Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Armenian)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Armenia (Rated Project-class)
WikiProject icon Naming conventions (Armenian) is within the scope of WikiProject Armenia, an attempt to improve and better organize information in articles related or pertaining to Armenia and Armenians. If you would like to contribute or collaborate, you could edit the article attached to this page or visit the project page for further information.
 Project  This page does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.

Creation of a stub[edit]

I create this page with the model of Wikipedia:Romanization of Russian. Of course, this is only a work stub. Everyone has the possibility to modify it or to add suggestions. Švitrigaila 14:18, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

To show an example of the result, I used this table to transcribed the old Anthem of the Armenian SSR's lyrics. Švitrigaila 14:52, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Questions, Suggestions and Comments[edit]

-yan or -ian ?[edit]

Agree with this simplified transliteration system since it's the one used by most of the contributors to the two-volume history The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times (ed. R.G. Hovannisian, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). On the other hand, I'd like clarification on the use of -ian or -yan in surname endings. The book I mentioned favours -ian except after a vowel. --Folantin 15:08, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

The question is precisely why should this ending would have a separate rule? The յ letter is pronounced as a consonantical y English sound in every position it stands. After a consonant or after a vowel, there is no difference. So there is no need to decide a separate rule for it. Švitrigaila 15:19, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
The book says that -ian is the traditional rendering of Armenian surnames. Since the book (a reliable source) adopts this method, so should we. It's the most common way of rendering Armenian names in English. The noted Armenian expert R.G.Suny also uses the -ian spelling. --Folantin 15:37, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
There are different transcription systems, with different results. Kocharyan is the result of one system, while Kocharian is the result of another. This page shows that both can be used. I see no reason why we should use the other system when there is no practical nor scientifical reason for that. I see no reason why we should call the prime minister Serzh Sargsian. Švitrigaila 10:35, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

meyr or mer ?[edit]

Why is mer transcribed as meyr? -- Ευπάτωρ Talk!! 15:41, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

The transcription of մեր by meyr was a mere mistake of mine. I fix it. This example was only about the transcription of the letter ք. Maybe a better example could be found to show the duality of the system. Švitrigaila 10:35, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

What about Western Armenian ?[edit]

This applies to Eastern Armenian only right since all the examples are in EA? -- Ευπάτωρ Talk!! 15:41, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Another table can be written for Western Armenian, but it'll be far more difficult. Firstly because several combinations of letters can be taken separatly (իւ, եա...) Secondly because some different letters can have the same sound and then I suppose they must be transcribed by the same English letter (ե and է...) Thirdly because a lot of "Western Armenians" emigrated to Europe and America and acquired another nationality with a local spelling of their name ; that local spelling must then be used, I think. Švitrigaila 10:53, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

r and rr ?[edit]

Why is Ռուբեն/Ruben being translated as Rruben? VartanM 16:04, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

I believe rr is ռ while r is ր, but that it's not mandatory to use rr for ռ.-- ΕυπάτωρTalk!! 16:07, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Isn't Րաֆֆի the only Armenian name that starts with Ր? So translating the rest of the names that start with Ռ as Rr wouldn't be useful. Do we even have Armenian names that start with Ռ? Most if not all are barrowed from Latin or Arab languages. --VartanM 18:22, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Yeap, nothing else other than Րաֆֆի. I don't like the idea of "rr" very much. With Ռ we have Ռազմիկ, Ռշտունի, Ռոստամ and then the Germanic, Romance and Semitic names.-- Ευπάτωρ Talk!! 21:26, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
About the distinction of r / rr, it's only to show the difference between ր and ռ without using another diacritic mark. If you can find a better system, why not (rh ? r’ ?...) The result sounds odd in proper names, but that's the reason I propose to use r in the simplified system that is to be used for articles' titles and for isolate proper names. To summerize the aim of a two systems transcription, the simplified system is to be use to quote names and words in an English context, while the normal one is to be used to show most practically and efficiently the prononciation of a word. Švitrigaila 10:35, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Let's just stick with simple r. We aren't trying to convey all the subtleties of Armenian pronuciation. In fact, I suggest we use the system used by most of the scholars in Armenian People to avoid accusations of original research. --Folantin 10:48, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
In theory, I think it's important to keep the distinction between the two r's because they are pronounced differently. But in practice, it has no great implications: nearly all practical usage of this table will be using the simplified system. I think the form Rruben will nearly never be employed. Švitrigaila 11:08, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Would you agree if instead of rr for leter ռ we used r’ ? I mean in the "normal transcription"; in the "simplified transcription", ռ and ր are still both r. Look at this example to see what effect it makes. Švitrigaila 12:53, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
One month passed and no answer... So I take the responsability to change it myself and I change r’ for rr. Švitrigaila (talk) 14:43, 17 November 2007 (UTC)



  1. I vote for. Švitrigaila 18:50, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
  2. Looks quite good and sensible to me. —Nightstallion 18:51, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
  3. Agree with this simplified transliteration system since it's the one used by most of the contributors to the two-volume history The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times (ed. R.G. Hovannisian, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). On the other hand, I'd like clarification on the use of -ian or -yan in surname endings. The book I mentioned favours -ian except after a vowel. --Folantin 15:08, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
    See answer in the "Questions" section
  4. Looks good to me as well but I have a few questions. This applies to Eastern Armenian only right since all the examples are in EA? Why is mer transcribed as meyr? The examples in the table are simple and useful. Great job.-- Ευπάτωρ Talk!! 15:41, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
    See answers in the "Questions" section
  5. Great job indeed. But why is Ռուբեն/Ruben being translated as Rruben? VartanM 16:04, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
    See answers in the "Questions" section


  1. Conditionally oppose. DBachmann is quite right; we cannot roll our own naming standards; we write to be understood. Acceptable provided this page defers to English usage where it exists. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:27, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

No opinion[edit]

Final result[edit]

Since there is no opposition, I consider this guideline is adopted. Discussions about details can go on, and further modifications or improvments can still be decided. Švitrigaila 12:42, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Švitrigaila, we cannot roll our own transliteration standards. Usage will always trump naming conventions. We need both a strict and a loose scheme, and the loose scheme will have to be informed by general usage. For the stritct scheme (to be used when introducing terms), we should recomment ISO. Your transcription scheme is fine, but you need to be clear about its scope. What this page actually should deliver are recommendations where usage is divided, such as -ian vs. -yan. I fail to see how it is useful to present a giant table where you could just state "we recommend BGN/PCGN". Instead, on questions that are actually open to debate, like -yan vs -ian, the page is silent. The scope of this page cannot be to explain the Armenian alphabet: this should be done in article namespace. Its scope must be to present guidelines on specific questions to editors who are informed by the relevant articles already. --dab (𒁳) 11:05, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
so, judging from Google, Kocharian is actually twice as common as Kocharyan. We need to take note of this here. Then we need to attempt to establish if there are sufficient grounds to recommend -ian throughout. "-ian except after a vowel" seems like a good approach. If there is consensus for that, put it up as a recommendation. Thus, our recommendations can be summarized as follows:
  1. strict transliteration: use ISO
  2. loose transcription:
    1. use BGN/PCGN, but:
    2. use e for ë
    3. drop aspirates
    4. -ian, but -yan after vowels
    5. predominant common usage in English language sources trumps these recommendations

--dab (𒁳) 11:33, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree with this. This is pretty similar to what happens with Russian names on WP -see
Tchaikovsky for example (common English form of spelling, followed by the original Russian, followed by a more "scientific" version using an internally consistent transliteration system). --Folantin 11:40, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

And I don't agree at all. Firstly, why should we recomend ISO? Is there any good reason for that? As it is stated in Romanization of Armenian, there are several possible standards for a "scientific romanization" of Armenian. Who did decide we should recomend ISO? Why not BGN/PCGN? Why not Hm-M? And what is such a transcription system practical for? Such transcriptions are intermediate between the original alphabet and the common prononciation of English. I aimed the "normal transcription" to be used for an exact but close to English transcription of texts. The same exists for Russian as you can see here, and the result can be seen there. Would you think it'd be better if, using ISO 9, we wrote « Rossiâ — svâŝennaâ naša deržava, Rossiâ — lûbimaâ naša strana. Mogučaâ volâ, velikaâ slava — Tvoë dostoânʹe na vse vremena! »? I don't. Are ISO used in the corps of Russia or Boris Yeltsin articles? No. It's the same thing for Armenian, as you can see here. What would an ISO transcription bring more? Nothing.

Secondly, you don't see why I made this table and you just recommend to say « for loose transcription, use BGN/PCGN » with few modifications. Don't you think it's simply simpler to have a table merely explaining the system? Back to my comparison with Russian, you have two pages, Romanization of Russian and Wikipedia:Romanization of Russian. The first details the different existing systems. The second explains the system used on Wikipedia for its normalization. What I want to do for Armenian is clearly that. A page to details the different existing systems (Romanization of Armenian), and a page to explain the system to be used throughout Wikipedia (I named it Wikipedia:Romanization of Armenian, like the Russian page, but someone changed its title to Naming conventions (Armenian)). This page is a guideline. It's not aimed to detail every other existing systems, and that's why I erase the mention of the other systems and make a mere link to the page that deals with that topic.

Thirdly, I'm against every mention of a "predominant common usage in English". That's the plague on Wikipedia: the common received idea. It's a topic that comes back repeatedly in every kind of discussion on Wikipedia. We can't and we mustn't choose a fact because of its popularity. As we can't decide Pluto is a planet because 90% of the respondents of an opinion poll will answer it is, as we can't decide Lee Harvey Oswald didn't kill John F. Kennedy because most of people beleive it, as we can't decide that Hirohito was the "real name" of Emperor Shōwa of Japan because we are used to this name and it matters little if Shōwa is the only name he is referred to in official contexts, we can't and we mustn't decide a fact by a Google fight. It's the zero-level of knowledge. Maybe some sources call the president "Robert Kocharian", and other call him "Robert Kocharyan". Maybe the first outnumber the second. But all what it means is that there exist several transcription systems and that's all. Maybe the "-ian" system is more often used as the "-yan" system but it doesn't mean it's the most correct.

I think Wikipedia needs a unique transcription system for Eastern Armenian names. There's no need to adopt a "-ian" system for the president and a "-yan" system for the prime minister (when I renamed his artice, there were very few websites calling him "Serzh Sargsyan", but it changed since he became prime minister and had his own website). If we don't, then we can discard every naming convention on Wikipedia. There is no need to have a naming convention if we decide individually for the titles of the articles. Why not calling the public transports in Melbourne, Brussels and Saint-Étienne Trams in Melbourne, Brussels trams and Tramway de Saint Etienne? No naming system, is that the solution?

Švitrigaila 12:42, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

"I think Wikipedia needs a unique transcription system for Eastern Armenian names". That would be original research. Wikipedia also has a convention on the use of common names in English, so Tchaikovsky and Hirohito will be staying where they are (and, fortunately for us, our article on the capital of Thailand is at Bangkok, not Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit). --Folantin 13:13, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
It seems you consider a transcription system is original research. But then every naming convention on Wikipedia is original research. For instance all Wikipedia:Naming conventions (names and titles) is pure original reasearch. Louis XIV of France is never called like that in any encyclopedia, he's called simply "Louis XIV". I think it's a great mistake to confuse a decision with an original research. If a source says the Man in the Iron Mask was Ercole Antonio Mattioli and another says it was Fouquet, it'd be an original research to decide on Wikipedia who he eventually was, because in reallity he was either the former or the latter or someone else and we can't decide for the facts. But we can quote the different sources and detail the different assumptions. It's totally different with a naming convention. We know and we don't hide the fact there are several ways to transcribe Armenian alphabet. All those systems are equally possible. There are systems better than others but there is no "conform with reality" systems and "non conform" ones. But we choose one to be used throughout Wikipedia to promote its consistency. Then you can think the chosen system is not the best one, but I don't think you can say the decision is a matter of original research. Švitrigaila 12:56, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
you keep removing the transliteration table. The distinction of transliteration vs. loose transcription is the entire point of this page. Otherwise, we could just state "use ISO" and be done. No, we cannot roll our own transliteration schemes just for use on Wikipedia, sorry. dab (𒁳) 16:48, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Nature and purpose of a transliteration convention[edit]

What we should do with this is exemplified by the first lime of Aram Khachaturian:

Aram Khachaturian (Armenian: Արամ Խաչատրյան, Aram Xačatryan;

This is not, and should not be used as, an excuse to move the well-known composer or respell his name to to Xačatryan, to which most readers, even those who know him well, will say "Is that Mayan?". It should be used, as here, to represent Armentian text in the English alphabet. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:44, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

What's the point to replace an unspeakable foreign letter with another unspeakable foreign letter? In this case, what's the point to replace չ with č, rather than ch? (in fact, the most "scientific" transcription is even č' ). The reason for which we keep the article's name as Aram Khachaturian is that this form is the transcription of his Russian name Арам Хачатурян, not from his Eastern Armenian name. Russian language was the official language of the Soviet Union. For the same reason, Ferenc Liszt's article is Franz Liszt. That explains why there is a u in Khachaturian even if it is neither heard nor written in Armenian. Švitrigaila (talk) 11:26, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
The point is that English-speakers, myself included, do actually spell 1them Liszt and Khachaturian, and will recognize those strings even if they pronounce them badly or not at all. (My ear hears the u in Khachaturian as a schwa.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:29, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
  • This edit, however, is revert warring for a lie. There certainly is English usage for Khachaturian, for Alan Hovhaness, for William Saroyan. This is a useful and convenient table within its proper bounds; it should not be used to promote Švitrigaila's private linguistic theories. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:38, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Removal and redirection[edit]

Wikipedia:Romanization of Armenian is being used as the main article for the public, and this article has been voted to use as a reference for edits in Wikipedia. I disagree with the preference for the ISO standard, but this is subject to voting. What is not subject to voting is the WP:Redirect of BGN/PCGN romanization of Armenian - that is simply unacceptable.

Regarding this page as a reference for Armenian transliteration work inside Wikipedia, I understand that the redirection of the page Wikipedia:Romanization of Armenian to this page is due to the Armenian alphabet not being currently used for other languages. I think that the latter page should be created mirroring the page Wikipedia:Romanization of Russian - the reason being is that the transliteration of Russian from the Cyrillic alphabet inside Wikipedia is outlined in the article Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Cyrillic) as being a modified version of BGN/PCGN for Anglophone speakers, which is currently used despite the ISO standard, which is in turn simply not used anywhere else than Wikipedia. Nevertheless, this idea should be subject to a further consensus here beforehand, but I will remove this redirection too if no one objects in the future. --92slim (talk) 17:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

In line with the fixing of the BGN/PCGN redirection, the ALA-LC standard needs a page for ALA-LC romanization for Armenian, just like in ALA-LC romanization for Russian. --92slim (talk) 17:34, 4 March 2015 (UTC)