Armenian alphabet

The Armenian alphabet is a unique writing system used to write the Armenian language.

Origin: The Armenian alphabet was invented in 405 AD by the monk Mesrop Mashtots
under the patronage of King Vramshapuh of Armenia. It was created to provide a written
form for the Armenian language, which until then had been primarily oral or written using
other scripts such as Greek or Syriac.

Alphabet Letters: The Armenian alphabet consists of 38 letters, each representing a
specific sound in the Armenian language. The letters are divided into three groups based
on their shape and pronunciation: Բառարան (Barevuyt), Թուղթավոր (Tughtavar), and
Բառարան (Bararan). The alphabet is phonetic, meaning that each letter represents a
single sound, making it relatively straightforward to learn and use.

Unique Features: The Armenian alphabet is notable for several unique features. It is an
alphabetic script, meaning that each letter represents a consonant sound, with vowel
sounds indicated using diacritic marks placed above or below the consonant letters.
Additionally, Armenian is one of the few alphabets in the world that includes letters
representing specific Armenian sounds, such as the “Ե” (Ye) and “Ը” (Eh), which do not
have equivalents in other alphabets.

Cultural Significance: The Armenian alphabet holds significant cultural and national
importance for Armenians. It is regarded as a symbol of Armenian identity and linguistic
heritage, representing the rich literary and intellectual tradition of the Armenian people.
The invention of the alphabet is celebrated annually on Armenian Alphabet Day, which is
observed on May 21st.

Usage: The Armenian alphabet is used to write the Armenian language, which is spoken by
approximately 6 million people worldwide. It is the official script of Armenia and the
Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), as well as a recognized minority language in
several other countries, including Iran, Georgia, and Lebanon. Armenian script is also used
in the Armenian Apostolic Church for religious texts and liturgy.

Evolution: Over the centuries, the Armenian alphabet has undergone various modifications
and reforms to adapt to changes in the language and to accommodate loanwords from
other languages. The modern Armenian alphabet, known as “Մասնակից” (Masnakits), is
based on the script developed by Mesrop Mashtots, with some letters and orthographic
conventions adjusted to reflect contemporary Armenian pronunciation and linguistic

Unicode: The Armenian alphabet is included in the Unicode Standard, making it accessible
and usable across digital platforms and devices. Unicode provides a standardized
encoding system for representing text in different writing systems, ensuring that the
Armenian script can be displayed and exchanged electronically with consistency and

Overall, the Armenian alphabet stands as a testament to the ingenuity and cultural
heritage of the Armenian people, serving as a vital tool for communication, expression, and
preservation of the Armenian language and identity.


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