Classical Armenian
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Classical Armenian
Classical Armenian
Old Armenian
RegionArmenian Highlands
Eradeveloped into Middle Armenian
Indo-European
  • Classical Armenian
Early form
Armenian alphabet (Classical Armenian orthography)
Language codes
xcl
xcl
Glottologclas1249[1]
Linguasphere57-AAA-aa
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Epitaph in Classical Armenian for Jakub and Marianna Minasowicz at St. Hyacinth's Church in Warsaw

Classical Armenian (Armenian: , Grabar, Western Armenian krapar, meaning "literary [language]"; also Old Armenian or Liturgical Armenian) is the oldest attested form of the Armenian language. It was first written down at the beginning of the 5th century, and all Armenian literature from then through the 18th century is in Classical Armenian. Many ancient manuscripts originally written in Ancient Greek, Persian, Hebrew, Syriac and Latin survive only in Armenian translation.

Classical Armenian continues to be the liturgical language of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church and is often learned by Biblical, Intertestamental, and Patristic scholars dedicated to textual studies. Classical Armenian is also important for the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European language.

Phonology

Vowels

There are seven monophthongs:

  • /a/ (?), /i/ (?), /?/ or schwa (?), /?/ or open e (?), /e/ or closed e (?), /o/ (?), and /u/ () (transcribed as a, i, ?, e, ?, o, and u respectively). The vowel transcribed u is spelled using the Armenian letters for ow () but it is not actually a diphthong.

There are also traditionally six diphthongs:

  • ay (), aw (, later ?), ea (), ew (), iw (), oy ().

Consonants

In the following table is the Classical Armenian consonantal system. The stops and affricate consonants have, in addition to the more common voiced and unvoiced series, also a separate aspirated series, transcribed with the notation used for Ancient Greek rough breathing after the letter: p?, t?, c?, , k?. Each phoneme has three symbols in the table. The leftmost indicates the pronunciation in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA); in the middle is the corresponding symbol in the Armenian alphabet and the rightmost is its transliteration in the Latin alphabet (following the 1996 ISO 9985 standard).

Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Palato-alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain velar.
Nasals /m/   ?     /n/   ?              
Stops voiced /b/   ?     /d/   ?         /?/   ?      
unvoiced /p/   ?     /t/   ?         /k/   ?      
aspirated /p?/   ?     /t?/   ?         /k?/   ?      
Affricates voiced     /dz/   ?     /d?/   ?          
unvoiced     /ts/   ?     /t?/   ?          
aspirated     /ts?/   ?     /t/   ?          
Fricatives voiced   /v/   ?   /z/   ?     /?/   ?          
unvoiced   /f/   ?   /s/   ?     /?/   ?       /?/   ?   /h/   ?  
Approximants lateral     /l/   ?   /?/   ?            
central     /?/   ?       /j/   ?        
Trill     /r/   ?              

The letter f (or ?) was introduced in the Medieval Period to represent the foreign sound /f/, the voiceless labiodental fricative; it was not originally a letter in the alphabet.[]

See also

Sources

  • Adjarian, Hrachia. (1971-9) Etymological Root Dictionary of the Armenian Language. Vol. I - IV. Yerevan: Yerevan State University.
  • Meillet, Antoine. (1903) Esquisse d'une grammaire comparée de l'arménien classique.
  • Thomson, Robert W. (1989) An Introduction to Classical Armenian. Caravan Books. (ISBN 0-88206-072-4)
  • Godel, Robert. (1975) An Introduction to the Study of Classical Armenian. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag (ISBN 9783920153377)

References

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Classical Armenian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

External links


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