Programme of Armenian Studies

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Western Armenian

The Programme of Armenian Studies currently offers a range of courses in Western Armenian language:

Western Armenian is one of the two standardised forms of modern Armenian (the other being Eastern Armenian). These two variants of the language emerged during the nineteenth century when the traditional Armenian homeland was divided between the Russian and Ottoman Empires. Western Armenian developed among the Armenians who lived in Anatolia and Constantinople.

The expulsion of Armenians from Anatolia during the Armenian Genocide of the early twentieth century meant that Western Armenian has become almost exclusively the language of diaspora, whereas Eastern Armenian is the language spoken in the Republic of Armenia. Nowadays, Western Armenian is spoken by communities in the Americas, Europe, Australia, North Africa and the Middle East (other than Iran, where Eastern Armenian is spoken). It is not the official language of any state, and has been recognised by UNESCO as an endangered language.

Armenian is an Indo-European language that shares cognates with many languages including English. Both forms of the modern language are descended from Classical Armenian.  The main linguistic differences between Western and Eastern Armenian are phonological, although there are also differences in grammar, vocabulary, morphology and syntax.

Armenian is written with its own unique script, invented by Mesrob Mashdots in 405/406 AD. At various points in history, the script has also been used to write Turkish, Azeri, Kipchak and Kurdish. Western Armenian orthography is based on Classical Armenian orthography, whereas Eastern Armenian underwent an orthography reformation under the USSR.