Georgian oral and written language stands between the Semitic and Indo-European worlds and has a position of a crossroad in Linguistic terms . Georgian language called old Kartvelian and belonged to Caucasus group of Languages.
By the middle Bronze Age the general tribes unity has separated into three main tribal groups: Karts, Megrel-Chans and Svans. Through the 2rd millennium BC, from one family pro -Georgian language was divided into three related languages: Karts, Megrelian- Laz and Svans.
Svan is spoken in the north –west highland of Georgia.
The Svan language is considered to have branched off from the common Kartvelian root-language earlier than the others, approximately five thousand years ago. The unity of Georgian or Kartuli and Zan languages dissolved a thousand years later, giving rise to modern Kartuli and Megruli -Laz languages, about in the 3 rd millennium BC.
Georgian or Kartuli language is the official language and is the only written language of kartvelian family. It is main literary language for all ethnographic groups of Georgian People (4.5 million), including the Svan, Megrelian and Laz.
Megruli is spoken in Western Georgia , in the northern part of Kolkheti valley.
Laz is spoken along the narrow strip between the Black sea and mountains, from Sarpi up to Kemera( at the present day in Turkey ).
The Georgian Alphabet evolved from a variety of eastern Aramaic. It is one of 14 Alphabets through the world and consists with 33 letters. (5 vowels and 28 consonants) With advent Christianity Georgian alphabet under went some changes due to Greek influence.
The oldest script was found in Georgian church of Bethlehem ( Judah 's desert), built by Peter Iberi in 430 AD and at the church of Bolnisi Sioni , dated from 493 c. (Southern part of Georgia ).
Georgian manuscript tradition comes from the 5 th to the 19 th c, including both ecclesiastical and secular subjects. The oldest known manuscript is from St. Catherine monastery on the Sinai Peninsula dated from 864 AD.
Georgian written language is divided into three stages. Old - Asomtavruli, 5 th -9 th cc, Middle - Nuskha-Khutsuri 9 th – 11 th cc and New, Mkhedruli or Saero from 10 th c. up to nowadays. Mrglovani gave birth to Nuskhuri and Nuskhuri gave birth to Mkhedruli.
The Acomtavruli (‘capital”) alphabet was reformed by Parnavaz, king of Iberia in 284 BC. This oldest form of Georgian script is known as Mrgvlovani. Mrgvali in Georgian means the round and shape of the script is inscribed within a circle. Pre- Christian Asomtavruli inscriptions dating from the 3 rd c, were found in Ancient capital of Iberia Armazi Castle and in Nekresi (kakheti province).Church books were written in Mrglovani : gospels, epistles, lectionaries, apostles lives.
Nuskhuri or Kutkhovani script appears in 9 th c. Kutkhovani in Georgian means squered. Both, Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri, known also as khutsuri or the church script, were used in later centuries to write religious manuscripts, using Asomtavruli as a capital letters.
Mkhedruli - secular or riders script in translation appeared from 11 th c. and was used for non religious purposes until 18 th c.
Modification to Mkhedruli was caused due to the requests of the epoch. Intensive cultural life of Georgia in 11 th – 12 th cc requested the fast form of writing and its economy. The most reasonable and appropriate form of writing for that time, was Mkhedruli, slightly elongated and square shaped.