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language of the Armenians living in the Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Georgian SSR, and also Turkey, some countries of Western Europe, the Near and Middle East, India, and North and South America. Within the USSR, Armenian is spoken by more than 2.5 million people (1959) and abroad by more than 1 million people. A member of the Indo-European family of languages, Armenian was one of the ancient written languages of this group.
The history of the Armenian literary language is divided into three periods—ancient, middle, and modern. The classical period lasted from the fifth to the 11th centuries. The language of this period is called classical Armenian, and the language of the written records is called Grabar. The language of the middle period (11th to 17th centuries) is called middle Armenian. The modern period (from the 17th century on) is characterized by the formation of the contemporary Armenian language, which has been acquiring the features of the modern Armenian literary language since the end of the 19th century. It is represented by eastern and western variants which are further differentiated by numerous dialects. The inhabitants of the Armenian SSR speak the eastern variant of the Armenian language (called ashkharhabar).
Armenian has six vowel and 30 consonant phonemes. The noun has two numbers; traces of a dual number have been preserved in some dialects. Grammatical gender has disappeared. There is a postpositive definite article. Seven cases and eight types of declensions are distinguished. In modern Armenian, the verb has the categories of voice, aspect, person, number, mood, and tense. The use of analytical constructions in verb forms is widespread. The morphology of Armenian is primarily agglutinative, but with analytic elements. The Armenian alphabet was created by Mesrob Mashtots in A.D. 405–06.
REFERENCESGaribian, A. S. Kratkii kurs armianskogo iazyka, 3rd ed. Yerevan, 1960.
Kusik’ian, I. K. Ocherki istoricheskogo sintaksisa literaturnogo armianskogo iazyka. Moscow, 1959.
Hübschmann, H. Armenische Grammatik, part I, secs. 1–2. Leipzig, 1895–97.
Meillet. A. Esquisse d’une grammaire comparée de l’arménien classique, 2nd ed. Vienna, 1936.
Aladjariyan, H. Hayotz lezvi batmutiyun, parts 1–2. Yerevan, 1940–51.
Sevag, G. Zhamanagagitz hayereni hamarot batmutiyun. Yerevan, 1948.
Abrahamiyan, A. S. Grabari dzernark. Yerevan, 1958.
Arakeliyan, V. D. Hayereni sharahiyusutiyun, book 1. Yerevan, 1958.