When we plan a trip to a new country where locals speak a different language from ours, the first thing we often do is to look at the common phrases of that language. Since most of those phrases, even in Georgian, can be very useful, we decided to create the list of those ones that locals use in everyday lives to get around the city.

To buy something in a bazaar

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Local market / bazaar
Photo Source: pexels.com

If you decide to hit an open-air bazaar either in Desertirebi or Navtlughi, you’ll need to know the basics of purchasing vegetables or fruit. So instead of using the common “ra ghirs?” (how much it is?) you can say “ramdenad gaqvs [pamidori]?” (what’s your price for tomatoes?). Or if the products have price tags on them, which is quite rare, you can ask the seller: “erti kilo amitsone.” (I’ll take one kilo, but in direct translation, it would be – weigh one kilo).

And if you’d like to go a bit beyond and surprise the seller and even put a small smirk on their faces, you can say: “sheni lamazi tvalebis chirime, erti kilo [pamidori] minda” (the first part of the sentence has no direct translation, but it means something like – You have beautiful eyes, and I’d like to have one kilo of [tomatoes]).

To buy something in a supermarket / small convenient shops

Tbilisi flea market
Photo Credit: yanker

Shopping in the supermarket is quite straightforward and doesn’t require much of talking. The only phrase you might need is to ask a staff member to weigh and stick a label to the vegetables or fruits you picked up. However, this might not be even necessary, as they understand why you are standing at the weighing device with your plastic bag full of products.

A different situation is in small convenient shops you find in the neighborhood. If you can’t find something you are looking for, e.g: sugar, you might want to ask: “Shaqari gaaqvt?” (Do you have sugar?) or if something you want is behind the counter you might want to say: “[erti] [snikersi] minda” (Can I have one Snickers bar?)

Bargaining with taxi

Taxis in Tbilisi
Photo Source: georgiatoday.ge

When in Georgia, it’s always a good idea to bargain and tell your price before you get into the taxi. Plus, be aware that if you ask in English, they might double or triple the price. Even if you talk to them in broken Georgian, they might think that you kind of understand the language and won’t try to fool you. So when you wave for a taxi and open the door, you can say: “[Rustavelze] ramdenad gakhval?” (how much it will be to take me on [Rustaveli]?).

Asking to stop in Marshrutka

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Marshrutka
Photo Source: cookiesandcaucasus.wordpress

Marshrutkas might be one of the most confusing means of public transportation for a foreigner, sometimes it’s quite confusing for locals too. Marshrutkas don’t have their designated stops, except 14 main streets of Tbilisi so they might stop wherever the passenger asks them to. So whenever you want the minibus to stop make sure to say this very loud: “rom gadakhval gaachere!” (Stop when you pass the street corner/intersection), or “sadme gamicheret” (please, stop somewhere).

When invited to the Georgian family for the first time

Gerogian Dishes

Georgian Supra
Photo Source: georgiatoday.ge

You might already know that guests for Georgians are “a gift from God”, so they do everything to make you welcomed and feel as much comfortable as you can. However, this might even seem a bit of a harassment with hospitality for many, but that’s how Georgians act when a foreigner or even a local comes to their home. To act like a local and please the family members, the first thing you need to do while entering the house is to say: “ketili ikos chemi pekhi am ojakhshi” (the direct translations for this would be: may my feet bring some luck in this family) and step with your right foot inside.

When you get seated at the table and eat the food the hostess has made, it’s a pleasant gesture to compliment the deliciousness of the food by saying: “yvelaferi dzalian gemrielia!” (everything is very tasty/delicious!).

Asking for a drink in a bar

Bar situation
Photo Source: pexels.com

You can go with usual phrases like “I would like one beer, please” (erti ludi, tu sheidzleba), or “how much is a beer?” (ra ghirs ludi?) if there is no menu or the price is not written anywhere. But to feel like a local, you can say: “erti ludi chamomiskhi ra!” (Pour me one beer, bro) or if you’d like to ask for a shot of vodka, you can say: “erti stopka ra!” (one shot of 100ml of vodka). And when you want to ask how much you should pay, you can say: “ramdenia chemze?” (how much is on me?)

Bonus

If you want to make everyone surprised with your Georgian language skills, try to master the pronunciation of  G v b r d g h v n i s. This is one of the hardest words to say in Georgian as it has 8 consonants right next to each other and only one vowel. Good luck!