Sunday, October 28, 2007

Georgian Word of the Day

I thought I would add a bit of variety to my blog and start a series of smaller posts each dedicated to a particular Georgian word that I feel is worth writing about.

Today's word: magari (by the way, Georgian makes no distinction between upper and lower cases)

Magari is an adjective literally meaning "hard, firm, or solid," but I've almost never heard it used this way. The first time I remember hearing this word was when I visited the Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi last July. I'm sure I had heard the word before then, but it was used that day by so many of the pilgrims when they finished the climb and beheld the church in it's foggy glory for the first time. Over and over again I heard "magaria, magaria" (The "a" added to the end of adjectives and nouns is an abbreviation for the verb "aris," "it is."). At that point in my language studies, I wasn't even aware of the dictionary definition of "magari," but even if I had been, I wouldn't have known what to make of it (Yes, the church is solid??).

Later that day at a restaurant, I heard "magari" used to describe food. "Es magari puria" (this is _____ bread) and "magari khinkali" -- I knew that neither was "firm or solid;" at that point, I asked my teacher, Nana, what "magari," or as an exclamation, "magaria," meant. The answer: it's an exclamation of surprise and satisfaction--similar to our "amazing."

Since that day, it seems like I hear "magari" in every other sentence. Indeed, it's the current "in" word. But that's not to say that "magari" can't be used for it's literal meaning. Just today, I told my homestay "mom" that the cheese she served me was "magaria." "No," she quickly corrected me (in Georgian, of course), "it's not firm at all--it's a soft gouda."

6 comments:

Ian said...

Thank you for this; language is fascinating.

[As is the fact that Georgian makes no distinction between upper and lower cases!]

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was trying to find a gudushauri contact info and was diverted to your blog. Very interesting :) I'm Georgian

Ryan Erickson said...

I had a six week internship at Gudushauri and wrote about it in my blog...

sirlizard said...

For some reason, the google translator translates "magari" as "Profile Card," but I could tell from the context in which I've seen it used that it really means something more like the way young Americans overuse the word "awesome." I recently had the same confusion with the Brazilian Portuguese word "legal," which technically means the same thing as the English word "legal," but the young people in Brazil use it to mean "cool" or "awesome."

raed dayoub said...

dzaan madloba

raed dayoub said...

madloba