Georgian is spoken only in Georgia, so when planning a trip, it is a good idea to know some of the essential phrases. That way, you can interact with locals who might not speak English, or you can simply impress them with your knowledge.
Gamarjoba (ga-mar-jo-ba) / Hello
This is the greeting to use with anyone when you enter a shop, restaurant, café or meet a local friend. It’s customary and polite to say “hello” in Georgia.
Madloba (mad-lo-ba) / Thank You
When someone offers or gives you something—or maybe gives you directions—be polite and say “thank you”.
Arapris (ara-pris) / You are Welcome
If someone thanks you, it’s a polite to reply with “arapris”.
Ki / Ara (ki / ara) — Yes / No
Even if you don’t understand everything in Georgia, knowing these basic words are essential.
Ukatsravad (u-kats-ra-vad) / Excuse Me
If you want to pass someone in the street while they are standing and chatting (which happens a lot), just say “ukatsravad”, and let them know to move aside. You can also use this word in restaurants and cafés, for instance, when you need the waiter. It’s also appropriate if you accidentally bump into someone.
Tu Sheidzleba (tu she-id-zle-ba) / Please
“Please” is another essential word to use when ordering a meal, asking for directions or while your shopping at a local bazaar.
Ver Gavige (ver ga-vi-ge) / I Don’t Understand
If you don’t understand what someone is saying to you, don’t get frustrated. Just say “Ver Gavige”.
Nakhvamdis (na-khvam-dis) / Goodbye
Say “goodbye” when leaving a café or restaurant, or when you part your ways with a friend.
Sapirpaerosho sadaa? (Sa-pir-pa-re-sho sa-daa) / Where is the Bathroom?
Public bathrooms are hard to find in Georgia. Save some time, and ask for directions. Sometimes bathroom doors are not well identified in restaurants, bars and cafés, so it’s always is a good idea to know how to ask.
Marjvniv, Martkshinv (mar-jvniv / mar-tskhniv) / Turn Left, Turn Right
When you are lost and want to ask for directions, there’s a chance passers-by won’t know English. Thus, it’s a good idea to know what “turn right” and “turn left” sound like in Georgian.
Gaachere, Tsadi (ga-ach-ere/ tsa-di) / Stop, Go
When using public transport, such as a minibus, you need to know how to ask the driver to stop at your desired destination. The minibus system is not like a bus system, and they don’t have designated stops. Passengers can ask the drivers to stop wherever they want, with the exception of central avenues, where they can only stop at bus stops. When you are nearing your destination, tell the driver to stop.
Nela (ne-la) / Slow Down
Driving in Georgia is generally crazy. Everyone wants to get somewhere fast. If you find yourself in a taxi with such driver, it’s essential to know how to say “slow down”.
Tskali (tska-li) / Water
Whether you are planning to have dinner or would like to ask for a bottle of water in a bar, it’s good to know the local word for it.
Ludi (lu-di) / Beer
Beer is very cheap in Georgia, and it is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages during the hot summer days.
Gvino (gvi-no) / Wine
As it is believed that Georgia is the birthplace of wine, knowing the local lingo is essential.
Gemrielia (gem-ri-eli-ia) / Delicious
If you want to show appreciation for delicious food, tell the waiter or cook that the meal was gemrielia. In return, you’ll get a genuine smile.
Ra girs? (ra girs) / How Much is This?
Much like anywhere else, you should be aware of scams and rip-offs in Georgia. When shopping in local markets or places where the items don’t have a price tag, ask them in Georgian how much it is, and avoid overpaying.
Dzalian dzviria (dza-li-an dzvi-ri-a) / Too Expensive
If someone does try to overcharge you, speak up for yourself. Say that the price is too much.
Noli / 0
Erti / 1
Ori / 2
Sami / 3
Otkhi / 4
Khuti / 5
Eqvsi / 6
Shvidi / 7
Rva / 8
Tskhra / 9
Ati / 10
Rogor khar? (ro-gor khar) / How Are You?
When in Georgia, after a customary greeting, it’s very polite to ask how a person is doing.
Sasiamovnoa sheni gatsnoba (sa-si-am-ov-noa she-ni ga-tsno-ba) / Nice to Meet You
When meeting a person for the first time, Georgians always say Sasiamovnoa sheni gatsnoba.
Me mqvia [name] (me mqvi-a [name]) / My Name Is …
Georgian’s love to make new friends, so know how to say “my name is …” in Georgian.