|Armenian (Հայերէն / Hayeren)|
|Spoken in:||Armenia and 29 other countries|
|Total speakers:||9 million|
|Official language of:||Armenia|
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 close relative of the dead language Phrygian (and perhaps related to Thracian and Dacian). From the modern languages Greek seems to be the most closely related to Armenian, though it 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.
The Armenians are a predominantly Christian ethnic group, primarily of the Armenian Church. Whether Armenians are Europeans or not is a bone of contention, as the people of Caucasia have become increasingly disregarded as being Europeans over the past couple of centuries. This process was arguably accelerating as the term "European" increasingly is being used to refer to citizens of the European Union rather than peoples of ethnic European origins, but the recent (2004) inclusion of Armenia in the EU "New Neighborhood", which is expected to lead to membership in the long term will once again swing the pendulum in the direction of Europe.
Classical Armenian distinguishes seven vowels, a, i, schwa, open e, closed e, o and u, transcribed as a, i, ē, e, ə, o, ow.
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.
See Armenian verbs.