|Spoken in:||Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Israel and the rest of the Armenian diaspora|
|Total speakers:||7 million|
|Language family:|| Indo-European|
|Writing system:||Armenian alphabet|
|Official language of:||Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh|
|Regulated by:||National Academy of Sciences of Armenia|
|ISO 639-2:||arm (B)||hye (T)|
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. See IPA chart for English for an English-
based pronunciation key.
The Armenian language (Armenian: հայերեն լեզու, IPA: [hajɛɹɛn lɛzu] — hayeren lezu, conventional short form hayeren) is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people in the Republic of Armenia, in Georgia (especially in Samtskhe-Javakheti), Mountainous Karabakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and also used by the Armenian Diaspora.
Linguists standardly classify Armenian as an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. However, some Indo-Europeanists, notably Clackson (1994), have proposed Armenian and other branches may have been grouped together with the Hellenic branch (which contains Greek). This is called the Graeco-Armenian Hypothesis. Others suggest that there may be a late Indo-European branch which developed into Armenian, the Hellenic branch and the Indo-Iranian branch (Fortson 1994). Determining the historical evolution of Armenians is particularly difficult because Armenian borrowed so many words from Parthian and Persian (both Iranian languages) as well as from Greek.
| History of the|
(see also: Armenian alphabet)
| Proto-Armenian |
| Classical Armenian (from 405)
| Middle Armenian (c. 1100–1700)
| Modern Armenian (c. 1820 to present) |
Armenian is regarded by some linguists as a close relative of Phrygian. Many scholars such as Clackson (1994) hold that Greek is the most closely related surviving language to Armenian. The characteristically Greek representation of word-initial laryngeals by prothetic vowels is shared by Armenian, which also shares other phonological and morphological peculiarities of Greek. The close relatedness of Armenian and Greek sheds light on the paraphyletic nature of the Centum-Satem isogloss. Armenian also shares major isoglosses with Greek; some linguists propose that the linguistic ancestors of the Armenians and Greeks were either identical or in a close contact relation. However other linguistics including Fortson (2004) comment "by the time we reach our earliest Armenian records in the 5th century A.D., the evidence of any such early kinship has been reduced to a few tantalizing pieces."
Speculations on Anatolian influence
| Albanian · Anatolian · Armenian|
Baltic · Celtic · Dacian · Germanic
Greek · Indo-Iranian · Italic · Phrygian
Slavic · Thracian · Tocharian
| Albanians · Anatolians · Armenians|
Balts · Celts · Germanic peoples
Greeks · Indo-Aryans · Indo-Iranians
Iranians · Italic peoples · Slavs
Thracians · Tocharians
| Language · Religion · Society|
| Adamic · Anatolian · Armenian|
Indian · Kurgan · Paleolithic
W. M. Austin in 1942 concluded that there was an early contact between Armenian and Anatolian languages, based on what he considered common archaisms, such as the lack of a feminine, the absence of inherited long vowels and the centum character.
The Classical Armenian language (often referred to as grabar, literally "written (language)") imported numerous words from Middle Iranian languages, primarily Parthian, and contains smaller inventories of borrowings from Greek, Syriac, Latin, and autochthonous languages such as Urartian. Middle Armenian (11th–15th centuries AD) incorporated further loans from Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Latin, and the modern dialects took in hundreds of additional words from Modern Turkish and Persian.
The large percentage of loans from Iranian languages initially led linguists to classify Armenian as an Iranian language. The distinctness of Armenian was only recognized when Hübschmann (1875) used the comparative method to distinguish two layers of Iranian loans from the true Armenian vocabulary. The two modern literary dialects, Western (originally associated with writers in the Ottoman Empire) and Eastern (originally associated with writers in the Russian Empire), removed almost all of their Turkish lexical influences in the 20th century, primarily following the Armenian Genocide.
|Part of the series on|
Modern Armenian has eight monophthong vowel sounds.
In the following table there is listed the Eastern Armenian consonantal system. The occlusives and affricates have a special aspirated series (transcribed with a Greek spiritus asper after the letter): p῾ , t῾ , c῾ , č῾ , k῾ . For each phoneme there are three symbols in the table. The topmost indicates the pronunciation in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA); in the middle there is the corresponding symbol in the Armenian alphabet; and the bottom one is its transliteration in Latin alphabet (following ISO 9985).
|plosive|| p b
| t d
| k g
|aspirated plosive|| pʰ
|fricative|| f v
| s z
| ʃ ʒ
| χ ʁ
|affricate|| ʦ ʣ
| tʃ ʤ
|aspirated affricate|| ʦʰ
|lateral approximant|| l
Armenian resembles other Indo-European languages in its structure, but it shares distinctive sounds and features of its grammar with neighboring languages of the Caucasus region. Armenian is rich in combinations of consonants. Both classical Armenian and the modern spoken and literary dialects have a complicated system of declining nouns, with six or seven noun cases but no gender. In modern Armenian the use of auxiliary verbs to show tense (comparable to will in "he will go") has generally supplemented the inflected verbs of classical Armenian. Negative verbs are conjugated differently from positive ones (as in English "he goes" and "he does not go"). Grammatically, early forms of Armenian had much in common with classical Greek and Latin, but the modern language, like modern Greek, has undergone many transformations. Interestingly enough, it shares the common -tion suffix with Latin (the Armenian cognate is t'youn, թյուն).
Lord Byron studied the Armenian language. He helped to compile an Armenian grammar textbook and translated a few Armenian books into English.
Classical Armenian has no grammatical gender, not even in the pronoun. The nominal inflection, however, preserves several types of inherited stem classes. The noun may take seven cases, nominative, accusative, locative, genitive, dative, ablative, instrumental.
The major division is between the Eastern and Western dialects. The most distinctive feature of Western Armenian is that it has undergone several phonetic mergers; these may be due to proximity to Arabic and Turkish-speaking communities.
For example, Eastern Armenian speakers pronounce (թ) as an aspirated "t" as in "tiger", (դ) like the "d" in "develop", and (տ) as an unaspirated voiceless stop, sounding somewhere between the two as in "stop." Western Armenian has simplified the stop system into a simple division between voiced stops and voiceless aspirate ones; the first series corresponds to the unaspirated voiceless series of Eastern Armenian, and the second corresponds to the Eastern voiced and aspirated voiceless series. Thus, the Western dialect pronounces both (թ) and (դ) as an aspirated "t" as in "tiger," and the (տ) letter is pronounced like the letter "d" as in "develop."
There is no precise linguistic border between one dialect and another because there is nearly always a dialect transition zone of some size between pairs of geographically identified dialects). The main difference between both blocks are:
Armenian can be subdivided in two major dialectal blocks and those blocks into individual dialects, though many of the Western Armenian dialects have died due to the effects of the Armenian Genocide. In addition, neither dialect is completely homogeneous: any dialect can be subdivided into several subdialects. While Western and Eastern Armenian are often described as different dialects of the same language, some subdialects are not readily mutually intelligible. It is true, however, that a fluent speaker of two greatly varying subdialects who are exposed to the other dialect over even a short period of time will be able to understand the other with relative ease.
English - Eastern Armenian
- Yes = Ayo (այո)
- No = Voch (ոչ)
- Excuse me = Neroghoutioun (ներողություն)
- Hello = Barev (բարև)
- Please = Khntrem (խնդրեմ)
- Thank you = Shnorhakal em (շնորհակալ եմ)
- Thank you very much = Shat shnorhakal em (շատ շնորհակալ եմ)
- Welcome = Bari galust (բարի գալուստ) / Barov eq yekel
- Goodbye = Tstesoutioun (ցտեսություն)
- Good morning = Bari louys (բարի լույս)
- Good afternoon = Bari or (բարի օր)
- Good evening = Bari yereko (բարի երեկո)
- Good night = Bari gisher (բարի գիշեր)
- I love you = Yes sirum em qez (ես սիրում եմ քեզ)
English - Western Armenian
- Yes = Ayo (այո)
- No = Voch (ոչ)
- Excuse me = Neroghoutioun (ներողութիւն)
- Hello = Parev (բարեւ)
- Please = Hadjis (յաճիս)
- Thank you = Shnorhagal em (շնորհակալ եմ)
- Thank you very much = Shad shnorhagal em (շատ շնորհակալ եմ)
- Welcome = Pari yegar / Pari yegak (բարի եկար / բարի եկաք)
- Goodbye = Tsdesoutioun (ցտեսութիւն)
- Good morning = Pari louys (բարի լոյս)
- Good afternoon = Pari or (բարի օր)
- Good evening = Parirgoun / Pari irigoun (բարի իրկուն / բարի իրիկուն)
- Good night = Kisher pari (գիշեր բարի)
- Language families and languages
- List of Indo-European languages
- Armenian alphabet
- Western Armenian language
- Eastern Armenian language