Monday, July 26, 2010

Lesson 4

We have learned 22 letters so far: Ա, Բ, Գ, Դ, Ե, Զ, Է, Ը, Թ, Լ, Հ, Մ, Յ, Ն, Ո, Ռ, Ս, Վ, Ր, Ւ, Փ, Ք.
From the letters representing vowels only one letter has remained to learn, which is Ի ի (ini). Be careful not to confuse its capital letter with the capital letter Ւ (viun).   The latter has a small ending to its shorter element, while Ի (ini) doesn't have it (the font I'm using now shows the letter Ւ differently, with a horizontal small line).
Շ շ (sha)  as in "shame"
Չ չ (ch'a)  as in "chair". We shall represent this letter as ch' in our transcriptions (that is, with an apostrophe, as in the transcription system of the Library of Congress).
Ջ ջ (je/che) as in "jam" (in WA as in "chair")
Compare carefully the shapes of the following three letters with each other to remember the small differences that they have, as they are like each other and can be easily confused with each other. 
Զ զ (za) ---------Ջ ջ (je/che) --------- Չ չ (ch'a) 

The sounds of the following three letters do not have their equivalents in the English sound system but have in German.
   Ց ց (c'o=tso). It is pronounced like the German Z z. We'll represent this letter with the IPA character c' (c with an apostrophe) in our transcriptions. Please, don't confuse it with the English "c". The reason we choose to use this IPA character for this sound instead of "ts" is to avoid confusing this simple sound with the combination of the two sounds "t" and "s".
   Խ խ (xe=khe). This is pronounced almost like the German "ch", as in the word "Bach". It's a guttural sound. We'll represent this letter with the IPA character x in our transcriptions. Please, don't confuse it with the English "x". The reason we choose this IPA character is the same as in case of the above letter.
   Ղ ղ ( ł - ghat/ghad). This is pronounced like the German or French "r". It's a guttural sound too. However, in the Grabar times, for example, in the 5th century, and perhaps until the 9th century, this letter was for another kind of the sound "l", a hard "l" which was approximately like the sound "l" in the English word "ball" (more similar to the sound "l" in the Russian word "лысый".) It is interesting that in several Indo-European languages different non-guttural sounds changed to the guttural "gh". In Greek the sound "g" (expressed by the letter Γγ) changed into "gh", in German and French the sound "r", while in Armenian the hard sound "l" changed into "gh". That is why in the Hübschmann-Meillet-Benveniste transliteration system the character for this Armenian letter is ł. We shall read this letter as "gh", according to the traditional pronunciation of Armenian, and shall represent this sound with the character ł. 

Grammar
The infinitive and some history
    The infinitive in the Classical Armenian has 3-5 endings. To understand why I have written 3-5, we need first to learn a little about the history of Grabar. Grabar used in the literature before 460s or so is usually called Mesropian Armenian. This is perhaps the most important and fruitful period, the Golden Era, of the Armenian literature, created by Sts Mesrop and Sahak, together with their disciples, through numerous translations from Greek and Syriac and through their own original writings too. The language of the period after 460s is called Post-Mesropian. There are other periods and classifications too, but we'll be satisfied now with this information only. This division or classification is made because of the linguistic differences of the Armenian language used in different periods. Now, the infinitive of the Mesropian Armenian has only 3 endings, while that of Post-Mesropian Armenian - 4. The endings of the infinitive are:
-ել (-el)
-իլ (-il) This is not used in the Mesropian Armenian; the ending -ել (-el) is used instead.
-ալ (-al)
-ուլ (-ul)
There is also only one defective verb which has the ending -ոլ (-ol). It is the verb գոլ (gol / k'ol) which means "to be". So if we count this ending too, then there are 5 endings in total.

սիրել (sirel) - to love, գրել (gərel / k'ərel) - to write, ասել (asel) - to say
լինել // լինիլ (linel // linil) - to be, to exist, ուսանել // ուսանիլ (usanel // usanil) - to study, to learn, ունել // ունիլ (unel // unil) - to have, to hold
գնալ (gənal / k'ənal) - to go, գալ (gal / k'al) - to come, ջանալ (janal / chanal) - to try, to endeavour
թողուլ (tołul) - to leave, to give up, առնուլ (arnul) - to take, զգենուլ (zgenul or əzgenul / əzk'enul) - to put on

The negative article ոչ (voch') or չ- (ch'-)
ոչ ես, ոչ դու (voch' yes, voch' du / t'u) - neither I, nor you
ոչ ոք (voch' vok') - nobody
չսիրել (ch'əsirel) - not to love
չգնալ (ch'əgənal / ch'ək'ənal) - not to go

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հաց եւ ջուր (hac' yev jur / ch'ur) - bread and water
հաց եւ գինի (hac' yev gini / k'ini) - bread and wine
սեղան (sełan) - table, altar
հայ (hay) - Armenian (noun)
հայերէն (hayeren) - Armenian (of the language) (adjective)in Armenian (adverb)
բան հայերէն (ban / p'an hayeren) - Armenian word
բանք հայերէնք (bank' hayerenk' / p'ank' hayerenk') - Armenian words
ասել հայերէն (asel hayeren) - to say in Armenian
լեզու հայոց (lezu hayoc') - the language of the Armenians
ուսանել զլեզու հայոց (usanel əzlezu hayoc') - to study the Armenian language
Հա՞յ ես։ (Hay es?) - Are you (an) Armenian?
Ո՛չ, ոչ եմ հայ։ (Voch, voch em hay). - No, I'm not (an) Armenian.
Or:
Չեմ հայ։ (Chem hay). - I'm not (an) Armenian. 
Բարի է սիրել զամենեսեան։ (Bari / P'ari e sirel zamenesean.) - It is good to love every one.
Ո՞ւր ես, Ադա՛մ։ (Ur es, Adam / At'am) - Where are you, Adam?
աթոռ (at'or') - chair
դուռն (durn / t'urn) - door
խաչ (xach') - cross
ունել ինչ (unel inch') - to have something
Զի՞նչ է այդ։ (Zinch e ayd / ayt'?) - What is that? 
աշխարհ (ashxarh) - world
աշխարհ ամենայն (ashxarh amenayn) - the whole world
ամենայն (amenayn) - all, every, the whole
ամենայն ոք (amenayn vok') - everyone
ամենայն ինչ (amenayn inch') - everything
ամենայն սեղան (amenayn sełan) - every table
սեղանք ամենայն (sełank' amenayn) - all tables
շուն (shun) - dog; adulterer
շնացող (shənac'oł) - adulterer
ցաւ (c'av) - pain
լոյս (luys) - light
խաւար (xavar) - dark; darkness
բայց (bayc' / p'ayc') - but
Երուսաղէմ (Yerusałem) - Jerusalem
աղաւնի (ałavni) - dove
եղբայր (yełbayr / yeghp'ayr) - brother
որդի (vordi or vort'i / vort'i) - son
հոգի (hogi or hok'i / hok'i) - spirit, soul
մարմին (marmin) - body, flesh
սուրբ (surb or surp' / surp') - holy, saint
Հոգի Սուրբ (Hogi Surb or Hok'i Surp' / Hok'i Surp') - Holy Spirit 
Սուրբ Հոգի (Surb Hogi or  Hok'i Hok'i / Surp' Hok'i) - the same
չար (ch'ar) - evil, bad
բարի (bari / p'ari) - good, kind
խորհուրդ (xorhurd or xorhurt' / xorhurt') - thought; sacrament; mystery; meaning
խորհուրդ չար (xorhurd ch'ar) - evil thought
խորհուրդ սքանչելի (xorhurd sk'anch'eli / əsk'anch'eli) - wonderful mystery 
խորհուրդք սքանչելիք (xorhurdək' sk'anch'elik' / xorhurt'ək' (ə)sk'anch'elik') - wonderful mysteries

Capital letters: ՀԱՑ (hac'), Ջուր (jur / ch'ur), ԳԻՆԻ (gini / k'ini), ՍԵՂԱՆ (sełan), Աթոռ (at'or'), ԽԱՉ (xach'), ԱՇԽԱՐՀ ԱՄԵՆԱՅՆ (ashxarh amenayn), Շուն (shun), Շնացող (shənac'oł), Ցաւ (c'av), Լոյս (luys), Խաւար (xavar), ԲԱՅՑ (bayc' / p'ayc'), ԵՐՈՒՍԱՂԷՄ (Yerusał em), Խորհուրդ (xorhurd), Սքանչելի (sk'anch'eli / əsk'anch'eli), ՉԱՐ (ch'ar), ԲԱՐԻ (bari / p'ari), ՈՐԴԻ (vord'i or vort'i/ vort'i), ՀՈԳԻ (hogi or hok'i / hok'i), Բան (ban / p'an) , Բանք (banək' / p'anə'k), Դուռն (durn/ t'urn), Բարի է (bari e / p'ari e), ԵՂԲԱՅՐ (yeł bayr or yełpayr / yełp'ayr), ԱՂԱՒՆԻ (ałavni), ԽԱՉ (xach'), Ադամ (Adam / At'am), Զամենեսեան (zamenesean), ԱՍԵԼ (asel), ՋԱՆԱԼ (janal / ch'anal), Սուրբ (surb or surp' / surp'), ՀԱՅ (hay), Հայերէն (hayeren), Լեզու հայոց (lezu hayoc'), Չսիրել (chəsirel), Չգնալ (chəgənal / chək'ənal

To listen to the Armenian letters, words and sentences of this lesson, click on the following link -


http://www.mediafire.com/listen/lb59mva9h985ug8/Classical_Armenian-4-mp3.mp3






Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lesson 3

We have already learned the following letters: Ա, Բ, Գ, Դ, Ե, Զ, Է, Թ, Լ, Յ, Ո, Ռ, Ր, Փ, Ք. The next letter that we are going to learn is Ը ը (ət'). It is the Armenian schwa and sounds like the unstressed English indefinite article "a". We shall represent it with the IPA character ə in our transcriptions of the words. This letter is usually used at the beginning of a word. In all other positions when this sound is heard between consonants we normally don't write it, if not for some special reason, for example, in the poetry or songs, to make clear how this or that word must be correctly divided into syllables to read or sing it correctly.

Two letters for the sound "v"

If Ը ը is normally used at the beginning of a word, Ւ ւ (viun) is NOT used at the beginning of a word. This letter is pronounced as "v". There is an opinion that it sounded like the English "w" in old times because of which in the IPA system for Classical Armenian this letter is presented with the character "w". However, there is another opinion too that considers that even in ancient times this letter's pronunciation was "v". That is why we shall not present this letter in our lessons as "w" so that the learners may not be confused and pronounce it as the English "w". Ւ ւ in the alphabet corresponds to the Greek Υυ though again they are not completely the same in their pronunciations, as I have already mentioned concerning some other letters. This letter following the letter Ո ո (vo) makes a digraph for the sound "u" (="oo") - ՈՒ ու (that is, "vo" + "viun"). This is like the Greek "ου".

Now, if Ւ ւ is not used at the beginning of a word, the letter Վ վ (vev) which sounds similarly is used in Classical Armenian at the beginning of a word and after the letter Ո ո (vo). For example, գովել (govel / k'ovel). We can't write Ւ ւ here instead of Վ վ because, as we have just told, Ւ ւ following Ո ո makes the digraph for "u" (="oo"). That is why, in order to read "ov" and not "u" we need to write the other letter for the sound "v" - Վ վ.

As you may see from the description of these two letters, they are just allographs, that is, two letters for the same sound.

Some other letters

Մ մ (men)
Ն ն (nu=noo)
Հ հ (ho)
Ս ս (se)
These letters represent the sounds with which their names begin. They are pronounced as their English equivalents.

Grammar
Personal Pronouns



ես (yes) I
դու (du / tu) you (singular)
նա (na) he, she, it
մեք (mek') we
դուք (duk' / tuk') you
նոքա (nok'a) they
The Armenian language, whether Classical or modern, does not have grammatical gender, just like the modern English language. There are not nouns, adjectives etc that are of the feminine, masculine or neutral gender. And even the personal pronouns do not distinguish between male and female persons. So there is only one նա (na) for both "he" and "she".


The present short forms of the verb "to be"


եմ (em) am
ես (es) (you) are
է (e) is
եմք (emk') (we) are
էք (ek') (you) are
են (en) (they) are
Be careful not to confuse the letters ե and է. Also pay attention that the above forms that start with ե are pronounced today in their ancient pronunciation, as "em", "es", "emk'", "en" and not "yem", "yes" etc according to the rule of the letter Ե ե (as we have already learned, we normally read this letter as "ye" at the beginning of a word). You will hear these forms to be read with the initial sound "y" by some Western Armenians when reading Classical Armenian texts. But this is not recommended.
Ես եմ (yes em) I am
Դու ես (du es / tu es) you are
Նա է (na e) he / she / it is
Մեք եմք (mek' emk') we are
Դուք էք (duk' ek' / t'uk ek') you are
Նոքա են (nok'a en) they are
Ո՞ է նա (vo e na?). Ո՞վ է նա (Ov e na?).
Both mean: Who is he/she?
The words ո (vo) and ով (ov) are synonymous but the second word is read according to the ancient Armenian pronunciation, that is, not "vov", but "ov". This is an exception. There are several other exceptions too, which we'll learn later.
Հայր քո։ (Hayr k'o) - Your father.
Մայր քո։ (Mayr k'o) - Your mother.
Նա է հայր մեր։ (Na e հayr mer) - He is our father.
մեր (mer) - our
նորա (nora) - his/her

Սա է հայր քո։ (Sa e hayr k'o) - This is your father.

Այս է հայր քո։ (Ays e hayr k'o) - the same

Դա է մայր նորա։ (Da / T'a e mayr nora) - That is his/her mother.
Այդ է մայր նորա։ (Ayd / ayt' e mayr nora) - the same
Ո՞ւր է մայր նորա։ (Ur e mayr nora?) - Where is his/her mother?
ուր (ur=oor) - where
Անդ է մայր նորա։ (And /ant' e mayr nora) - His/her mother is there.
անդ (and / ant') - there
մարդ (mard or mart'/ mart') - man, human being 
հաւ (hav) - grandfather; bird
հան (han) - grandmother
հարսն (ha´rsən) - bride
նու (nu=noo) - daughter-in-law, sister-in-law
նաւ (nav) - ship
հով (hov) - cool
զով (zov) - cool
արեւ (arev) - sun
դեւ (dev / t'ev) - demon
աւազան (avazan) - basin, font 

ընդ քեզ (ənd/ənt' kez) - with you
ընդդէմ (ənddem/ənt't'em) - against
ըմբռնել (əmbər'nel/əmp'ər'nel) - to take, to hold; to comprehend
ընթանալ (ənt'anal) - to go, to run, to walk
ընթեռնուլ (ənt'er'nul=ənt'er'nool) - to read

Անուն քո Վահա՞ն է։ (Anun k'o Vahan  e?) - Is your name Vahan?
անուն (anun) - name
Այո՛, Վահան է։ (Ayo, Vahan e) - Yes, it is Vahan.
այո (ayo) - yes
վահան (vahan) - shield

Յովհաննէս (Hovhannes) - John
Վարդան (Vardan or Vart'an / Vart'an)
Մովսէս (Movses) - Moses
Աբրահամ (Abraham / Ap'raham)
Այս է դաս մեր երրորդ։ (Ays e das / t'as mer yerrord / yerrort') - This is our third lesson.
դաս (das / t'as) - lesson
երրորդ (yerrord / yerrort') - third


FOR PRACTICE
EA pronunciation - գամ (gam), գաս (gas), գան (gan), գայք (gayk'), դառն (darən), լոյս (luys), յոյս (huys), բոյս (buys), գոյն (guyn), մանանայ (manana), նայել (nayel), վարդ (vard/vart'), վազել (vazel), վագր (vagər), աւազան (avazan), գաւազան (gavazan), բաւ (bav), հաւ (hav), գայլ (gayl), սայլ (sayl), յարդ (hard), հարթ (hart'), մարդ (mard/mart'), դաս (das), բարդ (bard/bart'), բան (ban), բանք (bank'), գէս (ges), վէս (ves), հեզ (hez), բեռն (ber'ən), գառն (gar'ən), սառն (sar'ən), թոռն (t'or'ən), սեաւ (seav), բալ (bal), ահաւոր (ahavor), թագաւոր (t'agavor), դուռն (dur'ən), բուռն (bur'ən), թերանալ (t'eranal), հեռանալ (her'anal), գոյանալ (goyanal), գոյ (goy), փառք (p'ar'k'), փառաւոր (p'ar'avor), վառ (var'), լեառն (near'ən), յառնել (har'nel), ընդել (əndel), ընդդէմ (ənddem), ընթա (ənt'a), ընթեռնում (ənt'er'num), ընթեռնուս (ənt'er'nus), ընթեռնու (ənt'er'nu)։


WA pronunciation - գամ (k'am), գաս (k'as), գան (k'an), գայք (k'ayk'), դառն (t'arən), լոյս (luys), յոյս (huys), բոյս (p'uys), գոյն (k'uyn), մանանայ (manana), նայել (nayel), վարդ (vart'), վազել (vazel), վագր (vak'ər), աւազան (avazan), գաւազան (k'avazan), բաւ (p'av), հաւ (hav), գայլ (k'ayl), սայլ (sayl), յարդ (hart'), հարթ (hart'), մարդ (mart'), դաս (t'as), բարդ (p'art'), բան (p'an), բանք (p'ank'), գէս (k'es), վէս (ves), հեզ (hez), բեռն (p'er'ən), գառն (k'ar'ən), սառն (sar'ən), թոռն (t'or'ən), սեաւ (seav), բալ (p'al), ահաւոր (ahavor), թագաւոր (t'ak'avor), դուռն (tur'ən), բուռն (p'ur'ən), թերանալ (t'eranal), հեռանալ (her'anal), գոյանալ (k'oyanal), գոյ (k'oy), փառք (p'ar'k'), փառաւոր (p'ar'avor), վառ (var'), լեառն (lear'ən), յառնել (har'nel), ընդել (ənt'el), ընդդէմ (ənt't'em), ընթա (ənt'a), ընթեռնում (ənt'er'num), ընթեռնուս (ənt'er'nus), ընթեռնու (ənt'er'nu)։


Capital letters:
Գամ (gam), Գաս (gas), Դառն (darən), Լոյս (luys), Յոյս (huys), Բոյս (buys), Մանանայ (manana), Վարդ (vard/vart'), Վազել (vazel), Վագր (vagər), ԱՒԱԶԱՆ (avazan), ԲԱՒ (bav), ՀԱՒ (hav), ԳԱՅԼ (gayl), Սայլ (sayl), ՅԱՐԴ (hard), ՀԱՐԹ (hart'), Մարդ (mard/mart'), ԴԱՍ (das), Բարդ (bard/bart'), ԲԱՆ (ban), ԲԱՆՔ (bank'), ԳԷՍ(ges), Վէս (ves), ՀԵԶ (hez), ԲԵՌՆ (ber'ən), Սառն (sar'ən), Թոռն (t'or'ən), Սեաւ (seav), Բալ (bal), Ահաւոր (ahavor), ԹԱԳԱՒՈՐ (t'agavor), Դուռն (dur'ən), Բուռն (bur'ən), ԹԵՐԱՆԱԼ (t'eranal), ՀԵՌԱՆԱԼ (her'anal), Գոյանալ (goyanal), ԳՈՅ (goy), ՓԱՌՔ (p'ar'k'), Փառաւոր (p'ar'avor), Վառ (var'), Լեառն (lear'ən), Յառնել (har'nel), ԸՆԴԵԼ (əndel), Ընդդէմ (ənddem), ԸՆԹԱ (ənt'a), Ընթեռնում (ənt'er'num), Ընթեռնուս (ənt'er'nus), Ընթեռնու (ənt'er'nu)։




To listen to the Armenian letters, words and sentences of this lesson click on the following link -
http://www.mediafire.com/listen/v87pix169d16f63/Classical_Armenian-3-mp3.mp3

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lesson 2

Now let's stop following the alphabetical order of the letters and learn some voiceless aspirated consonants of Armenian which are pronounced similarly in both modern Armenian languages. One of them is Թ թ (t'o). It corresponds to the Greek Θ but does not sound like that Greek letter. It sounds like the English “t” both in Eastern and Western Armenian languages. But we need to know the Armenian equivalents to the Greek letters so that we may know how the Greek words, especially proper nouns, were borrowed and transcripted with the Armenian letters.

The next letter for another voiceless aspirated consonant is Փ փ (p'iur) which sounds almost like the English “p”. Its shape is like the Greek Φ and it corresponds to that Greek letter, so it will be easy to remember. Though I say it corresponds to the Greek Φ, it doesn't sound like that Greek letter. Why? Because the Armenian language in old times did not have the sound “f” at all. And even now you'll not find genuine Armenian words that have this sound, except for some 2-3 onomatopoeic words. So the sound “f” is alien to Armenian. And when borrowing words from other languages which had that sound, the Armenians had to transcript and read it as “p'” instead of “f”, until the 11th-12th centuries when the Armenians had to add the letter Ֆ ֆ (fe) to their alphabet in order to write the foreign words more correctly.

From the Lesson 1 we know the letter Ք ք for the voiceless aspirated consonant “k'”. In that lesson we also learned the letters Բ, Գ, Դ which are voiced consonants in the Classical and Eastern Armenian languages and correspond to the English “b”, “g”, “d”. However, as you could see in the Lesson 1, I put two pronunciations for these letters, the second of which is for Western Armenian. In Western Armenian these voiced consonants have become voiceless aspirated consonants. The analysis of the medieval Armenian dialect of Cilicia shows that this sound change had occurred in some western regions of Armenia or Anatolia already in the times of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Because of this sound change Western Armenian has double letters for the voiceless aspirated consonants.

Voiced consonants
Classical Armenian, Eastern Armenian


Բ բ (b)


Գ գ (g)


Դ դ (d)




Voiceless aspirated consonants
Classical Armenian and Eastern Armenian


Փ փ (p')


Ք ք (k')


Թ թ (t')




Voiceless aspirated consonants
Western Armenian


Բ բ (p')


Գ գ (k')
Դ դ (t')


Փ փ (p')


Ք ք (k')


Թ թ (t')


Let's learn also five other letters which can be remembered more or less easily. They are:

Ո ո   vo (Sounds like “vo” at the beginning of a word and “o” in other positions. In old times it sounded like “o” also at the beginning of a word. Its shape is like the corresponding Greek or Latin letter O, just delete the bottom line of O and make the letter somewhat thinner :).)

Յ յ   hi (Sounds like “h” at the beginning of a word and “y” (as in English “year”, “yard” etc) in other positions. In old times it sounded like “y” also at the beginning of a word. The capital letter is like the number 3, the small one is a little like “y”, without the upper left small line.)

Լ լ  liun (=lioon) (As you can see, it's like its Latin equivalent – L l.) 

Ր ր  re (This is a very soft “r” which is more used in Armenian than the hard “r'” and its shape is a little like the corresponding Greek letter and Latin small letter. This sound is like the English "r" in the word "grew". If you know Russian, then it sounds like the “р” in the Russian words “время”, “признак” etc.) 

Ռ ռ  r'a (This is a hard “r”. Not like the English "r", but that of many other languages, for example, Italian, Russian etc. If you look at its shape carefully, you'll see that it's formed of two soft “r”s: put two Ր -s one under the other and you have Ռ.)


All these new letters of this lesson are pronounced in the same way in the Eastern and Western Armenian languages.

Some Punctuation Marks

՞ is the question mark. We put it exactly on that vowel which we pronounce in the tone of question. The Armenian language does not have the punctuation mark ?.
: is the end mark in the punctuation system of the Armenian language.
Ո՞ է դա։ (Vo e da?/ Vo e ta?) Who is that?
Դա է Գէորգ։ (Da e Georg / Ta e K'eork') That is George.
Zi՞nch է դա։ What is that? 
or:
Zi՞nch է այդ։ (Zinch e ayd / ayt?)
Քար է այդ։ (K'ar e ayd / ayt'.) That is a stone.
Այդ քար է։ (Ayd / ayt' k'ar e.) the same
Այդ է քար։ (Ayd e k'ar.) the same
Դա քար է։ (Da / t'a k'ar e.) the same
Դա է քար։ (Da e k'ar.) the same
Քար է դա։ (K'ar e da.) the same
Բառ է այդ։ (Bar' e ayd / P'ar' e ayt'.) That is a word.
Զարդ է այդ։ (Zard e ayd / Zart' e ayt'.) That is an adornment.


Ո՞ է դա։ Քո՞յր քո է։ (Vo՞ e da? K'u՞yr k'o e? / Vo e t'a? K'u՞yr k'o e?) Who is that? Is that your sister?
քոյր (k'uyr (=k'ooyr) - sister. Written as “k'oyr” but read as “k'uyr”.
* The sound "oo" will always be represented in the lessons with the letter "u".
փոքր (p'ok'ər) - small, little
քո (k'o) - your (singular)
Քոյր քո փոքր է։ (K'uyr k'o p'ok'r e) - Your sister is small.

Rule:
In closed syllables (that is, before a consonant), the diphthong “ոյ” (“oy”) is pronounced as “uy”.
բոյր (buyr /p'uyr) fragrance, scent
դոյլ (duyl / t'uyl) bucket
յոյզ (huyz) examination, inquiry; emotion

Some Grammar

The Plural Form of Nouns

There are several endings that make the plural form of the nouns in Classical Armenian. But the most common ending is Ք ք (k'). It is only used for the nominative case, that is, mainly for the subjects of sentences.

բառ (bar' / p'ar') - word
բառք (barək' or bar'k' / p'ar'ək' or p'ar'k') - words
գայլ (gayl / k'ayl) - wolf
գայլք (gaylək' or gaylk' / k'aylək' or k'aylk') - wolves
քայլ (k'ayl) - step
քայլք (k'aylək' or k'aylk') - steps
լար (lar) - string
լարք (larək' or lark') - strings 

The Preposition Զ զ 

Զ զ is a preposition. Its mane function is being a definite article for the direct object (in the accusative case). It is used for other purposes too, but we shall talk about them later.

Բե՛ր զայդ։ (Ber zayd! / P'er zayt'!) - Bring that!
Ա՛ռ զդա։ (Ar' əzda! / Ar' əzta!) - Take that!
Գրեա՛ զբառդ զայդ։ (Grea əzbarəd zayd! / K'rea əzp'arət' zayt'!) - Write that word!

In these examples you might notice that before այդ (“ayd”) only “z” is pronounced, while before դա (“da”) and բառդ (“barəd”) an additional sound, that is, schwa is added. (About the additional դ “d” at the end of the word բառ “bar” we'll speak later.)

Rule:
When the preposition զ precedes a vowel, it is pronounced as “z”, while when it precedes a consonant, it is usually pronounced as “əz”.

այր (ayr) - man
զայր (zayr) - the man (accusative case (definite), direct object)
քոյր (k'uyr) - sister
զքոյր (əzk'uyr) - the sister (accusative case (definite), direct object)

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FOR PRACTICE 
EA pronunciation: բառ (bar'), այդ (ayd), դա (da), քայլ (k'ayl), փայլ (p'ayl), թեր (t'er), թերթ (t'ert'), փոքր (p'ok'ər), քոյր (k'uyr), դեր (der), զարդ (zard or zart')*, բարդ (bard or bart'), յարդ (hard), յարգ (harg), յոյզ (huyz), գայլ (gayl), դեռ (der'), բոյր (buyr), բոյլ (buyl), թոյլ (t'uyl), լար (lar),  թեք (t'ek'), թէ (t'e), գորգ (gorg), դար (dar),  քար (k'ar), գէր (ger), քոր (k'or), որդ (vord or vort'), որթ (vort'), ազգ (azg), ազդ (azd), գրել (gərel), բրել (bərel), թրել (tə'rel), յարել (harel), քորել (k'orel), փորել (p'orel), դլալ (dəlal), գթալ (gət'al), լռել (lər'el), լոր (lor), որայ (vora), ռայ (r'a), ռահ (r'ah), առ (ar')


NOTE


* Though the letters բ, գ, դ are normally pronounced as "b", "g", "d" in both Classical and Eastern Armenian languages, in today's Eastern Armenian, in many words, when following the letter "ր" they are pronounced as "p'", "k'", "t'". However, foreigners who study Classical Armenian can read them in the usual and more correct way, that is, as "b", "g", "d". This is why I have provided two variants of EA pronunciation for some words.

WA pronunciation: բառ (p'ar), այդ (ayt'), դա (t'a), քայլ (k'ayl), փայլ (p'ayl), թեր (t'er), թերթ (t'ert'), փոքր (p'ok'ər), քոյր (k'uyr), դեր (t'er), զարդ (zart'), բարդ (p'art'), յարդ (hart'), յարգ (hark'), յոյզ (huyz), գայլ (k'ayl), դեռ (t'er'), բոյր (p'uyr), բոյլ (p'uyl), թոյլ (t'uyl), լար (lar),  թեք (t'ek'), թէ (t'e), գորգ (k'ork'), դար (t'ar),  քար (k'ar), գէր (k'er), քոր (k'or), որդ (vort'), որթ (vort'), ազգ (azk'), ազդ (azt'), գրել (k'ərel), բրել (p'ərel), թրել (tə'rel), յարել (harel), քորել (k'orel), փորել (p'orel), դլալ (t'əlal), գթալ (k'ət'al), լռել (lər'el), լոր (lor), որայ (vora), ռայ (r'a), ռահ (r'ah), առ (ar')


 Capital letters: Բառ, Այդ, Դա, Քայլ, Փայլ, Թեր, Թերթ, Փոքր, Քոյր, Դեր, Զարդ, Բարդ, Յարդ, Յարգ, Յոյզ, Գայլ, Դեռ, Բոյր, Բոյլ, Թոյլ, Լար, Թեք, Թէ, Գորգ,  Դար, Քար, Գէր, Քոր, Որդ, Որթ, Ազգ, Ազդ, Գրել, Բրել, Թրել, Յարել, Քորել, Փորել, Դլալ, Գթալ, Լռել, Լոր, Որայ, Ռայ, Ռահ, Առ:  


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To listen to the Armenian letters, words and sentences found in this lesson click on the following link -
http://www.mediafire.com/listen/8xzch17iywb80m1/Classical_Armenian-2-mp3.mp3
 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lesson 1


The Armenian Alphabet
Let's start with the Armenian alphabet, which was created by St Mesrop Mashtots in the beginning of the 5th century.

The alphabet created by St Mesrop consisted of 36 letters to which later, in the 11th-12th centuries, two other letters were added. St Mesrop only created the so-called uncial letters, which are the capital letters of the alphabet developed later. When publishing Classical Armenian texts we use both the capital and small letters, as in case of some other classical languages.

The alphabet's 36 letters were also used for numbers. In fact, they are sometimes used as numbers today too, for example, when denoting book chapters.

Here is the alphabet:

Ա ա - 1 --- Ժ ժ - 10 --- Ճ ճ - 100 --- Ռ ռ - 1000
Բ բ - 2 --- -Ի ի - 20 --- Մ մ - 200 --- Ս ս - 2000
Գ գ - 3 --- -Լ լ - 30 --- -Յ յ - 300 --- -Վ վ - 3000
Դ դ - 4 --- Խ խ - 40 --- Ն ն - 400 --- Տ տ - 4000
Ե ե - 5 --- Ծ ծ - 50 --- -Շ շ - 500 --- Ր ր - 5000
Զ զ - 6 --- -Կ կ - 60 --- Ո ո - 600 --- Ց ց - 6000
Է է - 7 --- -Հ հ - 70 --- -Չ չ - 700 --- -Ւ ւ - 7000
Ը ը - 8 ---- Ձ ձ - 80 --- Պ պ - 800 --- Փ փ - 8000
Թ թ - 9 --- Ղ ղ - 90 --- Ջ ջ - 900 --- -Ք ք - 9000


The two letters added later are Օ օ and Ֆ ֆ.

Pronunciation*
Today there are two traditional ways of reading Classical Armenian texts. Since there are two modern Armenian languages, Eastern and Western, Eastern Armenians read according to their phonetics, Western Armenians - according to the Western Armenian pronunciation. None of them is purely correct, if we understand as "correct" the ancient pronunciation of the letters. And this is natural, because many centuries have passed. However, the Eastern Armenian pronunciation is closer to that of Classical Armenian. I would recommend a non-Armenian learner to learn and read Classical Armenian texts in Eastern Armenian pronunciation. Western Armenians may continue reading the texts according to the phonetic rules of Western Armenian. However, when presenting the transcription of the Armenian letters and words here, I will provide with both pronunciations. The first will be the Eastern Armenian pronunciation, the second - the Western Armenian.

The Classical Armenian language is usually called Grabar / Krapar.

Again on the Alphabet
Now let us learn the first letters of the alphabet:

Ա ա   ayb / ayp'
Բ բ    ben / p'en
Գ գ   gim (read "g" as in the English "get") / k'im
Դ դ   da / t'a
Ե ե   yech (pronounced as "ye" at the beginning of a word and "e" in all other positions)
Զ զ   za
Է է   e (pronounced as "e" everywhere)


As you might notice, the Classical Greek alphabet starts with the corresponding letters and sounds. Moreover, if you take from the Armenian alphabet all those letters that don't have their equivalents in Greek, what remains is nothing than the order of the Greek alphabet. And as in Greek alphabet, there are two "e"s. The linguists say the first was shorter than the other, as in Greek. Linguist Adjarian suggested that there might be such difference that existed between French è and é. Well, we can't be sure of anything now. But today these two letters sound similarly, except for the beginning of a word. 

The letter Է է in Armenian is also a noun and a verb. It means "being", "existence", "is", and is also considered to be the name of God. That is why in some Armenian icons or above the altar in the church one may see this letter. In this case it corresponds to the Greek "ΩOΝ".

The last letter of the Armenian alphabet is Ք ք (k'e). This is the letter which corresponds to Greek Χ. For example, Christ in Armenian is written with this letter. This letter sounds almost like the English "k", it's an aspirated voiceless consonant. The words of Jesus (in the Apocalypse of John), "I am the Alpha and I am the Omega," were translated into Classical Armenian as "Yes em Ayb yev yes em K'e."

Now we know one sentence in Classical Armenian. Please, remember that in Armenian the stress is usually put on the last syllable. There are exceptions but we'll talk about them later.

In scientific literature this sentence would be transcribed differently, using the IPA characters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_alphabet) and following only the letters, just as it is written, and not the traditional pronunciation of the words. For example, instead of "yes" you would see there "es". But let's skip this now.

yes - I
em - am
yev - and
Yes em - I am

I think, this information is enough for the first lesson, so that you may not be overloaded.


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FOR PRACTICE
EA pronunciation: աբա (aba),  բա (ba), գա (ga), աբբա (abba), դա (da), դա է (da e), զա (za), եզ (yez), դէ (de), բէ (be), գէ (ge), դէզ (dez), բեզ (bez), բադ (bad), էդ (ed), էգ (eg), եդ (yed), զէ (ze).

WA pronunciation: աբա (apa),  բա (pa), գա (ka), աբբա (appa), դա (ta), դա է (ta e), զա (za), եզ (yez), դէ (te), բէ (pe), գէ (ke), դէզ (tez), բեզ (pez), բադ (pat), էդ (et), էգ (ek), եդ (yet), զէ (ze).

The same with capital letters:

Աբա, Բա, Գա, Աբբա, Դա, Դա է, Զա, Եզ, Դէ, Բէ, Գէ, Դէզ, Բեզ, Բադ, Էդ, Էգ, Եդ, Զէ.

To listen to the recording of the Armenian letters, words and sentences found in this lesson, click on the following link -
http://www.mediafire.com/listen/d9p1spdn1yn5rog/Classical_Armenian-1-mp3.mp3 

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*  You may listen how the letters are pronounced and written by hand visiting the following webpage - http://hayeren.hayastan.com/english/abr.html
You'll see the alphabet there. Click on any of the letters, it will open and you'll see four buttons. The first is for hearing the letter. The second and fourth buttons are for handwriting. To go back to the alphabet for the other letters, click on the word ԱՅԲՈՒԲԵՆ (you'll understand where to click yourself too).

You may listen how the letters are pronounced also at this website - http://www.menq.am/tarer_main.htm
Just click on the letter you need, an additional window will open. Then in the upper part of the window you'll see the letter, its name (written in Armenian though) and a word beginning with that letter. Click on that part of the window and you'll hear all of it. They have put some music there though, ugly and noisy at times. You can switch it off at the bottom right corner. You'll see that music small icon there to click on it and switch it off.

Also, at the website of St Nersess Seminary, you can download, for example, the first recording of this page, a proclamation - http://www.stnersess.edu/classroom/sml/daily/arevakal/index.php
It is called "EE na orhnestseen". Listen to it. Though Fr Daniel who reads it is a Western Armenian,  there are very few differences in that text between Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian pronunciations. So, listening to that text you'll understand how Classical Armenian sounds. There are other proclamations too on that page. There are also songs. Well, browse in that website's recordings.

Any questions, corrections, suggestions? Write, please.