The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken primarily in Armenia, though speakers exist in Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Russian, Cyprus, Romania and Poland. The Armenian language has a rich history dating back to the 6th century BC, though it didn't become a written language until around the 5th century AD. Continue reading to learn about the history of Armenian, the modern language and its speakers and other facets of this fascinating language.
Linguistic History of the Armenian Language
Classical Armenian, that which was written and spoken in the 5th century, has roots from many languages, including Greek, Latin, Uratian, Syriac and Parthian. At the time, it was called "Grabar." In the middle ages, Armenia continued to modify and began incorporating bits of Arabic, Persian and Turkish.
Today, there are two forms of Modern Armenian. When Armenia was divided between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, two distinct linguistic branches developed. However, this resulted in greater rates of literacy as it was published in newspapers and other form of print. Today it has 38 different letters (though the letters vary slightly in the two forms), making for a rich combination of sounds.
The differences between the two languages are both alphabetical and in pronunciation. Some appear in different conjugations of verbs. So, while there are some similarities between Eastern and Western Armenian, speakers of the two languages are likely to run into difficulties at certain points of a conversation, where words are wholly different or pronounced differently.
Nearly seven million people speak Armenian today. It is the official language of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabak, which is legally part of the nation of Azerbaijan, though it declared its independence in a bloody conflict that is not wholly resolved. It's also spoken as a second language in Poland, Cyprus, Romania, the Balkans and settlements of Armenia in the Middle East.
It's also spoken in some nations that were part of the former Soviet Union. Many speakers of Armenian live in Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Istanbul. There are also roughly 300,000 Americans who speak Armenian in their homes.
What Makes Armenian Unique?
Armenian is a unique language, not only because of its duration and because it continues to thrive, but because the classical form doesn't have a grammatical gender in its written or spoken forms, which is highly unusual.
Additionally, unlike many classical languages and other languages that influenced it, Armenian is written from left to right, instead of right to left. Many of the letters also have numerical values.
Learning Armenian could be of great value to you. Not only is it widely spoken, but it's a unique language that has roots in several other languages. It has a glorious history and continues to persist, even as many other languages fall to the wayside.
Contact Axis Translations for assistance with Armenian translation, transcription and interpreting.