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#1 Sayatnova818

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 07:10 PM

Can someone please give me a brief history of how Eastern and Western dialects came to be. Although I now a little about our language, I never had the chance to study it in full. I am just curious why there are two dialects and and what the histories are behind their origins.

Edited by Zartonk, 20 May 2007 - 12:01 PM.


#2 Harut

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 04:12 AM

don't have the time to go into any details now (not that i'm an expert on it), but for a start, there is NO vs between EA and WA...

#3 Gor-Gor

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 05:38 AM

I'll give it a shot.

Both dialects were derived from the Classical Armenian (grabar/krapar). That is the language still used today in the Armenian Apostolic Church, whether its parishioners speak Eastern or Western Armenian.

Over the course of hundreds of years, the Classical Armenian went through many phases in its spoken form, including a Middle Armenian, which is the closer link to today's 2 modern dialects. Although the written language remained Classical Armenian, the spoken language among common Armenians (the vernacular) changed. These variations took on different forms in the many different Armenian settlements. Armenian was spoken from the westernmost points of the Ottoman Empire (Western Armenia) to the easternmost points of what is today's Armenia (Eastern Armenia). This is a huge area. Armenian settlements were far from each other and there was often little communication among them. Compounded with a lack of standardization, there formed many, many regional dialects. Each town had its own dialect.

Very few of these regional dialects survive today. I am not sure when and for what reasons (although I fathom it was for unification purposes and for longevity of the language, perhaps heeding warning signs of a forthcoming genocide), but the intellectuals of Constantinople and Yerevan created 2 standard forms of Armenian, based on the regional dialects of Constantinople (Bolis) and Yerevan, respctively. The dialect of Constantinople became today's Western Armenian; the dialect of Yerevan became today's Eastern Armenian. Although the local dialects remained in use, the schools in the towns and cities outside Constantinople and Yerevan began to teach these standardized forms. (My grandfather, for instance, was born in Dikranagerd, and never went to school. Until the day he died, he spoke only in the Dikranagerd dialect. Others like him who went to school, could speak both. They were encouraged to speak the standard form, my mom tells me. The local dialects were viewed as 'hasarag.' My grandfather told my mom stories of how everyone in church in Dikranagerd would be mesmerized when a visiting priest from Constantinople would 'karozel' in the standard dialect. It was viewed as the formal dialect.) I'm not sure how similar the local dialects were to the 'standardized' forms that came and took their place.

It was only when the vernaculars were standardized into Eastern and Western that Armenian was allowed to be written how the people spoke it. It's difficult to comprehend today, but for hundreds of years, spoken and written Armenian were 2 different languages, much like spoken and written Arabic today.

Anyway, so standardized Western Armenian was spoken in Western Armenia; Eastern Armenian in Eastern Armenia. The Soviet Armenian Republic was created out of Eastern Armenia, and hence adopted Eastern Armenian as its state language. Today's Armenian Republic obviously continued this practice.

As a result of the Genocide, Western Armenian became a Diaspora-only dialect. Speakers of the dialect were either killed or forced out of the Ottoman Empire, to Syria, then Lebanon, Europe, and the US. Western Armenian survives in these Diaspora countries. How long it can survive is a question open for debate.

Many Western Armenians, after having survived the Genocide, in the 1930s and beyond, emmigrated from the Middle East to Soviet Armenia. There, they 'assimilated' and today speak Eastern Armenian.

Armenians of Iran also speak Eastern Armenian. They were generally unrelated to this whole mess. Armenians settled in Persia around 600 years ago from Eastern Armenia.

Armenians in Russia and former Soviet countries also mostly speak Eastern Armenian, for obvious reasons (emmigration from Armenia either during Soviet times or today).

The traditionally Western Armenian-speaking Diaspora has recently been joined by Eastern Armenian speakers, as they leave Armenia, Iran, and Russia to Western countries, such as the USA, UK, France, etc.

....I knew I shouldn't respond, as I knew I couldn't keep it short. Hopefully there aren't too many mistakes in there.

Edited by Gor-Gor, 02 April 2005 - 05:43 AM.


#4 Twilight Bark

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 11:04 AM

An aside from what little I know:
The reason for the extreme similarity of Persian-Armenian and "Yerevan" Armenian is that the bulk of the Armenian population of "Russian Armenia" had come "back" from Persia (and adjacent regions of Ottoman empire) relatively recently (in the 19th century), for the supposed advantages of living under the tyranny of fellow Christians versus the tyranny of Muslim overlords (turned out pretty well, considering the ultimate Russian plans to have an Armenia without Armenians after the game was over). Before the Russian conquest of the area, Eastern Armenia was arguably even more Turkified/Tatarised than Western Armenia.

So Eastern Armenian is essentially an offshoot (if that) of the Persian-Armenian dialect.

Western Armenian was the dialect developed under the Ottoman empire, and its phonetics and to some extent its grammar have been a little influenced by Turkish, just as the Persian dialect was likely influenced by Persian (though perhaps less detectable since both are indo-european languages unlike Turkish).

OK, can't stay. Bye. wink.gif

#5 Dave

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 04:32 PM

QUOTE
An aside from what little I know:
The reason for the extreme similarity of Persian-Armenian and "Yerevan" Armenian is that the bulk of the Armenian population of "Russian Armenia" had come "back" from Persia (and adjacent regions of Ottoman empire) relatively recently (in the 19th century), for the supposed advantages of living under the tyranny of fellow Christians versus the tyranny of Muslim overlords (turned out pretty well, considering the ultimate Russian plans to have an Armenia without Armenians after the game was over). Before the Russian conquest of the area, Eastern Armenia was arguably even more Turkified/Tatarised than Western Armenia.


You beleive in the Azeri crap, that wants to make us beleive that Eastern Armenia was Islamicized during the 18th-19th centuries? What about the Armenian Melikates of Syunik and Artsakh?

Weren't Iranian Armenians descendants of the Nakhichevani Armenians?

#6 Twilight Bark

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 04:59 PM

QUOTE (Dave @ Apr 2 2005, 02:32 PM)
You beleive in the Azeri crap, that wants to make us beleive that Eastern Armenia was Islamicized during the 18th-19th centuries? What about the Armenian Melikates of Syunik and Artsakh?

Weren't Iranian Armenians descendants of the Nakhichevani Armenians?

Just a quick reply, as I don't have the time or inclination to argue about it.

* What i said has nothing to do with Azeri nonsense.

* I am referring to the Republic proper, and not Artsakh.

* As far as I know, before the influx back from Persia, almost all of historically Armenian areas, including what is now the Republic of Armenia, had their Armenian populations reduced to critical levels. If you have statistics and census data that contradict this, and show that "Eastern Armenia" had a significantly higher density of Armenians than the "Western Armenia", please do so. I am not emotionally attached to what I said. I am simply stating what I think is true historically.

* When a murderous bunch of bandits chase out half of the residents of a village, and kill half of what's left, and then later declare that the village was essentially a bandit location at a certain time, it doesn't give the bandits any moral ground. And the relatives of the chased and murdered villagers should not feel any discomfort in simply acknowledging the existence of such a period of time. There is nothing shameful in taking back what is rightfully yours from "uninvited guests".

Edited by Twilight Bark, 03 April 2005 - 01:42 PM.


#7 MiG-35

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Posted 03 April 2005 - 09:07 PM

Well, it is true that some parts of Eastern Armenia were MOSTLY turkified… Especially Yerevan, where Armenians were 30% only...
BUT saying this we need take two things into account:

1. Many other territories of current RA were Armenian, such as, Siunik, Lori, Shirak, Tavush, etc…

2. And (important) the areas that actually were mostly Turkish did not have dense population at all. Just a simple example: during the 19th century Yerevan had an almost 60-65% Turkish population! But at that times poor Yerevan practically was a large dirty village only… with 11-12K population (check the official statistical information of that time!)

So when the Turks say that they were a majority in Erivan, we need not think of a city of today’s Yerevan’s caliber… They were a majority in a village that was called Erivan… and today’s Yerevan, practically, is not the “continuation” of that village… Today’s Yerevan is a completely new city built by Armenian emigrants… It could equally well called New Ani, or Armenia City

#8 Arpa

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 07:35 AM

QUOTE(Harut @ Apr 2 2005, 10:12 AM) View Post

don't have the time to go into any details now (not that i'm an expert on it), but for a start, there is NO vs between EA and WA...

I nominate Harut for King of armenia. clap.gif clap.gif
Below, moved here from anther topic.
=====
Often I get questioned, both in public and private as to what I base my point on the phonetic sounds of the Ayb Ben Gim.
Beside the fact that most debate is rather political than academic, like us vs. them, the answer is as easy as ABC.
The best and the easiest reading about it may be a book Language Connections by Sarkis Saryan. According to the internet it may still available at Amazon..
In the meantime, Ariane and others do this.
Write the letters of the Armenian alphabet;
Ayb Ben Gim Da and under each insert the Latin A B C D and each corresponding letter write the Greek alphabet as Alpha Beta, Gamma Delta and you will see why it is Ayb Ben Gim Da and not Ayp Pen Kim,ta A P K T but A B C D.
You can continue doing this to the rest of the consonants and see to which Latin/Greek letters they correspond.
If we could only depoliticized things that have nothing with politics it would be so much nicer and peaceful. This applies to both sides of the hayabazhan/Հայաբաժան curtain East and West.
One of many sites;
http://www.amazon.co...s...3564&sr=8-1





#9 Shahan Araradian

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 10:42 AM

Arpa,

I don't understand what your point is. It's an obvious fact that Western Armenian has undergone a sound-shift over the centuries from Classical Armenian. For specifics, see the "Differences in Phonology from Classical Armenian" section of the Wikipedia article on Western Armenian:
http://en.wikipedia....ssical_Armenian

It's also a fact that Eastern Armenian has undergone sound shifts from Classical Armenian: namely, the introduction of ejective sounds. For specifics, see the "Differences in Phonology from Eastern Armenian" section of the Wikipedia article on Western Armenian:
http://en.wikipedia....astern_Armenian

It is a matter of taste whether one prefers the sounds of Western Armenian over Eastern Armenian. I personally have a distaste for ejective sounds which occur in Eastern Armenian (i.e. [ʧ'] (ճ), [ts'] (ծ), [t'] (տ), [p'] (պ), and [k'] (կ)) and were borrowed from Trans-Caucasian languages (namely, Georgian). I therefore prefer the phonology of the more European Western Armenian dialect.

But that is like asking someone what color they like, or whether they prefer Mozart or Yanni. It's a taste, nothing to get upset about. (Note: Of course, if I spoke Eastern Armenian from childhood, my acquired tastes might have been quite different...)

Edited by Shahan Araradian, 10 March 2007 - 12:48 PM.


#10 Arpa

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 12:54 PM

QUOTE(Shahan Araradian @ Mar 10 2007, 04:42 PM) View Post

Arpa,

I don't understand what your point is. It's an obvious fact that Western Armenian has undergone a sound-shift over the centuries from Classical Armenian. For specifics, see the "Differences in Phonology from Classical Armenian" section of the Wikipedia article on Western Armenian:
http://en.wikipedia....ssical_Armenian
====

Wiki-whata? Wiki-who-a?
Every time I hear it I am reminderd of this
Rikki Tikki Tavi;
http://en.wikipedia....ikki-Tikki-Tavi
Who writes those wiki-miki-whata-s anyway? Mickey mouse?
If we’re gon’a use Wikipedia as the “gospel truth” then, please include me out.


#11 Armenak

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 03:10 PM

About that article... it says Western Armenian language. Isn't it a dialect?

#12 Shahan Araradian

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 05:26 PM

QUOTE(Arpa @ Mar 10 2007, 12:54 PM) View Post

Wiki-whata? Wiki-who-a?
Every time I hear it I am reminderd of this
Rikki Tikki Tavi;
http://en.wikipedia....ikki-Tikki-Tavi
Who writes those wiki-miki-whata-s anyway? Mickey mouse?
If we’re gon’a use Wikipedia as the “gospel truth” then, please include me out.

No one said it's the gospel of truth. But in this case, it provides a further elaboration on the differences between Western Armenian and Classical Armenian, and between WA and Eastern Armenian.

(If you have specific issues with the elaboration, please feel free to bring them up.)

#13 Shahan Araradian

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 05:29 PM

QUOTE(Armenak @ Mar 10 2007, 03:10 PM) View Post

About that article... it says Western Armenian language. Isn't it a dialect?

Compare to the dialects of Greek in Wikipedia. Many are considered "languages".

Indeed, I think the two dialects are different enough to constitute a different language. Consider the differences:
1. phonology
2. morphology
3. orthography (in the case of ROA Eastern Armenian)

#14 Zartonk

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 06:18 PM

QUOTE
don't have the time to go into any details now (not that i'm an expert on it), but for a start, there is NO vs between EA and WA...


Just to reaffirm, my sentiments exactly. I noticed this thread reopened and I immediately thought Armenian VERSUS Armenian.

Despite what many of the Armenians of Armenia Major and the Armenians of ROA/Artsakh/Iran (I have decided to lower the use of Western/Eastern Armenia/Armenian) may say to one another, the other dialect IS NOT completely incomprehensible. I myself might have to flex the cranium a little harder, but at the end of the day I manage to understand the deepest Western Armenian. What a concept.

The difference is merely dialectal. Let's not drive a wedge into our own DEEP gap. Sign off. smile.gif

Edited by Zartonk, 05 May 2007 - 03:13 PM.


#15 Arpa

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 06:44 PM

QUOTE(Zartonk @ Mar 11 2007, 12:18 AM) View Post

Just to reaffirm, my sentiments exactly. I noticed this thread reopened and I immediately thought Armenian VERSUS Armenian.

Despite what many of the Armenians of Armenia Major and the Armenians of ROA/Artsakh/Iran (I have decided to lower the use of Western/Eastern Armenia/Armenian) may say to one another, the other dialect IS NOT completely incomprehensible. I myself might have to flex the cranium a little harder, but at the end of the day I manage to understand the deepest Western Armenian. What a concept.

The difference is merely dialectal. Let's not drive a wedge into our own gap. Signing off. smile.gif

I am glad you quoted our great philosopher Harut.
I had written a lengthy article using his quote as my motto, however I decided not to post it to avoid further DIVISION.

#16 Zartonk

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 06:49 PM

QUOTE
I am glad you quoted our great philosopher Harut.
I had written a lengthy article using his quote as my motto, however I decided not to post it to avoid further DIVISION.


Yes, yes. Division of the quotient...

BTW, I say we make it mandatory for members to have a Harut quote as their signitures. We'll all look wiser.

smile.gif



#17 Armenak

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 03:18 AM

QUOTE(Shahan Araradian @ Mar 10 2007, 03:29 PM) View Post

Compare to the dialects of Greek in Wikipedia. Many are considered "languages".

Indeed, I think the two dialects are different enough to constitute a different language. Consider the differences:
1. phonology
2. morphology
3. orthography (in the case of ROA Eastern Armenian)

Yes. But if you were ask a speaker of EA or WA what they call their language(s), they're both going to respond with "Hayeren."

#18 Dave

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 09:01 AM

Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian aren't recognized as distinct languages by non-Armenian sources too.

#19 Shahan Araradian

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE(Dave @ Mar 11 2007, 10:01 AM) View Post

Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian aren't recognized as distinct languages by non-Armenian sources too.

I couldn't say: I haven't seen too many non-Armenian sources talk about both WA and EA in one breath (especially not ones that go into any reasonable depth). Have you? They are more close to dialects, though, than they are separate languages, I certainly agree.

#20 Takoush

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 02:05 PM

QUOTE(Zartonk @ Mar 10 2007, 08:18 PM) View Post

Just to reaffirm, my sentiments exactly. I noticed this thread reopened and I immediately thought Armenian VERSUS Armenian.

Despite what many of the Armenians of Armenia Major and the Armenians of ROA/Artsakh/Iran (I have decided to lower the use of Western/Eastern Armenia/Armenian) may say to one another, the other dialect IS NOT completely incomprehensible. I myself might have to flex the cranium a little harder, but at the end of the day I manage to understand the deepest Western Armenian. What a concept.

The difference is merely dialectal. Let's not drive a wedge into our own gap. Signing off. smile.gif

My sentiments too Zartonk jan; I speak Western dialect having been born and brought up in the Western world; though I read most of Raffi's works and Vaxdank Ananyans' works since I was a little girl; and I understand and love both. The difference doesn't phase me one bit and if people speak high class Eastern Armenian; I would have no problem understanding it. I love them both. smile.gif smile.gif






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