Homshetsi
Homshetsma
Հոմշեցի / Հոմշեցմա
Native toArmenian Highlands, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia
EthnicityHemshin people
Native speakers
~150,000[citation needed]
Armenian alphabet, modified Turkish alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3(included in hyw)
Glottologhoms1234
ELPHomshetsi

Homshetsi (Հոմշեցի Homshetsi lizu "the Hamshen language", Turkish: Hemşince) is an archaic Western Armenian dialect spoken by the eastern and northern group of Hemshin peoples (Hemşinli), a people living in northeastern Turkey, Abkhazia, Russia, and Central Asia.

It is not fully intelligible with the rest of Armenian. It was not a written language until 1995, when linguist Bert Vaux designed an orthographic system for it based on the Turkish alphabet; the Armenian alphabet was used by Christian immigrants from Hamshen (Northern Hamshenis)—who refer to the language as Homshetsma (Հոմշեցմա) in Russia and Abkhazia.

Homshetsi is a spoken language amongst the Eastern Hemshinli, also known as the Hopa Hemshinli, who live in a small number of villages in Turkey's Artvin Province and Central Asia. The Western or Rize Hamsheni are a related, geographically separate group living in Rize Province, who spoke Homshetsi until sometime in the 19th century. They now speak only Turkish with many Homshetsi loanwords.[1] A third group, the northern Homshentsik, who live in Russia, Georgia (Abkhazia), Armenia, also speak Homshetsi.

Homshetsi has linguistic features that indicate it belongs to the Western Armenian dialect group; however, the two are generally not mutually intelligible.[2] Homshetsi has close ties to the Armenian dialects formerly found in northeastern Turkey, in particular in Khodorchur and, to a lesser extent, in Trabzon. Because of its extended isolation, Homshetsi contains many archaisms that set it apart from all other Armenian dialects. The language preserves forms found only in Classical and Middle Armenian, and at the same time preserves foreign (especially Arabic and Turkish) grammatical and lexical components that were stripped from modern Armenian during the twentieth century.[2]

UNESCO has categorised Homshetsi as a language that is "definitely endangered".[3]

References

  1. ^ Uwe Blaesing, "Armenian in the Vocabulary and Culture of the Turkish Hemshinli", in Hovann Simonian (2007). The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-79830-7.
  2. ^ a b Bert Vaux, "Homshetsma, The language of the Armenians of Hamshen", in Hovann Simonian (2007). The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-79830-7.
  3. ^ United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), "Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger", February 2009.

Further reading