The Armenian Language

The Armenian Language

October 15, 2017

The Armenian language is the national language of the Armenians and the official language of Republic of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. It is one of the oldest languages in the world and was originated in Armenian highland. The Armenian belongs to the Indo-European language tree and occupies an independent branch.

The Creation of the Armenian Alphabet

After the adoption of Christianity, the creation of the alphabet was the main problem of Armenians because at that time we hadn't a written language, only was oral speech. The solution to this gave Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD. Also known Mesrop Vardapet, is the inventor of the Armenian written alphabet. And the one who did change the history and made a fundamental step claiming Armenian national identity.

The Mesropean Armenian had 36 letters, later in the 12th century, the three important letters were added.

Stages of the Armenian language

The Armenian language has three stages:

  • Old Armenian- used until the 11th century
  • Middle Armenian- from the 11th century till the 16th century
  • New Armenian- from the 17th century till nowadays

The Old Armenian or Grabar (the Armenian word) is the first stage of our language. It was used in ancient manuscripts and during church ceremonies.

The first translated sentence in ancient Armenian was “ճանաչել զիմաստութիւն եւ զխրատ, իմանալ զբանս հանճարոյ” which means “know wisdom and precept, know the words of the genius”.

Most of the Armenian ancient manuscripts (more than 17,000) were written in ancient Armenian and now are being kept in Matenadaran (Yerevan). The most famous historians like Movses Khorenatsi, Koryun, Agantangeghos, Eghishe, and many famous public figures lived and worked during the first stage of the old Armenian.

The middle Armenian was used in the 11th -16th centuries. In this period lived and worked Nahapet Quchak, Grigor Narekatsi, and Frik.

The New Armenian language was used from the 17th century; the founder of it is Great Poet and the Enlightener of Armenians, Khachatur Abovian. It has its own branches: western-Armenian is being used by the Armenians of Diaspora and eastern-Armenian is the state language of Armenia and Karabakh.

Armenian must - know phrases for tourists

Interested in the Armenian language? Here are some examples for you to learn when you will be in Armenia.

Barev (Բարև) - [barev] - Hi / Hello

Shnorhakalutyun (Շնորհակալություն) - [shnorhakalutiun] - Thank you

Tstesutyun (Ցտեսություն) - [tsetesutiun] - Good Bye

Khndrum em (Խնդրում եմ) - [khendroom em] - Please

Ayo(Այո) - [ayo] - Yes

Voch (Ոչ) - [voch] - No

Knereq (Կներեք) - [kenerek] - Sorry

Duq xosum eq angleren (Դուք խոսում ե՞ք անգլերեն) - [dook khosoom ek angleren] - Do you speek English

Inch arje (Ինչ արժե՞) - [eench arzhe ] - How much is it?

 

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