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Georgia celebrates its language heritage

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, April 16
The Georgian government stresses that the Georgian language is valuable, and various steps are being taken for its preservation.

However, it is obvious that the Georgian language faces many challenges.

Ethnic minorities living in Georgia still have a poor grasp of Georgian, while the Georgian language’s existence is under attack in the de-facto regions.

On April 14, 1978, Georgians citizens held large-scale demonstrations in protest of the Soviet leadership’s attempts to change the status of country’s official national language (Georgian).

“It is our obligation to cherish and protect our language… and its purity, and to hand it down unblemished to the generations to come,” Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said.

It is true, Georgia’s language status is no longer threatened. However, there are some new challenges provided by globalization, the internet and so on… It is crucial to be in line with the new achievements and modern technology, but, on the other hand, we should also care about our mother tongue.

Parliament Chair Davit Usupashvili stated in his comment that unfortunately, a very significant number of our citizens still lack the knowledge of the mother tongue.

“The issue requires very serious support and encouragement from the government,” Usupashvili said.

There was a draft initiated in parliament in September of 2014 that aims to solve this problem. However, the draft has been discussed only by the parliamentary Education Committee.

“I assure you, when the draft is confirmed, the law will not be a burden for anyone, ethnic minorities among them. Just on the contrary. The regulations aim at enriching the language and protecting it from various threats,” Usupashvili said.

Meanwhile, a problem has emerged that will be hard to settle through legislative amendments. Based on the initiative of the de-facto leader of Abkhazia Raul Khajimba, Georgians living in the region will have to receive their education taught in the Abkhazian and Russian languages.

The Georgian authorities recognize problems in the Georgian populated area in the Gali region, now under the control of separatists and the Russian army. However, they stress that the Georgian language will not be banned in Gali schools from September 2015.

“We have no such information,” Minister of Education Tamar Sanikidze states.

However, we should be ready for such unpleasant decisions,” she added.

A law is really significant in the defense of the mother tongue, especially the threat of barbarism. Unfortunately, the Georgian media, even politicians and celebrities, very easily use barbarisms while speaking publicly. Georgians should themselves appreciate their own language and give it privilege.

When it comes to the de-facto regions, the authorities should inform the international community over the recent threats concerning the language.