Georgian is a Kartvelian (South Caucasian) language spoken by 4 to 5 million people in the Republic of Georgia, with small diaspora communities spread out in a few republics of the former Soviet Union, Iran, and Turkey. Shanidze (1973) distinguishes six groups of Georgian dialects: Dasavluri (Imeruli, Guruli, Rachuli, Lechkhumuri); Ingilouri; Kartlur-Kakhuri (Kartluri, Kakhuri, Javakhuri, Meskhuri, Kizikuri); Mtiulur-Pshauri (Mtiulur-Gudamakruli, Pshauri); Pkhouri (Khevsuruli, Mokheuri, Tushuri); and Samkhret-Dasavluri (Acharuli, Imerkheuli). The Kartluri dialect is considered the basis of standard or literary Georgian. It is spoken in Kartli, an eastern Georgian province where Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, is located. Standard literary Georgian is discussed here. One male speaker from Tbilisi (the second author) was consulted for all the data presented in the illustration.
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Standard-Georgian sound files