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?

Introduction to the Armenian Writing System

The Armenian writing system is an ancient script that has been used to write the Armenian language for over 1,600 years. It is one of the oldest alphabets in the world, with roots tracing back to the 5th century AD. In this article, we will explore the history, features, and usage of the Armenian script, as well as provide a comprehensive guide for anyone interested in learning to read and write in Armenian.

History of the Armenian Alphabet

The Armenian alphabet was created by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, a missionary, and theologian, in the early 5th century AD. The creation of the alphabet was a significant milestone in the history of the Armenian people, as it allowed for the preservation of their language and cultural heritage. Prior to the creation of the alphabet, the Armenian language was written using Greek or Syriac scripts, which were not well-suited for the phonology of the language.

Features of the Armenian Alphabet

The Armenian alphabet consists of 39 letters, each representing a unique sound in the Armenian language. The letters are written from left to right and have a distinctive cursive form, which distinguishes them from other alphabets. The script is also known for its use of diacritical marks, which indicate vowel length and stress patterns in the language.

Usage of the Armenian Script

The Armenian script is used primarily for writing the Armenian language, although it has also been used for writing other languages in the past, such as Middle Persian and Georgian. Today, it is used by the Armenian diaspora all over the world, with over 6 million people speaking the language. In addition to being used for writing, the Armenian script is also used as a symbol of Armenian cultural identity and is featured on the national emblem of Armenia.

Learning to Read and Write in Armenian

If you are interested in learning to read and write in Armenian, there are a variety of resources available to you. One of the best places to start is by enrolling in a language course or finding a tutor who is fluent in the language. You can also find online resources, such as language learning apps and websites, that can help you practice and improve your skills. Additionally, reading Armenian literature, such as poems and novels, can help you gain a better understanding of the language and its use in context.


The Armenian writing system is a rich and fascinating script with a long and storied history. Whether you are a language learner, a cultural enthusiast, or just curious about the world’s writing systems, the Armenian alphabet is definitely worth exploring. With its distinctive letters, diacritical marks, and centuries-old tradition, it is a testament to the enduring power of written language and the cultural heritage of the Armenian people.


Աա Բբ Գգ Դդ Եե Զզ Էէ Ըը Թթ Ժժ
այբ բեն գիմ դա եչ զա է ըթ թո ժե
ayb ben gim yeč za ē ëtÂ’t‘o
a b g d e z ē ë
[ɑ] [b] [g]Â [ɛ/jɛ] [z] [e] [ə] [tʰ] [ʒ]
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Իի Լլ Խխ Ծծ Կկ Հհ Ձձ Ղղ Ճճ Մմ
ինի լյունÂ ծա կեն հո ձա ղատ ճե մեն
ini liwn xe ça ho ja ġat č̣e men
i l x ç h j ġ č̣ m
[ɪ] [l] [x] [ts] [k] [h] [dz]Â [ʧ] [m]
20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 200
Յյ Նն Շշ Ոո Չչ Պպ Ջջ Ռռ Սս Վվ
հի նու շա ո չա պե ջե ռա սե վեվ
hi now ša ča pe ǰe ṙa se vev
y n š č p ǰ s v
[h/j] [n] [ʃ] [vo/o] [ʧʰ] [p] [ʤ] [r] [s] [v]
300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 3000
Տտ Րր Ցց ՈՒու Փփ Քք և Օօ Ֆֆ  
տյուն րե ցո հիւն փյուր քե և օ ֆե  
tyown re cÂ’o p’yowr kÂ’ ò  
t r cÂ’ pÂ’ ò  
[t]Â [tsʰ] [v] [pʰ] [kʰ] [ev/jev] [o] [f]  
4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000 20000  


Աա Բբ Գգ Դդ Եե Զզ Էէ Ըը
այբ բեն գիմ դա եչ զա է ըթ
ayp pen kim yeč za ēh ĕt
a p k t e z ē ë
[ɑ] [pʰ] [kʰ]Â < /td> [tʰ] [ɛ/jɛ] [z] [ɛ] [ə]
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Թթ Ժժ Իի Լլ Խխ Ծծ Կկ Հհ
թո ժե ինի լյունÂ ծա կեն հո
t’oh ini liwn xe ça ho
t’ l x ç h
[tʰ] [ʒ] [i] [l] [x] [dz] [ɡ] [h]
9 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Ձձ Ղղ Ճճ Մմ Յյ Նն Շշ Ոո
ձա ղատ ճե մեն հի նու շա ո
ja ġat č̣e men hi now ša
j ġ č̣ m y n š
[tsʰ]Â [ʤ] [m] [h/j] [n] [ʃ] [o]
80 90 100 200 300 400 500 600
Չչ Պպ Ջջ Ռռ Սս Վվ Տտ Րր
չա պե ջե ռա սե վեվ տյուն րե
ča be ǰe ṙa se vev dyun re
č b ǰ s v d r
[ʧʰ] [b] [ʧʰ] [ɾ] [s] [v] [d]Â
700 800 900 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
Ցց Ււ Փփ Քք և Օօ Ֆֆ  
ցո հիւն փյուր քե և օ ֆե  
cÂ’o p’yowr kÂ’ ò  
cÂ’ pÂ’ ò  
[tsʰ] [v] [pʰ] [kʰ] [ev/jev] [o] [f]  
6000 7000 8000 9000 10000 20000  
Other letters          
ու իւ Էօ եա յը յի եօ յու
[u] [ʏ] [Âœ] [jə] [ji] [jo] [ju]
այ էյ իյ ոյ        
[aj] [ej] [iə] [uj]        

Eastern vs Western Regular Differences In Pronunciation

  voiced aspirated
  aspirated voiced aspirated
  Բ Պ Փ
Eastern Armenian [b] [p] [ph]
Western Armenian [ph] [b] [ph]
  Գ Կ Ք
Eastern Armenian [g] [k] [kh]
Western Armenian [kh] [g] [kh]Â
  Դ Տ Թ
Eastern Armenian [d] [t] [th]
Western Armenian [th] [d] [th]
  Ձ Ծ Ց
Eastern Armenian [dz] [ts] [tsh]
Western Armenian [tsh] [dz] [tsh]
  Ջ Ճ Չ
Eastern Armenian [dʒ] [tʃ] [tʃh]
Western Armenian [tʃh] [dʒ] [tʃh]


՛ ՜ ՝ ՞ ՟ ։ ֊Â
emphasis exclamation comma question abbreviation fullstop/ hyphen
mark mark   mark mark period  

Araz Tavitian

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