EA Lesson 3
EASTERN ARMENIAN PARALLEL FOR LESSON 3
LETTERS INTRODUCED IN LESSONS 1 AND 2 WITH PRONUNCIATION AND/OR SPEELING DIFFERENCES IN EA
phonetically: orthographically: Differences in Differences in Orthography
same pronunciation same spelling in Pronunciation
in WA & EA WA & EA
² ³ [a] ÎÏ Î Ï: EA—[k]. ô õ is omitted in RO; instead, the
WA—[g] letter ì í is use (see Lesson 8).
Æ Ç [i] îï î ï: EA—[t].
º » [ye, e] º » is excluded from final positions
¾ ¿ [e] ¾ ¿ occurs only in initial positions in
Ø Ù [m] ØÙ àô áõ: EA—[u]. àô áõ in CO sounds [v] before
WA—[u, v] vowels in closed syllables
Ü Ý [n] ÜÝ
ê ë [s] êë See details on pronunciation and
ð ñ [r] ðñ orthography in appendices 1, 2, 4,
11, 12, 13.
Reduction of áõ and Ç to ə
The vowel reduction in EA is regular; the only recommended forms are ïəÝ³Ï < ïáõÝ + ³Ï
ëəñïÇ < ëÇñï + Ç, etc. For the diminutive form of ÙáõÏ > ÙÏÝÇÏ , a parallel form from child
language, ÙáõÏÇÏ is acceptable too. Also, this reduction may totoally eliminate the vowel leaving no scwha,
e.g., »ñÏÇñ + Ç > »ñÏøñÇ, Ï³ñÙÇñ > Ï³ñÙøñáñ³Ï; thus, the word »ñÏñÇ has two syllables in
EA, opposite to three syllables in WA, and Ï³ñÙñáñ³Ï has three syllables, opposite to four in WA.
Historically, the vowel shift is far advanced in WA compared to EA. Not only the vowels áõ, Ç, and ¿ (recall,
ë¿ñ > ëÇñáÛ, ï¿ñ > ïÇñ³Ï³Ý ), but also ³ shifts regularly, for example:
EA WA [ ³ > ø]
Ù³ï³ÝÇ Ù³ïÝÇù coll., standard—Ù³ï³ÝÇ
Compare also the three common verbs introduced above: say, do, and be.
EA WA [ ³ > Á]
The initial sound in these WA verbs derives from the ³ > Á historical shift, that is, Áë»É is from Grabar
³ë»Ù to say, ÁÝ»Ù < ³éÝ»Ù to do, ÁÉÉ³Ù < ÉÇÝÇÙ to be. Due of this shift, the letter Á is more frequently
spelled in WA. For example, it follows the letter áõ indicating that it sounds [v], e.g., ï³ñáõÁÝ¿Ý from the
year. In this case too Á replaces the reduced vowel ³; details see in Lesson 13.
Gayané Hagopian 36 Armenian for Everyone
EA Lesson 3
On the other hand, WA is characterized with a current trend to eliminate the vowel shift in such
common words as ëÇñï, »ñÏÇñ, ëáõï , etc. which is indicative of two different processes. First, it is
attrition, a symptom of a language headed for demise. In phonetics, attrition includes the elimination of the
aforementioned shift, that is, »ñÏÇñÇ instead of the standard »ñÏñÇ , etc. In declension and conjugation,
attrition appears as elimination of irregular forms and their substitution with generalized inflections; e.g., ë»ñÇ
instead of ëÇñáÛ . Attrition contributes also to the confusion and/or elimination of the preposition government
of noun forms, e.g., ³é³Ýó ëÇñáí instead of the standard ³é³Ýó ëÇñáÛ, etc.
Secondly, WA is moving forward toward a morphologically analytical structure which is evident in
subtle changes.2 There are also some instances when these two trends unite and it is hard to differentiate them,
for example, the WA ÉáõÛëÝ³É compared to Grabar and EA Éáõë³Ý³É , has an advanced shift of the
thematic vowel in the verbal affix -³Ý , and also eliminates the regular shift of áÛ < áõ .
One more note about the vowel shift resulting from the loss of the lexical stress: in EA also it shows
trends of dying out; all new loan words containing weak vowels no longer shift when they lose the stress, e.g.,
the computer term bit has genitive µÇÃÇ ,3 though new words, built in common models, maintain the shift, e.g.,
Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·Çã, computer, genitive Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·ãÇ versus WA genitive, Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·ÇãÇ .
Sound Frequency and Letter Frequency: The reduction of áõ and Ç to ə is expressed in writing in
case of hyphenation. The letter À Á is used for the schwa; for example: ëÁñ-ïÇ, »ñ-ÏÁñÝ»ñ, ïÁ-
Ý³Ï . The letter Á represents one of the most frequent sounds in Armenian, perhaps the most frequent vowel
in connected speech. However, as a letter it has a limited use.
The Diphthongs Çõ/Ûáõ and »³/ Û³ : The CO diphthong Çõ [yu] is spelled Ûáõ opposite to economy
principles of RO; e.g., ³ñÛáõÝ blood; ÙÛáõë the other, next. The free sound combination Çõ [iv] is spelled
with —í (see Lesson 8), e.g., ³ÝÇí wheel; Æí³Ý .
The CO diphthong »³ [ya] is spelled Û³ —e.g.: ë»ÝÛ³Ï room; Ù³ïÛ³Ý ancient manuscript,
journal. Still, they are the same diphthongs. The official transliteration of the letter ÚÛ (Lesson 5) is [y] and
consequently, Armenian last names in and from the Republic of Armenia reflects this spelling: Ð³ÏáµÛ³Ý
Hakobyan, ²ñ³ÙÛ³Ý Aramyan, etc. 4
Noun Number: With the same basic rules for plural, for monosyllabic and for polysyllabic words, EA
shows more conservative traits in the following:
1. Monosyllabic words with the weak vowels áõ and Ç shift regularly, e.g., ïáõÝ-ïÝ»ñ, ëáõñ-
ëñ»ñ, ëÇñï-ëñï»ñ, whereas in WA ïáõÝ»ñ, ëáõñ»ñ, ëÇñï»ñ are all right.
2. Grabar monosyllabic words with a final -Ý regularly restore it in plural, e.g.: ÙÏÝ»ñ, Ù³ïÝ»ñ
whereas in WA ÙáõÏ»ñ, Ù³ï»ñ are all right.
3. Both WA and EA have irregular nouns which follow older rules. There are some differences in
irregularities (e.g., WA ÏÇÝ woman follows the regular pattern ÏÇÝ»ñ, versus EA the Grabar
Ï³Ý³Ûù). The irregular nouns are presented in detail in Lesson 12.
For instance, WA has a more stable word order compared to EA, WA makes a wider use of functional
words, such as verbal particles and prepositions versus declined and conjugated forms, and in word building,
WA has less compounding versus analytical descriptives, etc.
The same is true about words which EA (and WA) has directly borrowed from Grabar versus words which
entered the modern standard from vernaculars, e.g., µáõÃ as stupid does not shift for the genitive—µáõÃÇ,
whereas its homonym, meaning the big finger, has genitive as µÃÇ.
Save for common conventions, such as Martiros Sarian, Vahan Terian. I spell my last name Hagopian as it
is pronounced in my hometown, Giumri, speaking a WA dialect and as it was written in English by my first
teacher of English, Sebuh Dzaghigian, a WA speaking repatriate.
Gayané Hagopian 37 Armenian for Everyone
EA Lesson 3
Conjunctions áõ, »õ, ÇëÏ: Practically identical in function and use, áõ and ÇëÏ are more frequent in
EA, than in WA. In RO, »õ is spelled ¢ After 1991, the new standard of writing restored the letter õ in the
alphabet, and the spelling »õ for this conjunction turned into a new norm. In this book, we use both.
Punctuation: The separation mark [ ª ] µáõÃ in WA is often separates subordinate clauses, when in EA
comma is used. The exclamation mark [ ~] functions the same way though terms differ: »ñÏ³ñ in WA
and µ³ó³Ï³Ýã³Ï³Ý Ýß³Ý in EA.
Interrogative Sentences: Questions with or without question words follow the same patterns in WA
and EA. Differences arise from other grammatical and lexical categories. The auxiliary verb ¿ , as well as the
general word order is more flexible in EA, as mentioned above. Examples:
EA WA Translation
ê³ ïáõ±Ý ¿: ²ë(ÇÏ³) ïáõ±Ý ¿: Is this a house?
Î³ïáõÝ ÙáõÏ Ï°áõï Ç ±: Î³ïáõÝ ÙáõÏ Ï°áõï » ±: Does the cat eat mice?
The Interrogative words áõ±ñ where to? and áñï»±Õ where? EA differentiates the question word áõ±ñ
for directions, and áñï»±Õ (see the letter Õ in Lesson 8) for locations: e.g.
Question Words EA WA Translation
Direction ê³ áõ±ñ ï³Ý»Ù: ²ëÇ áõ±ñ ï³ÝÇÙ£ Where should I take this?
Location àñï»±Õ »ë ³åñáõÙ£ àõ±ñ Ï°³åñÇë£ Where do you live?
However, in conversational EA áõ±ñ can be used for both direction and location, e.g., àõ±ñ ³
Ï³ïáõÝ: Where is the cat? The standard is: ²ñÇëÁ áñï»±Õ ¿: Note the colloquial change of the
auxiliary verb ¿ into ³. Likewise, áñï»Õ is used in some WA dialects, e.g., þáõñï»Õ Ï°³åñÇë ûñ³
Where do you live? (Giumri-Karin dialect).
ºë ²ñï³ÏÝ »Ù: ÆÙ ³ÝáõÝÝ ²ñï³Ï îÇñ³ïáõñÛ³Ý ¿£ ºë »ñÏáõ ³ÝáõÝ
áõÝ»Ù: ÆÙ ÙÇ ³ÝáõÝÝ ¿ ²ñï³Ï, ÇëÏ ÙÛáõëÝª ²ñÙ³Ý: ºí ²ñÇëÝ áõÝÇ Ù»Ï
³ÝáõÝª ²ñÇë: ²ñÇëÝ ÇÙÝ ¿, ÇÙ Ï³ïáõÝ ¿, ÇëÏ »ë ²ñÇëÇ ï»ñÝ »Ùª ²ñÇëÇ
²ñï³ÏÁ: ê³ Ü³ñ»Ý ¿: ºë ï³ëÝÙ»Ï ï³ñ»Ï³Ý »Ù, ÇëÏ Ü³ñ»Ýª ï³ëÝ»ñÏáõ:
Ü³ñ»Ý ëÇñáõ¯Ý ¿: ºë Ù³ïÇï áõÝ»Ù: àõ±ñ »Ý ÇÙ Ù³ïÇïÝ»ñÁ: Ü³ñ »ÇÝ Ýí»ñ
ï³Ù: ÆÙ ÝÏ³ñÁ ï³±Ù Ü³ñ»ÇÝ: ÆÙ ÝÏ³ñÁ Ïï³Ù:
- ê³ ëÇñáõ±Ý ÝÏ³ñ ¿, Ü³ñ»°:
- êÇñáõÝ ¿:
- ê³ ÇÙÝ ¿, ÇÙ ÝÏ³ñÝ ¿` ÝíÇñáõÙ »Ù Ü³ñ»ÇÝ:
- ÆëÏ ²ñÇëÝ áõÝÇ± ÝÏ³ñ: ²ñÇëÇ ÝÏ³ñÁ ïáõ°ñ:
(Å³Ù³Ý³Ï) time ³ï»Ý time
³½·³ÝáõÝ last name Ù³Ï³ÝáõÝ last name
Ù³Ï³ÝáõÝ ³õ»ÉÇ ³ÝáõÝ nickname
(¹ñ³Ù) money ëï³Ï money
Gayané Hagopian 38 Armenian for Everyone