The South Caucasian languages
or Kartvelian languages
are a family of languages, spoken mainly in Georgia
South Caucasian languages include:
- Georgian (Kartuli ena) - official language of Georgia, more than 4 million native speakers
- Mingrelian - appr. 300,000 native speakers
- Laz - estimates vary from 50,000-250,000 speakers. Mainly spoken in the Black Sea littoral area of Northeast Turkey.
- Svan - appr. 35,000 native speakers in the northern mountainous region of Georgia
There is some ongoing work on the possible genetic relationship between speakers of South Caucasian languages and the Basque language
, and some recent theories propose a phyletic link between Proto-South Caucasian and Proto-Indo-European
. The Proto-Indo-European
connection is quite promising, but most evidence for uniting the South Caucasian languages with Basque is based on surface morphology. While the South Caucasian languages share SOV word order with Basque, as well as an ergative case
, the application of the ergative is somewhat different between the two families.