Fri 13 January 2012

Notes from the Underground (10)

citybooks თბილისი

My job at deBuren consists mainly of inventing new programs on the subjects of (European) politics, literature, and films. When it comes to the citybooks project, my main responsibility is the coordination of our citybooks programs in Chartres, Charleroi, Lublin, and Tbilisi. Our partner organisations in Tbilisi, the Dutch Embassy and city council, have decided to publish the citybooks as a book. The publication will be bilingual: English and Georgian.

This means that I am currently in close contact with our designer, to make sure that all the texts and images will end up displayed beautifully, and most importantly, correctly. This is more easily said than done, as the Georgian alphabet - in Georgian: ქართული დამწერლობა – looks nothing like our own. The Georgian language is one of the many  Kartvelian, or South Caucasian, languages - a group of languages spoken by a very limited number of people. Georgian, which counts about four million native speakers, is by far the largest of these Kartvelian languages that still exist today. There's a long standing literary tradition in Georgian that goes back for more than 15 centuries, which makes it one of the oldest, still living, languages in the world.

The Georgian script also proved to be a challenge for the designers of our citybooks website, as it seemed that the back-end of the website was not able to work with this foreign script. Fortunately, the problem was solved and the citybooks Tbilisi are now also available in the georgeous Georgian script. Perhaps you would like to listen to a fragment of one of the Georgian podcasts, while looking at the accompanying text in Georgian - just to get a feel for the language.

If all goes well, the design for the citybooks Tblisi book will be off to the printer soon. Once they are done, all of the books will be delivered at the Dutch Embassy in Tbilisi, who will distribute the books throughout the city and make the project and its writers available to all of those Tblisians who do not yet have access to the Internet.

(Xander Stroo, program officer deBuren and citybooks coordinator)



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