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Sights

Noravank Monastery

Noravank Monastery

Noravank is located in a narrow gorge by the village Yegheghnadzor in Vayots Dzor Region.…

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Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life of Gyumri

Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life of Gyumri

Officially Dzitoghtsyan House-Museum of Social Life and National Architecture is a museum in Gyumri, Armenia.

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Agarak

Agarak

The Agarak settlement is “multi-layered,” showing that people lived and build here in different historical…

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Language and Script

 

Since alphabets are the primary tools of “fixing” a language, and given our present knowledge of the evolution of letters since their inception, we can only speculate about the beginnings of hieroglyphic and cuneiform scripts for keeping records of events, and later, the transition into using one symbol for each phonetic sound. We know very little about the beginnings and the evolution of Phoenician, Greek, Latin, or Aramaic characters, the prototypes of most modern scripts and languages.

 

By the turn of the 7th century BC, inhabitants of the Armenian plateau hadceased to use the cuneiform alphabet, which had been superseded by more flexible and functional alphabets, notably Aramaic (the official language by which Achaemenian Persia communicated with nearby peoples), which possessed its own script, as Greek had from the Hellenistic period.

 

In stark contrast, the creation of Armenian letters stands out as an illumination of at least one form of linguistic evolution. Not only the creation, but also the implementation of the Armenian alphabet on a relatively large scale for its time, remains a unique event in linguistic history. The creation of the alphabetical tools to “fix” Armenian is known in exceptional detail, including the circumstances of the birth of the letters and their subsequent impact on Armenian language and literature.

 

The Armenian alphabet was created in the 5th century CE by Saint Mesrop under influences from Greek (as reflected in the alphabetical order and the left-to-right direction of writing). The alphabet's original 36 letters were well suited for the Old Armenian language. Two additional letters, "o" and "fe", were added later during the late Middle Ages to write loan words, bringing the total number of letters to 38.

 

The Old Armenian language was the only written form of the language from the 5th to the 19th century, while in the intervening centuries, phonological changes have split the Armenian language into two dialects, namely Eastern and Western. However, only the Eastern dialect is taught as the written form at school nowadays as it is closer to the historical Old Armenian form, even though the Western dialect is more widely spoken.

 

 

 

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