Georgian: Enclitic -ა used for 3rd person PLURAL?

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winenous

Senior Member
English - British
All the textbooks I have seen say the enclitic -ა is only to be used to replace არის, but recently I came across a couple of examples here, where it is used for the plural form:

Madrid and Berlin are also capital cities. მადრიდი და ბერლინიც დედაქალაქებია.
Capital cities are big and noisy. დედაქალაქები დიდი და ხმაურიანია.

Interestingly, if you go to the page I linked to above, and listen to the sentences being read, the male Georgian reader decides to change the enclitic -ა to არიან, but otherwise the readers stick with what is written.

So does this mean that, even if it is strictly-speaking wrong, in practice Georgians use the enclitic -ა more generally?
 
  • AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    So does this mean that, even if it is strictly-speaking wrong, in practice Georgians use the enclitic -ა more generally?
    Yes, it seems so.
    I've googled the phrases "ძაღლები ლამაზია" (= (the) dogs are beautiful) and "სახლები ძველია" (=(the) houses are old).
    There were a number of hits, including "შენი ძაღლები ლამაზია" (your dogs are beautiful) and "ჩვენი სახლები ძველია" (our houses are old).
    I'm not sure but these forms are probably considered informal.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Yes, it seems so.
    Thank you for your googling - I do not yet feel up to doing it in Georgian. I read somewhere that Georgians also sometimes use the enclitic -ა in negative sentences, which is not considered to be "proper", so I suspected it might be something like that.

    To me as a learner they both sound like natural things to do, so it is reassuring they might both be tolerated if I slip up :)
     

    rev98

    New Member
    German
    it is just that cities are not alive or beings with a soul, so their plural will still take singular forms of the verbs. If it was about people it would be different.
    - berlini da madridi dedakalakebia
    - givi da nino kargi adamianebi arian
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    it is just that cities are not alive or beings with a soul, so their plural will still take singular forms of the verbs. If it was about people it would be different.
    - berlini da madridi dedakalakebia
    - givi da nino kargi adamianebi arian
    Thank you for pointing that out. Georgian never ceases to amaze and baffle me!

    But apparently (I have just been reading about it), those rules are not consistently applied, and vary from speaker to speaker. That presumably explains why I heard one speaker insisting on using არიან (see my top post), and why @AndrasBP found შენი ძაღლები ლამაზია - both of which break the rule.
     

    rev98

    New Member
    German
    yep, sometimes it is a little mixed
    ვარსკვლავები ციმციმებენ
    You would surely say that here. I imagine this is because they seem to move (=be alive) or maybe they thought of them as gods in the old times.

    A comparable phenomenon is მანქანა მყავს. Usually one would expect მაქვს here, but no, machines seem to be alive :)
     
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