The Armenian Alphabet (Why is it Unique?)

The Armenian Alphabet, the key to preserving our identity, is one of the first things passed from generation to generation in every Armenian family.

When I was a child, my mother decorated the walls of our house with pieces of Armenian Art. One famous, maybe most spread of these arts was a tablet of The Armenian ALphabet.

With the first words that I uttered, the first song that I learned to sing pointing at the 38 letters on the tablet hanging on the wall, were the Armenian Alphabet letters.

Armenians believe their letters because they were a blessing given by God, as Mesrop Mashtots (Mesrob Mashdots) saw the hand of God writing them.

Moreover, it is unique because it is different in the way it is written and used only by Armenians. It was the secret ingredient that united Armenians in the past when they were ruled by different nations.

The Armenian Alphabet was the spark of the birth of the modern Armenian Culture.

When Was The Armenian Alphabet Found

The Armenian Alphabet letters were found in 405 AD. This was one of the most important events in the history of Armenians. Before that, for about 16 hundred years, various forms of cuneiforms had been used in Armenia.

After the adoption of Christianity, as the state religion of Armenia in 301 AD, the Church regarded the old
systems of writing as inappropriate for religious use.

An attempt was made to use the Greek and Syriac languages as the official languages of the Church and the state. This was a problem for several decades, mainly because ordinary people did not understand those languages.

Not having a Bible written in Armenian made the spread of the new religion more difficult, and also because of the resistance of the nationalistic-minded aristocrats.

What was the first sentence translated to Armenian?

Ճանաչել զիմաստութիւն եւ զխրատ, իմանալ զբանս հանճարոյ:
(Janachel zimasdoutiun yev ezkherad, imanal ezpanes hanjaro)
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding.
— Book of Proverbs, 1:2.

Why was having an Armenian Alphabet important?

In the 4th Century, there were several attempts to adjust the old systems of writing to the needs of the Church, but they all failed because the proposed versions did not reflect correctly the phonetic system of the language.

In the nineties of the century, king Vramshapuh asked a high-ranking official in his chancellery and a prominent scholar Mesrop Mashtots to make another attempt.

Mesrop Mashtots traveled to Alexandria, then the biggest cultural and scientific center of the world, and studied their various principles of writing.

He came to the conclusion that the Greek alphabet was the most advanced one of that time since it had one letter for each sound and was easy to memorize and use.

He created an alphabet that followed the principle of ‘one letter for one sound’ and was written from left to right and had capital letters, unlike all other languages of Eastern Anatolia and the Middle East, which were mostly written from right to left and had no capitals.

Who Found The Armenian Alphabet?

Mesrob Mashtots the Armenian Icon
Mesrob Mashtots the Armenian Icon

In 405 Mesrop Mashtots returned to Armenia, bringing with him the 36 new letters of the Armenian alphabet. The same year, the Bible was translated using new and re-written in the new alphabet.

The Armenian translation of the Bible, which contains more words than the Hebrew and Greek originals, was so perfect that it soon came to be known as the ‘Queen of Translations’.

The new alphabet stimulated an unprecedented boom in literature and the V – 5th century was later called the ‘Golden Age of Armenian Literature.

The alphabet created by Mesrop Mashtots was so perfect that it has not been changed or reformed since 405 AD. The letters used today look exactly as Mesrop Mashtots created them.

The Armenian alphabet played an enormous role in preserving the national and cultural identity of the Armenian people and enjoys a very special love and respect. For the creation of the alphabet, Mesrop Mashtots was later canonized by the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Facts about the Armenian alphabet?

What is the name of the Armenian Alphabet?Aypoupen or Aybouben,
a=Ayp or ayb, and=ou, b=pen or ben
Who Created The Armenian Alphabet? It was written by the hand of God
Who found the Armenian letters?Mesrop Mashtots
What year was the Armenian Alphabet discovered? 405 AD
How many letters are in the Armenian Alphabet? Originally 36+ 2 were added later+38
Which Direction is Armenian written?Left to Right

The Armenian alphabet and Pronunciation in English

The Armenian Alphabet is called Aypoupen, or Aybuben. It means the name of the first and second letters letter a=Ayp or ayb, and=ou , b=pen or ben.

Classic Western Armenian NameSoviet Eastern Armenian Name
Ա-աAyp as in mamaa as in Up
Բ-բPen as in petb as in bag
Գ-գKim as in Catg as in gang
Դ-դTa as in Taurusd as in drums
Ե-եYetch as in Yerevanye/e as in Yerevan, Erevan
Զ-զZa as in Zebraž as in Zebra
Է-էE as in Elemente as in Element
Ը-ըUht- ə as in earthë as in Earth
Թ-թTo as in Thomast as in Today
Ժ-ժJeh as in garagez as in pleasure
Ի-իIni as in Inni as in Inn
Լ-լLune as in Lovel as in Love
Խ-խKheh as in Loch or Bachx as in Loch
Ծ-ծDzats as in blitz
Կ-կGuenne as in Greatk as in Pick
Հ-հHo as in Highh as in hey
Ձ-ձTsa as in bratsdz as in bids
Ղ-ղGhad as in Ghaddafi or French Rgh as in Ghaddafi or French R
Ճ-ճDjeh as in pagetš as in page
Մ-մMen as in Menm as in men
Յ-յHe as in Hope in the beginning,
Yeah in the middle
Silent in the end
y as in year
Ն-նNou as in Nown as in now
Շ-շSha(H) as in Shreadš as in shread
Ո-ոVo as in Vow , o in the middlevo/o as in Vow or o in the middle
Չ-չTcha(H) as in Tchai teatš’ as in Tchai
Պ-պBe(h) as in Beep as in Penny
Ջ-ջTche(H) as in Charmingdž as in Jay
Ռ-ռRa as in Breadr as in Bread
Ս-սSe as in says as in say
Վ-վVev as in veryv as in Very
Տ-տDune as in Donet as in Hut
Ր-րRe as in rainr as in Rain
Ց-ցTso as in Tsiganets as in Tsigane
Ւ-ւHune silent with Vo, sounds like poor
soft V in the end like Slave
w as in Poor
Փ-փPure as in Purep as in Pure
Ք-քKe(H) as in Breakk as in Break
Օ-օO as in Onas in On
Ֆ-ֆFe(H) as in Faithf as in faith
ևyew/ew meaning “and”
ուoo as in poormeaning “and”

How do you write the Armenian alphabet in handwriting?

Araz Tavitian

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