is represented by ت and თ is represented by ث .ث actually makes a th sound, as in thin. This is nice, since თ and th are both used to transcribe the Greek θ (e.g. μαθηματικά მათემატიკა mathematics).
  • Blue letters are doubled vowels. Georgian has five vowel letters and Arabic has only three, so the Georgian vowels have to share. Specifically ი and ე are both represented by ي and ო and უ are both represented by و. Old Georgian didn’t distinguish between o and u either, so this isn’t too big of a problem. Maybe it could be fixed with Arabic’s vowel diacritic system, but I don’t understand how any of that works.
  • The purple letter is ف. This is normally an f sound, but it is sometimes used in loanwords for v. ვ is somewhere between v and w sounds, but since و is already being used for two vowels, ف will have to suffice.
  • The pink letters are extremely iffy. Despite lacking p and b sounds, Arabic has a horrifying plethora of consonants formed with the teeth***. Besides the basic consonant series ذ د ث ت t th d dh, there is also a series of so-called “emphatic” consonants: ض ص ظ ط. I can’t lie, I really don’t understand these sounds. All I can tell is that they’re in the neighborhood of t d s z etc. წ ც ძ are also in that neighborhood, so maybe they could be a match? I don’t know. My desideratum here was to give just one Arabic letter for a given Georgian letter (e.g. to avoid giving نینوتسمیندا for ნინოწმინდა or ساآکادْزِ for სააკაძე ), but maybe it can’t be avoided.

I’m open to suggestions about how this scheme can be improved.

Exercise: Transliterate the following Georgian conversation into Georgian script:

گامارجوبا بیچو. روگور خار؟ :A

ضالیان کارگی فار. دا شین؟ :B

میط. ساد میدیخار؟ :A

ساخلشي :B

*Nerds will tell you that “Arabic alphabet” is actually a double misnomer, since the script is really an abjad rather than a true alphabet.

**Arabs generally can’t distinguish between b/p and k/g. For fun, try to get an Arab  to say the following phrases: “Pack your bags”; “Bike spokes spin”; “Pass the black pepper, please”; “Pull-ups build big back and biceps”; “Porky Pig picks Big Gulp Pepsi cups”; etc.

***Arabs are unusual among learners of English in that they have no difficulty in distinguishing among the following words: tie, die, thigh, thy, sigh, [zy]. This is due to their native mastery of toothy consonants.

Anyway, I was brought to considering this problem (and to learning the Arabic alphabet in the first place) when I came across the following picture, a sign from the Batumi Mosque:

batumi mosque sign

This sign features text in Georgian, Cyrillic, and Arabic scripts. The Georgian and Russian say the same thing, namely ქ(ალაქი) ბათუმის ორთა ჯამე and ОРТА ДЖАМЕ Г(ОРОД) БАТУМИ. Recognizing “orta cami” as Turkish for middle mosque, I assumed the top line would be in Ottoman Turkish, if not Georgian, and would say the same thing as the lower lines. I was curious to see how Batumi would be written in Arabic script, so I tried to parse it. Two hours later, I came to the infuriating realization that the line was in Arabic and said something completely different, with not a single word in common. In fact, it says:

الادارة الدينية لمسلمي آجارستان

aladara aldiniya lmslmi ajarstan

Religious Management for Muslims in Ajaristan

After deciphering that, I set out, unable to find any examples of Georgian written in Arabic script, to find more examples of Georgian script written alongside Arabic script. The obvious place to look for such a thing is among Muslims in Georgia. Sure enough, in the Pankisi Gorge, on the other side of the mountains from Chechnya, can be found Arabic-Georgian tombstones belonging to the local Kists.

(Pictures from Caucascapades)

On the other hand, Arabic has not always been associated with Islam in Georgia, at least not directly.  There is another Georgian-Arabic tombstone in the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta. The grave is for a Queen Tamar (but not THE Queen Tamar; see below), who died in the 1680s. This paper gives transliterations and translations of the Georgian and the Arabic. According to that author, “The [Arabic] inscription cannot be classed as an example of refined calligraphy. There also are mistakes in the text, the craftsman evincing a poor command of Arabic.” She suggests further that the use of Arabic is due not to Islamic influence, but to an association between Georgians and Arab Christians in places like Antioch.

Svetitskhoveli georgian arabic tombstone

Arabic was also often used on Georgian coins. Here we have coins from THE Tamar, a David (but not THE David), and Rusudan. As on the gravestone above, the Georgian is in the old asomtavruli alphabet and all the names are truncated, adding extra layers of difficulty to deciphering. Tamar’s name, for example, is given as ႧႰ and ت ر .

More modern examples of Georgian script alongside Arabic script come from the short-lived governments of Transcaucasia. (Recall that until 1923, Azeri was still written using Arabic script.) Here we have a stamp and a bill from the Transcaucasian SFSR and a bill from the Transcaucasian Commissariat, one of the precursors to the Transcaucasian Republic.

So much for examples from Georgia. Examples from outside of Georgia are obviously rarer, but there are some. There is actually a sizable population of Georgians living in the Fereydan (فریدن‎, ფერეიდანი) region of Isfahan, Iran. These Georgians are descended from Georgians captured during a Persian raid in the 1600s. (Armenians live in that region too, and for the same reason.) As far as I know they are all Muslims now, but they still maintain the use of Georgian, and occasionally write it (usually alongside Persian).

(Pictures from a big collection on Wikimedia Commons.)

The three signs below exhibit some curiosities. The first two signs are for barber shops. The first has საპარიკმახერო, which is correct, while the second has საპარიპმახრო. Deleting the ე from the penultimate syllable is understandable (indeed, that’s something I tend to do when speaking Georgian, that is what is normally done in English), but why is the კ changed to პ? Maybe the sign-maker was confused by how similar the two letters look.

The third sign has ქაფინეთი. I don’t recognize this word, and in fact Google gives (as of this writing) zero results for it. It appears to be a transliteration of کافی‌نت, kafi-net, as in “internet cafe”. Compare ქაფინეთი with the more normal Georgian ნეტ-კაფე.

Here are some maps of Georgia, one in Persian (گرجستان) and two in Arabic (جورجيا and أجاريا). There isn’t any Georgian writing on them, but when else will I be able to use these?

Besides Arabic, we can ask more generally whether Georgian has ever been written in any Semitic script. In fact, there does exist an example of Georgian being transcribed with the Syriac alphabet. It comes from a manuscript which gives a certain Eastern Christian prayer, namely the Trisagion, in a variety of languages. The Georgian section (in black) is highlighted below.

georgian syriac alphabet

See Adam McCollum’s blog hmmlorientalia for general information about the manuscript as well as for details about the transliteration. McCollum writes

While the Syriac letters are hardly as fitting for Georgian as the Georgian alphabet itself is, even with Syriac one might have gotten closer than the orthography in this example. What is the source of the confusion? Did this scribe write these lines from something he heard or knew himself? Did he copy from another written source also in Syriac letters?

In another Syriac manuscript, someone copied down the Georgian alphabet (mxedruli, with obsolete letters), giving us an example of Georgian script alongside Syriac script. Again, see hmmlorientalia for details about the manuscript.

syriac manuscript georgian alphabet

What about the Hebrew alphabet? Well, there have always been Jews in Georgia, and there are Georgian Jews in Israel today, so it’s certainly possible that Georgian has been written down in that script. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything. If any readers know anything about it, I would love to hear.

We can also ask the converse question, whether Arabic or other Semitic languages have been written in Georgian script. I’ve heard that Arabs used the Georgian alphabet for Arabic when they conquered Tbilisi, but again, I haven’t found anything about it.

persian georgian restaurant sign

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17 thoughts on “The Georgian Alphabet and the Arabic Alphabet

  1. Pingback: The Georgian Alphabet: A Gallery of Specimens | georgiasomethingyouknowwhatever

  2. Pingback: Religion in Istanbul: Mosques, Churches, Cemeteries, Cats | georgiasomethingyouknowwhatever

  3. Sir, your posts are really fascinating. Though I know little about Georgian, I’m studying Syriac as a hobby and I can tell you this…

    (1) Usually we use ܬ and ܛ (that is ت and ط in Arabic, respectively) for the Greek θ and τ; basically because ت is aspirated,
    while ط is tensed and less aspirated. Some say that in Proto Semitic, this was actually an ejective like in Georgian.
    Anyway, based on this, ტ should be ط and თ should be ت.
    (2) Similarly, we use ܩ and ܟ (that is ق and ك [or ک in Persian] respectively) for χ and κ, that would be ქ and კ.
    (3) A similar thing is impossible for φ and π, since the Syriac (or Arabic) langauge does not have the “unaspirated” version of P.
    We sometimes use a diacritic on P in Syriac for this very reason. In the Persian letters, though, probably one can just use ف and پ.
    (4) The above transliteration trend is not only in Greek vs. Syriac, but typical among Greek/Syriac/Iranian/Armenian in general [1],
    and based on that, Armenian->Georgian mapping should be trivial.
    Example: კატა = Arm. կատու = Syriac ܩܛܘ = Arabic قط

    [1] Meillet (1913), p. 11 : https://archive.org/stream/altarmenischesel00meil#page/11/mode/1up

    • Sorry (2) was the other way around. The correct mapping is…
      ܟ = Arabic ك = χ (aspirated) = so maybe ქ
      ܩ = Arabic ق = κ (unaspirated) = so maybe კ

    • Wow, that’s very interesting! I don’t think I agree with any your suggestions, but I appreciate them nonetheless 🙂

      Despite my scattered references to etymology, my overriding concern was matching the sounds of modern Georgian to the sounds of modern Arabic / Persian. What I would like is to have a Georgian pronounce a Georgian word, and then have an Arab pronounce the transliteration of that word, and have them come out more or less the same (but by whose lights?). That being the case, I find ط to be an inappropriate rendering for ტ, since (to my ear at least) the Arabic ط sound completely foreign to Georgian (and most other languages!).

      Still, thank you for your remarks! I’m glad somebody enjoyed this post. You might also be interested in this: https://georgiasomethingyouknowwhatever.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/religion-in-istanbul-mosques-churches-cemeteries-cats/#assyrianchurch

      • In this Wikipedia page, it seems that Georgian-speaking editors are using a similar transliteration scheme for Arabic (ت‎ = თ / ط = ტ):
        https://ka.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%83%90%E1%83%A0%E1%83%90%E1%83%91%E1%83%A3%E1%83%9A%E1%83%98_%E1%83%93%E1%83%90%E1%83%9B%E1%83%AC%E1%83%94%E1%83%A0%E1%83%9A%E1%83%9D%E1%83%91%E1%83%90

        ar.wikipedia doesn’t have the reverse conversion table for Georgian->Arabic, but he.wikipedia has this one:
        https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%90%D7%9C%D7%A4%D7%91%D7%99%D7%AA_%D7%92%D7%90%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%92%D7%99
        თ = ת / ტ = ט — this is pretty much the same thing as თ = ت‎ / ტ = ط.

        თ = θ / ტ = τ are obvious; θ = ܛ and τ = ܬ are historical facts; the Syriac ܛ and ܬ are the Arabic ط and ت respectively. So the conclusion seems obvious.
        Also, when you romanize Georgian letters, თ = t and ტ = ṭ are often used. Now, when you romanize Arabic letters, ت = t and ط = ṭ. So, mathematically (?), we have თ = t = ت‎ and ტ = ṭ = ط.

        Since we know თ = ت = [tʰ], the real question here is, are ტ and ط similar? You said no, and I think that’s understandable. If someone says [ʔ] and [ʕ] are the same, I would disagree too. But what if someone says, [tʼ] is *relatively* nearer to [tˤ] than to [tʰ]? Though that’s a subjective statement, you can at least see what they’re talking about, can’t you? That is, both [tʼ] and [tˤ] are less aspirated, kind of choky, while [tʰ] is a normal, vivid T with aspiration. Moreover, the Arabic /tˤ/ is said to be originally *[tʼ] in Proto Semitic.

        I’m not saying that this is the only correct way (if it’s not Arabic but Persian, things may be different too). Still, it’s a solid possibility.

        I’m planing to read all of your posts, and humbly learn various things. Thank you very much for sharing these interesting posts and beautiful pictures! Yeah, what happened to Assyrians in Hakkari was tragic…

      • Yes, that’s a valid counter-example. It would be wrong to say that ت = თ and ط = ტ are always true.
        However, statistically, your sample seems rather exceptional. In the Middle East, there are 8 country/capital names with a ت or ط (Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, Turkey, Istanbul, Tehran, Beirut, Muscat). Of those 8 Ts, 4 are written თ in Georgian, and ت in Arabic; the other 4 Ts are written ტ in Georgian, and ط in Arabic. To make sure, I repeated the same test with Central Asian names (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Astana, Tashkent). Result: almost always ت = თ and ط = ტ, except in “Astana”, ت = ტ.

        But that’s just an observation. It has nothing to do with my personal opinion. Personally, I’m okay with your method, or any other writing system, as long as it’s not too absurd. Your transliteration table looks pretty, and I fully agree that it would be one possible solution. I think the best part of this post is the question itself (“How could you write Georgian with an Arabic-like script?”). It’s an out-of-the-box kind of question.

        • You know, I think you might actually have convinced me! Or at least your argument has brought me to the point of no longer having any strong opinion; there are so many competing comparisons and desiderata that I don’t know what to think!

          By the way, I encourage you to comment on other posts! It sounds like you know a lot that I don’t know.

  4. First, let me correct myself. The T of “Tehran” is also a counter-example when written in Arabic (ط = თ). “Istanbul” does support my theory, but it’s not a country/capital name, and was included by mistake!

    Don’t take my comments too seriously. I don’t speak Georgian, obviously not qualified to design its writing system. It’s just a thought experiment: IF based on Syriac/Greek, THEN this should hold. Besides it’s normal that several transliteration schemes coexist for the same language. Example: the Armenian չ/ճ (= ჩ/ჭ) are sometimes romanized as č̣/č, respectively, but sometimes as č/č̣ — confusing but that’s reality.

    The Georgians invented their own script instead of using an Aramaic-based writing system. Imho, this means that they really needed vowel letters. So I’d suggest a true alphabet with vowel letters. ა = ا and ი = ي (or ی) and უ = و are obvious. ე (en) = ه (heh) seems natural too, except ჰ is also ه, which is confusing. To fix this, I’d use the isolated form ه for the vowel ე (even when connected), and the initial and/or mid forms ههـــ for the consonant ჰ (even when not initial/mid). ო could be expressed as و with a diacritic, but I’d also consider ო = ع (the Arabic ع and the Greek ο were originally the same thing, so it could be ო). As for the Georgian-specific sounds, I’d use new letters (with 3 dots/a small V/etc.); a digraph is okay too, if the same sequence rarely occurs otherwise.

    I’m going to read other posts of yours little by little and comment on some of them when I have time 🙂 I may be slow, as I don’t have much free time and I may want to think for a while before commenting, but I’m looking forward to learning various new things through your blog!

  5. Gamarjoba! Last night I did Exercise (of this article) and here’s my answer.

    ა: გამარჯობა ბეჟო/ბიჟუ (?). როგორ ხარ? – Hello, Bejo/Biju (?). How are you?
    ბ: ძალიან კარგი ვარ. და შენ? – I’m very fine. And you?
    ა: მეც. სად მიდიხარ? – Me too. Where are you going?
    ბ: სახლში. – Home.

    The way you used ض and ط was unexpected, but basically everything worked for me. Today I memorized the above four lines (minus the second, word which I couldn’t get). Seriously, it was a good Georgian lesson, sir! Perhaps you’re the first teacher in the world who taught Georgian this way 😀

    You could have easily written ი and ე differently, by using the normal ي for one, the dotless ى for the other. Actually, you’re mixing different kinds of ي for ი yourself (in კარგი and სახლში), which could have been done more systematically. Or you could write the Georgian ე as ه (H). Writing ე and ჰ as the same letter ه (H) is better than writing ე and ი as the same letter ي (Y), because ჰ seems to be rarely used in Georgian, except some words begin with ჰ. As such, if ه (H) is either ე or ჰ, then it’s probably ე unless it’s the first letter of a word. What if it’s the first letter? What if you need to use ჰ in the middle of a word? To disambiguate these, it would be slick to write ე and ჰ differently, for example by using the o-like form of H and the 8-like form of H, exploiting (almost abusing) the fact that each Arabic character has a few different forms.

    • Wow, I can’t believe someone actually did the exercise! All correct except for بیچو should be ბიჭო, boy (a common form of address).

      Those are good points about the vowels. To be honest, I didn’t even notice about ى / ي. I probably typed that with the Persian Windows keyboard, and I guess Persian distinguishes the two. I also didn’t realize at the time that ه was often used for vowels. That would definitely be a good solution, though we would still have to do something about و.

      ط is not a great choice for ც, but I don’t know what single letter would be preferable.

  6. Aha, the vocative case of ბიჭი… Thanks, I learned a new thing today! I had somehow mistaken چ as ژ and went to the wrong direction.

    Persian has several flavors of Y:
    U+06CC [ ی ] ARABIC LETTER FARSI YEH : the normal Persian Y, dotless when alone/final, dotted when initial/middle
    U+064A [ ي ] ARABIC LETTER YEH : the normal Arabic Y, always dotted
    U+0649 [ ى ] ARABIC LETTER ALEF MAKSURA : a special Y-like letter used in Arabic, always dotless (you could use this for ე)
    U+0626 [ ئ ] ARABIC LETTER YEH WITH HAMZA ABOVE : always dotless (you could use this for ე)

    You might prefer ه (H) for ე, because then the difference between ი and ე is clearer than mixing Y-like letters. The problem is how to write ე and ჰ differently. A Kurdish-like solution is:
    U+0647 [ ه ] ARABIC LETTER HEH : the normal Arabic H
    U+06D5 [ ە ] ARABIC LETTER AE : vowel; o-shaped or q-shaped
    But Persian keyboards don’t have AE. Plus, the Kurdish system has subtle problems (in many fonts, both letters have the same form when alone/final). If you’re using the Persian Keyboard Layout from MS Windows, you could use
    U+06C0 [ ۀ ] ARABIC LETTER HEH WITH YEH ABOVE
    as a workaround, which always looks different than ه (H). Bad news is, U+06C0 is non-standard as a Persian letter, not supported by the Iranian Standard Persian Keyboard Layout. Btw, it’s not correct to say ه is “often” used for vowels. This method is used only in a few Arabic-based scripts, not often. Though, in a wider perspective, using the letter H for the vowel e seems natural (the Greek η/Η, the Hebrew ה).

    The problem of و can be solved similarly. If we use و for უ, the question is how to write ო differently.
    U+06C6 [ ۆ ] ARABIC LETTER OE : Kurdish solution
    U+0624 [ ؤ ] ARABIC LETTER WAW WITH HAMZA ABOVE : more convenient letter, available both on Arabic/Persian keyboards
    U+0639 [ ع ] ARABIC LETTER AIN : based on the Greek ο (unusual choice, perhaps a bad idea)

    Using Keyboard Layout Creator 1.4 (freeware), you can easily create your own Perso-Georgian layout (for example, you can type as if typing on the Georgian QWERTY, but Arabic letters are typed instead). A keyboard driver can handle any exotic letters as long as they’re in Unicode. So you can check various Arabic-based writing systems, and pick up whatever characters you’d like to use for Georgian-specific consonants, instead of forcing yourself to make do with the limited number of Persian letters. That may be more fun.

    • In a sense it would be more fun to design a custom Arabic script, but on the other hand it would be more work and it would be less practical. Generally when defining a standard, you have to take a lowest-common-denominator approach. The fact is that for most (maybe all) characters not included in the minimal Arabic alphabet, most people who can read any kind of Arabic won’t know what it means. Almost nobody in the world would know how to pronounce ۆ (except that it would be in the neighborhood of و. Most Arabs (in my experience) have no idea what چ.

      Maybe it’s just a personal taste thing, or maybe it’s Anglophone bias, but I hate when languages add extra diacritics to the basic forms of letters. So I would prefer to stick to a minimal alphabet. The Arabic alphabet itself is not a feasible choice, since it lacks even g and p, but the Persian alphabet is viable and is a minimal extension of the Arabic alphabet for non-Semitic languages. It would also arguably be an appropriate choice for historical reasons.

      Plus I find it to be a pain in the ass to set up custom keyboards in general 🙂

  7. I think your question can be redefined this way:
    1) You have to make a Georgian phrase book to help Arab travelers. How would you write Georgian for them, using their writing system?

    At the same time, you’re implicitly asking a different (fascinating, if slightly ominous) question:
    2) Assume that history had been different and Georgian were now officially written with an Arabic-based script. What kind of writing system would that be?

    A reasonable answer to 2) is, a Persian-based system with several strange letters. Of course this does not mean, we should use strange letters to solve 1). The two are different problems. Similarly, just because our answer to 2) is Persian-based, does not mean we should use Persian letters to solve 1). After all, Persian letters are also foreign to Arabs. Like you said, Arabs may not understand what چ is. Yet you’re saying we can use Persian letters to solve 1), partly based on the answer to 2). Using a few Persian letters MIGHT be justified, but that is the last option. To answer to 1), we’ll have to look for Arabic-centric, Arab-friendly options first, before using non-Arabic letters.

    Anyway, I realized there is a natural way to write Georgian ejectives with Arabic letters: a consonant letter + hamza. Though I’m not sure if you like this idea, your original method (ტ = ت) is valid in this (with hamza):
    თა = تا while ტა = تأ or تآ
    თი = تي while ტი = تئ or تئي
    თუ = تو while ტუ = تؤ or تءو

    Everything here is within the basic set of Arabic letters. It’s just like writing ta t’a ti t’i tu t’u in English, except we have a hamza in Arabic instead of an apostrophe in English, and the way hamza is written is not simple in Arabic orthography. The good news is, a hamza represents a glottal stop, similar to the clicky-ness of ejectives. Exactly what the apostrophe in t’u means, is not evident to English speakers; Arabic speakers, on the other hand, have a better idea how to pronounce ტუ when it’s transliterated as تءو, especially if a sukun and a vowel sign are added. Moreover, the same method can be systematically used to express other similar pairs:
    ქა = كا while კა = كأ or كآ
    ცა = تسا while წა = تسأ or تسآ
    etc.

    • The distinction between modern phrasebook and historical reimagination definitely helps clarify the discussion. Of course, if we’re talking about modern phrasebooks for tourists, we’ll have different ones tailored to different tourists — an Arabic one, a Persian one, and Urdu one, and so on. Actually, I don’t think I ever met any Arabs in Georgia, but I did meet several Persians (apparently they go to Georgia to drink, gamble, and purchase cheap (possibly stolen) cars). I also met several Georgians (all truck drivers) who claimed to speak Persian, but none who claimed to speak Arabic. Maybe this suggests another reason to favor Persian over Arabic in this discussion.

      It would be very interesting to visit Fereydan and ask the Georgians there what they think about it. Unfortunately, my country recently elected a Nazi asshole as president, so it looks like I won’t have the chance to go any time soon.

      • For me, an outsider in Asia, it’s like the same difference; no matter who the president is, the US always attacks some Asian countries anyway for whatever reason, sometimes using nasty weapons like agent orange or depleted uranium, and is mentally ready to torture Muslim prisoners. I know many Americans are personally nice, and not responsible for whatever their government is doing behind their backs, but the US as a country, or a big country in general, tends to be a bit pushy!

        I’ve never directly studied Persian, but Syriac has many words from Middle Persian. Persian back then was written with an Aramaic-based script (the Arabic alphabet was not yet born). It was Persian rulers who standardized Aramaic in the first place (around 500 BCE, much before Middle Persian), from which Syriac was born. Nevertheless, the Persian language itself is not Semitic, but Indo-European; it’s a distant cousin of English. As such, Persian and English should be relatively similar to each other, when compared with Arabic. So writing Georgian within the system of Persian is roughly as easy as (or as difficult as) writing it within the system of English, is my guess.

        Persian has more letters than Arabic, but it has LESS sounds (phonemes): e.g. ط represent the same sound as ت in Persian. This may be bad news, because if you’re making a phrase book for Persians, basically you have LESS letters you can really use! You could use ط and ت anyway, conveniently representing the two different Ts of Georgian, but doing so seems artificial in Persian (while natural in Arabic). Do ask Georgian-speaking Persians (or Persian-speaking Georgians) if you have a chance. Georgian-in-Persian-letters is totally different from Georgian-in-Arabic-letters, and it’s interesting on its own.

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