English-Georgian Dictionary

Gvarjaladze, T & I English-Georgian Dictionary ISBN 99928-28-07-02

Gvarjaladze, T & I English-Georgian Dictionary ISBN 99928-28-07-02

One of a small selection of dictionaries for the English speaker

For many years this was the standard English-Georgian dictionary available in Tbilisi and English speakers had little choice but to use it. It has an impressive 1,050 pages and therefore is fairly comprehensive, but for the average English-speaking student of Georgian (and to borrow a phrase from “Yes Minister”, I consider myself to be very average in this sense), it is a rather difficult dictionary to use (although probably not as difficult as the Gvarjaladzes’ Georgian-English dictionary – to be separately reviewed here in due course). 

I have three reasons for saying that the dictionary is difficult to use. Firstly, it is really for Georgian speakers. For example, explanatory abbreviations (such as “military”, “architectural”, etc – which preface different Georgian words corresponding to an English word) are all in Georgian. Secondly, several Georgian words are often given for a single English word, with (often) no easy way for the average student to know which to use. For example, under “bug” we find (transliterating the Georgian into Latin script) both mts’eri and avadmq’opoba, which Georgian speakers will realise have quite distinct meanings. And thirdly, verbs are given in the “verbal noun” (or “masdar”) form, which leaves the (again) average student scratching his (or her) head as to how to convert the masdar into any other verbal form.

Nonetheless, for all its faults, my copy of Gvarjaladze is very well-thumbed, which must bear testament to the use I have made of it over the years. The dictionary also has the honour of being included in the sources for the “Comprehensive Georgian-English Dictionary” published by Garnett Press in 2006.

Review by Anthony Stobart (December 2016)


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