15 Jun
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So… You Want to Learn Armenian? Let Me Tell You How

If you fell in love with Armenian culture just like I did, eventually you will start looking into learning Armenian language. In my previous posts I discussed the history of unique Armenian language and talked about an interesting Armenian alphabet. This topic would be of a great value especially for those who plan to visit the sunny and cheerful Armenia themselves and would like to impress the locals with their language skills. In fact, Armenians love when foreigners are trying to speak their language. No matter how many mistakes you are making, it is very flattering for people in Armenia to see that someone is appreciating it and tries to speak to them in their language. They take a big pride in the fact that their language was created in 405 AD and not only served for translation of the Bible and works of classic literature since, but also allowed their culture to stand out as well as to bring something different and unique to the world.

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Flag_of_Armenia.svgIn modern world we have a great interest in different cultures and amazing opportunities to learn about them: their language, their customs and traditions. Armenian language is not an exception. Let me tell you what I find to be the best way to learn this beautiful language. In fact, I came up with 5 of them.

5 best ways to learn Armenian language

When you approach a new language, there are 4 main areas that you have to master:

  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Writing (grammar)

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To learn how to excel in all the listed above in Armenian, here are 5 proven tools to do it:

  1. Sign up for a language course. You might to run into the issue with Armenian in particular as it is not the most popular language and not all the language schools will offer the classes. Nevertheless, you should still research your options in town and maybe you will get lucky. In case you didn’t, there’s plenty of other ways to learn the language of your choice.
  2. Study the language online. Nowadays there is a great variety of online courses that will teach you pretty much anything your heart desires. Armenian language is not an exception. Websites, such as transparent.com, loecsen.com, 101languages.net, ilanguages.org and littlearmenia.com will provide you with everything you need to start off: the alphabet, grammar rules, common phrases and quizzes to check your progress. Some of them are free and for some of the courses you will have to pay. The choice is yours.
  3. Connect with a native speaker. If it is an issue to find one in your town, try to do it online. Services like Skype, Viber and even Messenger, will help you to connect with Armenian speaking friend to practice what you have learned prior to that.
  4. Watch, listen and read in Armenian. Lots of resources are available even online, such as books, articles, videos, movies, etc. Use it to your advantage so you can understand and express yourself in Armenian.
  5. Visit Armenia! There are not many things that would compare to the experience you get when you visit a country that speak the language you are learning. Book a trip to sunny Armenia and learn about their culture, understand the roots of their language, speak to locals, let them correct your mistakes and show you how to speak it the right way.

  

12 Jun
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Remarkable Alphabet of Armenia

The story of Armenian language started a very long time ago and shows the strive of Armenian nation to be sovereign, distinctive and unique culture. Continuing the topic of an Armenian language, I would like to tell my readers more about its alphabet and what I find the most amazing about it.

image001Recognition of language uniqueness

The most distinctive thing is that it is a unique, completely separate, signature language, created by a monk Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD. The alphabet initially consisted of 36 signs (2 more were added at a later date). In fact, 11 years ago Armenian alphabet was celebrating its 1600th birthday. This big date was recognized by putting 39 huge Armenian letters, made of stone. This great sculpture also marks the place where its author – Mesrop Mashtots – rest in peace. When you visit Armenia, do not forget to pay a visit to this remarkable place and take a picture with those massive letters of the Armenian alphabet and its author at the Aragats Mountain.

Fun facts about Armenian alphabet

In order to show how different and unique the Armenian alphabet is, let’s look into few interesting facts about it.

  • The structure of the alphabet is laid out around the religion. When Mashtots started working on the alphabet, he was under great pressure as it was meant to be used to create a bible for the newly Christian kingdom. What the monk ended up doing is he started his alphabet with the starting letter of the word God and ended it with the first letter of the name Christ.
  • The Armenian word for “alphabet” consists of its first two letters.
  • Armenian alphabet is very similar in style to the Ethiopian alphabet. However, the general consensus is that Armenian is designed similar to the Greek alphabet with certain letters, taken from unknown source to assign to the sounds, unique for the Armenian language. By the way, there is even a theory that connects the silhouette of some letters with swastika.
  • The earliest surviving manuscripts, written in Armenian are dated from the 7th-8th century.
  • For about 250 years more than couple thousand books were printed in Turkish language, but using Armenian letters.
  • Armenian letters have numerical value. Well, majority of them. In fact, you can find the charts online.
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The role of Armenian alphabet

Armenians pride themselves on being the first nation to adopt Christianity. At first, with invention of the alphabet, Armenians got a chance to translate Bible into their own language. Second, it helped them to be able to translate and study the works of Christian theology, learn about history and read the classic literature. Third, this has let them to establish and develop educational institutions and start creating their own literature. Finally, it brought even more character to the story and role of Armenia in the world.

In the conclusion I would like to say that as the interest to our roots and different cultures increases, there are already many people that wish to study Armenian language. The biggest challenge is learning the alphabet, though, according to the feedback of those who decided to approach it. But once you master that, they say, the language will reveal its beauty and versatility. How to learn Armenian language and which tools to use – we will be discussing in the next article.

05 Jun
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5 Amazing Facts about Armenian Language You Did Not Know

Beautiful Armenian language is a part of Indo-European family of languages. It is an official language in sunny Armenia as well as in self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The majority of people who speak it live in Armenia. The most of the remainder reside in Georgia and Russia. It is also spoken in Iran and in Armenian Diaspora, spread around the globe. In fact, approximately 6 million people speak this unique language. Modern Armenian has 2 main varieties – Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian as well as numerous dialects. Western Armenian is spread mostly among Armenians in Turkey, Arab countries and in emigrant communities across Europe and North America, whereas Eastern Armenian is mostly spoken in Armenia, Iran and Georgia. Even though the vocabulary is almost the same, the biggest difference is in pronunciation and grammar.

Sometimes these two main dialects sound so different that you might think these are two completely different languages all together.

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Even though it is not a very well known language that many people have on their bucket list to learn, these amazing facts about Armenian language might make you change your mind:

  1. Word order In Armenian language does not matter. Well, at least it does not matter as much as in English… Armenian language is not that strict with the word order which makes it pretty easy to learn and use. 
  2. There is no language similar to Armenian. Armenian language is considered to be an independent branch of Indo-European language group. It is within the satem group of languages, together with Slavic and Indo-Iranian, with slight resemblance with centum group (Celtic, German, Greek, Italian), but it was created and introduced as a completely separate language. Armenian is considered to be one of the oldest languages that exist nowadays.
  3. Armenian language has its own alphabet. Its unique script was introduced in 405 AD by a monk St. Mesrop Mashtots. Newly created alphabet consisted of 36 signs (2 more were added at a later date) that were eventually used to translate the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament.
  4. In fact, Armenian was one of the first languages into which the Bible was translated. From the fifth century its translation has been representing its oldest surviving text.
  5. Most of the letters have numerical value.

Nowadays there are many online schools and courses that can help you learn this language. People whose native language is not Armenian say that it is a pretty easy language to learn due to the fact that as soon as you learn the alphabet, it is very easy to read as the sounds are very straightforward. As was mentioned before, the word order is way less strict as in any other language so right after you master the alphabet and learn words, you can easily start practicing. You will acquire a great respect of Armenians if you try to speak Armenian even if you do not do it right. Just your efforts to say something in Armenian language will make local people very proud and supportive of you. They will correct your mistakes, laugh with you and may be even inviting for a cup of tea afterwards.