biuro tłumaczeń skrivanek

Armenia – language

Armenia language
Armenia language

The view of Armenian advertisements, signposts, and notices may be the most surprising part of travelling through the country, mainly because the sequence of signs that appear on them does not resemble any other European alphabet.

You probably would like to know (assuming that you have not mastered Armenian yet), if you will be able to get along in shops, railway stations, and hotels while visiting this Caucasian country. What other languages may prove useful during the trip?

Languages in Armenia

The only official tongue of the state is Armenian, which is the main language of education, administration, and public life. Approximately 97% of the country’s population speaks it. According to the data collected during the 2011 Census, there are 16 languages and dialects in Armenia. A big part of the society (89%) has learned Russian as the second language, and around 6% declares an advanced level of English. The most popular minority language is Kurmanji (source: Translators without Borders).

Armenian language

Armenian forms a separate branch in the Indo-European family. It means that it is not closely related to any other known language, although the linguists point out the slight similarity with Greek and (already extinct) Phrygian. There are two standards of the Armenian language in use (Eastern and Western Armenian) and many non-literary dialects, regulated by the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.

There are around 7 million Armenian speakers in the world. Approximately 3 million of them reside in Armenia, and the remaining 4 million can be found in different countries (source: Wild Armenia). The Armenian Diaspora lives mainly in Russia, the USA, and Europe. If you require a translation of an important document from Armenian to English, our sworn Armenian translators will gladly assist you with this task. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Armenian alphabet

The Armenian alphabet is one of a kind. It was created by theologian Mesrop Mashtots in the 5th century. In his works, the linguist used Greek and Pahlavi writing systems as a base. The alphabet consists of 39 characters: Աա, Բբ, Գգ,Դդ, Եե, Զզ, Էէ, Ըը, Թթ Ժժ, Իի, Լլ, Խխ, Ծծ, Կկ, Հհ, Ձձ, Ղղ, Ճճ, Մմ, Յյ, Նն, Շշ, Ոո, Չչ, Պպ, Ջջ, Ռռ, Սս, Վվ, Տտ, Րր, Ցց, Ււ, Փփ, Քք, Ֆֆ and և. In the past, capital letters were also used to write down the numbers, summing up their value (e.g. character Ա was equal to 1, and Ծ to 100).

What may be astounding at first is the Armenian punctuation, which is slightly different from the English one. The declarative sentences always end with a colon, and the enumerations start with a dot. Luckily for us, a coma stays a coma, both in appearance and use.

Armenian literature

The first books in the Armenian language were religious texts and philosophical treatises, including the Old and New Testament, translated from Greek and written in the liturgical language, grabar. The oldest Armenian original literary work is considered The History of Armenia by Movses Khorenatsi. Other important mediaeval manuscripts were The Book of Sadness by St. Grigor Narekatsi and the anonymous epic Daredevils of Sassoun.

The 19th century, when the revolutionary movements arose, was the most fruitful for Armenian writers. Later occurrences (the Armenian Genocide and the USSR government) inhabited further development of local literature. Until the middle of the 20th century, authors were writing texts mainly in line with the assumptions of socialist realism (to please the authorities of that time). Contemporary, one of the most outstanding Armenian writers has been considered an American with Armenian roots, Wiliam Saroyan (The Human Comedy).

Useful phrases in Armenian

We have prepared a list of the most essential phrases and words in Armenian (with their English translation). They will help you to enjoy the city break in Yerevan or a relaxing weekend at Lake Sevan.

  • Բարեվ (barheev) – Hello
  • Բարի առավոտ (barhi arravot) – Good morning/afternoon
  • Բարի երեկո (barhi eerheek) – Good evening
  • Բարի գիշեր (barhi gischeer) – Good night
  • Ցը (tsae) – Bye
  • Ցտեսություն (tsteessutsjun) – Goodbye
  • այո (ajo) – Yes
  • ոչ (votsh) – No
  • Բարի, լավ (barhi, lav) – All right
  • շնորհակալություն (schnorrhakalutsjun) – Thank you
  • խնդրեմ, չարժի (chndrheem, tsarzhi) – You are welcome
  • ներողություն (neerhorutjun) – I am sorry
  •  Իմ անունը (im anunae) – My name is…
  • Ես (eess) – I am from…
  • Ես տարեկան եմ (eess tarheekan em) – I am … years old
  • Ես չեմ խոսում (eess tsheen chossum) – I do not speak…
  • սա ես չեմ հասկանում (ssa eess tsheem hasskanum) – I do not understand
  • Դուք խոսու՞մ եք (duk chossum eekh?) – Do you speak…?
  • անգլերեն (angleerheen) – English
  • Ֆրանսերեն (frransseerheen) – French
  • Խնդրում եմ կրկնեք (chndrhum eem krhkneekh) – Please say it again
Armenia language
Armenia language
Armenia language


  • զրո (tsrho) – 0
  • մեկ (meek) – 1
  • երկու (eerhku) – 2
  • երեք (eerheekh) – 3
  • չորս (tshorhss) – 4
  • հինգ (hing) – 5 
  • վեց (veets) – 6
  • յոթ (jodt) – 7
  • ութ (udt) – 8
  • ինն (inae) – 9
  • տաս (tass) – 10

Armenian dishes

If travelling is not only a cultural, but also a culinary experience for you, we have good news: you will not return with an empty stomach from Armenia. Do not forget to try those dishes while dining in local restaurants:

  • Dolma – minced meat wrapped in vine leaves;
  • Ghapama – sweet pumpkin filled with rice and dried fruit;
  • Harissa – stew made with wheat and meat;
  • Chasz – lamb boiled overnight;
  • Lachmacun – a thin pizza with meat and vegetables.

Russian language in Armenia

Even though Russian has not been considered an official tongue in Armenia, it is used often not only by the Russian and Greek minorities but also by a considerable number of the country’s residents. Nevertheless, since 1991, the year when Armenia became an independent state, the number of Russian speakers has been decreasing constantly.

Recently, the Russian language has become the second official language of Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist republic that is not recognized by most of the world, and a hot spot in relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The credit for this decision has been accorded to the self-proclaimed parliament.

English language in Armenia

The Republic of Armenia has been considered an independent country since 1991. Thereafter, English has become more and more popular and appeared as a language of choice in public schools. Around 40% of the population knows basic vocabulary and grammar. Although a significant increase in the number of people choosing to learn English is undeniable, meeting a Russian speaker in Armenia is still easier (source:

Kurmanji language in Armenia

In Armenia, the Kurmanji language is used mainly by the Kurdish minority (around 1.3% of the country’s population). The highest number of its speakers live in the Western regions: Armawir and Aragatsotn (source: Translators without Borders). In other parts of the world, the language is written with Latin characters, but in Armenia Cyrillic script is used.

Country’s name

It is worth mentioning that the country’s name, Armenia, does not originate from the local language, but from the Persian words Armanestân and Arman. They refer to a biblical character, Aram, son of Sem and grandson of Noe, who became famous for his heroic deeds.

The local people call their country differently: Hayastan (Հայաստան). The origin of this name has not been fully explained, but it probably comes from an ancient nation Hayasa-Azzi, which was living on the territory of contemporary Armenia.

Is it difficult to learn Armenian?

The Armenian language is among the hardest languages to learn for English speakers. The Foreign Services Institute of the US Department of State established that the minimum time needed to achieve proficiency in Armenian is around 1100 hours. The problems may occur already in the beginning with getting used to the different script.

If you need Armenian just for getting around during your trip to the Caucasian region, we invite you to browse through the offer of our language school. Our Russian courses may be an answer to your needs. Good knowledge of the Pushkin language will help you in all the situations that you may encounter during your travel to Armenia.

Related Posts

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.