Monday, June 14, 2010

Georgian Script

Mxedruli, the script for Modern Georgian, consists of 33 letters and is written from left to right. As is common in many other scripts, spaces are used to separate words. Words are emphasized by increasing their intracharacter spacing. While all letters of the Georgian alphabet sit on a baseline, some also have ascenders, descenders or both. Georgian has no feature corresponding to the distinction of upper and lower case. In a special 'headline' style, all parts of each letter are made to sit on the baseline, in some cases resulting in a change of proportions in the letterform. Even though the basic order of Georgian characters is based on the Greek alphabet, the order differs wherever there is a need for a Georgian symbol with no equivalent in Greek. Since the phonologies of Greek and Georgian differ greatly, there are more than 10 such differences.

The first attested form of Georgian script (Asomtavruli) dates back to the 5th century AD. After the 9th century, a new, more angular style called 'Kutxovani' gradually replaced 'Asomtavruli'. By the 10th century, the first variants of the current, more rounded style, Mxedruli, began to appear. In the 13th century, Mxedruli became an established style which was used in secular writing only. In 1669, Mxedruli was first set in print. Since its inception, Georgian script has undergone some changes in two main stages. In the 18th century, Anton I introduced some minor changes, while in the 1860s Ilia Chavchavadze dropped 5 symbols which were no longer needed for the phonology of Georgian. Since the independence of the Republic of Georgia in 1990, new efforts are underway to standardize the script to support the needs of the various factions of Georgian society.

Taking its entire history into consideration, the Georgian alphabet has changed very little. This stability is in large part due to the good design of the alphabet: each letter corresponds to a unique phoneme and each phoneme is written by one letter only. Besides the various dialects of the Georgian language, Georgian script was at one time used to write Abkhaz and other languages of the Caucasus.

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2010. "Font: Georgian". Monotype by Monotype. Posted: n/d. Available online:

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