Amazing story of American lecturer captivated by Georgian language
12 March, 2018
Amazing story of American lecturer captivated by Georgian language
Georgian society learned about the heartwarming story of an American lecturer captivated by Georgian alphabet in 2015 through Gvantsa Archvadze, a Georgian girl based in New York, who unfolded this story on her social network page.

“New York city subway is full of adventures. Today I accidentally sat beside one man and asked him the directions to the museum. After a short conversation he noticed a text in my phone and asked me with excitement if
I was from Georgia.

I looked at him with surprise, since he did not have the appearance neither of a Georgian nor of any other former soviet republic's resident.

After I told him that I was Georgian, he showed me a book that was lying on his knees. It turned out that he was reading quite an old edition of a Georgian grammar book published by Chicago University.

I asked him to read few passages and he did it splendidly, to my surprise.
Evan Siegel learning Georgian language

This man is Evan Siegel, a lecturer and Persian language expert who is currently learning Georgian language. He knows Georgia’s culture and history quite well. Also, he plans to pay a visit to Georgia.

This unexpected meeting and news made my day. It is such a good feeling when you meet a foreigner from bigger country who knows and appreciates Georgian history and culture better than some of the locals do.”

Nowadays, American lecturer is quite close to making his dream come true and is planning to visit Georgia. According to him, it was his longtime dream.
Here is what the American lecturer tells about himself:

"I am 64 years old. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, a city that has recently become a hometo many Georgians. I was studying mathematics. I received PHD Degree in mathematics in 2000. For 35 years, I have taught mathematics and computer programming, yet besides I was attracted by the history of Iran."

- When and why did you become interested in Georgia?

-I have been interested in Georgia for 20 years. At first, I fell in love with Georgian polyphonic songs, which cannot be compared to anything in the world. Then there was a Georgian dance… Georgian dance ensemble "Rustavi" performed in New York, which really impressed me!

But most of all I'm interested in the role of Georgian revolutionaries in the constitutional revolution of Iran. I told about it Georgian Professor Alexander Beridze at one of the seminars in Germany. He expressed great empathy and sent me articles and books that belonged to Georgian professor Giorgi Chipashvili.

He surprised me with his strict criticism towards the Communists, Sergo Orjonikidze, especially the criticism towards the Georgian revolutionaries who participated in the constitutional revolution of Iran.

I am grateful to my Georgian friend, Tea Janashia, who devoted her time to me, checked and corrected my translations from Georgian.

I learned Azeri and Turkish languages, and I prepared many articles about how Azeri intellectuals influence Iran's progressive culture.

The materials were mostly published in the journal Mulla Nasr od-Din, which was founded in Tbilisi.

- How did you learn Georgian?

I was studying Professor Howard Aronson’s Georgian grammar. Aronson is one of the brilliant experts of Georgian linguistics. In cooperation with Georgian co-author, he published a new grammar and reading materials, which were written professionally and represents a real masterpiece of his scientific career.

After learning Aronson's grammar, I started studying books and articles sent by Georgian professor Beridze. I am grateful to my Georgian friend who studied English here and then returned to work in the tourism and hospitality industry in his homeland. Unfortunately, I lost contact with him and I could not personally thank him for his kindness.

I have many Georgian friends, and these relationships are very precious for me. I also have relationships with Georgians living in America. Unfortunately, I have never been in Georgia. This year, in March I am planning my first visit to your country!

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