General Linguistics Department was founded in 1958 under the leadership of the Corresponding-Member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences Prof. Tinatin Sharashenidze. The aim of the department was to develop the general theoretic-linguistic school founded by Arn. Chikobava and M. Akhvlediani, philosophic-theoretic research of a language, to generalize the peculiarities characteristic of the Ibero-Caucasian languages from the general and typological viewpoint.
The main subjects of the department were: history of language philosophy and philosophic principles of linguistics; main linguistic trends; linguistic methodology and special methods; linguistic branches.
Throughout the years the collaborators of the department carried out thoroughly elaborating of these subjects: T. Sharashenidze empirically researched the Kartvelian languages from the viewpoint of morphology, phonology and dialectology. She dedicated fundamental monograph to the problem of classification of languages; also a monograph on universals and typology of languages and a monograph on I. A. Baudouin de Courtenay’s works belong to her.
In 1958 T. Sharashenidze founded mathematical linguistics seminar, in which besides linguists, mathematicians, logicians and specialists in cybernetics took part. Some dissertation and works were dedicated to the problems of mathematical linguistics. On her initiative the periodical collection of papers “Problems of General and Mathematical Linguistics” was founded (six volumes were published).
Noteworthy works by M. Machavariani and Ir. Ramishvili were dedicated to researching philosophic history of a language. Ir. Ramishvili’s monograph “Original Principles of Structuralist School of Copenhagen” on philosophic principles of glossematics was published. The researcher dedicated notewothy researches to the problem of relation of natural and artificial languages; Leibniz’s conception on a universal language of science (1917), problems of researching of a meta-language (1972), etc. An important research field was phonology. Many papers and researches were dedicated to studying the material of the Ibero-Caucasian languages from the phonological viewpoint. I. Kobalava’s monograph “Conception of a phoneme in modern linguistics” (1974) must be noted from this view.
B. Pochkhua created a significant theoretic work in Georgian lexicology “Georgian Lexicology”. He compiled “Ideographic Dictionary of Georgian” (the 1st volume of the dictionary was published in 1987), author’s theoretic thought on systematization of a language vocabulary is given in its introduction. The department is carrying out the work on publishing the next volumes of the dictionary. The special object of research was stylistics. Theoretical and empirical research of this branch was connected with using the mathematical methods, to which L. Abuladze and G. Kvaratskhelia’s dissertations and papers were dedicated. G. Kvaratskhelia’s works “Stylistics and experiment” (1972), “General problems of functional stylistics” (`1985) were dedicated to the theoretical and practical problems of functional stylistics.
The department paid special attention to theoretic and empirical problems of syntax, critical analysis of basic syntactical theories existing in the modern linguistics and its usage on the Georgian material. These problems are fundamentally elaborated in L. Enukidze’s works.
G. Machavariani’s monograph “Semantics of Grammatical Category of Version” (1987) was dedicated to the problems of grammatical semantics.
One of the important subjects of the department is sociolinguistic problems. To this point noteworthy researches on interrelation of a language and culture, a language and socium by outstanding scholars Maye, Saussure, Tardy and others are elaborated and studied by K. Lerner and their interpretation is given taking into consideration formation of a qualitative system of the Kartvelian languages and socio-cultural areal.
Marking theory is fundamentally elaborated by the department. I. Melikishvili’s work “Relation of Marking in Phonology” (1976) gives us typological-phonological characteristics of the Ibero-Caucasian and Indo-European languages. Important works are carried out to establish phonological structure of the Kartvelian and Indo-European roots.
Subjects of historical-comparative linguistics were elaborated at the department. Methodology of comparativistics and scientific principles of genealogic classification are discussed in detail in T. Sharashenidze and B. Pochkhua’s theoretical works. Many works were dedicated to reconstruction of a consonantal system of the Kartvelian languages.
The seminar “Culture and language” was held at the department, in which not only collaborators of the department but invited specialists participated. Important problems arisen at the seminar, viz. problem of interrelation of a language and psychics, psychological theories of a language and psychological nature of a general language were became future objects of research (I. Kobalava’s works). Functions of a language, problems of its relation with extra-linguistic world were significant for the department.
Collaborators of the department participated in compiling the Georgian encyclopedia.
Collaborators of the department carry out many-sided scientific work. They participate in institutional, republic and international conferences.
Candidate of Philological Sciences Maia Machavariani headed the department from 1984 till 2001. In 2001 Corresponding-member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Gucha Kvaratskhelia headed the department. In this year a computational linguistics laboratory was united to the department. In 2006 experimental phonetics laboratory, which was founded in 1959 under Shota Gaprindashvili’s leadership, was joined to general linguistics department.
The experiments of the laboratory’s head were the basis for special studying of perception of phonetic units. This caused to found a new branch of phonetics – perceptive phonetics. Image of this laboratory, the work carried out at the laboratory and researching methods were caused by such understanding of the research points and direction of the work which was characteristic of the laboratory during the first years.
Collaborators of the laboratory compiled a volume of the phonetics of academic Georgian grammar. It is synchronic description of the sound system of the modern literary Georgian.
The works carried out by G. Tsotsanidze, N. Imnadze, L. Babluani, A. Oniani, L. Vashakidze, T. Abramishvili on frequency of sounds in literary Georgian texts, intonative structure of the Georgian dialects are noteworthy. N. Kiziria’s monograph is dedicated to Georgian intonative structures. Phonematic structure of Georgian and its connection with phonemic distribution are discussed in T. Uturgaidze’s monograph. Megrelian and Chan sound structure is also researched monographically. L. Babluani dedicated special research to Svan phonemic distribution. Dargwa phonetics is monographically described by Sh. Gaprindashvili; word-stress in Dido languages is described by E. Lomtadze. I. Gudava, T. Ketsba, Z. Japaridze’s works deal with sound systems of the mountanian Ibero-Caucasian languages. Specific sounds of these languages were studied in collective work of collaborators of the laboratory. Persian phonetics is monographically researched by Sh. Gaprindashvili and J. Giunashvili’s co-authorship. Problems of Russian, Osetian, French languages were studied experimentally.
Material obtained during the field-work or at the institute is reserved in phonotheke, rentgenotheke and oscillotheke of the laboratory.
Experimental phonetics laboratory elaborated methods of experimental research:
a) electronic synthesis of Georgian speech. The synthesis was carried out by an engineer Ludmila Belozerova on the syntheser constructed and built by her. Through this syntheser not only separate sounds, but characters of a stress and intonation are evaluated;
b) phonemic compilative synthesis of the Georgian speech. At the Institute of Control Systems, at the Prof. G. Ramishvili’s department collaborator of the department A. Tushishvili and collaborator of the Institute of Linguistics Z. Japaridze worked on compilative synthesis. L. Vashakidze took part in the experiment carried out at the laboratory;
c) automatic guess of sounds. An engineer Yuri Strelnikov worked on this problem. The machinary on which necessary operations were carried out was constructed by him.
d) electromiographic research of articulation. For the experimental-phonetic point electromiography of speech organs was carried out for the first time in 1960 at the Institute of Physiology of the Georgian Academy of Sciences by the collaborators of Prof. Dzidzishvili’s laboratory T. Oniani and T. Ioseliani. Z. Japaridze took part in it. This method was instilling at the Institute of Linguistics. The Laboratory researched the regularities of mastering the Georgian phonetic units by the Georgian children, established succession of formation of Georgian sounds and intonative outlines.One of the main points of the laboratory’s collaborators is to study sound system of the Georgian, Kartvelian and mountanian Ibero-Caucasian languages. Recording and experimental elaborating of these languages are being carried out.
Problems of general phonetics are also being discussed at the laboratory, viz. problems of perceptive phonetics and early stages of formation of lingual (phonetic) system in a human-being. Foundation of new linguistic discipline perceptive phonetics, elaboration of its conceptive apparatus, showing and discussing the processes during perception of speech sounds on conscious and subconscious level are given in Z. Japaridze’s two books and works. N. Imnadze’s monograph is dedicated to the problems of perception of Georgian sounds.
The following collaborators worked at the laboratory in different time: N. Akhrakhadze, L. Babluani, I. Gudava, N. Imnadze, N. Kiziria, E. Lomtadze, I. Mamaladze, A. Oniani, R. Sulakauri, T. Ketsba, G. Tsotsanidze, T. Abramishvili, L. Belorezova, N. Giorgobiani, D. Dolidze. T. Tevdoradze, T. Uturgaidze. After Sh. Gaprindashvili’s death, since 1968 Prof. Zurab Djaparidze and in 2000-2006 Doctor of Philology Nodar Ardoteli headed the laboratory.
In 2009 the laboratory of the experimental phonetics was united with the general linguistics department.
In 2009 Doctor of Philological Sciences, Prof. Mikheil Kurdiani was voted to head the department.
In 2009, October, the following scientific workers filled the scientific posts: