Well, it looks like we have some support...I think...I hope...
Here is the first lesson - there is a lenghty introduction into Armenian, since it is a rather obscure language. Feel free to ignore it if you already know enough about it, etc...
Բարեւ ամեն մեկը՚ու
Welcome to the new Armenian forum!
Introduction and Lesson 1
Before starting, if you could not read the message written above in Armenian, please download Armenian National Language Support 2.0 at this site : http://www.freenet.am/armnls/
A linguistic sketch of the Armenian Language (Skip to the alphabet if you don’t like history and a short explanation of the grammar, ocabulary and other intricacies about the course):
Armenian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7 million people - a significant amount of these speakers live in Armenia (population of 3 million people) and Nagorno-Karabakh (population of 145 000 and which is a predominantly Armenian-speaking region that is, in fact, a part of Azerbaijan). In these two areas, Armenian is the sole official language. In reality, however, the majority of Armenian speakers do not live in Armenia - rather, they have been scattered throughout the Western World as a result of the Armenian Genocide commited by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 until 1917. It is estimated that 8 million Armenians have been scattered throughout Eurasia and North America - not all of these speak Armenian, of course. Most of the Armenian Diaspora now lives in Iran, France, the United States, Canada, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Lebanon and throughout the Balkan region.
Today there are two distinct dialects of Armenian : Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian - they differ greatly in pronunciation and grammar, but the lexicon of these dialects varies very little. (More information about these dialects, their development and the differences between them will be discussed in further lessons). This course concerns the Western dialect, as the author lives in a country where this dialect is predominant - moreover, all that are interested in these lessons will have more use for the Western dialect with the exception of individuals who live in Iran, Georgia, Russia, Syria, Egypt, Ukraine, Azerbaijan (and of course Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh). American and Canadian users should note that both dialects are used concurrently here - although the Western dialect is predominant.
Armenian is a language isolate - it’s closest relative is the extinct language Phyrgian. The closest related languages to armenian that still survive are Greek and Persian. The Armenian lexicon has borrowed heavily from the Persian language and at one time in history, Armenian was thought to have been a dialect of Persian! Therefore, it is considerably easier for those with prior knowledge in Persian to learn Armenian. This is true to a lesser extent for Turkish and Russian as well, but Turks should note that much of the Turkish vocabulary used in this language was removed after the Armenian Genocide.
Armenian uses a distinct alphabet that is not used by any other language. It has no grammatical gender distinction; as the Ural-Altaic languages and the Indo-Aryan languages, it does not even distinguish between gender in the third person. Armenian uses the basic syntax of SVO and articles (both definite and indefinite) are written after the noun in the Western dialect. The most difficult part of the language is the complex morphology - it will fascinte those who love conjugations and declensions however. There are seven cases in Western Armenian (6 in Eastern): nominative, accusative, locative, genitive, dative, ablative and instrumental. Armenian verbs are inflected for a number of different tenses, moods and aspects.
The Armenian Alphabet:
The Armenian alphabet is commonly theorized to have been based off of the Greek alphabet. It was created in the year 450 AD by Saint Mesrop Mashtots so that the Bible could be translated accurately into Armenian. This lesson will cover the letters, their names and their pronunciation in the Western dialect. Consonants marked (aspirated) should be pronounced with a puff of air as in the Romance languages and unlike most Germanic languages. Ejective consonants are a unique feature of Armenian and other languages in the Caucasus - they are pronounced as described here :
. I can offer no better explanation,however,One is certainly understandable, however, if he or she mispronounces these ejectives. I have marked the aspirated as ‘ following a consonant in the transliteration.
Աա-(Letter name)Ayp-(Letter equivalent)A-(as in the English word)bar, car-(as in the French word)par, a
Եե-yech-YE (E in the middle or end of a word)-yellow-hier
Խխ-kheh-KH- no English of French equivalent; it is the same as Mädchen in German
Ծծ-dzah-DZ-(English anyone? - I don’t know any words like this in English...)-like ‘du’ as pronounced by a Québécois
Հհ-ho-H-heat-no French equivalent
Ձձ-tsah-TS-Its-as in ‘tu’ pronounced by a Québécois
Ղղ-ghad-GH-no English equivalent-roi
Յյ-hi-H (pronounced Y at the end of a syllable)-hat-no French equivalent
Ոո-vo (o at the middle or end of a word)-vomit-voix
Չչ-chah-CH ‘-church- tchin-tchin!
Ռռ-rrah-(rolled R as in Spanish perro)-no English equivalent-no French equivalent
Րր-reh-R (an alveolar approximant as in British English)-rare(British)-no French equivalent
Ցց-tzoh-TZ ‘-its-as in Québécois ‘tu’
Notes and warnings: ու is an important sound combination that is pronounced as ‘oo’ as in ‘cool’ in English and ‘ou’ as in ‘vous’ in French.
Beware NOT to confuse the following:
-pen, tah and zah
-ini,kheh and iun
-guen and vev
-tsah and jeh
-men and noo (EXTREMELY important!!!)
-shah and chah
-vo and rrah
hi, diun and tzoh
Transliteration excercises - Write a transliteration for the following words - also indicate if a consonant is an ejective, rolled, aspirated, etc.
լաւ good ուտելto eat
բառ word լուսինmoon
օդ air օրէնք law
զէնք weapon յիշել to remember
Attempt to rewrite these words in Armenian script - the object is to get used to the differentiation between sounds that there is no differentiation between in English (not perfection!..yet...):
harmar suitable karzharan school
u(schwa)sik you said orinag example
atorr chair perel to bring
Transliterate the Armenian national anthem - Mer Hayrenik (Our Fatherland)
I bow down and worship the Unilanger that can manage to do this one correctly...
Hint: Don’t forget that the pronunciation of ‘hi’ changes at the end of a syllable. Listen here: http://www.president.am/information/eng/?task=52
Մեր Հայրենիք, ազատ, անկախ
Որ ապրէլ է դարէ դար
Իւր որդիքը արդ կանչում է
Ազատ, անկախ Հայաստան:
Ահա՝ եղբայր, քեզ մի դրօշ,
Որ իմ ձեռքով գործեցի
Գիշերները ես քուն չեղայ,
Նայիր նրան երեք գոյնով,
Նուիրական մէր նշան,
Թող փողփողի թշնամու դէմ,
Թող միշտ պանծայ Հայաստան:
Ամենայն տեղ մահը մի է
Մարդ մի անգամ պիտ՚ մեռնի,
Բայց երանի՚ որ իւր ազգի
Ազատութեան կը զոհուի:
If there is enough interest, the next lesson will explain the punctuation of Armenian - which is different than any other language, the rules of capitalization and the rules of stress. Thanks guys!