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|Armenian (Հայերէն / Hayeren)|
|Spoken in:||Armenia and 29 other countries|
|Total speakers:||9 million|
|Official language of:||Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh|
|Regulated by:||National Academy of Sciences of Armenia|
Armenian is an Indo-European language spoken in the Caucasus mountains and also used by the Armenian Diaspora. It is its own independent branch of the family of the Indo-European languages. From ancient and modern languages, Indo-Iranian seems to be the most closely related to Armenian.
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 into 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.
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By Thomas V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov Scientific American, March 1990, P.110
This inference is supported by what is known about the portion of the Indo-European community that remained after the Anatolian family had broken away. From that community came the languages that persisted into written history. The first to branch off was the Greek-Armenian-Indo-lranian language community. It must have begun to do so in the fourth millennium B.C. because by the middle of the third millennium B.C. the community was already dividing into two groups, namely, the Indo-lranian and the Greek-Armenian. Tablets in the Hattusas archives show that by the middle of the second millennium B.C. the Armeno-Aryan group (ancestor of Armenian and Indo-Iranian) had given rise to a language spoken in the Mitanni kingdom on the southeast frontier of Anatolia that was already different from ancient Indian (commonly called Sanskrit) and ancient Iranian. Cretan Mycenaean texts from the same eras as Mitanni, deciphered in the early 1950's by the British scholars Michael G. F. Ventris and John Chadwick, fumed out to be in a previously unknown dialect of Greek. All these languages had gone their separate ways from Armenian.
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.
- Armenian Alphabet
- Armenian Lessons - free online lessons to learn Eastern Armenian
- Armenian Language Computer Course
- Armenian as the International Language
- Armeno-Turkish Language
- Armenian Phrases
- An Armenian-English Conversation Book
- The Armenian alphabet at multilingual portal Omniglot.com
- Eastern and Western Armenian Transliteration converts between Latin and Armenian alphabets.
- Armenian Poetry (in Armenian)
- Cilicia.com Armenian Web-portal
Armenian Dictionaries Online