Nugzar B. Ruhadze

Georgian Journal, February 18, 2010 

New Georgian Dictionary  

I could hardly make my way through bulky books and myriad papers to finally ensconce myself comfortably in the swivel office chair of Professor Tinatin Margalitadze, director of the Tbilisi State University Lexicographic Center. Her huge desk-top monitor proudly displayed the book title - ‘A Comprehensive English-Georgian Online Dictionary’ with a beautiful logo, depicting an open book in a pearl shell, a nine-letter word MARGALITI (pearl) under it. Focusing on this word will make a lot of sense when browsing for the Dictionary! One more sample of Georgia’s national treasure was recently loaded in the Internet to eternally preserve the Georgian language for generations to come, thus giving a chance to the unique Georgian culture to never be extinct. A small group of Georgian linguists -Tinatin Margalitadze, George Meladze, Gela Khundadze, Arrian Chanturia and Shukia Apridonidze - have done a titanic job of creating this high-level, genuinely comprehensive and all-inclusive double-barrel (English-Georgian, Georgian-English) dictionary. This nation has never had a chance to enjoy a reference book as practicable and multi-purpose-oriented as this one, which happens to be the result of 50-year perseverance. It is not like you wanted to publish a book and you go ahead and do it in two shakes of a lamb’s tale. No! To create a dictionary like this takes a life-time of dedicated professionals who in addition to their outstandingly specific knowledge of several languages have to have a huge sense of patriotism to work practically free of charge. The government of Georgia has to go through enumerable headaches to let the nation survive, and the publication of dictionaries is certainly not at the top of their priorities, although it is commonly thought that the native language and its proper development is a considerable part of the overall national survival process. Professor Margalitadze, a single young woman with a lot of family and friends to take care of, is using her own personal funds to let the mentioned Dictionary be functional online now - and later as a hard-cover publication - to the benefit of her beloved Georgian people. Bravo! But laudations, no matter how lavish, true and abundant they are going to be, are not huge helpers, as it might be known to all of us the hard laborers and poor earners. What amazed me though was a very happy lady, residing on her lexicographic throne and exuding the broadest possible delight over her newly born baby - A Comprehensive English-Georgian Online Dictionary. This is the book Georgians and friends of Georgia all over the world are going to be using extensively. I looked at their site ( and I could not believe my eyes to see there thousands of hits already – only several letters of the Dictionary have been online only in last fortnight. That’s it! The success is absolutely guaranteed. And this is no surprise – the Georgian speakers around the Globe have been ready for the treat for a very long time. Let us now put aside our euphoric emotional stand, and go a little deeper into what a dictionary in general means to a nation. It is the most perfected deposit box for the lore, which the nation has accumulated so far. Anything we have and we are proud of might be expressed and reflected on through the language we speak. And the dictionary is a book which gives permanently palpable existence to the language we need in order for us to be called a nation. All the dictionaries that are currently in our possession are the progeny of the Dictionary of the Georgian Language, produced by the Georgian Institute of Linguistics. As a matter of fact, it is the mother of the latest pearl of the Georgian lexicography ‘Margaliti’. I needed to emphasize this axiom because I am aiming at attracting everybody’s attention to the fact that our language is the biggest treasure we own, which has to be cherished and well taken care of. We have to insist on speaking and writing it correctly. We need to do all our possible best to let it duly develop. After all, Georgian is the language which uses its own alphabet, one of the 14 functioning alphabets of our civilization. And it will never develop and function efficiently unless we have the dictionaries like the one I am talking about right now. Professor Tinatin Margalitadze, the editor-in-chief and the publisher of the ‘A Comprehensive English-Georgian Online Dictionary’, in a wonderful company of her talented and faithful comrades-in-arms, has done, is doing and will be doing to her last day in the linguistic science, the job which this nation needs the most to get done. We can’t even dream of our intellectual productivity without a developed network of dictionaries in various fields, based on our national linguistic treasure, which is widely presented in Georgia’s master dictionaries like this latest one. The book is doubtlessly, and without any exaggeration, a strategic product, and it needs a very keen attention of the State.