The official language of Georgia is Georgian. In the territory of Abkhazia there are two official languages – Georgian and Abkhazian. Abkhazia is populated by two indigenous groups – Georgians and Abkhazs – whose linguistic difference is confirmed by the Constitution.
The significant factor in Georgian national identity is that the Georgian original written language is one of the oldest written languages worldwide (it was created no later than III-IV centuries A.D.). But the oldest literary monument is dated V c. A.D. The Georgian alphabet is used in all dialects of the Georgian language. Only in Abkhazia the modified Cyrillic alphabet has been used since the establishment of the Soviet regime.
In Georgia, national minorities constitute 16.2% of the population, with the largest linguistic minorities being Azeris with 6.5% and Armenians with 5.7%. Until recently the most widespread language after Georgian was Russian.
The Constitution of Georgia obliges all departments, municipal services and users to use the Georgian language and all official versions of legislative texts must be published in Georgian. In order to promote integration of minorities and their participation in the state administration, the Ministry of Education and Science arranges intensive teaching of the official language.
Unfortunately, in the territories beyond the control of the government of Georgia, the teaching of the official language has been stopped and the system of education operating in Abkhazia is based on Abkhazian and Russian and, in the Tskhinvali Region, the education system is based on the Ossetian and Russian languages.
The issues of protection and development of language are within the terms of reference of the Ministry of Education and Science. The support and development of the literary language and language diversity as a cultural phenomenon are also the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection.
The Georgian Language Programme was financed by the Ministry of Education and Sciences. In 2009, this programme was replaced by the Programme of Support for Multilingual Education.
Since 2006, responsibility for the R&D institutes under the Academy of Sciences of Georgia has been delegated to the Ministry of Education and Science. Among these institutes are significant scientific and cultural centres for research and development of Georgian culture, language and literature such as: the Arnold Chikobava Institute of Linguistics, the Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature, the Korneli Kekelidze Institute of Manuscripts.
The State Language Department (created in 2017) is a legal entity under public law, which protects the constitutional status of the state language within the framework established by the legislative acts of Georgia, takes care of its popularization and the establishment of norms of the Georgian literary language.
The Georgian language is the native language for many ethnic Georgians who reside outside the country (about 5 million live in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, Iran, Europe and the USA). Support and development of the Georgian language abroad is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via its Section for Cultural Relations and Relations with the Diaspora. Also, the Ministry of Education and Science has implemented the Programme of Assistance for Georgian Schools Abroad.
2015 – Law of Georgia On the Official Language was adopted.
In 2021, a working version of the State Language Strategy 2021-2030 and the Action Plan for Strategy 2021-2022 was developed.