The Armenian language is the national language of Armenians and the official language of The Republic of Armenia and The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. It is an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. It is also spoken in the historical region of Georgia – Javakhk (Samtskhe-Javakheti), and in the Diaspora – Spyurk. The number of its speakers is about 6 million.
Armenian is one of the oldest languages in the world. The language has originated along with the formation of the Armenian people in the Armenian land. After the invention of the alphabet, it developed with the written monuments in the 5th century. It has some connection with Irish, Baltic-Slavonic, and Greek languages. Armenian was formed as an ethnic language, it has dense attachments with Indo-European, Caucasian, Hurr-Urartian languages, and as a result, some elements have emerged in the language. It became a dominant language in the Armenian Highland after the decline of the Urartu state.
Armenian, being a globally spoken language of many communities, was formed in the 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, the language had a rich and independent translated bibliography.
According to which, the written stage of the language development is divided into 3 periods- old (V—XI cc.), middle (XII—XVI cc.), and new or modern (from XVII c. up 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. Throughout the years the spoken form of Old Armenian was completely changed and it was a reason for creating a new language form – Middle Armenian.
The period of Old Armenian is distributed 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 drop of the possibilities of global language development. Middle Armenian is formed based on 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 butalso in Modern Armenian.
Modern Armenian has been developed due to 2 large dialectical unities (Eastern and Western), primarily based on the dialects of Constantinople and Ararat. Since the 17th century, there have been 2 main types- Western and Eastern. It 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. Therefore, 2 more understandable inter-dialectal languages were created- Western and Eastern Armenian, which gradually became literary. The development of these options is done with the following stages: further elaboration and regulation, grammatical clarification, vocabulary enrichment, getting rid of some useless barbarism words. Few functional styles appear in the literary language, and literary terminology begins being developed.
Since 1918, the dialect differentiating conditions have been vanishing because of social, economic and cultural life concentration. After WW1, the dialects of Western Armenia have been deprived of their territorial basis, because of the huge number of Armenian migrants. Thus, the gradual separation 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.
The language has almost 50 dialects. Most of them differ from each other more than the languages of the same language family. Besides, because of the Genocide in 1915, some of them, unfortunately, have been lost, forced to leave their homes.