The declension of a noun depends on whether the root of the noun ends with a vowel or a consonant. If the root of the noun ends with a vowel, the declension can be either truncating (roots ending with -e or -a) or non-truncating (roots ending with -o or -u). In the truncating declensions, the last vowel of the word stem is lost in the genitive and the instrumental cases. The table below lists the suffixes for each noun case, with an example next to it.
|Consonant-final stem||Example: k'ats- ("man")||Vowel-final stem (truncating)||Example: mama- ("father")||Vowel-final stem (non-truncating)||Example: Sakartvelo- ("Georgia")|
(* truncation of the last vowel occurs)
The plural number is marked with the infix -eb-, which appears after the root of the noun and before the case suffix. Some examples are:
- The nominative case of men in Georgian is constructed as, k'ats+eb+i, while the ergative case would be, k'ats+eb+ma.
- The nominative case of trees in Georgian (xe, root ending with truncating vowel -e) is, xe+eb+i, while the dative case would be, xe+eb+s.
- The nominative case of girls in Georgian (gogo, root ending with non-truncating vowel -o) is, gogo+eb+i, while the instrumental case would be, gogo+eb+it.
It is important to state that, however, the plural suffix is not used when the noun is preceded by a quantifier of some kind, such as a cardinal number. Therefore, for example, "five men" in Georgian is expressed as, "xuti (5) k'atsi," not, *"xuti k'atsebi." Additionally, in certain formal contexts, Georgian uses Old Georgian case endings distinct from those of modern Georgian: Sabch'ota Sakartvelo ("Soviet Georgia", lit. "Georgia of Soviets").
Georgian has seven cases as described here. These also apply to adjectives and pronouns.
This case is used for the subjects of intransitive verbs in all screeves, for the subjects of transitive verbs in the present series, for the direct objects of transitive verbs in the other series, and for the direct objects of indirect verbs. It is also the case in which nouns are cited. The nominative case marker is -ი -i.
This case is often known in English as the ergative, and is used for the subjects of transitive verbs in the aorist series. The narrative case marker is -მა -ma.
The dative is used for subjects of indirect verbs and of transitive verbs in the perfect series. It is also used for the direct object of transitive verbs in the present series, and to mark the indirect objects of transitive verbs (except in the perfect series) and of intransitive verbs. The dative is also found in expressions of place and time. The dative case marker is -ს -s.
The genitive is used for possession and to mark other close relationships. The genitive case marker is -ის -is.
The instrumental expresses means, and corresponds to the English 'by means of', as in this example.
- badit' tevzaobs.
- net (instrumental singular) fishes (present 3rd person singular)
- (He) is fishing with a net.
The instrumental case marker is -ით -it.
The adverbial case found in contexts such as the following.
- mdivn-ad da-nishn-es.
- secretary (adv sg) X-appoints-Y (aor 3s 3s)
- He was appointed secretary.
- mascavleblad mušaobs.
- teacher (adverbial singular) works (third person singular present simple of work)
- (He) works as a teacher.
This case can often be translated using ‘as’ (‘They appointed him as secretary’, ‘He works as a teacher.’). The adverbial case marker is -ად -ad.
The vocative is used in addressing, as in ჩემო კარგო! č'emo kargo! (‘my dear’, ‘darling’). The vocative case marker is -ო -o.