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Small Expectations

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Senior Member
Joined 4103 days ago

772 posts - 1473 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese, German, Russian
Studies: Georgian

 Message 265 of 431
16 September 2011 at 3:36am | IP Logged 
ellasevia wrote:
I enjoyed looking at those pages, if only because it was hilarious
seeing Georgian transcribed into katakana. Wait a second... Why did they use hiragana
in some places instead? In the first line of that dialogue, for example, it looks like
they have "ガマジョバ とっくヴェン イアポネリ はると?"
(hiragana in bold).

Oh yeah, you're right! I hadn't noticed that. I've just checked in my hard copy of the
book, and it seems that hiragana and katakana are used to differentiate between similar
sounds. So た is used for თ and タ for ტ, ぱ for ფ and パ for პ. I wonder if Kojima-
sensei invented this transliteration system. I'll ask him next time I see him. I can
imagine even Japanese people would find it incredibly difficult to read though, and it
doesn't reflect real Georgian pronunciation at all. Far better to spend a day or two
learning the alphabet.

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4103 days ago

772 posts - 1473 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese, German, Russian
Studies: Georgian

 Message 266 of 431
06 October 2011 at 12:28pm | IP Logged 
Another milestone reached. I have finished my first untranslated Georgian novel, not
counting ჯინსების თაობა, which I read earlier this year side by side with its English

The novel is called ახალი წიგნი, which means "New Book", and it's by my favorite
Georgian writer დავით ქართველიშვილი. He is my favorite Georgian writer purely
because he is the only one whose books I can read without becoming lost by page 3.
Fortunately, though, he also happens to be a very interesting and enjoyable writer.
ახალი წიგნი is the story of a writer writing about another writer who exhibits
suspicious similarities to himself. In perfect David Lynch-ian style, the story turns
in on itself halfway through and the writers swap places in terms of who is "real" and
who isn't.

So it's all about life, and reality, and what is and isn't real, and what is death, and
what part does Christianity have to play in all this, which all sounds terribly earnest
and tiresome, but Kartvelishvili writes with such a lightness of touch, in beautifully
clear and simple Georgian, that all these heavy philosophical questions don't seem
ponderous at all. This guy is really talented and it is such a shame that he will
never be read by more than a handful of people (unless some big publishing house pays
me a generous advance to translate it into English).

I have now exhausted Kartvelishvili's published works (a short story collection called
6 სიზმარი (6 Dreams) and the novel I have mentioned on and off for a while now, იყო
საღამო იყო დილა, which I'm about halfway through and only pick up occasionally, but
this is a good thing as it means I am forced to attempt another writer.

I've decided to try a nice trashy crime novel called მგლები 2 (The Wolves 2; they
only had parts 2 and 4 in the bookshop so I'll just have to fill in the blanks from
part 1). So not high literature by any means, but I figured it might be quite easy and
I would get some nice scenes of life in modern Georgia. Anyway, so far so good. The
first paragraph was utterly incomprehensible to me, but after that I started picking it
up well enough, so we'll see how it goes.

Otherwise, I seem to be on a good streak with my spoken Georgian. I can rabbit away to
Medea quite happily about relatively simple stuff, and sometimes even quite complicated
stuff. I imagine I'll hit yet another wall again soon enough though. I don't know
about anyone else, but for me speaking ability seems to come in short bursts. I'll be
great for a month, then be completely tongue-tied for a month, then I'll pick up the
flow again, and so on and so forth.

After raving about all the TV programmes on Rustavi2 on another thread, I've only been
back to the site once, to watch an episode of მელომანია, the Georgian "Name that
Tune". One of the contestants was an extremely camp Georgian man, which was funny as
he was the first camp Georgian man I've ever seen. My British sense of fairness in all
things was shocked, though, at the leniency they showed with the answers to the quiz
questions. 'Twould never be allowed in the UK.

Edited by TixhiiDon on 06 October 2011 at 12:40pm

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Senior Member
Joined 4103 days ago

772 posts - 1473 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese, German, Russian
Studies: Georgian

 Message 267 of 431
15 October 2011 at 2:34pm | IP Logged 
Time for a few brief updates. I have become a big fan of რა? სად? როდის?, the
Georgian version of Что? Где? Когда?, which, for those who do not know, is a
highly intellectual TV game show pitting some of the best brains of the country against
regular Joes and Joannes (or Giorgis and Ninos, or Ivans and Svetlanas, depending on
the language in which you are watching). Members of the public send in intentionally
difficult questions that are fielded by a team comprising members of the intelligentsia
- teachers, lawyers, journalists, scientists, and so on. If the team get the answer
wrong, the question sender gets 500 lari. If they get it right, they get a point. I'm
not sure what happens at the end of the series, but it seems to be some kind of league.

Anyway, it's a great show, fantastic for listening practice, and I love the fact that
it's so unashamedly intellectual - very Soviet (apparently it has been popular since
the dark days of the USSR), and unthinkable on lowest-common-denominator British and
Japanese TV in the 21st century. You can find it in Georgian
here. For Russian
speakers there seems to be a few whole episodes on You Tube. It's definitely worth
checking out.

მგლები 2 is coming along quite nicely. I'm missing intricacies in the text but
understanding all the important plot points, so I'll stick with it for now. I was
hoping with the genre to get some insights into the darker side of life in modern
Tbilisi, but it is actually set in Kharkov and St. Petersburg, so I'm a bit off the
mark there... It's all very silly and cliched, so I might abandon it for something a
bit more interesting at some point, but we'll see.

And for my trip to Tbilisi in December it looks like I'm going to get some tutoring
with a Georgian as a Foreign Language teacher at Tbilisi State University. It's only
going to be four days, so it's not going to bring me up to near-native level or
anything like that, but I'm very excited about it. The Tbilisi University building is
very beautiful and I am having daydreams about getting on the metro every morning to go
to my lessons at the university, just like any other Georgian student. What a treat!

Edited by TixhiiDon on 15 October 2011 at 2:34pm

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Senior Member
United States
Joined 3897 days ago

778 posts - 885 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Modern Hebrew, Russian, Arabic (Written), Romanian, Icelandic, Georgian

 Message 268 of 431
30 November 2011 at 11:46pm | IP Logged 
This is very inspirational. I probably already posted in this thread (like a year
ago...), but I need to do it again! I started learning Georgian in January but only did
it for a few months because I have been studying about 6 other languages this year. My
goal was to learn a new language every three months, and I was planning to do that
again this year. But now I decided I want to focus on Georgian and a couple others. The
reason is that my mom just told me her grandmother was from Georgia and that she has
always wanted to go there and visit the village where she grew up. So now I am planning
to take her there, because I have wanted to go there for a while, too! We'll also go to
Russia, which is good because I happen to be learning Russian as well.

So anyway, I just had to say all that so you could know how much this inspires me to
take up the language again. I hope that soon I'll be able to read those books you
mentioned a couple posts up. So far I only know the basics...

Thanks for posting this log. Maybe I'll post my own. After I finish Romanian for the
six week challenge. ;)
დიდი მადლობა!
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Senior Member
Joined 4103 days ago

772 posts - 1473 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese, German, Russian
Studies: Georgian

 Message 269 of 431
01 December 2011 at 9:53am | IP Logged 
Zecchino, thanks very much for the post! It's always nice to know that other people are interested in Georgian. Keep me updated about your progress, and don't hesitate to ask any questions, although I can only guarantee to be able to answer the easiest ones. How exciting to find out the news about your great-grandmother. That would be a huge motivation for me to get studying!

To all readers, I'm back in the UK at the moment, relaxing at home before I pop over to Georgia next Wednesday. I'm just too relaxed and lazy right now to provide a full update, but I promise I will update with news of my wintry comings and goings in Tbilisi!
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Joined 3378 days ago

3 posts - 3 votes
Speaks: Dutch*, English, German, Russian
Studies: Japanese

 Message 270 of 431
04 December 2011 at 1:48pm | IP Logged 
TixhiiDon, I had a remarkable teacher in Tbilisi. She has taught Georgian at several universities in Germany and
used to be a professor of Classical Languages at Tbilisi State University till her retirement. Over the years she has
developed a great system of teaching Georgian to foreigners. She gives private lessons in her home. If you're
interested, I can send you her contact details.

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4103 days ago

772 posts - 1473 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese, German, Russian
Studies: Georgian

 Message 271 of 431
05 December 2011 at 2:52pm | IP Logged 
Orandajin, thanks very much for your post. I have already organized my teacher for this trip, so I am ok for
the time being, but for sure I'd like to know the name of your teacher in Tbilisi for future reference. Maybe
you could send me a PM.

It's also interesting to know that there is another Georgian speaker in Japan! We are a rare breed!
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4103 days ago

772 posts - 1473 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese, German, Russian
Studies: Georgian

 Message 272 of 431
07 December 2011 at 4:49pm | IP Logged 
So here I am in Tbilisi again. I was feeling kind of lazy and unmotivated on the plane, thinking "Why do I
keep doing this to myself? Why can't I just stay at home like normal people?". My dark mood wasn't helped
by my pathetic attempts at conversation with the hotel driver who picked me up from the airport. After some
pitiful Georgian and even more pitiful Russian I managed to explain that I had waited for him for about 20
minutes, when in actual fact it had been only about 2... Understandably, the driver decided silence was
probably a better bet after that.

But then we got into the city, and I saw the beautiful lights and buildings and all the people catching buses
home from work and walking along with their shopping bags, and then I got to my hotel and found that my
Georgian teacher in Japan had got her cousin to buy me a ticket to see Rustavi at Tbilisi concert hall the
day after tomorrow and leave it at reception, and then I was shown to my nice hotel room with a huge
balcony overlooking the Mtkvari, and of course I'm now really excited and eager to get on with my trip.

I'm meeting my Georgian teacher tomorrow afternoon in a cafe near the university. Again a small part of me
is thinking I should have just enjoyed wandering around and not bothered with the lessons, but I'm sure it
will be fun.

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