Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lesson 2

Now let's stop following the alphabetical order of the letters and learn some voiceless aspirated consonants of Armenian which are pronounced similarly in both modern Armenian languages. One of them is Թ թ (t'o). It corresponds to the Greek Θ but does not sound like that Greek letter. It sounds like the English “t” both in Eastern and Western Armenian languages. But we need to know the Armenian equivalents to the Greek letters so that we may know how the Greek words, especially proper nouns, were borrowed and transcripted with the Armenian letters.

The next letter for another voiceless aspirated consonant is Փ փ (p'iur) which sounds almost like the English “p”. Its shape is like the Greek Φ and it corresponds to that Greek letter, so it will be easy to remember. Though I say it corresponds to the Greek Φ, it doesn't sound like that Greek letter. Why? Because the Armenian language in old times did not have the sound “f” at all. And even now you'll not find genuine Armenian words that have this sound, except for some 2-3 onomatopoeic words. So the sound “f” is alien to Armenian. And when borrowing words from other languages which had that sound, the Armenians had to transcript and read it as “p'” instead of “f”, until the 11th-12th centuries when the Armenians had to add the letter Ֆ ֆ (fe) to their alphabet in order to write the foreign words more correctly.

From the Lesson 1 we know the letter Ք ք for the voiceless aspirated consonant “k'”. In that lesson we also learned the letters Բ, Գ, Դ which are voiced consonants in the Classical and Eastern Armenian languages and correspond to the English “b”, “g”, “d”. However, as you could see in the Lesson 1, I put two pronunciations for these letters, the second of which is for Western Armenian. In Western Armenian these voiced consonants have become voiceless aspirated consonants. The analysis of the medieval Armenian dialect of Cilicia shows that this sound change had occurred in some western regions of Armenia or Anatolia already in the times of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Because of this sound change Western Armenian has double letters for the voiceless aspirated consonants.

Voiced consonants
Classical Armenian, Eastern Armenian


Բ բ (b)


Գ գ (g)


Դ դ (d)




Voiceless aspirated consonants
Classical Armenian and Eastern Armenian


Փ փ (p')


Ք ք (k')


Թ թ (t')




Voiceless aspirated consonants
Western Armenian


Բ բ (p')


Գ գ (k')
Դ դ (t')


Փ փ (p')


Ք ք (k')


Թ թ (t')


Let's learn also five other letters which can be remembered more or less easily. They are:

Ո ո   vo (Sounds like “vo” at the beginning of a word and “o” in other positions. In old times it sounded like “o” also at the beginning of a word. Its shape is like the corresponding Greek or Latin letter O, just delete the bottom line of O and make the letter somewhat thinner :).)

Յ յ   hi (Sounds like “h” at the beginning of a word and “y” (as in English “year”, “yard” etc) in other positions. In old times it sounded like “y” also at the beginning of a word. The capital letter is like the number 3, the small one is a little like “y”, without the upper left small line.)

Լ լ  liun (=lioon) (As you can see, it's like its Latin equivalent – L l.) 

Ր ր  re (This is a very soft “r” which is more used in Armenian than the hard “r'” and its shape is a little like the corresponding Greek letter and Latin small letter. This sound is like the English "r" in the word "grew". If you know Russian, then it sounds like the “р” in the Russian words “время”, “признак” etc.) 

Ռ ռ  r'a (This is a hard “r”. Not like the English "r", but that of many other languages, for example, Italian, Russian etc. If you look at its shape carefully, you'll see that it's formed of two soft “r”s: put two Ր -s one under the other and you have Ռ.)


All these new letters of this lesson are pronounced in the same way in the Eastern and Western Armenian languages.

Some Punctuation Marks

՞ is the question mark. We put it exactly on that vowel which we pronounce in the tone of question. The Armenian language does not have the punctuation mark ?.
: is the end mark in the punctuation system of the Armenian language.
Ո՞ է դա։ (Vo e da?/ Vo e ta?) Who is that?
Դա է Գէորգ։ (Da e Georg / Ta e K'eork') That is George.
Zi՞nch է դա։ What is that? 
or:
Zi՞nch է այդ։ (Zinch e ayd / ayt?)
Քար է այդ։ (K'ar e ayd / ayt'.) That is a stone.
Այդ քար է։ (Ayd / ayt' k'ar e.) the same
Այդ է քար։ (Ayd e k'ar.) the same
Դա քար է։ (Da / t'a k'ar e.) the same
Դա է քար։ (Da e k'ar.) the same
Քար է դա։ (K'ar e da.) the same
Բառ է այդ։ (Bar' e ayd / P'ar' e ayt'.) That is a word.
Զարդ է այդ։ (Zard e ayd / Zart' e ayt'.) That is an adornment.


Ո՞ է դա։ Քո՞յր քո է։ (Vo՞ e da? K'u՞yr k'o e? / Vo e t'a? K'u՞yr k'o e?) Who is that? Is that your sister?
քոյր (k'uyr (=k'ooyr) - sister. Written as “k'oyr” but read as “k'uyr”.
* The sound "oo" will always be represented in the lessons with the letter "u".
փոքր (p'ok'ər) - small, little
քո (k'o) - your (singular)
Քոյր քո փոքր է։ (K'uyr k'o p'ok'r e) - Your sister is small.

Rule:
In closed syllables (that is, before a consonant), the diphthong “ոյ” (“oy”) is pronounced as “uy”.
բոյր (buyr /p'uyr) fragrance, scent
դոյլ (duyl / t'uyl) bucket
յոյզ (huyz) examination, inquiry; emotion

Some Grammar

The Plural Form of Nouns

There are several endings that make the plural form of the nouns in Classical Armenian. But the most common ending is Ք ք (k'). It is only used for the nominative case, that is, mainly for the subjects of sentences.

բառ (bar' / p'ar') - word
բառք (barək' or bar'k' / p'ar'ək' or p'ar'k') - words
գայլ (gayl / k'ayl) - wolf
գայլք (gaylək' or gaylk' / k'aylək' or k'aylk') - wolves
քայլ (k'ayl) - step
քայլք (k'aylək' or k'aylk') - steps
լար (lar) - string
լարք (larək' or lark') - strings 

The Preposition Զ զ 

Զ զ is a preposition. Its mane function is being a definite article for the direct object (in the accusative case). It is used for other purposes too, but we shall talk about them later.

Բե՛ր զայդ։ (Ber zayd! / P'er zayt'!) - Bring that!
Ա՛ռ զդա։ (Ar' əzda! / Ar' əzta!) - Take that!
Գրեա՛ զբառդ զայդ։ (Grea əzbarəd zayd! / K'rea əzp'arət' zayt'!) - Write that word!

In these examples you might notice that before այդ (“ayd”) only “z” is pronounced, while before դա (“da”) and բառդ (“barəd”) an additional sound, that is, schwa is added. (About the additional դ “d” at the end of the word բառ “bar” we'll speak later.)

Rule:
When the preposition զ precedes a vowel, it is pronounced as “z”, while when it precedes a consonant, it is usually pronounced as “əz”.

այր (ayr) - man
զայր (zayr) - the man (accusative case (definite), direct object)
քոյր (k'uyr) - sister
զքոյր (əzk'uyr) - the sister (accusative case (definite), direct object)

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FOR PRACTICE 
EA pronunciation: բառ (bar'), այդ (ayd), դա (da), քայլ (k'ayl), փայլ (p'ayl), թեր (t'er), թերթ (t'ert'), փոքր (p'ok'ər), քոյր (k'uyr), դեր (der), զարդ (zard or zart')*, բարդ (bard or bart'), յարդ (hard), յարգ (harg), յոյզ (huyz), գայլ (gayl), դեռ (der'), բոյր (buyr), բոյլ (buyl), թոյլ (t'uyl), լար (lar),  թեք (t'ek'), թէ (t'e), գորգ (gorg), դար (dar),  քար (k'ar), գէր (ger), քոր (k'or), որդ (vord or vort'), որթ (vort'), ազգ (azg), ազդ (azd), գրել (gərel), բրել (bərel), թրել (tə'rel), յարել (harel), քորել (k'orel), փորել (p'orel), դլալ (dəlal), գթալ (gət'al), լռել (lər'el), լոր (lor), որայ (vora), ռայ (r'a), ռահ (r'ah), առ (ar')


NOTE


* Though the letters բ, գ, դ are normally pronounced as "b", "g", "d" in both Classical and Eastern Armenian languages, in today's Eastern Armenian, in many words, when following the letter "ր" they are pronounced as "p'", "k'", "t'". However, foreigners who study Classical Armenian can read them in the usual and more correct way, that is, as "b", "g", "d". This is why I have provided two variants of EA pronunciation for some words.

WA pronunciation: բառ (p'ar), այդ (ayt'), դա (t'a), քայլ (k'ayl), փայլ (p'ayl), թեր (t'er), թերթ (t'ert'), փոքր (p'ok'ər), քոյր (k'uyr), դեր (t'er), զարդ (zart'), բարդ (p'art'), յարդ (hart'), յարգ (hark'), յոյզ (huyz), գայլ (k'ayl), դեռ (t'er'), բոյր (p'uyr), բոյլ (p'uyl), թոյլ (t'uyl), լար (lar),  թեք (t'ek'), թէ (t'e), գորգ (k'ork'), դար (t'ar),  քար (k'ar), գէր (k'er), քոր (k'or), որդ (vort'), որթ (vort'), ազգ (azk'), ազդ (azt'), գրել (k'ərel), բրել (p'ərel), թրել (tə'rel), յարել (harel), քորել (k'orel), փորել (p'orel), դլալ (t'əlal), գթալ (k'ət'al), լռել (lər'el), լոր (lor), որայ (vora), ռայ (r'a), ռահ (r'ah), առ (ar')


 Capital letters: Բառ, Այդ, Դա, Քայլ, Փայլ, Թեր, Թերթ, Փոքր, Քոյր, Դեր, Զարդ, Բարդ, Յարդ, Յարգ, Յոյզ, Գայլ, Դեռ, Բոյր, Բոյլ, Թոյլ, Լար, Թեք, Թէ, Գորգ,  Դար, Քար, Գէր, Քոր, Որդ, Որթ, Ազգ, Ազդ, Գրել, Բրել, Թրել, Յարել, Քորել, Փորել, Դլալ, Գթալ, Լռել, Լոր, Որայ, Ռայ, Ռահ, Առ:  


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To listen to the Armenian letters, words and sentences found in this lesson click on the following link -
http://www.mediafire.com/listen/8xzch17iywb80m1/Classical_Armenian-2-mp3.mp3
 

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