|? margaluri nina|
Mingrelian or Megrelian ( ? margaluri nina) is a Kartvelian language spoken in Western Georgia (regions of Samegrelo and Abkhazia), primarily by the Mingrelians. The language was also called Iverian (Georgian iveriuli ena) in the early 20th century. Since Mingrelian has historically been only a regional language within boundaries of both historical Georgian states and modern Georgia, the number of younger people speaking it has decreased substantially, with UNESCO designating it as a "definitely endangered language".
No reliable figures exist for the number of Mingrelian native speakers, but it is estimated to be between 300,000 and 500,000. Most speakers live in the Samegrelo (Mingrelia) region of Georgia, which comprises the Odishi Hills and the Kolkheti Lowlands, from the Black Sea coast to the Svan Mountains and the Tskhenistskali River. Smaller enclaves existed in Abkhazia, but the ongoing civil unrest there has displaced many Mingrelian speakers to other regions of Georgia. Their geographical distribution is relatively compact, which has helped to promote the transmission of the language between generations.
Mingrelian is generally written with the Georgian alphabet, but has no written standard or official status. Almost all speakers are bilingual; they use Mingrelian mainly for familiar and informal conversation, and Georgian (or, for expatriate speakers, the local official language) for other purposes.
Mingrelian is one of the Kartvelian languages. It is closely related to Laz, from which it has differentiated mostly in the last 500 years, after the northern (Mingrelian) and southern (Laz) communities were separated by Turkic invasions. It is somewhat less closely related to Georgian (the two branches having separated in the first millennium BC or earlier) and even more distantly related to Svan (which is believed to have branched off in the 2nd millennium BC or earlier). Mingrelian is not mutually intelligible with any of those other languages, although it is said that its speakers can recognize many Laz words.
Some linguists refer to Mingrelian and Laz as grouped within the Zan languages. Zan had already split into Mingrelian and Laz variants by early modern times, however, and it is not customary to speak of a unified Zan language today.
The oldest surviving texts in Mingrelian date from the 19th century, and are mainly ethnographical literature. The earliest linguistic studies of Mingrelian include a phonetic analysis by Aleksandre Tsagareli (1880), and grammars by Ioseb Kipshidze (1914) and Shalva Beridze (1920). From 1930 to 1938 several newspapers were published in Mingrelian, such as Kazakhishi Gazeti, Komuna, Samargalosh Chai, Narazenish Chai, and Samargalosh Tutumi. More recently, there has been some revival of the language, with the publication of dictionaries--Mingrelian-Georgian by Otar Kajaia, and Mingrelian-German by Otar Kajaia and Heinz Fähnrich--and poetry books by Lasha Gakharia, Edem Izoria, Lasha Gvasalia, Guri Otobaia, Giorgi Sichinava, Jumber Kukava, and Vakhtang Kharchilava, as well as books and magazines published by Jehovah's Witnesses.
Mingrelian has five primary vowels a, e, i, o, u. The Zugdidi-Samurzaqano dialect has a sixth, ?, which is the result of reduction of i and u.
|High||i [i] ?||(? [?]) ?||u [u] ?|
|Mid||e [?] ?||o [?] ?|
|Low||a [?] ?|
|Nasal||m [m] ?||n [n] ?|
|Plosive||voiced||b [b] ?||d [d] ?||g [?] ?|
|voiceless||p [p] ?||t [t] ?||k [k] ?||? [?] ?|
|ejective||? [p'] ?||? [t'] ?||? [k'] ?||q' [q'] ?|
|Affricate||voiced||? [d?z] ?||? [d] ?|
|voiceless||c [t?s] ?||? [t] ?|
|ejective||? [t?s'] ?||?' [t'] ?|
|Fricative||voiced||v [v] ?||z [z] ?||? [?] ?||? [?] ?|
|voiceless||s [s] ?||? [?] ?||x [x] ?||h [h] ?|
|Trill||r [r] ?|
|Approximant||central||y [j] ?|
|lateral||l [l] ?|
Certain pairs of vowels reduce to single vowels:[clarification needed]
In Zugdidi-Samurzaqano dialect the vowels i and u also often reduce to ?.
Before consonants, g -> r.
In word-initial prevocalic and intervocalic positions, q' -> ?. Before the consonant v, q' -> ?/?.
The common types are:
If the stem contains r then the suffixes -ar and -ur transform to -al and -ul, e.g. xorga (Khorga, the village)-> xorg-ul-i ("Khorgan"). The rule is not valid if in the stem with r an l appears later, e.g. mar?vili ("Martvili", the town) -> mar?vil-ur-i (adj. "Martvilian")
In a stem with voiceless affricates or voiceless sibilants, a later ? is deaffricated to d, e.g. orcxon?i -> orcxondi "comb", ?'an?i -> ?'andi "fly (insect)", isin?i -> isindi "arrow", etc.
Between the vowels the organic[clarification needed]v disappears, e.g. xvavi (Geo. "abundance, plenty") -> *xvai -> xvee (id.), m?evani (Geo. "raceme") -> ?iani (id.), etc.
Before the stops and affricates, an inorganic[clarification needed] augmentation n may appear (before labials n -> m).
Megrelian is written in the Mkhedruli script.
The main dialects and subdialects of Mingrelian are:
The United States supports Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and does not recognize the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia, currently occupied by Russia, as independent.