The Phonology of Armenian

The Phonology of Armenian

The Phonology of Armenian

The Phonology of Armenian

Synopsis

Armenian is geographically one of the most widespread languages of the world, with distinct dialects located as far west as Poland and as far east as India. It has a rich literary history dating from the fourth-century translation of the Bible into Classical Armenian. It is one of the most linguistically divergent of the Indo-European languages, having undergone a host of complicated phonological, morphological, and syntactic changes that continue to resist satisfactory analysis. However, the language has yet to receive a comprehensive treatment by theoretical linguists. Bert Vaux remedies this problem, bringing Armenian into the sphere of phonological discussion by making available to Western readers the results of Armenological work published in Armenian and Russian, and by presenting theoretical analyses of many of the more striking phonological phenomena described in these sources or culled from the author's fieldwork. The topics addressed include syllabification, stress assignment, vowel harmony, feature geometry, consonantvowel interactions, and prosodic structure. Series Information: The Phonology of the World's Languages Series Editor: Professor Jacques Durand, Universit¿ de Toulouse-le-Mirail Series ISBN: 0-19-961355-9 Series Description: The phonology of most languages has until now been available only in a fragmented way, through unpublished theses, or articles scattered in more or less accessible journals. Each volume in this series will offer an extensive treatment of the phonology of one language within a modern theoretical perspective and will provide comprehensive references to recent and more classical studies of the language.

Excerpt

Armenian is one of the most widespread languages of the world, with distinct dialects located as far west as Transylvania and as far east as India. It has a rich literary history dating from the fourth century AD, when the Bible was translated into Classical Armenian. It is one of the most linguistically divergent of the Indo- European languages, having undergone a host of complicated phonological, morphological, and syntactic changes that continue to resist satisfactory analysis by historical linguists. The historical interest of the language derives in part from the significant lexical and grammatical influence of neighboring languages (primarily Iranian, Turkic, Anatolian, and Caucasian); none the less, a significant portion of the Armenian lexicon cannot be related to any known source.

The Armenian language possesses a rich phonological system of a level of synchronic and diachronic complexity that easily equals that of its neighbors Arabic, Russian, and Turkish. Significant Armenian communities exist in the United States, Europe, and many other countries with active communities of linguists. Nevertheless, Armenian has essentially been ignored by linguists outside Armenia, whereas neighboring languages have played a central role in the development of modern linguistic theory. Kenstowicz (1994), the standard handbook of phonological theory, devotes more than fifty pages to discussion of phenomena found in various Arabic dialects, seventeen pages to Russian, and seven pages to Turkish. On the other hand, there is not a single mention of Armenian in this or any other phonological textbook. This lacuna is primarily due to the fact that the Armenian language has for the most part not been studied by linguists who write in languages other than Armenian and Russian.

The purpose of the present work is to remedy this problem and bring Armenian into the sphere of phonological discussion by making available to western readers the results of Armenological work published in Armenian and Russian. Furthermore, I present theoretical analyses of many of the more striking phonological phenomena described in these sources or culled from my own fieldwork. My data are drawn primarily from the two modern literary dialects, Standard Western and Standard Eastern Armenian, as well as from various non-literary dialects and the Classical language. I focus on the primary areas of contemporary phonological research: syllabification, stress assignment, vowel harmony, feature geometry, consonant-vowel interactions, and prosodic structure.

The eight chapters of this book discuss the following topics.

1. Survey of Armenian phonology

This chapter presents the basic elements of Armenian phonology with a minimum of theoretical machinery, in order to provide non-specialists with a context for the more complicated issues discussed in later chapters. I begin with a brief . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.