The Armenian language is the national language of Armenians, and the official language of The Republic of Armenia and The Nagorno Karabagh Republic. Armenian is an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. Armenian is also spoken in historical region og Georgia – Javakhk (Samtskhe-Javakheti), and in the Armenian Diaspora – Spyurk.
Armenian language is one of the oldest languages in the world. The number of its speakers is about 6 mln.
Armenian has derived along with the formation of the Armenian people in the Armenian land. After the invention of the Armenian alphabet, it came up with the written monuments in the 5th century.
Armenian has some connection with Irish, Baltic-Slavonic and Greek languages. It was formed as an Armenian Ethnic language – in the contact conditions with Indo-European, Caucasian, Hurr-Urartian languages, and as a result, some elements have joined the language. It became a dominant language in the Armenian Highland after the decline of the Urartu state.
Armenian language, being a global spoken language of many Armenian places, was formed in Hellenistic century (BC IV- II cc.). Moreover, before being written down, it was mainly used in spoken fiction works, theatrical performances, religious rituals, court life events, then it was used in the period of distribution of Christianity during the spoken preaching.
After the creation of the Armenian alphabet, Armenian language had a rich and independent translated bibliography.
According to which, the written stage of Armenian language development is divided into 3 periods- old Armenian (V—XI cc..), middle (XII—XVI cc.), and new (modern) Armenian (from XVII c. to now).
Аlong with the written form of Old Armenian (Classical) there was also the spoken form with some dialectal shades, though there wasn’t any dialect differentiation in the 5th century. During the years the spoken form of Old Armenian was wholly changed and it was a reason for creating a new language form – Middle Armenian.
The period of Old Armenian is divided into 2 sub periods: Kilikia regulation (XII—XIV cc.) and Eastern Armenian(XV—XVI cc.). In this period the dialectic differentiation grows, new dialects are noticeable, which are based on the division of the earth, mass migration, the decrease of the possibilities of the global language development. Middle Armenian is formed on the basis of Classical Armenian, which was then an official language and had almost the whole categories of spoken and written communication.
Classical Armenian preserves its function of the worshiping language not only in Middle Armenian, but also in Modern Armenian.
Modern Armenian has been developed due to 2 large dialectical unities (Eastern and Western), especially based on the dialects of Constantinople and Ararat. Since 17th century, there have been 2 main versions- Western and Eastern. Modern Armenian was formed with strong dialectical differentiation, during the decline of old literary traditions and bibliography, while it gains some connecting trends due to some historical circumstances. Thus, 2 more understandable inter-dialectal languages are created- Western and Eastern Armenian, which gradually become literary.
The development of these options is done with such stages: further elaboration and regulation, grammatical clarification, vocabulary enrichment, getting rid of some useless barbarism words. Some functional styles appear in the literary language, and literary terminology starts being worked on.
Since 1918, the dialectical differentiation conditions have been vanishing because of social, economic and cultural life concentration. After World War 1st, the dialects of Western Armenia have deprived from their territorial basis, because of the huge number of Armenian migrants. Thus, the gradual death process of dialects and inter-dialectal penetration begins.
In the current stage of development, the Eastern Armenian has acquired further opportunities of development, elaboration and regulation. The Western Armenian is the basic communication language of Armenian Diaspora.
Armenian language has almost 50 dialects. Most of them differ from each other more than the languages of the same language family. In addition, because of the Genocide in 1915, some of them, unfortunately, have been lost, being left from their homes.