Before World War I, the Karin dialect was spoken by the local Armenian populations in much of the Erzurum Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire and Kars Oblast of the Russian Empire. After the Armenian Genocide of 1915, most of Erzurum's Armenian population took refuge to the Russian-controlled parts of Armenia. The city of Kars and its Russian oblast became part of the First Republic of Armenia in 1918, but was occupied by Kemalist Turkey as a result of the Turkish–Armenian War in fall 1920.
Today, it is one of the most widely spoken Western Armenian dialects, most of which became virtually extinct after the genocide. Nowadays, it is spoken in the northwestern Republic of Armenia (in and around the city of Gyumri) and by the Armenian minority in Georgia's Samtskhe-Javakheti province.
According to Prof. Haykanush Mesropyan of the Armenian State Institute of Linguistics, the first mention of the dialect dates back to the 8th century by work by Stepanos Syunetsi, which mentions about a provincial dialect (զբառսն զեզերականս) and refers to it as զՍպերացն zSperatsn, meaning "of Sper". The dialect was also mentioned in the 13th century by Hovhannes Yerznkatsi and in the 17th century by Hakob Karnetsi. In 1887, the Russian linguist Alexander Thomson, in his Linguistic studies (Лингвистические исследования) briefly discussed the Akhaltsikhe dialect.
According to the prominent Armenian linguist Hrachia Adjarian's 1909 book Classification des dialectes arméniens, Karin dialect was spoken in the cities of Erzurum (which he refers to as the dialectal center), Kars (both large cities in eastern Turkey today), Alexandropol and Akhaltsikh. After the 1828–29 and 1877–78 Russo-Turkish Wars, Armenians from the Erzurum region migrated to the Russian-controlled Eastern Armenia. They mostly settled in Javakhk (in and around the cities of Akhalkalak and Akhaltsikh) and Shirak.
In the Republic of Armenia, Karin dialect is spoken in chiefly spoken in the cities of Gyumri, Artik, Akhuryan and Aghin, all in Shirak Province (in around 130 villages). It is spoken in the western parts of the Aragatsotn Province: mainly in the city of Talin and villages of Aragats and Nor Artik. Residents of three villages in northern Aragatsotn (Geghadzor, Lernapar, Geghadir) also speak in Karin dialect. Karin dialect is spoken in the villages of Martuni (Gegharkunik), Urtsadzor (Ararat), Buzhakan and Kaputan in Kotayk.
|բ [bh]||—||պ [b]||—||փ [pʰ]|
|դ [dh]||—||տ [d]||—||թ [tʰ]|
|գ [ɡh]||—||կ [ɡ]||—||ք [kʰ]|
|ձ [jh]||—||ծ [j]||—||ց [ç]|
|ջ [ĵh]||—||ճ [ĵ]||—||չ [č]|
- Jivani (1846–1909), gusan (folk musician) and poet
- Sheram (1857–1938), gusan (folk musician), poet and composer
- Stepan Malkhasyants (1857–1947), Dashnak politician
- Keri (1858–1916), Dashnak military commander, fedayee
- Hovhannes Katchaznouni (1868–1938), Dashnak politician, Prime Minister of Armenia in 1918–1919
- Armen Garo (1872–1923), Dashnak politician, the first Armenian ambassador to the US
- Hamo Ohanjanyan (1873–1947), Dashnak politician, Prime Minister of Armenia in 1920
- Avetik Isahakyan (1875–1957) writer, public activist
- Derenik Demirchian (1877–1956), writer
- Yeghishe Charents (1897–1937), poet
- Ruben Ter-Minasian (1882–1951), military commander
- Hakob Kojoyan (1883–1959), painter
- Grégoire-Pierre Agagianian (1895–1971), Cardinal, leader of the Armenian Catholic Church
- Gourgen Yanikian (1895–1984), author, engineer, assassinated two Turkish consular officials in Los Angeles
- Hovhannes Shiraz (1915–1984), poet
- Mher Mkrtchyan (1930–1993), actor
- Vazgen Manukyan (b. 1946), politician, Prime Minister of Armenia 1990-1991
- Levon Ishtoyan (b. 1947), football player
- Harutyun Khachatryan (b. 1955), film director
- Yurik Vardanyan (b. 1956), weightlifter, Olympic, World and European champion
- Levon Julfalakyan (b 1964), wrestler, Olympic, World and European champion
- Israel Militosyan (b. 1968), weightlifter, Olympic, World and European champion
- Mko (b. 1976), comedian
- Gevorg Davtyan (b. 1983), weightlifter, European champion
- Nazik Avdalyan (b. 1986), weightlifter, World and European champion
- Arsen Julfalakyan (b. 1987), wrestler, European champion
- Tigran Gevorg Martirosyan (b. 1988), weightlifter, World and European champion
- Mesropyan, Haykanush. "Հայրենակցական միությունները և հայերենի բարբառները (Patriotic associations and Armenian dialects)" (in Armenian). Armenian State Institute of Linguistics. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Adjarian 1909: the map from Adjarian's book Classification des dialectes arméniens can be seen here
- Keith Brown, Sarah Ogvile (2009). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. p. 70. ISBN 9780080877754.
The destruction of the Armenian homeland and more than a million Armenians by the Ottoman government in 1915–1920 rendered most nonstadard varieties of modern Armenian moribund; with few exceptions the Armenians in the diaspora (primarily Lebanon, France, and notably in the Los Angeles area of the United States) speak only Standard Western Armenian.
- Hovannisian, Richard, ed. (2003). Armenian Karin/Erzerum. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publ. p. 48. ISBN 9781568591513.
Thus, even today the Erzerum dialect is widely spoken in the northernmost districts of the Armenian republic as well as in the Akhalkalak (Javakheti; Javakhk) and Akhaltskha (Akhaltsikh) districts of southern Georgia
- "Alexander Thomson, a prominent linguist and the first phonetics researcher in Odessa, was born 150 years ago". The press service of the I.I. Mechnikov Odessa National University. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Hakobyan, Tadevos (1987). Պատմական Հայաստանի քաղաքները (Cities of historical Armenia) (in Armenian). Yerevan: "Hayastan" Publishing. p. 163–164.
- "city of Kars" (in Russian). 1897 Russian Census Demoscope Weekly. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "city of Alexandropol" (in Russian). 1897 Russian Census Demoscope Weekly. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "city of Akhaltsikh" (in Russian). 1897 Russian Census Demoscope Weekly. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Adjarian 1909, pp. 44–45:Le centre de ce grand dialecte, celebre par sa prononciation douce et agreable, est la ville d'Erzeroum. Il' s'etend au sud jusqu'a Xnus, a l'ouest jusqu'a Erzinghan et Baiburt; les grandes emigrations d'Armeniens d'Erzeroum pendant la derniere guerre russo-turque on elargi les frontiers de ce dialecte a l'est at au nord jusqu'a Eerivan et Tiflis. Quatre autres villes du Caucase (Kars, Alexandropol, Axalkalak et Axalcxa) ont ete fondees par ces emigrants et ont actuellement tout a fait le meme dialecte que les habitants d'Erzeroum.
The center of this great dialect, famous for its soft and pleasing pronunciation, is the city of Erzurum. It 'extends south until Xnus, west and up Erzinghan Baiburt, large emigrations of Armenians of Erzurum during the last Russo-Turkish war on the frontiers of this broadened dialect is at the north to Eerivan and Tiflis. Four other cities of the Caucasus (Kars, Alexandropol Axalkalak and Axalcxa) were founded by these emigrants and currently have quite the same dialect as the people of Erzurum.
- Panossian, Razmik (2006). The Armenians from kings and priests to merchants and commissars. London: Hurst & Co. p. 120. ISBN 9780231511339.
- Simonian, Hovann (2004). The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey. New York: Psychology Press. p. 109. ISBN 9780203641682.
- Baghdassarian-Thapaltsian, S. H. (1970). Շիրակի դաշտավայրի բարբառային նկարագիրը. Լրաբեր հասարակական գիտությունների (Bulletin of Social Sciences) (in Armenian) (6): 51-60. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- Adjarian 1909, p. 45.
- Adjarian 1909, pp. 46.
- Adjarian, Hrachia (1909). Classification des dialectes arméniens (in French). Paris: Librairie Honore Champion.
- Mkrtchyan, H. (1952). Կարնո բարբառը [Karin dialect]. Yerevan.