Etymology of "Kartveli" ~ "Georgian"

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Phosphorus, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Phosphorus Senior Member


    What is the etymology of the Georgian autonym "Kartveli"? What is its archaic form-if ever recorded? And is there any other ethnonym, be it in use or extinct, etymologically related to Kartveli? (Probably besides some suggestions in regard to "Kurd")

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    This is from the name of the ancient East-Georgian tribe Karts. After this tribe there is also the area called Kartli.
  3. Phosphorus Senior Member

    Thanks for your reply. I wonder where the ending part, "-veli", comes from in "Kartveli"?
  4. Maroseika Moderator

    -eli is a suffix of nationality (espaneli - a spaniard).
    As for -v- it's a difficult question. I'm far not a specialist, but from what I read I know -v- might by a part of the stem.
    On the other hand, old geographic name was Kartli (Georgia).
  5. Phosphorus Senior Member

    I see. Yes then it stands to reason that something resembling "Kartv-*" is the root. Thanks for your help Maroseika.
  6. Maroseika Moderator

    Just to specify: -eli- is not a suffix of nationality, but rather a suffix of a person from some place, such as:
    espeneli - a person from Spain
    moskoveli - a person from Moscow
    holandieli - a person from Holland

    Therefore, kartveli is from the place named Kartv-. So the question is what is this -v-, if the people inhabited it were called Karts.
  7. Phosphorus Senior Member

    I see, that is right. So based on the old geographical name that you pointed our earlier, we have two supposed toponyms : "Kartv-*" (> "Kartveli") and "Kart-" ( > "Kartli"). Then these names appear to be variants of a single word "Kart(v)-". I just speculate a connection with another allegedly Caucasian-at least in origin- people namely "Hurrians" and the probability of ethnonyms such as "Karda", "Kardo-", and later on, "Cordu-", "Cyrti?" and eventually "Kurd" sharing the very same root with "Kart(v)-".

    What does happen in cases that the place name ends with "u" or "o" when "-eli" attaches the word? For example for "Milano" or "Baku" (no matter what do they actually call these cities in Georgian, only wonder to know the function)?
  8. Maroseika Moderator

    As far as I understand you mean the version connecting Karts and Chaldeans?

    I can only tell you what I found in my dictionary. Unfortunately there is no Baku or Milano citizens. But there is, for example, ნორვეგიელი - norvegieli < Norvegia (from Russian Норвегия - Norway) and შოტლანდიელი - shotlandieli < Shotlandia (from Russian Шотландия - Scotland). However Baku in Georgian is ბაქო - bako and combination -oeli seems to me very unlikely for Georgean, but of course I'm not a specialist.
    As for Milan, in Georgian it's Milani, so most likely it will be milanieli for Milanese.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  9. ancalimon Senior Member

    li, lı, lu, lü are also Turkish suffixes for "belonging to a certain geography"

    Actually, literally it means "someone who is in possession of xxx"

    So for example Moskovalı would mean "someone who has,owns Moscow ~ someone from Moscow".

    If the geography was later named by Turkic speaking people in the past, then it might have meant: "The Old Plains" : "KartOva" and "Kartveli" : "KartOvalı would have meant "Those who own the Old Plains"

    There is also the stronger possibility (if the word is Turkic that is) that it is related with "Koru">"Korut" meaning "protected-defendable place".
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  10. Phosphorus Senior Member

    Well I do not think whether it is related to the Chaldean proper or not, but I specifically am seeking a connection between "Kartv-*" and an allegedly Sumerian "Kar-da" (also "Qardu"?); the last one which is later recorded as "Cardu[choi]" or "Cordu[ene]" in Greek sources and further we find it as "Cyrti-" and "Kwrt-" (pronounced as "Kurd") in Greek and Middle Persian sources respectively. It eventually results into modern "Kurd" and its various variants (Kurt, Kirt, Kird).

    I do speculate that this ethnonym, "Kurd", is in relation with the ancient dwellers of modern Kurdistan, namely "Hurrians", who are kind of regarded to have bonds with Caucasia-thence having something to do with "Kartv-*", possibly.

    I see, thanks for your help Maroseika I appreciate it. I think it would be really helpful if we knew what do Georgian call someone from "Bako": *Bakveli?!
  11. Phosphorus Senior Member

    Yes the Georgian suffix in this case resembles Turkic "-lu/i". But "Kartveli" might be resulted from "Karto*"+"eli", while any supposed Turkic form would result in either "Kartolu" or "Kartvali" (if only for a second on this earth we forget that it is Georgian which is discussed here, not a Turkic speech!).

    Sumerian "Kar-da" (Qardu) is recorded in the 3rd millennium BC and suggests a certain geography far away from the Central Asian steps-where Turks are believed to be originated-so any connection with any Turkic words is much more than far-fetched (let alone the fact that the oldest evidence of a Turkic speech dates back only to the 7th century-leaving any assumption with an additionally huge chronic gap of around 3000 years; also Turkic "qoruq*" is already attested in Kurdish, Persian and other new Iranian languages in form of "qoroq").
  12. TobyAshworth Member

    British English
    I'm very much not an expert on this, but surely the root can't be 'kartv-' since the Georgian word for the Georgian Language is ქართული, Kartuli, which appears to have the root 'kart-'..?, and coming originally from the name of the supposed 'father' of Georgia, who was called Kartlos, hence the geographic region Kartli..
    We now have the terms Kartveli, denoting a person Kartli/Georgia, and Sakartvelo, which comes from the circumfix Sa-X-o, with X being an ethnonym, meaning '
    the area where X dwell', so the V must have been put in, meaning or not, to affect the root between Kartli and Kartveli.

    Reading back over this I haven't really helped a lot.
  13. TobyAshworth Member

    British English
  14. Jasmine05 New Member

    Baku in Georgian is "Bako" and the person will be "Bakoeli", in case of Milan "Milani" in Georgian person will be Milaneli (i will be dropped).
  15. Phosphorus Senior Member

    That was really helpful Toby, thank you indeed.
  16. Phosphorus Senior Member

  17. Phosphorus Senior Member

    Thank you Jasmine05, that really helps.
  18. TobyAshworth Member

    British English
    In my link as above:
    'The ethnonym *Karet-i yields the stem Kart through the contraction of the vowel e, caused by the addition to it of the suffix of provenance -el and of the suffixes -ev or -av of geographical names. It has been hypothesized (Burchuladze 1999: 128) that Kartveli and Kartli were derived independently from the Kart stem: *Kart-ev-el-i // *Kart-av-el-i > Kartveli. *Kart-el-i > Kartli. The latter hypothesis is supported by the Megrelian and Laz Kortu (Kort-u=Kart-el): Kort is a regular correspondence of Georgian Kart, and as has been observed (Gamkrelidze and Machavariani 1965: 89-93; see Boeder 1982), the Zanian -u is a transformation of the Georgian -el suffix.'

    I'm not sure on the provenance of this, but it seems like a fairly conclusive conclusion about the origin of the -v- in Kartveli.

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