Armenian orthography reform

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The Armenian othography reform occurred between 1922 and 1924 in Soviet Armenia. It was rejected by the Armenian diaspora, most of which speak Western Armenian, including the Armenian communities in Iran, which also speak Eastern Armenian and still use the classical orthography of the Armenian alphabet.

Although it is hardly used by Armenians outside Armenia, Georgia and Russia, it is the official orthography for the Armenian language in Armenia.

History[edit]

One of the most significant and successfully achieved policies of the former Soviet Union was the rise in the overall population's literacy, which began in the early 1920s. That was most probably the urgent need that was one of the reasons for reforming the orthography. With a variety of other educational reforms, the reformed orthography resulted in a literacy rate of 90% in the country by the early 1950s.

Although the orthography was changed by the reform, it is hardly a simplification. In fact, some other nations of the Soviet Union changed their scripts from Arabic (Central Asian nations) and Latin (Moldova) to Cyrillic. However, it was a rather progressive step in the spirit of the historical developments in that it did not hinder the ability of all of the former Soviet nations to develop literature, education, research and science.

The original orthography is now known as the classical orthography (Armenian: դասական ուղղագրութիւն dasakan uġġagrut'yun) and is sometimes referred to as Mashtotsian orthography (մաշտոցյան ուղղագրություն), after Mesrop Mashtots, who devised the Armenian alphabet in 405 AD.

Opposition[edit]

Since the establishment of the third Republic of Armenia in 1991, there has been a fringe movement in some Armenian academic circles to reinstate the classical orthography as official in Armenia.[1] Some members of the Armenian Church in Armenia also support the use of the classical orthography.[2] However, neither official circles nor the general population or pedagogical and scientific communities in Armenia supports reversing the reform.[3]

Rules[edit]

If pronunciation has changed, one should use the modern pronunciation. That concerns the letter pairs յ/հ, ու/վ and diphthongs ոյ/ույ, եա/յա, եօ/յո, իւ/յու.

The following changes are also made:

  • The digraph ու /u/ becomes the 34th independent letter of the alphabet.
  • The letters "է" and "օ" were deleted from the alphabet but reinstated in 1940.[4] Since then, they are written only at the beginning of a word and in compound words. ե or ո are used respectively in their places. The only exceptions are ով /ov/ "who" and ովքեր /ovkhɛɾ/ "those (people)" and the present tense of "to be": եմ /em/ "I am", ես /es/ "you are (sing.)", ենք /enkh/ "we are", եք /ekh/ "you are (pl.)", են /en/ "they are".
  • The letter "ւ" is no longer an independent letter and appears only as a component of "ու". In its place, "վ" is written.
  • The ligature "և" was initially abolished, but in 1940, it became the 37th independent letter of the alphabet. Some words originally written with "եվ" are now written with it.
  • In the conjugation of verbs, in both the indicative and the conditional modes, "կ" is added directly, without an apostrophe before vowels or "ը" before consonants.

Examples[edit]

Examples
Classical spelling Reformed spelling
հայերէն հայերեն
Յակոբ Հակոբ
բացուել բացվել
քոյր քույր
Սարգսեան Սարգսյան
եօթ յոթ
ազատութիւն ազատություն
տէր տեր
Արմէն Արմեն
Արմինէ Արմինե
խօսել խոսել
Սարօ Սարո
թիւ թիվ
Եւրոպա Եվրոպա

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Khacherian, L. G. (1999). History of Armenian Orthography (V - XX cc.). Los Angeles: Yerevan Press. 
  2. ^ Fr. Mesrop Aramian (October 14, 2006). "Restoring the Orthography of the Armenian Nation: A Task for Our Generation". Vem. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  3. ^ ORTHOGRAPHY, STATE & DIASPORA: A Political Analyst's View on Unified Spelling Problem by Haroutiun Khachatrian
  4. ^ (Russian) http://baas.asj-oa.am/39/1/1940-4-5%28111%29.pdf

External links[edit]

Armenian Orthography converters