Metadata and Verification of Scientific Conclusions in the Records of German Traveler-Scientist

TSU, 107 - 14.45-15.10

For centuries various scholars have been interested in the Kartvelian languages  (Georgian, Megrelian, Laz and Svan). The first attempt of the scientific study of these languages is related to outstanding foreign travelers and scholars: I. Guldenstedt, I. Klaprot, G. Rozen, F. Bopp, P. Uslar, R. Erkert, H. Schuckhardt and others. Special mention should be made of lexical-grammatical data regarding the non-written Kartvelian languages – Megrelian, Laz and Svan. Naturally, such records are fragmentary (they embrace separate lexemes, elementary grammatical information) and, in some cases, there are certain errors. However, they are very important, as they form the history of scientific study of the Kartvelian languages.

Currently it is widespread to implement research based on vast empirical material; therefore, it is an urgent task to create databases of natural languages and to enrich these databases with reliable material leading to precise and justified scientific conclusions. In the process of verification of the existing material, metadata play an important role, whereas precision and qualification of the material is, to a certain extent, complicated by the absence of the above-mentioned data.

The paper focuses on the given issue, based on the work of Georg Rozen, where examples, in the form of separate lexemes, are quoted from his own papers. G. Rozen gives grammatical characteristics of Megrelian, Svan and Abkhazian languages, alongside with the grammar of the Ossetic language. The title of the work is: „Ossetic Grammar Appended with Research on Megrelian, Svan and Abkhazian Languages“ (Ossetische Sprachlehre nebst iner Abhandlung ╚Ľber das Mingrelische, Suanische und Abchazische von Dr. Georg Rozen) ; the work was printed in Berlin in 1846, it comprises 84 pages, out of which 9 contain information on the Megrelian language and 13 – on the Svan language. G. Rozen studied the languages on the spot. However, it is unknown where, in what conditions and under whose guidance the materials were recorded. Attention should be paid to the diversity of forms of Svan lexemes in Rozen’s work. Due to this diversity, opinions vary regarding the identity of his linguistic informant; namely, scholarly literature makes mention of:

  1. A Svan person from Lashkheti (A. Chikobava);

b. A person from Samegrelo or Lechkhumi who spoke the Svan language (P. Uslar).

The above-mentioned opinions are based on the fact that separate Svan lexical units are given by Rozen without umlaut.




1. A. Chikobava, The History of the Study of Iberian-Caucasian Languages, “Ganatleba” publishing-house, Tbilisi, 1965;

2. The Svan Language (Grammatical Review, Texts, Glossary), compiled by Z. Chumburidze, L. Nizharadze, R. Kurdadze, “Petiti” publishing-house, Tbilisi, 2007.