Classical Armenian
Old Armenian
RegionArmenian Highlands
Eradeveloped into Middle Armenian
Indo-European
  • Classical Armenian
Early form
Armenian alphabet (Classical Armenian orthography)
Language codes
ISO 639-3xcl
xcl
Glottologclas1249
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.

Classical Armenian (Armenian: գրաբար, in Eastern Armenian pronunciation: 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

Epitaph in Classical Armenian for Jakub and Marianna Minasowicz at St. Hyacinth's Church in Warsaw
Epitaph in Classical Armenian for Jakub and Marianna Minasowicz at St. Hyacinth's Church in Warsaw

Vowels

There are seven monophthongs:

There are also traditionally six diphthongs:

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῾, č῾, k῾. Each phoneme has two symbols in the table. The left indicates the pronunciation in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA); the right one is the corresponding symbol in the Armenian alphabet.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar /
Uvular
Glottal
plain velar.
Nasals /m/   մ   /n/   ն          
Stops voiced /b/   բ   /d/   դ       /ɡ/   գ    
unvoiced /p/   պ   /t/   տ       /k/   կ    
aspirated /pʰ/   փ   /tʰ/   թ       /kʰ/   ք    
Affricates voiced   /dz/   ձ     /dʒ/   ջ      
unvoiced   /ts/   ծ     /tʃ/   ճ      
aspirated   /tsʰ/   ց     /tʃʰ/   չ      
Fricatives voiced /v/   վ   /z/   զ     /ʒ/   ժ      
unvoiced /f/   ֆ  [a] /s/   ս     /ʃ/   շ   /χ/   խ   /h/   հ  
Approximants lateral   /l/   լ   /ɫ/   ղ        
central   /ɹ/   ր     /j/   յ      
Trill   /r/   ռ        
  1. ^ The letter f (or ֆ) 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.[1]

See also

Sources

References

  1. ^ Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009). Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 18. ISBN 9789027238146. Retrieved 19 May 2021.