Armenian language

Armenian language

Infobox Language
name = Armenian
nativename = Հայերեն "Hayeren"
familycolor = Indo-European
states = Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh "(de facto" a republic, de-jure part of Azerbaijan), and the Armenian diaspora
speakers = 5.5 million [Crystal, David : The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language]
rank = 87
nation = flag|Armenia
(de jure part of Azerbaijan)
agency = National Academy of Sciences of Armenia
script = Armenian alphabet
lc1=hye|ld1=Modern Armenian|ll1=none
lc2=xcl|ld2=Classical Armenian
lc3=axm|ld3=Middle Armenian
The Armenian language ( _hy. հայերեն լեզու, IPA2|hajɛɹɛn lɛzu — "ISOtranslit|hayeren lezow|hy," conventional short form "ISOtranslit|hayeren|hy)" is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as Nagorno-Karabakh (a de facto republic but de-jure part of Azerbaijan). The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora.It has its own script, the Armenian alphabet.

Linguists typically classify Armenian as an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. [ [ Armenian language - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] Some Indo-Europeanists, notably Clackson (1994), have proposed that Armenian may have been grouped together with the Hellenic branch (Greek). This is called the Graeco-Armenian Hypothesis, in combination with a Graeco-Aryan hypothesis (Renfrew, Clackson and Fortson 1994).



The earliest testimony of the Armenian language dates to the 5th century AD (the Bible translation of Mesrob Mashtots). The earlier history of the language is unclear and the subject of much speculation.

Graeco-Armenian hypothesis

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 linguists 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."

peculations on Anatolian influence

W. M. Austin in 1942 concluded [cite journal
last =Austin
first =William M.
title =Is Armenian an Anatolian Language?:Language, Vol. 18, No. 1
publisher =Linguistic Society of America
date =Jan. - Mar., 1942
pages =22–25
doi =10.2307/409074
journal =Language
volume =18
] 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.

Iranian influence

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. Therefore, determining the historical evolution of Armenian is particularly difficult because Armenian borrowed many words from Parthian and Persian (both Iranian languages) as well as from Greek.

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.



Modern Armenian has eight monophthong vowel sounds.

ee also

*Language families and languages
*List of Indo-European languages
*Armenian alphabet
*Western Armenian language
*Eastern Armenian language



*Adjarian, Herchyah H. (1909) "Classification des dialectes arméniens, par H. Adjarian." Paris: Honoro Champion.
*Clackson, James. 1994. "The Linguistic Relationship Between Armenian and Greek." London: Publications of the Philological Society, No 30. (and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing)
*Fortson, Benjamin W. (2004) "Indo-European Language and Culture." Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
*Hübschmann, Heinrich (1875) "Über die Stellung des armenischen im Kreise der indogermanischen Sprachen," "Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Sprachforschung" 23.5-42. [ English translation]
*Mallory, J. P. (1989) "In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth." London: Thames & Hudson.
*Vaux, Bert. 1998. "The Phonology of Armenian." Oxford: Clarendon Press.
*Vaux, Bert. 2002. "The Armenian dialect of Jeruslame." in Armenians in the Holy Land. "Louvain: Peters.

External links

* [ Ethnologue report on Armenian]
* [ The Armenian alphabet]
* [ On-line Armenian dictionaries]
* [ Armenian]
* [ Armeninan <-> Latin transliterator ]

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