Romanization of Georgian

Romanization of Georgian is the process of transliterating the Georgian language from the Georgian script into the Latin script.

Road Sign in Latin and Georgian
Mtskheta and Tbilisi romanized

Georgian national system of romanization

This system, adopted in February 2002 by the State Department of Geodesy and Cartography of Georgia and the Institute of Linguistics, Georgian National Academy of Sciences, establishes a transliteration system of the Georgian letters into Latin letters.[1] The system was already in use, since 1998, on driving licenses. It is also used by BGN and PCGN since 2009.

Unofficial system of romanization

Despite its popularity this system sometimes leads to ambiguity. The system is mostly used in social networks, forums, chat rooms, etc. The system is greatly influenced by the common case-sensitive Georgian keyboard layout that ties each key to each letter in the alphabet (seven of them: T, W, R, S, J, Z, C with the help of the shift key to make another letter).

ISO standard

ISO 9984:1996, "Transliteration of Georgian characters into Latin characters", was last reviewed and confirmed in 2010.[2] The guiding principles in the standard are:

  • No digraphs, i.e. one Latin letter per Georgian letter (apart from the apostrophe-like "High comma off centre" (ISO 5426), which is mapped[3] to "Combining comma above right" (U+0315) in Unicode, for aspirated consonants, whereas ejectives are unmarked, e.g.: კ → k, ქ → k̕
  • Extended characters are mostly Latin letters with caron (haček – ž, š, č̕, č, ǰ), with the exception of "g macron" ღ → ḡ. Archaic extended characters are ē, ō, and ẖ (h with line below).
  • No capitalization, both as it does not appear in the original script, and to avoid confusion with claimed popular ad-hoc transliterations of caron characters as capitals instead. (eg. შ as S for š)

Transliteration table

Georgian letter IPA National system
ISO 9984
Unofficial system
/ɑ/ a a a a a
/b/ b b b b b
/ɡ/ g g g g g
/d/ d d d d d
/ɛ/ e e e e e
/w/ v v v v v
/z/ z z z z z
[a] /eɪ/ ey ē ē
/tʰ/ t t' t' T[b] or t
/i/ i i i i i
/kʼ/ k k k k
/l/ l l l l l
/m/ m m m m m
/n/ n n n n n
[a] /i/, /j/ j y y
/ɔ/ o o o o o
/pʼ/ p p p p
/ʒ/ zh zh ž ž J,[b] zh or j
/r/ r r r r r
/s/ s s s s s
/tʼ/ t t t t
[a] /w/ w w
/u/ u u u u u
/pʰ/ p p' p' p or f
/kʰ/ k k' k' q or k
/ʁ/ gh gh ġ g, gh or R[b]
/qʼ/ q q q y[c]
/ʃ/ sh sh š š sh or S[b]
/t͡ʃ(ʰ)/ ch ch' č̕ č' ch or C[b]
/t͡s(ʰ)/ ts ts' c' c or ts
/d͡z/ dz dz j ż dz or Z[b]
/t͡sʼ/ tsʼ ts c c w, c or ts
/t͡ʃʼ/ chʼ ch č č W,[b] ch or tch
/χ/ kh kh x x x or kh (rarely)
[a] /q/, /qʰ/ q'
/d͡ʒ/ j j ǰ j j
/h/ h h h h h
[a] /oː/ ō ō


  1. ^ a b c d e Archaic letters.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g These are influenced by aforementioned layout, and are preferred to avoid ambiguity, as an expressions: t, j, g, ch can mean two letters.
  3. ^ Initially, the use of y letter for ყ is most probably due to their resemblance to each other.


  1. ^ United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (2007). Technical reference manual for the standardization of geographical names (PDF). United Nations. p. 64. ISBN 978-92-1-161500-5. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  2. ^ ISO 9984:1996, Transliteration of Georgian characters into Latin characters
  3. ^ ISO 5426 mapping to Unicode; Joan M. Aliprand: Finalized Mapping between Characters of ISO 5426 and ISO/IEC 10646-1; The Unicode Standard: Spacing Modifier Letters.

External links

  • [1] Transliteration web utility for the National and ISO transliteration of Georgian
ALA-LC romanization

ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script.

BGN/PCGN romanization

BGN/PCGN romanization refers to the systems for romanization (transliteration into the Latin script) and Roman-script spelling conventions adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN) and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use (PCGN).

The systems have been approved by the BGN and the PCGN for application to geographic names, but they have also been used for personal names and text in the US and the UK.

Details of all the jointly approved systems are outlined in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency publication Romanization Systems and Policies (2012), which superseded the BGN 1994 publication Romanization Systems and Roman-Script Spelling Conventions. Romanization systems and spelling conventions for different languages have been gradually introduced over the course of several years. An incomplete list of BGN/PCGN systems and agreements covering the following languages is given below (the date of adoption is given in the parentheses).

Georgian profanity

Georgian profanity (Georgian: ქართული ბილწსიტყვაობა kartuli bilts'sit'q'vaoba) refers to inflammatory vulgar, obscene or profane language in Georgian that some of the words and phrases even evolved into a modern Georgian slang. For exact and comprehensive pronunciation of words and phrases, especially ones written with the apostrophes, the rules of Romanization of Georgian and IPA are essential.

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