The History of the Formation of the Faculty of Linguistics, its Fields and Educational Programmes at Tbilisi State University (on the material of the 1926 archival materials)

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Sofiko Chaava


The Tbilisi State University Fund at the National Archive of Georgia preserves archival materials, namely, the minutes of the sessions presenting the history of the formation of the Faculty of Linguistics at Tbilisi State University in 1926, the names of the scientists (commission members) participating in the process and the programmes compiled by them.

According to the archival materials obtained by the author, in 1926 Prof. K. Kekelidze was entrusted with founding the faculty of linguistics by the People’s Commissariat of Education The paper examines the minutes of the sessions reflecting the preparatory work carried out by the professors of Tbilisi State University (three minutes in total, the morning and evening sessions of July 2 and 3, 1926).

The materials analyzed have shown that the commission members working on the issue formed two departments at the Faculty of Linguistics that of 1. Linguistics and 2.Archaeology and Ethnography. Apart from Kartvelological Studies the linguistics department aimed at studying linguistic, cultural and historical aspects of the national minorities and the countries of the Near East. The Department of Archaeology and ethnography aimed at preparing personnel and equipping them with the skills for: carrying out studies in local history, forming museums, archives, and libraries; trainees were to matser linguistic, literary, historical, archaeological and ethnographic issues of the Soviet Union and the Caucasus.

In total, in 1926, the objective of the Faculty of Linguistics was to study and teach about 30 languages (Georgian (Megrelian, Svan), Russian, Armenian, Greek, Abkhazian, Ossetian, Dido, Avar, Tabasarian, Dagestanian, Tsova-Tushian, Gligurian, Chechen, Circassian, Ubykh, Arabic, Persian, Ottoman, Azerbaijani, Semitic, Turkish, Hebrew, Syriac, Assyrian, Indian, Latin) and their dialects alongside a variety of disciplines.

Admittedly, initially the Faculty faced certain difficulties linked with the preparation of qualified pedagogical staff as well as appropriate textbooks for teaching the above-listed languages. Nevertheless, the establishment of the Faculty of Linguistics at Tbilisi State University was of particular significance: in later years as a result of the scientific achievements of the University scholars and the fundumental works carried out by them the University became the main linguistic center for Kartvelological and Caucasiological studies in the region.

Published: Oct 25, 2022

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