დილიდან ხურო ჯუჯები გამალებით მუშაობენ თავიანთ პატარა სახელოსნოში. ქუჩაში გამაყრუებელი ხმაური გამოდის. იცით, რამდენი საქმე აქვთ?! ჯერ ციყვს წიგნის თაროები უნდა გამოუჩარხონ, მერე ეჭედელ ჯუჯას – მაგიდა და სკამები. იმ კუს კი, ხუროებს ისე რომ ამხიარულებს, ახალ სკეიტბორდს უმზადებენ.
In the morning, carpenter gnomes are aggressively working in their small workshop. A deafening noise comes out into the street. Do you know how much work they have?! A squirrel carves out a bookshelf, then the blacksmith gnome – a table and chairs. The turtle, finding carpentry is so exhilarating, is making new skateboards.] (Or something like that.)
I was walking by a stand in front of a little mall opposite Xiamen University’s west gate (the main gate) and this caught my eye:
“That looks like Georgian”, I said to myself. I opened the book, and sure enough, beautiful Georgian script filled the pages.
Since I first became aware of the script I’ve had it in the back of my mind to learn it and a little of the language, but didn’t have a serious enough excuse until now (it doesn’t take much). The script is actually not very difficult. The two and a half notable things about the pronunciation are that you can string quite a lot of consonants together in ways that you might not expect, and that it has ejectives! According to Wikipedia, the ejectives are followed by creaky-voiced vowels. This would make the ejectives different in nature from what I’ve heard in some African languages, where the articulation of the ejective and the following vowel don’t actually connect.
Anyway, my phone has Georgian as a keyboard option (I’m running CyanogenMod 7, which is a modification of the Andriod 2.3.3 operating system), so I quickly made an Anki deck to learn the letters.
I used Google Translate (also on my phone) to look up ჯუჯები (jujebi /dʒudʒebi/ gnomes). It took a while going through the process of elimination to figure out that the first and third letters were ჯ. Then I spent a little time the next couple days using it to try to figure out what the text on the first page said. Google Translate has a virtual keyboard with a couple of different layouts, so you can type without installing the keyboard on your computer. It doesn’t translate Georgian very well, apparently, but it gives alternate translations. I also found this online Georgian-English dictionary.
I translated the first page based on the meanings of the words/roots I was getting from the dictionary. I haven’t yet looked into the grammar (other than the brief description on the Wikipedia page describing the language). But I will. It’s quite gratifying to be able to get the facts about a language so fast. I remember when I was a child in the 70s, reading The Lord of the Rings and wanting to learn Quenya. I started making a dictionary from words that I found in the appendices. I had no idea what grammar was, and had absolutely no success in moving forward. Now it’s amazing the things we have access to. It’s pure joy to have a healthy interest these days. Instant gratification for curious minds. Viva technology!