Eastern Armenian

This article is about the Armenian dialect. For the historical region, see Eastern Armenia.
Eastern Armenian
արևելահայերեն arevelahayeren
Native to Armenian Highlands, Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Iran, Georgia, Turkey
Native speakers
(undated figure of 4.3 million)[1]
Modern Armenian
Armenian alphabet (virtually always in the reformed orthography, except in Iran)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog east2283[2]

Map of the Armenian dialects in early 20th century: -owm dialects, corresponding to Eastern Armenian, are shown in green.
History of the Armenian language
Armenian alphabet
Romanization of Armenian

Eastern Armenian (Armenian: արևելահայերեն arevelahayeren) is one of the two standardized forms of Modern Armenian, the other being Western Armenian. The two standards form a pluricentric language.

Eastern Armenian is spoken in the Republic of Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as well as Georgia, and by the Armenian community in Iran. Although the Eastern Armenian spoken by Armenians in Armenia and Iranian-Armenians are similar, there are pronunciation differences with different inflections. Armenians from Iran also have some words that are unique to them. Due to migrations of speakers from Armenia and Iran to the Armenian Diaspora, the dialect is now very prominent in countries and regions where only Western Armenian was used. It was developed in the early 19th century and is based on the Yerevan dialect.

Distinguishing the two forms of Armenian

Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian are easily mutually intelligible. They share the same ISO 639-1 code hy. The ISO 639-3 code for both is hye. The Armenian Wikipedia is coded hy and is largely Eastern Armenian. Commercial translations are generally done into Eastern Armenian, the official language of the Republic of Armenia.[3]




Eastern Armenian has six monophthong vowel sounds.

Front Central Back
Unrounded Rounded Unrounded Rounded
Close i
Mid ɛ
ե, է[4]
e, ē
ո, օ[4]
o, ò
Open       ɑ


This is the Eastern Armenian Consonantal System using symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), followed by the corresponding Armenian letter in parentheses.

  Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m   (մ)   n   (ն)      
Stop aspirated    (փ)      (թ)        (ք)    
voiceless[5] p   (պ)   t   (տ)     k   (կ)    
voiced b   (բ)   d   (դ)     ɡ   (գ)    
Affricate aspirated     tsʰ   (ց) tʃʰ   (չ)        
voiceless     ts   (ծ)    (ճ)        
voiced     dz   (ձ)    (ջ)        
Fricative voiceless   f   (ֆ) s   (ս) ʃ   (շ)     χ   (խ) h   (հ, յ)[6]
voiced   v   (վ, ւ, ու, ո)[7] z   (զ) ʒ   (ժ)     ʁ   (ղ)  
Approximant     ɹ~ɾ   (ր)[8]   j   (յ, ե, ի, է)[9]      
Trill     r   (ռ)          
Lateral     l   (լ)          

The phonology of Eastern Armenian preserves the Classical Armenian three-way distinction in stops and affricates: one voiced, one voiceless and one aspirated. Compare this to the phonology of the Western Armenian language, which has kept only a two-way distinction: one voiced and one aspirated. (See the Differences in Phonology from Classical Armenian in the Western Armenian language article for details.)

A few exceptional Eastern Armenian words contain voiced stop letters pronounced as voiceless aspirated stops, like Western Armenian. For instance, թագավոր (king) is [tʰɑɑˈvɔɾ], not [tʰɑɡɑˈvɔɾ]; other examples are ձիգ, ձագ, կարգ, դադար, վարագույր.


The Eastern Armenian language is written using either Traditional Armenian Orthography or Reformed Armenian Orthography. The controversial reformed orthography was developed during the 1920s in Soviet Armenia and is in widespread use today by Eastern Armenian speakers in the Republic of Armenia. Eastern Armenian speakers in Iran continue to use the traditional orthography. Nevertheless, writings of either form are mutually intelligible, since the difference between the two orthographies is not large.



Personal pronouns
singular plural
1st person 2nd person 3rd person 1st person 2nd person 3rd person
nominative ես (es) դու (du) նա (na) մենք (menkʿ) դուք (dukʿ) նրանք (nrankʿ)
genitive իմ (im) քո (kʿo) նրա (nra) մեր (mer) ձեր (jer) նրանց (nrancʿ)
dative ինձ (inj) քեզ (kʿez) նրան (nran) մեզ (mez) ձեզ (jez) նրանց (nrancʿ)
accusative ինձ (inj) քեզ (kʿez) նրան (nran) մեզ (mez) ձեզ (jez) նրանց (nrancʿ)
ablative ինձնից (injnicʿ), ինձանից (injanicʿ) քեզնից (kʿeznicʿ), քեզանից (kʿezanicʿ) նրանից (nranicʿ) մեզնից (meznicʿ), մեզանից (mezanicʿ) ձեզնից (jeznicʿ), ձեզանից (jezanicʿ) նրանցից (nrancʿicʿ)
instrumental ինձնով (injnov), ինձանով (injanov) քեզնով (kʿeznov), քեզանով (kʿezanov) նրանով (nranov) մեզնով (meznov), մեզանով (mezanov) ձեզնով (jeznov), ձեզանով (jezanov) նրանցով (nrancʿov)
locative ինձնում (injnum), ինձանում (injanum) քեզնում (kʿeznum), քեզանում (kʿezanum) նրանում (nranum) մեզնում (meznum), մեզանում (mezanum) ձեզնում (jeznum), ձեզանում (jezanum) նրանցում (nrancʿum)

Armenian has T-V distinction, with դու, քո, քեզ used informally and capitalized Դուք, Ձեր, Ձեզ as the polite forms.


Eastern Armenian nouns have seven cases, one more than Western Armenian. They are: nominative (subject), accusative (direct object), genitive (possession), dative (indirect object), ablative (origin), instrumental (means) and locative (position). Of the seven cases, the nominative and accusative, with exceptions, are the same, and the genitive and dative are the same, meaning that nouns have mostly five distinct forms for case. Nouns in Armenian also decline for number (singular and plural), but do not decline for gender (i.e. masculine or feminine).

Declension in Armenian is based on how the genitive is formed. There are several declensions, but two are the most used (genitive in i, and genitive in u):

Ablative դաշտից
/ɡɑˈɾut͡sʰ/ /ɡɑɾinɛˈɾit͡sʰ/
Instrumental դաշտով
/ɡɑˈɾɔv/ /ɡɑɾinɛˈɾɔv/
Locative դաշտում
/ɡɑˈɾum/ /ɡɑɾinɛˈɾum/

Two notes:
First, notice that the Ablative form in Eastern Armenian is /-it͡s/, where it is in Western Armenian:

Abl.sg WA karê/EA /ɡɑɾut͡sʰ/

Second, notice that in Western Armenian, the plural forms followed the u-declension, while in Eastern Armenian the plural forms follow the i-declension:

Gen.pl WA karineru/EA /ɡɑɾinɛˈɾi/


Like some other languages such as English, Armenian has definite and indefinite articles. The indefinite article in Eastern Armenian is /mi/, which precedes the noun:

mi ɡiɾkʰ ('a book', Nom.sg), /mi ɡɾkʰi/ ('of a book', Gen.sg)

The definite article is a suffix attached to the noun, and is one of two forms, either /-ə/ or /-n/, depending on whether the final sound is a vowel or a consonant, and whether a following word begins with a vowel or consonant:

/mɑɾdə/ ('the man', Nom.sg)
/ɡɑɾin/ ('the barley' Nom.sg)
/sɑ mɑɾdn ɛ/ ('This is the man')
/sɑ ɡɑɾin ɛ/ ('This is the barley')


Adjectives in Armenian do not decline for case or number, and precede the noun:

/lɑv ɡiɾkʰə ('the good book', Nom.sg)
/lɑv ɡɾkʰi ('of the good book', Gen.sg)


Verbs in Armenian are based on two basic series of forms, a "present" form and an "imperfect" form. From this, all other tenses and moods are formed with various particles and constructions. There is a third form, the preterite, which in Armenian is tense in its own right, and takes no other particles or constructions. (See also Armenian verbs and Eastern Armenian verb table for more detailed information.)

The present tense in Eastern Armenian is based on two conjugations (a, e). In Eastern Armenian, the distinct conjugations in e and i merged as e.


'to be'


'to love'


'to read'

present participle /siɾum/ /kɑɾdum/
/jɛs/ (I) /ɛm/ /siɾɛm/ /kɑɾdɑm/
/du/ (you. sg) /ɛs/ /siɾɛs/ /kɑɾdɑs/
/nɑ/ (he/she/it) /ɛ/ /siɾi/ /kɑɾdɑ/
/mɛnkʰ/ (we) /ɛnkʰ/ /siɾɛnkʰ/ /kɑɾdɑnkʰ/
/dukʰ/ (you.pl) /ɛkʰ/ /siɾɛkʰ/ /kɑɾdɑkʰ/
/nɾɑnkʰ/ (they) /ɛn/ /siɾɛn/ /kɑɾdɑn/

The present tense (as we know it in English) is made by adding the present tense of linel after the present participle form of the verb:

jɛs kɑɾdum ɛm ɡiɾkʰə/ (I am reading the book)
jɛs siɾum ɛm ɑjd ɡiɾkʰə/ (I love that book)

See also


  1. Armenian (Lebanon) at Ethnologue (10th ed., 1984). Note: Data may come from the 9th edition (1978).
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Eastern Armenian". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Pipoyan
  4. 1 2 The choice of Armenian symbol depends on the vowel's context in the word. See the Orthography section below for details.
  5. “In some publications, the voiceless plosives are also defined as ejectives or glottalised. Glottalised plosives occur in various Armenian dialects and can also be found in the Eastern Armenian vernacular based on the Yerevan dialect, but according to normative grammars, SMEA [Standard Modern Eastern Armenian] shows no glottalised voiceless plosives.” Jasmine Dum-Tragut. Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian. London Oriental and African Language Library, 2007, issn 1382-3485; p. 17
  6. In traditional orthography, /h/ is written in one of two ways, depending on its context. In reformed orthography, /h/ is written only one way, հ.
  7. In traditional orthography, /v/ is written in one of four ways, depending on its context. In reformed orthography, /v/ is written only one way, վ.
  8. In practice, only Iranian-Armenians say [ɹ]; Eastern Armenians from the Republic of Armenia have shifted the Classical Armenian [ɹ] (ր) to [ɾ].
  9. In traditional orthography, /j/ is written in a number of ways, depending on its context. In reformed orthography, /j/ is written only one way, յ.


External links

Eastern Armenian Online Dictionaries

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