The Question of Social Sensibleness of the Vocabulary Denoting Place-owning in the Georgian Language

In the contemporary world a human being "increasingly" parts from his/her home and tries to           master the whole planet via technical means. The permanent movement changed a person's attitude towards his/her dwelling-place. Nowadays, human beings live everywhere: in the hotels, in the boarding-houses, as lodgers, as migrants (emigrants and immigrants). A village has changed. The principle of an inherited estate has also altered. Ancestral churches, pitchers, burial vaults and graves have lost their constancy under the influence of the contemporary economic sanctions and obligations.

The universe has become smaller, while the dwelling place has broadened. For philosophy, the universe is reduced to the concepts and acquires different meanings in various environments. The environment, which surrounds a person has different scales - a dwelling space of his/her closest environment, a street, a district, a city (a village), a country, a region, a continent, the earth, the universe.

According to the lingual data, in the Georgian language (and not only) the lexical marking of this spatial diapason was directed from the smaller to the largest, for instance: გალიაკი - galiaki, სენაკი - senaki (cell), სახლაკი - sakhlaki (a small house), ეზო [1]- ezo (yard), სადგომი - sadgomi (lodging), სახლი - sakhli (house), სადგური - sadguri (lodging),  აგარაკი - agaraki (villa), დაბა/ უდაბ-ნ-ო - daba/udab-n-o (borough/desert),  ქვეყანა - kvekana (country), სანახი - sanakhi (environment)..;  A functional meaning as well as the content stipulates the existence of the inner order of this vocabulary. The establishment and assessment of this order is interesting from sociolinguistic, lingvo-culturological and psycholinguistic points of view [Лакофф, 2004: 10-11].

Phylosophically, when the integrity of a person's world is destroyed, he/she becomes disoriented and tries to create a new integrity or to join another one. A human being's world comprises a lot of factors. He/she puts emphasis on different aspects at different periods of time. However, there is a stable space, which must not be destroyed. Its destruction may cause a human being's spiritual disbalance. It's worth mentioning, that this discussion refers to the mental and psychological completeness of a person's "ego" as well as to the "manifestation"           of his/her world view. In the social reality a human being's "world" is collated with the collective consciousness of his/her closest surroundings, which is studied from many angles. From this point of view, a special attention must be paid to the vocabulary denoting place-owning and housing. 

In the Georgian language we can observe vocabulary and phraseology of this group from the ancient period of time. Moreover, we are able to study this specific sphere of personal and public thinking on the basis of diverse and numerous dialectic materials. Therefore, the tempo and directions of changes of public (ethnical and social) life can be vividly revealed.

The ancient hagiographic monuments indicate to the scrupulous knowledge and the tendency of the lexical marking of places, buildings attached to them and governing institutions established on them, for instance, the hagiographic work "The Martyrdom of Saint Shushanik" presents the following lexemes: „კარად სამეფოდ"/karad samepod - at the royal court, „საზღვართა ქართლისათა, ქვეყანასა მას ჰერეთისასა"/sazghvarta Kartlisata, kvekanasa mas Heretisasa - at the boarders of Kartli, in the country Hereti,  „სოფლად შევიდეს"/soplad shevides -  enters the village, „მოიწია დაბასა მას, რომელსა სახელი ჰრქვიან ცურტავი"/moitsia dabasa mas, romelsa sakheli hrkvian Tsurtavi - went to the small town/borough, which was called Tsurtavi, „დაეცა ქვეყანასა ზედა და თავსა დამართ სცემდა..."/daetsa kvekanasa zeda da tavs damart stsemda... - she fell on the earth and hit her head (In the first case, the word ქვეყანა means Hereti, in the other, the earth of Shushanik's dwelling is implied), „სახლაკი ერთი მცირე ჰპოვა"/sakhlaki erti mtsire hpova - he/she found a small house, „ხოლო ეპისკოპოსი იგი სახლისა მის პიტიახშისაი".../kholo episkoposi sakhlisa mis pitiakhshisai - the episcope of the house of Pitiakhsh, „და მყის მიიწია ჩუენდა დიაკონი შინაით"/da mkis miitsia chuenda diakoni shinait - the deacon went to the house, „და მივიწიე დაბასა მას"/da mivitsie dabasa mas - and I went to the small town, „ნუ წარსწყმედ სახლსა ამას სადედოფლოსა"/nu tsarstskmed sakhlsa amas sadedoplosa - don't defile the queen's house, „არა დაჯდა იგი თვისსა მას გალიაკსა, არამედ სენაკსა შინა მცირესა"/ara dajda igi tvissa galiaksa, aramed senaksa shina mtsiresa, etc. "The life of Kartli" ("Kartlis tskhovreba") presents numerous lexical units denoting a person's attitude towards the place. This numerousness shows, that in "old" Georgia the tendency of detailing of a human being's attitude towards a dwelling-place or a territory existed for a long time. The language "considered" even the smallest details and marked them. We present only a small number of the examples of  lexical marking: მამეულად/mameulad, საკურთხეველი/sakurtkheveli (alter), სალოცავი/salotsavi (chapel), საეპისკოპოსო/saepiskoposo (episcopacy), სამთავარეპისკოპოზო/samtavarepiskopozo, საკათალიკოზო/sakatalikozo (Catholicos), სამწყსო/samtskso (flock), სასუფეველი/sasupeveli (paradise),  საზამთრო (საზამთროთა ადგილთა)/sazamtro - (wintry places), საზღვარი/sazghvari (border), სამკვიდრებელი/samkvidrebeli (housing), საყდარი/sakdari (church), საპყრობილე/ sapkrobile (prison), საბრძანებელი/sabrdzanebeli (kingdom), სართული/sartuli (floor), საყუდელი/sakudeli (dwelling), სახლი/sakhli (house), სახელმწიფო/sakhelmtsipo (state), სივრცე/sivrtse (space), სიმაგრე/simagre (foretress), სიმაღლე/simaghle (height), სოფელი/sopeli (village),  საერისთავო/saeristavo (a territorial unit in old Georgia, which was ruled by Eristavi), სამეუფო//სამეფო/sameupo/samepo (kingdom), მამული/mamuli - estate (= მამისეული), მამული/mamuli - native country (=სამშობლო), etc. [2]

B. Pochkhua was a prominent figure of the Georgian linguistic schools. He classified thematically the vocabulary of the new Georgian language and placed it in the ideological dictionary [Pochkhua, 1987]. In this dictionary the questions of lexical paradigmatics agree with the Georgian material. Moreover, the author strengthens the given data with the theoretical discussion: "when a word as a lexical unit is discussed, the essential for it is its objective attitude. Therefore, the first step is the characterization of the word according to the objective attitude (what it denotes). The second is its relation to the lingual society or a single speaker (such discussion is called "pragmatic") and the final step is the "lingual" characterization via the consideration of a lexico-semantic structure of the language (it means, the characterization from the position of lexical pragmatics, syntagmatics and combinability) [Pochkhua, 1987: 23]. The author adds, that "a subjective-thematic description of the lexical fund is only a distant approach to the systemic characterization of the vocabulary. Between them is a zone, which is supposedly very important for the adequate description and characterization of the lexical fund. This is a discussion of the vocabulary via considering the life of a lingual society, because the characteristic features of the lifestyle determine those peculiarities, which are seen in the internal dismemberment of the lexical fund" [Pochkhua, 1987: 24].

We are interested in one systemic group of the ideographic dictionary. Its principles can be regarded as an acceptable criterion of our research. The group of our interest is qualified by the author (B. Pochkhua) as a spatial one - a general dimension (space - side, square, location, movement, being somewhere... inhabitant... volume... ). We are presenting only some lexical units from this diverse vocabulary: დედამიწა/dedamitsa (the earth), მიწა/mitsa (earth) [3], ქვეყანა/kvekana (country) [4] ცა და ქვეყანა/tsa da kvekana (the sky and the country), ცა და ხმელეთი/tsa da khmeleti (the sky and the land), ცა-ხმელი/tsa-khmeli (the sky and the land), ცა-მყარი/tsa-mkari (the sky and the land), არემარე/aremare (environment), არე/are (area), მიდამო/ midamo (environment), მისადევარი/misadevari (environment), ალაგი/alagi (place), ადგილი/adgili (place), ყანა/kana (cornfield), მყარი სანახები/mkari sanakhebi (environment),  ზღვა-ხმელი/zghva-khmeli (the sea and the land), დედამიწის ზურგი/dedamitsis zurgi (the earth), მთელი ხმელეთი/mteli khmeleti (the whole land), დუნია/dunia (the earth), მისახედ-მოსახედი (მიხედვა=ზრუნვა)/misakhed-mosakhedi (something to take care about) მთაბარობა/mtabaroba (the mountain and the valley), მღვიმე/mghvime (cavern), გამოქვაბული/gamokvabuli (cave), ქვაბი/kvabi (cave), გამოქვაბული ადგილი/gamokvabuli adgili (cave),etc.

A person's dwelling "space-world" is the place, where he/she sees, observes, perceives, assesses himself/herself. Moreover, the "guidelines" of his/her action and thinking are built on it. This world is connected with a person's empiric experience and cultural-valuable criteria. Without it a human being has difficulties in the adaptation and integration in the different world. If he/she manages to do this by means of stable psychics, giftedness and permanent personal mobilization, he/she will achieve emotional tiredness and depreciation.

The vital world is differently marked:

  • The place of consciousness (a place, where all the thoughts are formed);
  • The place of a person's everyday experience; the place, which reflects primary impressions;
  • Dynamicity;
  • Structuredness (a person's intra-world and covers, which exist in different distances around it);
  • Integrity - philosophers indicate, that the world which exists in our imagination consists of something, which is not ours. Simultaneously, raises the question of perception and marking of close and remote objects. Moreover, the social structures can also be discussed in the same context: private and public, a family and a state life, etc.  

As we have already mentioned, the Georgian vocabulary denoting a person's territorial belonging or an attitude towards this or that place is especially diverse. It is enriched with a dialectical material. The part of vocabulary having the artistic or tropological semantics is very high. The same can be said about socially marked vocabulary, which denotes small nuances of social aspects of a person's attitude towards dwelling via lexical or grammatical means: შინაური/shinauri (a member of the family; relative), ჩემიანი/chemiani (a member of my family; my relative), ჩვენიანი/chveniani (of ours), სახლიკაცი/sakhlikatsi (a man, who belongs to the same family or has the same surname),  მეზობელი/mezobeli (neighbour), კარის მეზობელი/karis mezobeli (door neighbour), ღობის მეზობელი/ghobis mezobeli ("fence" neighbour)...  აქ [5]/ak (here), ამერი/ameri, ჩვენში/ chvenshi (in our region; in our country), ჩვენში - კავკასიაში [6]( in Caucasus),  სახლში ვარ/sakhlshi var (I am at home), შინ ვარ/shin var (I am at home),  გაღმა/gaghma (on the other side), გადაღმა/gadaghma (beyond), გამოღმა/gamoghma (beyond), განაპირა/ganapira (marginal), სოფლის ბოლოში/soplis boloshi (at the end of the village), სოფლის დასაწყისში/soplis dasatskisshi (in the beginning of the village), გადავიდა საცხოვრებლად/gadavida satskhovreblad (moved to live there), გადასახლდა/gadasakhlda (migrated), წავიდა/tsavida (went away), აიყარა/aikara (packed up), გუდა-ნაბადი აიკრა/guda-nabadi aikra (packed up), ამოიკვეთა/amoikveta (packed up), ფეხი ამოიკვეთა/pekhi amoikveta (packed up),  ჩამოსახლდა/camosakhlda (migrated to our village, city...)  ჩამისახლდა/chamisakhlda (migrated to my house), ჩასახლდა/chasakhlda (migrated to the village, city...)...

We are interested in the variation of a person's place-owning relation, which is caused by the change of the social-political context. Nowadays, during the process of globalization, a person's relation to the established distances and place-owning attitudes becomes a real challenge of the world. Long ago the distance was measured via the duration of travel by a horse or a carriage (instead of measuring in kilometers). This fact is proved by the phrases - "two days walk", "a week's walk" - which corresponded to roads and means of travelling of that period of time. If a person was characterized as "გადამთიელი"/gadamtieli, an inhabitant of a place beyond the mountain was meant. Hence, afterwards, this distance was prolonged ("far than one mountain") and the same term was used to denote a mentally remote person, who lived far away. "გადამთიელი" is someone, who "came from outside". Another term of our interest is "გადახვეწილი"/gadakhvetsili. It characterizes a person, who left his/her house and went far away. "Leaving" was stipulated by certain circumstances. The given semantics can be seen in the following folk poem:

„ასე ამბობდა ქართველი, სპარსეთში გადახვეწილი,/ რაც უნდა მტანჯონ, მაწამონ, მაინც ვიქნები ქართველი" - ase ambobda kartveli, sparsetshi gadakhvetsili,/rats unda mtanjon, matsamon, maints viknebi kartveli (Georgian, who had to migrate to Persia said: despite tortures I will remain Georgian).

Georgian as an agglutinative language has special abilities of the formation of the so-called          "words with accompanied actions". By means of prefixes, prepositions or other word-forming affixes, the word acquires not only the so-called "accompanying semantics", but the ability to denote an additional action (sometimes more than one action) as well. For example, the lexical units characterized with the so-called accompanying semantics, may denote this or that subject or action in addition to the expression of: violence (banishing = forcing someone to move from one place to another [7]), chasing (transferring, forcing and humiliating - in case of a person), exiling (moving away, finding a house in the other place, going away forever), etc.

The territory of Georgia is not as large as the territories of other numerous nations. Before globalization, for every Georgian the whole world was his/her home and other Georgians were under his/her personal responsibility. Nowadays, the situation is different. A person has liberated from the feeling of the attachment to the dwelling under the influence of heavy economic conditions, post-Soviet reforms, opening of borders and other processes of the local or world scale. The disconnection of this chain was facilitated by the Soviet "being without address" (comp. „Мой адрес не дом и не улица,/ мой адрес Советский Союз!"), the technical progress of the world and unprecedented scales of the movement of the population, which covered the strong views of a person, who was connected with his/her patrimony via "the threads of the heart".

A new paradigmatic space appeared around the modern human being. Some time ago a human being's guidelines were connected with the dwelling. Every person could go somewhere, but he/she always returned home. Nowadays, nostalgic pains are less felt. A person may be at home, but actually, he/she is less at home, because in contrast to "მკვიდრობა"/mkvidroba (living on a particular place), a life is a permanent movement. Therefore, the word "მკვიდრი"/mkvidri was replaced by a "cool" marker "მცხოვრები"/mtskhovrebi. [8] 

The world is a part of a person's perception. Hence, a human being is also discussed as a part of the world. In both cases an objective attitude between a whole and a part is partitive.  In the hyponymic attitudes a special attention is paid to the partitive semantic connections [Кузнецова, 1989: 45].

Linguists think, that the relation of a part and a whole is essential in the process of the regulation of the vocabulary, which must be formed as a whole hierarchic structure (it means, that the role of partitive relations in the lexico-semantic system is recognized). As we have already mentioned, a person is a part of the world. Hence, the latter is a constituent part of a human being's "perception of the world" (parts, details, regions, degrees, peculiarities, integrity). From this point of view, a person's peculiarities can be inborn (his/her body, nationality) and acquired (a person's relations to others - different public institutions and objects of the real world) [Базылова,].

We carried out special inquiries for the detection of the contemporary tendencies of the relation to the dwelling. We offered following tasks to the representatives of two age groups: a) 18-22; b) 50 and over:

  1. The first task: the assessment of (from a personal staring point) a particular vocabulary according to the semantics of relation to the location via the principle of remoteness and closeness; the numbering of the offered lexemes according to the sequence:      
    a) შინაური/shinauri (a member of the family; relative), ჩემიანი/chemiani (a member of my family; my relative), ჩვენიანი/chveniani (of ours), სახლიკაცი/sakhlikatsi (a man, who belongs to the same family or has the same surname), მეზობელი/mezobeli (neighbour), კარის მეზობელი/karis mezobeli (door neighbour), ღობის მეზობელი/ghobis mezobeli ("fence" neighbour)...
    b)  ამერი/ameri, იმიერი/imieri, ჩვენში/ chvenshi (in our region/country), ჩვენში - კავკასიაში (in Caucasus), სახლში ვარ/sakhlshi var (I am at home), შინ ვარ/shin var (I am at home),  გაღმაა/gaghmaa (is on the other side), გადაღმაა/gadaghmaa (is beyond), გამოღმაა/gamoghmaa (is beyond), განაპირასაა/ganapirasaa (marginal), სოფლის ბოლოშია/soplis boloshia (is at the end of the village), სოფლის დასაწყისშია/soplis dasatskisshia (is in the beginning of the village)...
    c) გადავიდა საცხოვრებლად/gadavida satskhovreblad (moved to live there), გადასახლდა/gadasakhlda (migrated), წავიდა/tsavida (went away), აიყარა/aikara (packed up), გუდა-ნაბადი აიკრა/guda-nabadi aikra (packed up), ამოიკვეთა/amoikveta (packed up), ფეხი ამოიკვეთა/pekhi amoikveta (packed up), ჩამოსახლდა/chamosakhlda (migrated to our village, city...)  ჩამისახლდა/chamisakhlda (migrated to my house), ჩასახლდა/chasakhlda (migrated to the village, city...)...
  2. The second task: to define the words and to indicate the frequency of the usage of these lexemes in the appropriate context:
    a) კერა/kera (home), სამკვიდრო/samkvidro (estate), მამული/mamuli (estate/fatherland), წარმოშობა/tsarmoshoba (origin) ...
    b) გადამთიელი/gadamtieli (stranger), გადაშენდა/gadashenda (extincted), გაიხიზნა/ gaikhizna (migrated), შეეფარა/sheepara (sought shelter), დაფუძნდა/dapudznda (settled), დამკვიდრდა/damkvidrda (settled), დასახლდა/ dasakhlda (settled), დაბინავდა/ dabinavda (settled), ფეხი მოიკიდა/pekhi moikida (settled), ფესვი გაიდგა/pesvi gaidga (rooted), კარგად მოეწყო/kargad moetsko (settled well)  ...

We had 30 respondents (15 persons in each group). The first group was presented by students (from Ilia University and The State Conservatory), while the second one comprised persons of different professions (age 50-70), who did not represent one and the same collective. The respondents' answers showed the following:

  • The attitude and lingual competences of age groups to the above mentioned lexical units and their meanings were radically different. The representatives of the group b knew the meanings of all lexical units (without exceptions). Hence, 7 respondents had difficulties in determining remoteness and closeness of the words of the following pairs: "სამკვიდრო" and "მამული", "გადავიდა საცხოვრებლად" and "გადასახლდა"; "დაბინავდა" and "ფეხი მოიკიდა", etc.
  • 10 representatives of the group b defined the offered words more of less correctly. Hence, they failed in the assessment of the following lexemes: "სახლიკაცი" and "შინაური", "კარის მეზობელი" and "ღობის მეზობელი", "გაიხიზნა" and "შეეფარა", "ფეხი მოიკიდა" and "ფესვი გაიდგა", "დამკვიდრდა"-"დასახლდა"-"დაბინავდა". 3 respondents from the remained 5 could not define: "კერა", "ხიზანი", "გუდა-ნაბადი აიკრა". 9 persons indicated, that they never used: "გადამთიელი", "გადაშენდა", "გადაჯიშდა", "გაიხიზნა", "შეეფარა", "დაფუძნდა", "დამკვიდრდა", "დასახლდა", "ფეხი მოიკიდა", "ფესვი გაიდგა". They used only: "დაბინავდა" and "კარგად მოეწყო".
  • For the group a, the Caucasus was not a determiner of place-owning. The representatives of this group could not speak about its parameters, while 12 persons of the group b named the Caucasus as an absolutely acceptable identifying guideline.

We think, that the results of the poll proved the fact of the fluctuation of socio-cultural guidelines of the contemporary Georgian society. It's obvious, that the gap between the age groups increases (even education cannot influence this process). The language depicts vividly the weakening of the process of unity of the collective under the mark of place-owning. The new generation does not understand and does not need the vocabulary, which indicates to the regional or state unity. It is not interested in the public "strata" which exist around the family. The new generation moves. Returning to the starting point as well as the memorization of the "address" has no basic importance for it.

[1] In the old Georgian the word "ეზო" had the broader meaning: სახლი/sakhli (house); კარი /kari (door); გადახურული ადგილი/gadakhuruli adgili (a covered place), ფარდა/parda (curtain); ქსოვილის ნაჭერი/ksovilis nacheri (a piece of cloth), აფრა/apra (flag) [Z. Sarjveladze, 2001].

[2] All the examples are given from the Symphony Dictionary of "The Life of Kartli" (1986).

[3] Comp.: the land ownership, landless, he/she has lands, to cultivate the land, a landowner, a husbandman, a mud-hut, grounded, earthly ...

[4] Comp.: the world, world-wide, of this world/of the other world, published, introduced him/her the world, don't make the world/everybody to laugh, a lot of people came, the object of everybody's laugh, the surprise for everybody,  of the other world, a broad field, walked, he/she climbed nine mountains, he/she crossed nine countries.

[5] Comp.: "Each reed and each shoot here/will liken to the dream about her,

A reed and a turf turned green again/I am walking ... I feel sorry and pity" (G. Tabidze) or:

"Nowhere are singing so, as here, in this country (G. Tabidze).

[6] The Georgian phraseology does not presented such integrity as "In our region - in the Transcaucasus". Despite the height of Caucasus Mauntains and a special two-century policy of the Russian Empire, the Caucasian identity and integrity are still presented in the Georgian vocabulary and phraseology.

[7] It's obvious, that "მიდევნება" (განდევნა) /"banishing" has not got only a negative meaning and a prefix "გან" does not have the function of a marker with the semantics of violence. Hence, the composition of these two components (a prefix + a stem) stipulates the semantics, which accompanies violence ... finally, a vocabulary with an aggressive subtext emerges.

[8] Comp.: During the period of the revival of the national movement (the 80s and 90s of the 20th century) Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava in their public speeches used an address "Patriots!", which was replaced by a neutral "Citizens!" in the speeches of their opponents...


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The ideographic dictionary of the contemporary Georgian language. Tbilisi (in Georgian).
The symphony...
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Средства репрезентации концепта "Дом" в русском и немецком языках: на материале романа А.Г. Битова "Пушкинский дом" и его немецкоязычного перевода, sredstva reprezentatsii kontsepta dom v russkom i nemetskom yazikah na materiale romana
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