Mainly Russian-speaking tourists traveling in Armenia feel comfortable in the issue of communication with the locals. There is no language barrier, as most Armenians, especially those living in the capital have very good command of the Russian language. What concerns English, it is popular mainly among young people and those working in the field of tourism services, in rural areas few people speak English. So, we decided to prepare for you a short list of the most commonly used Armenian phrases which may be very useful for you during the trip. And to begin with, get acquainted with a few interesting facts about the Armenian language:
Armenian Phrases: Interesting facts about Armenian language
The Armenian language is considered one of the most ancient in the world. It was formed about 4,500 years ago. It belongs to the Indo-European family and constitutes a separate group. It is so rich and beautiful that linguists compare it with French. There are about 120 vocabulary roots in Armenian which allows to make maximally accurate translations from other languages. In the 5th century, the Bible was translated into Armenian. Experts still admire this translation for its accuracy and proximity to the original, and call it the “king of the translation.”
Armenians use their own unique alphabet, which was established in 405 by a priest and scholar Mesrop Mashtots. Now alphabet has 39 letters.
In the village of Artashavan on the southern slope of the Mount Aragats, a monument to the Armenian alphabet was established. It was built about ten years ago to the 1600th anniversary of the creation of writing. Now this place has become one of the most popular among tourists. Here you will see a huge complex that includes 39 stone sculptures depicting the letters of the Armenian alphabet and Armenian monuments of great thinkers. The visit of this attraction is included into many tours around Armenia.
We also recommend visiting the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts “Matenadaran” after Mesrop Mashtots. Here you can see the unique ancient manuscripts belonging to Armenian chroniclers and writers of the world. Manuscripts, old archival documents, copies of arts and crafts – all this awaits you at the museum.
Armenian Phrases: Useful words and phrases
At first glance, the Armenian language can seem very complicated. But do not give up – a little practice and you will be able to overcome and learn the most necessary words and phrases. And do not hesitate to speak with an accent, the locals are very happy when foreigners try to speak their language, they will try to encourage and support you. So, below you can get acquainted with the everyday words and phrases that surely will be useful for you while traveling:
Yes – Այո (ayo)
No – Ոչ (voch)
Thanks – Շնորհակալություն (shnorhakalutyun)
Please – Խնդրում եմ (khndrum em)
Sorry – Կներեք (knerek)
Hello – Բարեւ Ձեզ(barev dzez)
Good morning – Բարի լույս (bari luys)
Good afternoon – Բարի օր (bari or)
Good evening – Բարի երեկո (bari yereko)
Goodbye – Ցտեսություն (Tstesutyun)
How are you? – Ինչպես ես (inchpes es?), ոնց՞ես (vonc es? – informal)
I am well – Ես լավ եմ (yes lav em)
I do not speak Armenian – Ես չեմ խոսում հայերեն. (yes chem khosum hayeren)
As you have probably noticed, the Armenian word for “thank you” is very long. Therefore, in everyday speech, Armenians often use the word “merci”, borrowed from French.
Armenian Phrases: National expressions
The Armenian language has colorful expressions that can hardly be translated into other languages, and with the usage of literal translation, it will be impossible to convey the right meaning. Sometimes they may even seem very funny or absurd. Below you can get acquainted with some of them. Probably, you will often hear them during your travel around Armenia.
You will hear the word “jan” all the time! Armenians use it whenever they want to express kind and gentle attitude to the interlocutor. This word can hardly be translated into English, but most often it is used to mean “dear”. So do not be surprised if you hear your name in conjunction with the “jan”.
Another very colorful expression of tenderness, and sometimes compassion, is the phrase “tsavt tanem”, which literally means “take your pain on myself.” In a figurative sense, the expression means – “I will share your pain and sorrow.” The Armenians use this expression in all situations, even the most insignificant when they want to express compassion. Very often it is used by parents towards their little children.
Very funny expression – “mrutt utem.” The literal translation of it is “I want to eat your attractive face”, and in the figurative sense – “you’re so sweet and beautiful.” Most often, it is said to small children.
The expression “achkd luys” is used when Armenians want to congratulate the interlocutor with any good life event, such as for example the birth of a child or the arrival of the long-awaited relative. Literally, it is translated as “light in your eyes.”