|Traditional Orthography||Reformed Orthography||Pronunciation||Classical Armenian||Eastern Armenian||Western Armenian|| Classical Armenian|
|Classical Armenian||Eastern Armenian||Western Armenian|
|Ե ե||եչ||[jɛtʃʰ]||[ɛ], initially [jɛ]1||e||5|
|Ղ ղ||ղատ||[ɫɑt]||[ʁɑtʼ]||[ʁɑd]||[l], or [ɫ]||[ʁ]||ġ||90|
|Յ յ||յի||հի||[ji]||[hi]||[j]||[h]3, [j]||y||300|
|Ո ո||ո||[o]||[vo]||[o], initially [vo]4||o||600|
|Added during the thirteenth century|
|Letter||Traditional Orthography||Reformed Orthography||Classical Armenian||Eastern Armenian||Western Armenian||Classical Armenian||Eastern Armenian||Western Armenian|| Classical Armenian|
In Armenian (, ) is a comma, (: ) is the ordinary period, and (' ) is used as period for abbreviations. The question mark (՞ ) is placed between the last and the penultimate letters of the question word. The short stop (՝ ) placed in the same manner as the question mark, indicates a short pause that is longer than that of a comma, but shorter than that of a semicolon. The interjection sign (՛ ) is placed between the penultimate and last letter of the interjection. (« » ) are used for quotation marks. (՜ ) is used as the exclamation mark.
In linguistic literature on Classical Armenian, slightly different systems are in use (in particular note that č has a different meaning). Hübschmann-Meillet (1913) have
Various scripts have been credited with being the prototype for the Armenian alphabet. Pahlavi was the priestly script in Armenia before the introduction of Christianity, and Syriac, along with Greek, was one of the alphabets of Christian scripture. Armenian shows some similarities to both. However, the general consensus is that Armenian is modeled after the Greek alphabet, supplemented with letters from a different source or sources for Armenian sounds not found in Greek. The evidence for this is the Greek order of the Armenian alphabet; the ow ligature for the vowel /u/, as in Greek; and the shapes of some letters which "seem derived from a variety of cursive Greek.
There are four forms of the script. The erkat'agir "forged letters", seen as Mesrop's original, were used in manuscripts from the 5th to 13th century and are still preferred for epigraphic inscriptions. Bolorgir "cursive" was invented in the 10th century and became popular in the 13th. It has been the standard printed form since the 16th. Notrgir "minuscule" was invented for speed, was extensively used in the Armenian diaspora in the 16th to 18th centuries, and later became popular in printing. Šełagir "slanted writing" is now the most common form.
Although the two dialects of modern Armenian—Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian—use the same alphabet, due to the Western Armenian sound shift some letters are pronounced in a different way. This matters for the following letters (further information in the chart below):
The number and order of the letters have changed over time. In the Middle Ages two new letters (օ [o], ֆ [f]) were introduced in order to better represent foreign sounds; this increased the number of letters from 36 to 38. Furthermore, the diphthong աւ followed by a consonant used to be pronounced [au] (as in down) in Classical Armenian, f.e. աւր (awr, [auɹ], day). Due to a sound shift it became pronounced [oɹ], and since the 13th century it is written as օր (ōr). In Classical Armenian, աւ followed by a consonant represented the diphthong au; e.g. hawr (father's), arawr (plough), now written hôr, arôr; one word has kept aw, now pronounced av: աղաւնի pigeon; there are also a few proper names still having aw before a consonant: Տաւրռս Taurusn, Փաւստոս Faustus, etc. For this reason, today there are native Armenian words beginning with the letter օ (ō) although this letter was taken from the Greek alphabet to express the pronunciation of foreign words beginning with o [o].
From 1922 to 1924, Soviet Armenia adopted a Reformed spelling of the Armenian language. This generally did not change the pronunciation of individual letters, with some exceptions. The Armenian Diaspora (including Armenians in Lebanon and Iran) have rejected the Reformed spelling and continue to use the classical Mashtotsian spelling. They criticize some aspects (see the footnotes of the chart) and allege political motives behind the reform.
The Armenian alphabet is one of the five modern European alphabetic scripts identified in the Unicode standard version 4.0. (The other modern European alphabets are Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Georgian.) It is assigned the range U+0530–058F.
Five Armenian ligatures are encoded in the "Alphabetic presentation forms" block (code point range U+FB13–FB17)
ArmSCII-8 was popular on the Windows 95 and Windows 98 operating systems. To be able to read in Armenian, users had to download a font that implements the ArmSCII-8 encoding. To be able to write in Armenian, users first had to download and install a freeware program that ran in the taskbar. There were two popular programs, one named KD Win, and the other called "Armenian National Language Support. With these programs, a user would be able to type in both Armenian and another alphabetic script without having to change fonts, switching between writing scripts and keyboard layouts by invoking a keyboard shortcut (often Alt + Shift).
With the development of the more advanced Unicode standard and its availability on the Windows 2000/XP/2003 and Linux operating systems, the ArmSCII-8 encoding has been rendered obsolete. Nevertheless, ArmSCII-8 can still be found in use on some websites, which have not yet made the transition to Unicode.
An advantage of Arasan-compatible fonts over ArmSCII-8 fonts is that writing does not require the installation of a separate program; once the font is installed and selected for use, one can use their QWERTY keyboard to type in Armenian. A disadvantage over ArmSCII-8 is that an Arasan-compatible font can only be used for one alphabetic script; therefore, the user must change the Font family when creating a multi-script document (e.g. both Armenian and English). Another disadvantage is that Arasan-compatible fonts only come in one keyboard layout: Western Armenian phonetic.
While Arasan-compatible fonts were popular among many users on Windows 95 and 98, it has been rendered obsolete by the Unicode standard. However, a few websites continue to use it.
The Arasan font's legacy is the phonetic Armenian keyboard layouts that ship with Windows 2000/XP/2003, which are almost identical to the Arasan keyboard layout.
Armenian keyboard layouts for Windows 2000/XP/2003 created by third parties include the Armenian Phonetic Eastern and the Armenian Typewriter Eastern.
Use of Armenian keyboard layouts on Windows 2000/XP/2003 systems require explicit configuration by the user.
Use of Armenian keyboard layouts on Linux usually requires explicit configuration by the user. Users of the GNOME desktop may do so by using the GNOME Keyboard Indicator applet.
Unicode Support for Armenian
Armenian Online Dictionaries