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Introduction to Dictionary of Armenian Surnames

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The Dictionary of Armenian Surnames (in English Transliteration) Italic text

by. C. K. Garabed

Introduction

Armenian surnames are a true reflection of the culture and heritage of this ancient civilization. As with Armenian first names, Armenian surnames are often influenced by other civilizations with whom we have lived and interacted, such as the Persians, Georgians, Russians, Turks, Arabs, and Greeks.

Practically all Armenian surnames consist of a root or stem and a suffix denoting son of or family of or issued from. The preponderance of these suffixes consist of the Armenian IAN, with its variations such as, IANS, IANZ, IANTS, IANTZ, YAN, YANS, YANZ, YANTS, YANTZ, ENTS, ENTZ. Similar suffixes are derived from other languages, such as, OGHLI, OGLI, OGHLU, OGLU from Turkish, and OV, OFF, EV, EFF from Russian. ZADE from Georgian; ESCU from Rumanian.

It is worth mentioning that other nations such as the Persians, English and Irish also have surnames ending with "ian”. It is also to be noted that, historically, endings were changed to preclude undue attention, especially in Turkey, were "oghlu" (also meaning the "son of” in Turkish) was used.

This compendium reflects the root or stem of the name in upper case letters, and the suffix, customarily ian, in lower case. The definitions will not be encumbered with “son of or family of or issued from” it being understood, in advance, that it is included in the definition. Excluded are prefixes such as DER, TER (denoting descent from married clergy) whether joined to the stem or not.

Note on orthography

The dictionary is based upon Western Armenian pronunciation. Therefore, in the transliteration to English, some Latin letters that are chosen to represent certain Armenian sounds may not be what all readers will uniformly expect. For example, the letter k in a name may be a transliteration of either the third letter of the Armenian alphabet (pronounced k in Western, and g in Eastern) or the 36th letter (pronounced k in both).

In this work, the “oo” sound, as in fool, is represented by the letter combination “ou”. The “uh” sound, as in but, is represented by the letter “u”. The “oo” sound in Persian, Arabic and Turkish continues to be represented by the letter u.

Turkish vowel ı is transliterated as uh. Turkish vowel ö is transliterated as eo.. Turkish vowel ü is transliterated as eu..

Language key

A: Armenian Ab: Arabic Al: Albanian An: Anglo-Saxon Ar: Aramaic As: Assyrian Ch: Chaldean Ct: Celtic E: English F: French G: German Gr: Greek H: Hebrew Hi: Hindi I: Irish It: Italian K: Kurdish L: Latin N: Norwegian O: Oriental P: Persian/Pahlavi Pa: Parthian R: Romanian Rs: Russian S: Scottish Sp: Spanish Sw: Swedish T: Turkish Tn: Teutonic TT: Tatar U: Urdu W: Welsh

For a comprehensive presentation given by the author on the etymology of Armenian surnames, access the following link:

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/What%27s_in_a_Name%3F_The_Etymology_of_Armenian_Surnames

Acknowledgments

The author thanks the following named individuals for their kind and valuable assistance:




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