Very often people say it’s hard to learn the Armenian language and give up even without trying. We want to break this stereotype by teaching you basics of the language. The Armenian language is not only interesting but also fun to learn.
Let’s start with the most important facts about our language. It is the official language in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh which was originated in Armenian highland. Armenian belongs to an independent branch of Indo-European language tree.
After Armenia adopted the Christianity, it was important to create an Armenian written alphabet as Armenian was oral language. In 405 AD Mesrop Mashtots created Armenian written alphabet with 36 letters. In the 12th century, three letters were added to the alphabet.
Currently, the Armenian alphabet consists of 39 letters.
Armenian phrases: useful
If you are ready to challenge yourself let’s start with the most used words and popular phrases of Armenian.
Hello - barev (informal), barev dzez (formal), voghdjooyn (friendly)
Yes/no – ayo/voch
Please - khndroom em
Excuse me - neroghootyun (formal), knerek (informal)
Welcome - bari galoost
How are you- vonts es (informal), inchpes eq (formal)
Fine, thank you - Lav em, shnorhakalootyun. (formal), Lav, mersi. (informal)
What’s your name – Dzez inchpes dimel? (formal), Anoond inch e? (informal)
My name is… - Anoons *your name* e
Good morning/evening - bari looys/ereko
Good luck - hadjoghootyoon
Have a nice meal - bari akhorzhak
I don’t understand - chem haskanoom
I don’t know - chgitem
I love you - siroom em kez
Good job! Now when you know basic words and phrases used in Armenian, you can learn some phrases that may be useful when traveling in Armenia.
Armenian phrases: for tourists
Can you take me to… - indz ktanek…
I need… - indz petk e…
May I have a bill- hashive kberek
I don’t speak Armenian - hayeren chem khosoom
How much does it cost– inch arzhe (Don’t forget to ask “verjin ginn e?” (is that the final price) when you are in the traditional market. After this question, they may lower the price a little bit.)
How much should I pay to get to… (taxi)– inchkan petk e vtsarem minchev… (Important: remember that taxies in Armenia are cheaper than they are in the USA or Europe. For first five kilometers you should pay 600 AMD and after that 100 AMD for each kilometer. Always check the taximeter!)
Also, remember the word “ djan .” In Armenia, you will often listen “ djan ” after your name. The word itself doesn’t have any meaning but is a sign of friendliness and respect.
Armenian phrases: funny
Now it’s time to laugh. You will learn some of the Armenian phrases that have no meaning or even sound weird in English.
Do you know what phrases we use while talking with our loved ones? We may say “mernem djanid” which means “let me die on your body.” Scary right? In Armenian, this phrase is used when you want to show how much you love the person. In this case, you can call your loved one “djigyar” which means “liver.” Isn’t that cute?
If you don’t like this version, you can also tell the person “achkis looysn es” which means “you are the light of my eye.” Don’t complain, the light of your eye is important.
You may also say “cavd tanem” which means let me take your pain. By using this phrase, you can emphasize the fact you love the person so much you are ready to take their pain away.
When a person talks about unimportant things that make you bored, you can say “glookhs tarar” which means “you have taken my head.” When you take revenge on someone, you may say “achky haneci” which means “I took one’s eye out.” Don’t worry, nobody in Armenia will think you did that (but in case, don’t use this phrase in other countries).
You can learn more funny Armenian phrases by watching this video.
Published September 3, 2018
Article by Narine Kharatyan