I’m ethnically half Western Armenian. In 2018 I plan on and am starting to learn at least some of the language. What some people might not know is that there are 3 main types of Armenian that exist today.
- Classical Armenian- This is the oldest form of Armenian. The language is still used in many more traditional Armenian churches. This would be like trying to sit through a church service in the Middle English used by Chaucer. You would be able to understand bits and pieces of it, but it would largely seem like a foreign language to you. A relative of mine told us about how only being able to understand small parts of the long church services she was forced to attend as a child made her less attached to organized religion.
- Western Armenian- This variety is used by the diaspora communities of Armenians.
- Eastern Armenian- This is the variety of Armenian that is actually used on a day-to-day basis in Armenia. This is the variety that I am going to work with because I want to learn what is actually used in Armenia. Western and Eastern Armenian are really different. For political reasons, the differences are often downplayed, but there can be issues with mutual intelligibility. I recommend learning Eastern Armenian because you can actually use it in Armenia as a traveler.
There are many regional dialects, but these are the three main over-arching varieties of the Armenian language.
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