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Georgian (Georgian: ქართული, Kartuli) is a Kartvelian language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century. Yet, at least eighteen dialects can be identified that fall into two major groups: Western and Eastern. Standard Georgian is largely based on Kartlian dialect of the Eastern (Central) group, with more or less noticeable contributions from several other dialects. In its turn, Standard Georgian has significantly influenced, especially through educational system and the mass media, all dialects except for those spoken outside Georgia. However, dialects still retain many of their unique features. In spite of considerable regional variations in certain aspects of phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary, the Georgian dialects are mostly intelligible with each other. The three other South Caucasian/Kartvelian languages – Mingrelian, Laz, and Svan – are sisters to Georgian, but are mutually unintelligible.
Some of the basic variations among the Georgian dialects include:
- The presence of y (ჲ) and w (ჳ) before certain vowels;
- The presence of q (ჴ) and q' (ყ) sounds;
- Distinction between long and short vowels;
- Extra vowel sounds not found in Standard Georgian;
- The usage of n (ნ) plural form;
- Plural adjectival forms;
- Non-standard verb forms;
- Archaisms and borrowings from neighboring languages not found in Standard Georgian.
The Georgian dialects are classified according to their geographic distribution, reflecting a traditional ethnographic subdivision of the Georgian people. Beyond the Western and Eastern categories, some scholars have also suggested a Southern group. These can be further subdivided into five main dialect groups as proposed by Gigineishvili, Topuria, and K'avtaradze (1961):
Northeast dialects 
This group is spoken by the mountaineers in northeast Georgia.
- Mokhevian (Moxevuri, მოხევური), spoken in Khevi
- Mtiuletian-Gudamaq’rian (Mtiulur-Gudamaqʼruli, მთიულურ-გუდამაყრული) in Mtiuleti and Gudamaqari
- Khevsurian (Xevsuruli, ხევსურული) in Khevsureti
- Pshavian (Pšavuri, ფშავური) in Pshavi
- Tushetian (Tušuri, თუშური) in Tusheti
Eastern dialects 
Two of these dialects, Ingiloan and Fereidanian, are spoken outside Georgia, the former by the indigenous Georgians in northwest Azerbaijan, and the latter by the descendants of the 17th-century Georgian deportees in Iran.
- Kakhetian (Kʼaxuri, კახური) in Kakheti
- Ingiloan (Ingilouri, ინგილოური) in Saingilo (Azerbaijan)
- Fereidanian (Pereidnuli, ფერეიდნული) in Fereydoon Shahr (Iran)
- Tianetian (Tianeturi, თიანეთური) in Ertso-Tianeti
Central dialects 
The Central dialects, sometimes considered part of the Eastern group, are spoken in central and southern Georgia, and provide the basis for Standard Georgian language.
- Kartlian (Kartluri, ქართლური) in Kartli
- Javakhian (Javaxuri, ჯავახური) in Javakheti
- Meskhian (Mesxuri, მესხური) in Meskheti
Southwest dialects 
- Gurian (Guruli, გურული) in Guria
- Adjarian (Ačʼaruli, აჭარული) in Adjara
- Imerkhevian (Imerxeuli, იმერხეული) in Imerkhevi (Turkey)
Northwest dialects 
- Imeretian (Imeruli, იმერული) in Imereti
- Lechkhumian (Lečxumuri, ლეჩხუმური) in Lechkhumi
- Rachan (Račʼuli, რაჭული) in Racha
Other dialects 
- The obsolescent Kizlar-Mozdokian dialect, was spoken in the north central Caucasian areas of Kizlyar and Mozdok by descendants of those Georgians who fled the Ottoman occupation of Georgia in the early 18th century. It was technically a mixture of various Georgian dialects laden with Russian loanwords. Subsequently, the group was largely Russified and the dialect went extinct.
- Judæo-Georgian is a language spoken by the Georgian Jews. Largely Georgian phonetically, morphologically, and syntactically, and mixed Georgian-Hebrew lexically, it is considered by some not to be a distinct language but rather a dialect of Georgian.
- Amiran Lomtadze (Institute of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tbilisi, Georgia) and Manana Tabidze (Chikobava Institute of Linguistics, Georgian Academy of Sciences). Some problems of the functioning of the Georgian language in Georgia, p. 31 (PDF). Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- Georgian Dialects, The ARMAZI project. Retrieved on March 28, 2007
- Manana Kock Kobaidze (2004-02-11) From the history of Standard Georgian
- Kevin Tuite (1987). The geography of Georgian q’e (PDF). Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- Price, Glanville (2000), Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-22039-9
- Roʹi, Yaacov; Beker, Avi (1991), Jewish Culture and Identity in the Soviet Union, NYU Press, ISBN 0-8147-7432-6
- Grenoble, Lenore A. (2003), Language Policy in the Soviet Union, Springer, ISBN 1-4020-1298-5