Armenian alphabet

U 0530- U 058 F U FB13 -U FB17

The Armenian alphabet (in Armenian: Հայոց գրեր Hayots bigger or Հայոց այբուբեն Hayots aybuben ) is the font with which the Armenian language is written.


According to tradition, the Armenian alphabet was created by Saint Mesrop about 403-406 AD. It is unclear whether the writing was a new development or whether the Armenians previously used a different font from which no written records exist.

Armenians used until the 5th century, the Greek, Syriac or Aramaic script to document business and official matters. There are some similarities to their characters.

Are even greater similarities with the Ethiopic script. A cultural exchange between Armenians and Ethiopians in the 4th century in Jerusalem is considered probable. Of which could have benefited by a thesis and the development of writing.

The oldest form of the Armenian alphabet, which was used until the 11th century, is known as the iron font ( երկաթագիր, jerkatagir, erkat'agir ). Lowercase characters originated in the 11th century. The order of the letters suggests Greek influence, the shape of the letters but can include on -Semitic models.

The letter O ( օ ) and error ( ֆ ) have emerged only in the 13th century. The O was due to a sound shift of the Armenian language of / av / to / o /, the " error " was introduced to the letters of loanwords.

1922-1924 were carried out in the former Armenian SSR two spelling reforms that are valid in the newly independent Armenia as before. Off the alphabet one now stroked the 34th letter Wjun ( ւ ), in its place, the U ( ու ) as one letter moved. Because the Wjun no longer existed as an independent letter, also the very common ligature Jew ( եւ ), consisting of small Jetsch ( ե ) and Wjun ( ւ ) was added to the alphabet as 37, now an independent letter.

The Western Armenians, especially the Armenian diaspora in Europe and the USA, as well as the Ostarmenier in Iran have not adopted these amendments.


The correct representation of the tables on this page requires a Unicode font that covers the Armenian alphabet.

Western Armenian digraphs

In addition to the panarmenischen ու there are two typical Western Armenian digraphs.

  • At the time of the Crusades the Cilician Armenians West were allies of the Crusaders and came especially with French knights in contact. The Western Armenians took over doing some French words and the "ö - lute " [ ø ], [œ ] and [œ ] play, the digraph was օէ (OE ) is introduced. This digraph is the only purely orthographic feature, where you can distinguish Western Armenian from classic ostarmenischen written texts.
  • իւ ( iw ) is pronounced in closed syllables [y ] (read like a German "ü "), while it was probably pronounced in Old Armenian [ iw ]. In Ostarmenischen is իւ ( iw ), however [ jɯ ] uttered only as a transcription of foreign words in classical spelling it can - if the speaker this can be expressed as follows and wants - as [y ] are pronounced. Example: Բիւզանդ ( Byzantium ), both [ bjɯ'zand ] and [ by'zand ] are pronounced. Exceptions: If the closure of the syllable created by compositions, the original pronunciation is preserved, eg պատիւ ( patiw ) [ ba'div ] ( westarm. ) [ pa'tiv ] ( ostarm. ) - honor; պատիւս ( patiws ) [ ba'divǝs ] ( westarm. ) [ pa'tivǝs ] ( ostarm. ) - my honor.


Names of the letters

There are traditional names of the letters. However, they were not taught in the schools of the Armenian SSR and are, therefore, many Armenians unknown. Indicated is the first traditional notation and then reformed, which is, however, from the above- mentioned basic theoretical rather than real.

  • այբ, բէն, գիմ, դա, եչ, զա, է, ըթ, թո, ժէ, ինի, լիւն, խէ, ծա, կէն, հո, ձա, ղատ, ճէ, մէն, յի 1, նու, շա, ո, չա, պէ, ջէ, ռա, սէ, վէվ, տիւն, րէ, ցո, վիւն 2, փիւր, քէ; օ, ֆէ

1 Pronounced [ hi].

2 The alternative spelling is ւիւն ( wiwn ), but it is misleading in that ւ generally does not occur in initial position and said notation to actually violates a spelling rule.

  • այբ, բեն, գիմ, դա, եչ, զա, է, ըթ, թո, ժե, ինի, լյուն, խե, ծա, կեն, հո, ձա, ղատ, ճե, մեն, հի, նու, շա, ո, չա, պե, ջե, ռա, սե, վեվ, տյուն, րե, ցո, ու (sic), փյուր, քե; օ, ֆե; եւ

Number of characters

As in the Greek alphabet exists an Armenian numbering system in which the letters are used as numerals. In both cases there was no sign of zero. Occasionally, they are still used to indicate years or chapter numbers.


1: This character can stand before the start of indirect speech or incurred by repetition, formal incomplete sentences (eg, sentences like " Philip loves dogs, cats Max "). 2: Used to mark the imperative, the salutation and a special emphasis. If set to ( in word processing with the computer behind ) the stressed vowel of the word in question. 3: If the stressed vowel of the question or set to ( in word processing with the computer behind ) exclamation word. For whole: Armenian Language Lessons Chapter 9b in the Armeniapedia

Armenian Alphabet in Unicode

The Armenian alphabet is in Unicode block Armenian positions from U 0531 to U 058 A. Some ligatures are in the Unicode block Alphabetic Presentation forms at U FB13 to U FB17.