1
SURVEY OF ARMENIAN PHONOLOGY

In this chapter I present the basic elements of Armenian phonetics and phonology, focusing on the phonemes and their allophones, and syllable typology. This being the first systematic theoretical study of Armenian phonology (useful non- theoretical studies include Abeʁjan, 1923; 1932; Fairbanks, 1948; Allen, 1950; Johnson, 1954;

, 1971; , 1988; Sukiasjan, 1989), I have drawn my material directly from primary sources, which are cited in the appropriate locations. Throughout this study I concentrate on standard eastern Armenian (SEA), spoken in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Iran, primarily because it distinguishes in pronunciation the three consonant series (voiced, voiceless, and voiceless aspirated) employed in both western and eastern orthography. I also make use of standard western Armenian (SWA) and various non-literary dialects where they help to shed light on the phenomena under consideration or themselves manifest interesting phenomena not found in SEA.


1.1. THE DIALECTS

Various scholars have put the number of Armenian dialects between two and 120. The average Armenian distinguishes two dialects, eastern and western, which basically correspond to what I term SEA and SWA. There are in fact many more than two distinct dialects--many of which are mutually unintelligible, such as the Agulis dialect spoken in eastern Nakhichevan, which is called Zokere:n 'the Zok language' by Armenians, or the Svedia dialect spoken in Syria, called khisthinǝk lizu 'Christian [language]' by its speakers. I follow DƷahukjan ( 1972) in assuming the existence of thirty-six basic dialects. These can be divided into two main groups, roughly corresponding to the eastern and western portions of the Armenian linguistic area (basically defined by position relative to the Armenian-Turkish border), based on a number of isoglosses including the presence of a locative case (eastern dialects) and present formations employing forms of the particle ku (western dialects). The dialects and their basic divisions are listed in (1) (see also the map on p. xiv).

(1)Western dialectsEastern dialects
Agn Agulis
Amasia Aresh
Arabkir Artvin
Cilicia Astraxan

-7-

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The Phonology of Armenian
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Survey of Armenian Phonology 7
  • 2 - Theoretical Background 35
  • 3 - Syllabification 61
  • 4 - Stress Assignment and Metrical Structure 132
  • 5 - Vowel Harmony 151
  • 6 - Consonant-Vowel Interactions 174
  • 7 - Laryngeal Features and Consonant Shifts 211
  • 8 - Prosodic Phenomena 242
  • References 264
  • Index 273
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