Proto-Armenian language

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Proto-Armenian
Reconstruction ofArmenian languages
Reconstructed
ancestor
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History of the Armenian language
Armenian alphabet
Romanization of Armenian

Proto-Armenian is the earlier, unattested stage of the Armenian language which has been reconstructed by linguists. As Armenian is the only known language of its branch of the Indo-European languages, the comparative method cannot be used to reconstruct its earlier stages. Instead, a combination of internal and external reconstruction, by reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European and other branches, has allowed linguists to piece together the earlier history of Armenian.

Definition[edit]

Proto-Armenian, as the common ancestor of only one language, has no clear definition of the term. It is generally held to include a variety of ancestral stages of Armenian between Proto-Indo-European and the earliest attestations of Classical Armenian.

It is thus not a proto-language in the strict sense, but "Proto-Armenian" is a term that has become common in the field.[citation needed]

The earliest testimony of Armenian is the 5th-century Bible translation of Mesrop Mashtots. The earlier history of the language is unclear and the subject of much speculation. It is clear that Armenian is an Indo-European language, but its development is opaque.

In any case, Armenian has many layers of loanwords and shows traces of long language contact with Anatolian languages such as Luwian and Hittite, Hurrian-Mitanni, Hurrio-Urartian languages, Semitic languages such as Akkadian and Aramaic, and Iranian languages such as Persian and Parthian. Armenian also has influence to a lesser extent from Greek and Arabic.[1]

Phonological development of Proto-Armenian[edit]

The Proto-Armenian sound changes are varied and eccentric (such as *dw- yielding erk-) and, in many cases, uncertain. That prevented Armenian from being immediately recognized as an Indo-European branch in its own right, and it was assumed to be simply a very divergent Iranian language until Heinrich Hübschmann established its independent character in 1874.[2]

In certain contexts, the aspirated stops are further reduced to w, h or zero in Armenian: Proto-Indo-European (accusative) *pódm̥ "foot" > Armenian otn vs. Greek (accusative) póda, Proto-Indo-European *tréyes "three" > Armenian erekʿ vs. Greek treis.

The Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrians (and Urartians), Luvians and the Mushki. After arriving in its historical territory, Proto-Armenian would appear to have undergone massive influence on part the languages it eventually replaced. Armenian phonology, for instance, appears to have been greatly affected by Urartian, which may suggest a long period of bilingualism.[3]

PIE consonants in Armenian[4]
PIE Armenian Special Developments
*p h Ø, w, pʿ
*t tʿ y, d
*ḱ s š ( PIE *ḱw>Arm.š), Ø
*k kʿ x, g, čʿ
*kʷ kʿ x, g, čʿ
*b p
*d t
c
*g k c
*gʷ k c
*bʰ b w
*dʰ d ǰ
*ǵʰ j z
*gʰ g ǰ
*gʷʰ g ǰ, ž
*s h s, Ø, *kʿ
*h₁ Ø e-
*h₂ h a-, Ø
*h₃ h a-, Ø

Diakonoff (1985) and Greppin (1991) etymologize several Old Armenian words as having a possible Hurro-Urartian origin:

  • agarak "field" from Hurrian awari "field";
  • ałaxin "slave girl" from Hurrian al(l)a(e)ḫḫenne;
  • arciw "eagle" from Urartian Arṣiba, a proper name with a presumed meaning of "eagle";
  • art "field" from Hurrian arde "town" (rejected by Diakonoff and Fournet);
  • astem "to reveal one's ancestry" from Hurrian ašti "woman, wife";
  • caṙ "tree" from Urartian ṣârə "garden";
  • cov "sea" from Urartian ṣûǝ "(inland) sea";
  • kut "grain" from Hurrian kade "barley" (rejected by Diakonoff; closer to Greek kodomeýs "barley-roaster");
  • maxr ~ marx "pine" from Hurrian māḫri "fir, juniper";
  • pełem "dig, excavate" from Urartian pile "canal", Hurrian pilli (rejected by Diakonoff);
  • salor ~ šlor "plum" from Hurrian *s̄all-orə or Urartian *šaluri (cf. Akkadian šallūru "plum");
  • san "kettle" from Urartian sane "kettle, pot";
  • sur "sword", from Urartian šure "sword", Hurrian šawri "weapon, spear" (considered doubtful by Diakonoff);
  • tarma-ǰur "spring water" from Hurrian tarman(l)i "spring";
  • ułt "camel" from Hurrian uḷtu "camel";
  • xarxarel "to destroy" from Urartian harhar-š- "to destroy";
  • xnjor "apple" from Hurrian ḫinzuri "apple" (itself from Akkadian hašhūru, šahšūru).

Arnaud Fournet proposes additional borrowed words.[5]

History[edit]

The origin of the Proto-Armenian language is subject to scholarly debate. Although the Armenian hypothesis would postulate the Armenian language as an in situ development of a 3rd millennium BC Proto-Indo-European language,[6] the more popular Kurgan hypothesis suggests it arrived in the Armenian Highlands either from the Balkans or through the Caucasus. The arrival of such a population who spoke Proto-Armenian in the Armenian Highlands is assumed to have occurred around the time of the Bronze Age Collapse (sometime before c. 1200 BC).[7][8]

One of the theories about the emergence of Armenian in the region is that Paleo-Balkan-speaking settlers related to Phrygians (the Mushki and/or the retroactively named Armeno-Phrygians), who had already settled in the western parts of the region prior to the establishment of the Kingdom of Van in Urartu,[9][10][11] had become the ruling elite under the Median Empire, followed by the Achaemenid Empire.[12] The existence of Urartian words in the Armenian language and Armenian loanwords into Urartian[13] suggests early contact between the two languages and long periods of bilingualism.[14][15]

According to the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture:

The Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians [Luwians] and the Proto-Armenian Mushki who carried their IE [Indo-European] language eastwards across Anatolia. After arriving in its historical territory, Proto-Armenian would appear to have undergone massive influence by the languages it eventually replaced. Armenian phonology, for instance, appears to have been greatly affected by Urartian, which may suggest a long period of bilingualism.[16]

Recent findings in Armenian genetics reveal heavy mixing of groups from the 3000s BC until the Bronze Age collapse. Admixture signals seem to have decreased to insignificant levels after c. 1200 BC, after which Armenian DNA remained stable, which appears to have been caused by Armenians' isolation from their surroundings, and subsequently sustained by the cultural/linguistic/religious distinctiveness that persists until today.[17] The connection between the Mushki and Armenians is unclear as nothing is known of the Mushki language. Some modern scholars have rejected a direct linguistic relationship with Proto-Armenian if the Mushki were Thracians or Phrygians.[18][19][20][21] Additionally, recent findings in genetic research does not support significant admixture into the Armenian nation after 1200 BC, making the Mushki, if they indeed migrated from a Balkan or western Anatolian homeland during or after the Bronze Age Collapse, unlikely candidates for the Proto-Armenians.[22][23] However, as others have placed (at least the Eastern) Mushki homeland in the Armenian Highlands and South Caucasus region, it is possible that at least some of the Mushki were Armenian-speakers or speakers of a closely related language.[24] Some modern studies show that Armenian is as close to Indo-Iranian as it is to Greek and Phrygian.[25][18][19]

An alternate theory suggests that speakers of Proto-Armenian were tribes indigenous to the northern Armenian highlands, such as the Hayasans, Diauehi, and/or Etiuni. Although these groups are only known only from references left by neighboring peoples (such as Hittites, Urartians, and Assyrians), Armenian etymologies have been proposed for their names.[26] While the Urartian language was used by the royal elite, the population they ruled was likely multi-lingual, and some of these peoples would have spoken Armenian. This can be reconciled with the Phrygian/Mushki theory if those groups originally came from the Caucasus region or Armenian Highlands.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://armenianlanguage.org/etymology/etymology.html. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Karl Brugmann, Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (1897) Das Armenische (II), früher fälschlicherweise für iranisch ausgegeben, von H. Hübschmann KZ. 23, 5 ff. 400 ff. als ein selbständiges Glied der idg. Sprachfamilie erwiesen
  3. ^ "Armenians" in Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, edited by J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
  4. ^ Matasovic, Ranko (2009). A Grammatical Sketch Of Classical Armenian. Zagreb. pp. 10–15.
  5. ^ Archív Orientalni. 2013. About the vocalic system of Armenian words of substratic origin. (81.2:207–22) by Arnaud Fournet
  6. ^ Gamkrelidze, Tamaz V.; Ivanov, Vyacheslav (1995). Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and Proto-Culture. Part I: The Text. Part II: Bibliography, Indexes. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-081503-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  7. ^ Mallory, J. P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 30. ISBN 978-1884964985. OCLC 37931209. Armenian presence in their historical seats should then be sought at some time before c 600 BC; ... Armenian phonology, for instance, appears to have been greatly affected by Urartian, which may suggest a long period of bilingualism.
  8. ^ Greppin, John A.C. and Igor Diakonoff Some Effects of the Hurro-Urartian People and Their Languages upon the Earliest Armenians, Oct–Dec 1991, pp. 727.[1]
  9. ^ (in Armenian) Katvalyan, M. and Karo Ghafadaryan. Ուրարտու [Urartu]. Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1986, vol. 12, pp. 276–283.
  10. ^ Samuelian, Thomas J. (2000). Armenian origins: an overview of ancient and modern sources and theories. Iravunq Pub. House.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  11. ^ Uchicago.edu
  12. ^ Redgate, Anne Elizabeth (2000). The Armenians. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-631-22037-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link), p. 50
  13. ^ Petrosyan, Armen. The Armenian Elements in the Language and Onomastics of Urartu. Aramazd: Armenian Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 2010. (http://www.academia.edu/2939663/The_Armenian_Elements_in_the_Language_and_Onomastics_of_Urartu)
  14. ^ Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture. Mallory, J. P., Adams, Douglas Q. London: Fitzroy Dearborn. 1997. p. 30. ISBN 978-1884964985. OCLC 37931209. Armenian presence in their historical seats should then be sought at some time before c 600 BC; ... Armenian phonology, for instance, appears to have been greatly affected by Urartian, which may suggest a long period of bilingualism.CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ Greppin, John A.C. and Igor Diakonoff Some Effects of the Hurro-Urartian People and Their Languages upon the Earliest Armenians, Oct-Dec 1991, pp. 727.[2]
  16. ^ "Armenians" in Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  17. ^ "Genetic evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations | European Journal of Human Genetics". 2019-12-30. Archived from the original on 2019-12-30. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  18. ^ a b Vavroušek P. (2010). "Frýžština". Jazyky starého Orientu. Praha: Univerzita Karlova v Praze. p. 129. ISBN 978-80-7308-312-0.
  19. ^ a b J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 419. ISBN 9781884964985.
  20. ^ Brixhe C. (2008). "Phrygian". The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 72.
  21. ^ Kim Ronald I. Greco-Armenian. The persistence of a myth // Indogermanische Forschungen. — 2018. — 123. Band. — S. 247–271.
  22. ^ Haber, Marc; Mezzavilla, Massimo; Xue, Yali; Comas, David; Gasparini, Paolo; Zalloua, Pierre; Tyler-Smith, Chris (2015). "Genetic evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations". European Journal of Human Genetics. 24 (6): 931–6. bioRxiv 10.1101/015396. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2015.206. PMC 4820045. PMID 26486470.
  23. ^ Wade, Nicholas (2015-03-10). "Date of Armenia's Birth, Given in 5th Century, Gains Credence". The New York Times.
  24. ^ a b The Mushki Problem Reconsidered
  25. ^ Clackson, James P.T. (2008). "Classical Armenian". The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 124.
  26. ^ Armen Petrosyan (January 1, 2007). The Problem Of Identification Of The Proto-Armenians: A Critical Review. Society For Armenian Studies. pp. 46, 49. Retrieved 23 November 2018.

Sources[edit]

  • Adjarian, Hrachia. Etymological root dictionary of the Armenian language, vol. I–IV. Yerevan State University, Yerevan, 1971 – 1979.
  • Austin, William M. (January 1942). "Is Armenian an Anatolian Language?". Language. 18 (1): 22–25. doi:10.2307/409074. JSTOR 409074.
  • Barton, Charles R. (October 1963). "The Etymology of Armenian ert'am". Language. 39 (4): 620. doi:10.2307/411956. JSTOR 411956.
  • Bonfante, G. (June 1942). "The Armenian Aorist". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 62 (2): 102–105. doi:10.2307/594462. JSTOR 594462.
  • Diakonoff, Igor (1992). "First evidence of the Proto-Armenian language in Eastern Anatolia". Annual of Armenian Linguistics. 13: 51–54.
  • Diakonoff, I. M. (October 1985). "Hurro-Urartian Borrowings in Old Armenian". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 105 (4): 597–603. doi:10.2307/602722. JSTOR 602722.
  • Greppin, John A. C.; Diakonoff, I. M. (October 1991). "Some Effects of the Hurro-Urartian People and Their Languages upon the Earliest Armenians". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 111 (4): 720. doi:10.2307/603403. JSTOR 603403.
  • Meillet, Antoine (1903). Esquisse d'une grammaire comparée de l'arménien classique. Impr. des PP. mékhitharistes.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Minshall, Robert (October 1955). "'Initial' Indo-European */y/ in Armenian". Language. 31 (4): 499–503. doi:10.2307/411362. JSTOR 411362.
  • Kerns, J. Alexander; Schwartz, Benjamin I. (July 1942). "On the Placing of Armenian". Language. 18 (3): 226–228. doi:10.2307/409558. JSTOR 409558.
  • K. H. Schmidt, The Indo-European Basis of Proto-Armenian : Principles of Reconstruction, Annual of Armenian linguistics, Cleveland State University, 11, 33-47, 1990.
  • Werner Winter, Problems of Armenian Phonology I, Language 30, No. 2 (Apr., 1954), pp. 197–201
  • Werner Winter, Problems of Armenian Phonology II, Language 31, No. 1 (Jan., 1955), pp. 4–8
  • Werner Winter Problems of Armenian Phonology III, Language 38, No. 3, Part 1 (Jul., 1962), pp. 254–262

External links[edit]