Armenian language

From Academic Kids

Armenian (Հայերէն / Hayerēn)
Spoken in: Armenia, Russia, France, and 27 other countries
Region: Caucasus mountains
Total speakers: 9 million
Ranking: Not in top 100
Genetic classification: Indo-European

  Eastern Armenian
  Western Armenian

Official status
Official language of: Armenia
Regulated by: -
Language codes
ISO 639-1hy
ISO 639-2arm (B) / hye (T)
See also: LanguageList of languages

Armenian is an Indo-European language spoken in the Caucasus mountains (particularly in the Armenian Republic) and also used by the Armenian Diaspora. It is its own independent branch of the family of the Indo-European languages, with no living close relatives. Many now believe that Armenian is a close relative of the extinct Phrygian language. From the modern languages Greek seems to be the most closely related to Armenian. Armenian also contains many loanwords from Persian, which is also an Indo-European language.

While it contains many Indo-European roots, its phonology has been influenced by neighboring Caucasian languages, so that it shares a three-way distinction between voiceless, voiced, and ejective stops and fricatives.

Armenian was historically split in to two vaguely-defined primary dialects: Eastern Armenian, the form spoken in modern-day Armenia, and Western Armenian, the form spoken by Armenians in Anatolia. After the Armenian Genocide, the western form was primarily spoken only by those belonging to the diaspora.

Armenian is written in the Armenian alphabet, created by Saint Mesrop Mashtots in 406 AD. This alphabet, with two additional letters, is still used today.

Literature written in Armenian appeared by the 5th century. The written language of that time, called classical Armenian or Grabar, remained the Armenian literary language, with various changes, until the 19th century. Meanwhile, spoken Armenian developed independently of the written language. Many dialects appeared when Armenian communities became separated by geography or politics, and not all of these dialects remained mutually intelligible.



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, especially in affricative sounds such as j, ch, and ts. 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 than are positive ones (as in English he goes and he does not go). Grammatically, early forms of Armenian had much in common with classical Greek, Arabic and Latin, but the modern language, like modern Greek, has undergone many transformations.


Classical Armenian distinguishes seven vowels: a, i, schwa, open e, closed e, o, and u (transcribed as a, i, ē, e, ə, o, and ow, respectively).

The occlusives have a special aspirated series (transcribed with a Greek asper after the letter): p῾, t῾, č῾, k῾.


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 six cases, nominative, accusative, locative, genitive/dative, ablative, instrumental.


Main article: Armenian verbs

Verbs in Armenian have an expansive system of conjugation with two main verb types (three in Western Armenian) changing form based on tense, mood and aspect.

See also

External links


Armenian Language Samples:

bg:Арменски език de:Armenische Sprache et:Armeenia keel eo:Armena lingvo fa:زبان ارمنی fr:Armnien hy:Հայերեն id:Bahasa Armenia it:Lingua armena nl:Armeens ja:アルメニア語 pl:Język ormiański ro:Limba armeană ru:Армянский язык sl:Armenščina th:ภาษาอาร์เมเนีย wa:rmenyin zh:亚美尼亚语


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