By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Georgian Ambassador to Mexico Zurab Eristavi offered a conference of his nation’s three indigenous languages during a bilateral symposium at the National Museum of Popular Cultures on Thursday, Nov. 21.
The symposium, which was organized by the Mexico City Human Right Commission (CSHCM) and the National Movement for Mexican Cultural Diversity (MNDCM), was part of a larger program to promote indigenous cultures from around the globe within the context of the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Georgia, a Caucasian nation located at the crossroads of eastern Europe and western Asia, is known for its unique languages, all of which belong to the Kartvelian language group and each of which has its own distinct alphabet.
In addition to Georgian — the official language of the former Soviet Union republic — the country’s languages include Svan, Mingrelian and Laz, Eristavi explained.
Georgian probably emerged as a separate language from other Kartvelian languages around the first millennium BC, and evolved into a written language in the mid fourth century AD.
Although the country has a population of only 4 million, Eristavi said that it boasts a proud literary heritage, including the 12th century epic poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin,” by Shota Rustaveli.
Eristavi said that the work has recently been translated into Spanish and will be presented next year in Mexico during the Guadalajara International Book Fair.