Currently there are many popular languages to learn, but if you are looking for something new, something different and off the beaten track, then I am here to introduce the language of Armenian! In this article, you will find interesting and funny facts about Armenian which do not exist in other languages.
First, let us see what you know about Armenia. It is a small, unique, and ancient country situated between Europe and Asia. The country has kind and hospitable locals, and it is known for its high mountains. Armenia is also famous for its great and unique cuisine if you’re a food lover! Now about the language!
Armenian is one of the oldest languages in the world. In some studies, it is supposed to be the mother of Indo-European languages with Sanskrit. The language was developed since at least the time of the first Armenian dynasty (6th BC). Currently it has its own unique branch in the language family.
Here, I want to introduce you several facts about this ancient language including its peculiarities and general characteristics.
There Are Two Armenian Dialects: Eastern and Western
The Eastern dialect is the standard official dialect spoken in Armenia, while the Western dialect is spoken by the Armenian diaspora outside Armenia by people who lived in Western Armenia until the 20th century.
There are some grammatical differences between the two dialects and the pronunciation also differs. In Eastern Armenian, usually the “բ” is pronounced “b”, but in Western dialect, it is usually pronounced “p”. The vocabulary between the two dialects are mainly the same. The difference is only the word preferences used to express ideas by the speakers from both dialects.
Let’s take the word “hungry” for example, in both dialects, there are three words for it: քաղցած, սոված, անոթի. While speakers of the Eastern dialect prefer using the first or the second word, Western Armenian speakers prefer the third word. To sum up, native speakers of the two dialects usually can understand one another, but may still be susceptible to misunderstandings, too.
About The Armenian Alphabet
It was introduced in 405 A.D. by Mesrop Mashtots. The alphabet contains 39 letters and has many sounds which do not exist in other languages.
The Pronunciation In Armenian Is Very Simple
The words are pronounced just as they are written. The stress of words are rather fixed in Armenian. We always stress the last syllable of a word with only a few exceptions.
Word Order In Armenian Is Not Fixed
Word order is not fixed unlike in English. Of course, subject-predicate-object is preferable, but due to the case system, changing their places do not influence the meaning of the sentence. In some cases, you will come across the inverted word order quite often. For example let us take this sentence:
- Նա ցանկանում է տեսնել իր քրոջը: (He/she wants to see his/her sister).
We can change the word order and have something like this:
- Նա իր քրոջը ցանկանում է տեսնել:
- Նա ցանկանում է իր քրոջը տեսնել:
Even when forming the interrogative, you do not need to be careful with the position of auxiliary verbs unless it is a special question.
- Նա խելացի է: (He/she is smart).
- Նա խելացի՞ է: (Is he/she smart?)
But in the case of a special question, the auxiliary is put before the predicate.
There Is Neither Grammatical Nor Natural Gender
In Armenian, we only express gender differences in some nouns with the only feminine ending in “-ուհի”. Even in these cases, the ending is sometimes ignored. Let us see these examples:
- Անգլիացի – անգլուհի (an Englishman/woman).
- Ուսանող – ուսանողուհի (a student).
- Բժիշկ – բժշկուհի (a doctor).
- Երգիչ - երգչուհի (a singer).
- Պարող – պարուհի (a dancer).
Some Armenian Punctuation Marks Differ From English And Other Languages
The question mark is not put like this ( ? ) but like this ( ՞ ). The full stop is not expressed by this mark ( . ) but this one ( : ). For example:
- Գալի՞ս ես: (Are you coming?)
- Քանի՞ տարեկան ես: (How old are you?)
- Ի՞նչ է քո անունը: (What is your name).
There is no exclamation mark ( ! ) in Armenian, instead, we can put a written stress on the stressed vowel.
- Արի՛ այստեղ: (Come here!)
- Լռությու՛ն: (Silence!)
- Բարև՛: (Hi!)
- Ցտեսությու՛ն: (Goodbye!)
Armenian Maintains Plenty Of Ancient Manuscripts
Located in Matenadaran, manuscripts are the cradle of our world, and it is a blessing to understand them.
To sum up, I can say Armenian is a language that illuminates and opens the Armenian world to the one who learns it. The language is challenging to learn but, if you take on the task, will allow you to explore other opportunities in learning history and other arts.